The vanishing kickoff return

Here is my Sunday feature on kickoffs in the NFL. This feature appears in the Santa Rosa Press Democrat’s Sunday sports section.

ALAMEDA — The most exciting and the most dangerous play in football, the kickoff, is disappearing.

It used to be the kicker kicked off from his 30-yard line, 10 kickoff coverage players lined up way behind the kicker and took big running starts, the kick returner caught the ball and ran behind a two- or three-man wedge — huge bull-dozing players holding hands and moving forward like a Panzer tank sweep — and everyone collided full-speed at the 20 or 25 yard line.

Two years ago, the NFL banned the wedge, restricted the run-up of coverage players and moved the spot of the kick forward from the 30- to the 35-yard line, sensible changes to make kickoffs safer.

Today, this is what kickoffs look like most of the time: Special teams jog onto the field. The kicker blasts the ball way out of the end zone. The returner turns his head and watches the ball fly past. Special teams jog off the field.

On rare occasions, the kicker fails to kick the ball beyond the end zone and the returner catches the ball and runs with it, but there always seems to be a penalty for holding or an illegal block in the back. Without the wedge, kickoffs no longer are about power. They’re about speed, and the field is wide open. It’s hard to keep a return game clean when the field is wide open because someone tends to get out of position and that leads to penalties, and penalties make the play frustrating.

Even when the kick returner catches the ball, his best decision usually is to take a knee in the end zone so his team’s offense can start at its 20.

Kickoffs have become mostly a meaningless and boring ritual. Some people in the NFL want to get rid of the kickoff entirely and replace it with a punt, a less-dangerous play. Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Greg Schiano likes this idea. He’s said in the past he would replace kickoffs with punts and replace onside kicks with a fourth-and-15 from the “kicking” team’s 30-yard line.

Raiders coach Dennis Allen disagrees.

“I’d hate to see that play being taken out of the game,” Allen said. “It’s an exciting part of the game. I think the league has done a good job of changing some of the rules on the kickoff to eliminate some of the violent collisions and some of the injuries.”

“Some” being the operative word Allen used. There is nothing the NFL can do to make kickoffs or football in general completely safe.

“Injury is inherent to the sport,” said Fred vonAppen, the 49ers’ special teams coach from 1983 through 1986. “It’s a collision sport. On kickoffs, there will be some hits that are unfavorable to the human body. It’s almost unavoidable to keep your head out of contact. You run and hit with your shoulder but there will be incidental contact with your head.”

True, kickoffs are controversial. Do they enrich football?

Kickoffs give football structure and differentiate it from all other team sports. Football games start with a kickoff and a full-speed collision. No other team sport starts that violently and that’s fitting, because no other team sport is as violent as football. The collision is one of the best parts of the kickoff.

“It adds intensity to the sport,” Raiders special teamer Phillip Adams said. “I think starting the game by just lining up at the 20-yard line would be boring.”

Banning the kickoff would be like banning other exciting moments in sports like the left hook in boxing or the triple in baseball. Imagine an umpire holding a giant stop sign at second base and yelling, “Don’t push it, mister!”

Kickoffs are chaos in a hyper-structured sport where players follow orders like soldiers.

“I feel like when you’re back there returning kicks, there is a lot of freedom,” said Jeremy Stewart, who has returned kicks for the Raiders and Stanford.

Unlike a wide receiver who has to run a specific route and may not even get the ball, the kick returner gets to run wherever he wants and is in control of the entire play.

“It’s like being a sniper compared to a regular soldier,” Stewart said.

It’s like a Kamikaze mission. It’s like a jail break through a minefield across enemy lines. Football always comes down to war metaphors. When you see a kick returner run through the entire opposing team and score a touchdown, it’s like witnessing a miracle, like witnessing David kill Goliath.

Devin Hester is the ultimate David. He will likely be a Hall of Famer because kickoffs exist. If they didn’t exist, he probably never would have been a professional football player.

“Look at ‘The Play’ from the Cal-Stanford game when the band rushed the field,” vonAppen said. “I was on the Stanford sideline. I’m painfully reminded of this play every year, but it was one of the great plays in football history, college or pro. If you take away kickoffs, you take away the possibility of a play ever matching or topping that one.”

The NFL is more concerned with player safety than topping the Cal-Stanford play, obviously. And maybe the imagination reads more into the symbolism of the kickoff than really exists. But here’s a basic question: How could anyone start the game without it?

Grant Cohn writes the Inside the 49ers blog at and two weekly sports columns for

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  1. NFL is becoming part of the PC world in which we live. They have begun catering to woman and the emasculating of the game. When they discontinue kickoffs and regulate the onside kick to zero percent chance of recovery, that’s when I will retire from being a patronizing fan….

      1. Razors attitude might be backwards but his attitude is the correct one. People have choices they are paid millions to play the game. These are all college educated players so they know the repercussions of injury and if they don’t then its on our education system.

      2. “These are all college educated players…”

        You might want to rephrase that. They all played college football, but some skipped the education part.

      3. Well Jack that’s on them don’t you think? The tools where there if they choose not to educate themselves then its on them. If colleges do not require certain classes in order to play sports its on the colleges.

      4. Ha I am a female fan and I enjoy the hitting and contact. It is what separates the sport from other sports such as baseball. So using razor eaters caveman logic this must mean that every sport women enjoy has been emasculated.
        Go back to the cave razor eater.

    1. The nfl is a PC league, but can you blame Roger G?
      It’s the players who made it this way. If I was running a billion dollar company and the employees decide to get lawsuit happy. I’d do the same thing. These players whine and complain about the new rules, and on the other hand back the others and voted in the Guys who lead their union. Blame falls on the players for these soft rules

  2. The KOR for TD is the most exciting play in the game today. To me its even better for those at the game. The rising swell of the crowd’s roar is an accelerator of the excitement. In baseball, the play at the plate is exciting too, and dangerous (ask Mr Posey). It would be safer to eliminate blocking the plate, but something would be lost.
    Having had personal experience with brain injury and family experience with paralysis I’m willing to evolve as a fan for the safety of the players. In that context I’m OK with the League efforts. My complaint is that the NFL approaches it like lawyers with how they word, interpret, and call the revised regulations. So the players are left in limbo between head-shots and knee-shots and are not yet better protected. The effort should continue, but is not there yet.
    An important point now becoming more public: The helmet does not offer protection from concussions. It does offer protection from cuts, bruises, broken noses, teeth and cheek and (usually) jaw; it remains critically necessary, but it won’t save your brain from injury.
    A note: The Game is already not what it once was.

    1. Good post Brother Tuna

      I’m not sure just which side I line up with, but football is, was, and will always be a physical bone-crushing game….I don’t like the fact that there are injuries, but that is a fact. Playing football is a choice, and players play it as long as they’re able. When Gayle Sayers and Barry Sanders said “’nuff” we all took notice. They just knew when it was time. Playing on ST, the rush of adrenalin is almost overwhelming on kick-offs. It’s like two ancient armies coming together in conflict. Incidentally, there’s a lot of hitting at midfield before the returner takes a knee. It’s football….

      1. Yeah but just now Ray Lewis contradicted me in response to the question about strike zone. The point he made was the best technique is to hit the runner/receiver in what is currently the approved strike zone and drive up through the ball. He says that’s how he was coached all along. Point taken, but I think the Refs would see his head hit, drive up through the ball and make incidental contact with the head, and they’d toss the laundry. Refs are in a s*#% sandwich too.
        I notice that the game of Rugby is still being played. More bruises and chipped teeth, but fewer catastrophic injuries.

  3. If you like kickoff returns it’s a good thing you’re a 49ers fan. They have the 4th fewest touchbacks in the league by percentage.

    1. He’s a beast, but didn’t the 49ers just release a Fresno St. wideout? Seems their players do not enjoy great success in the NFL……

  4. One might consider using the formations like they use for the field goal for kickoffs. Line up both teams at the fifty yard line and apply the same rules for the field goal except no points for kicking thru the crossbars. Receiving team can block the kickoff as they can on the field goal. Onside kicks would still apply but would be done much differently. Just a thought.

  5. Chiefs losing streak starts today. They may win one or two more games this season. No more cupcakes. Our 2nd rounder will be pick #50 overall.

    1. Pretty funny in retrospect, Jordan. I don’t know if you or Grant are worse at making predictions, but thanks for the laughs.

  6. Grant: “Banning the kickoff would be like banning other exciting moments in sports like the left hook in boxing.” The left hook is not exciting. It is concussion, brain damage, and possible neurologic disease in the future. The apple does not fall far from the tree.

  7. Bills should’ve just went up on K.C. 17-3….they just threw a pick 6 on 3rd and goal from 1 yard line. 100 yard pick 6…, choke job.

  8. The chiefs will continue to be a frontrunner because of it’s defense and special teams.

    The offense will do just enough to pin some points on the board. They have a low-risk, heavy game management offense that has worked for them this season.
    But their (entire) defense is the key player here. The chiefs defense has scored 4 TD’ off INT’ counting today against the Bills.

    1. Perception is reality. Their defense is solid and will continue to dictate the game. Their offense ie limited but does just enough.
      look at the Saints. Their offense can’t get anything going consistently.
      Broncos will be interesting…

  9. I’m almost ready for Raider blog here. For some reason my posts never make it past Corkhead at the Trib. When he tells me what I just saw? That he posts.

    1. WTF is going on? I’ve out all day, come back and find out that the SeaHags are losing 21-0. Come on Schiano, save your job and beat these bastards.

  10. nine and oh (I like how that sounds.)
    Thanks to the Chief’s kicking game and their defense.
    Kansas City is undefeated.

    My name is Alex Smith, and I approve of this message.

  11. Might just be the paranoid red sox fan in me but i get an awfull feeling that the craphawks have the bucks just where they want them, I hope im wrong but they pulled their fair share of games out of their culos already

    1. Bos49er,
      Can someone find the ‘fat lady’ and have her start to warm-up her vocal cords already?

      Seattle is learning that you don’t take any team lightly. We’ll see if they wake up from their slumber and begin to play like a 1st place team.
      One thing is certain, the c-hawks have not looked very good the last few weeks. Maybe today becomes proof that the c-hawks are really descending.

    2. Bos
      Justifiable jitters, eh? Yeah I didn’t want to count those chickens until they hatched in the Seahawks game or the Cowboys game; there’s a reason.
      Man it’s a long and dramatic season in the NFL. Remember before Week#1? Vikings and Bucs looked like Playoff contenders; not locks, but in the mix. Falcons? G-men; a few questions, like Steelers, but expected to be in the mix. Texans. Dolphins looked promising.
      Gotta play those games. Gotta play for at least 60:00.

      1. BT
        Its ingrained in our DNA (for better or worse health wise probably worse) No matter how many we win im convinced we are about to get screwed every time something goes amis, terrible way to go through life but my cardiologist loves it, put his kids through college. One of these days the craphawks luck has got to run out

  12. Seacraps only scoring drive was three penalties against TB and one actual play for a TD. What a bunch of scrap.
    Go 9ers!

    1. I wouldn’t exactly call 2 point behind the leader and tied with 8 others as getting killed. There were some games that could have gone either way and a surprise or two.

  13. Seahawks (7-1) are coming back;
    Yes, Tampa Bay is leading 24 to 14, but
    with five minutes left in the third quarter,
    plenty of time to make a couple of defensive stops,
    two TDs, and Seattle is on the way to 8-1….

    1. Seahawks are barely beating teams with quarterbacks who are replacements or just stink. Hoping TB can win, they were my upset pick this week.

  14. eight minutes to go in the fourth quarter.
    Seattle Seahawks are knocking on the door.
    In the red zone, at the 3 yard line.
    down 24 to 17…. stay tuned.
    Expect them to be 8-1 by Monday.

    Mister Wilson is bringing them back – in style..!!!

  15. Thank you K. Tandy for intercepting Wilson in the red zone! Two picks on the day for Wilson who looks like a very average QB of late.

  16. The Raider bandwagon has been hot wired,the spinners and stereo taken,and its now on blocks at the curb.
    This game was over by the kickoff…

  17. The Eagles aren’t ” Takin it Easy” on the Raiders. They are in fact,Trying to “kill the beast Raiders with their steely knives”. And as well know in Oakland “The Raiders can never leave”
    The Raiders look like were run over “By a flat truck Ford”

    I don’t charge for this…

  18. Tampa is truely horrible. How can this game even be close?

    Only 3 points in the 2nd half will lose the game anytime.

  19. Russell Wilson has the Seahawks at the TB 47.
    and a field goal will wrap it up.
    What does our man Kaep say?
    All that matters is a ‘W’…

  20. Marshawn Lynch has Seattle on the TB six yard line.
    125 total yard rushing for Mr. Lynch.
    Has the fat lady started singing yet?
    Surely Mr. Auerbach lit his cigar already…..

  21. Where are those two idiots who said Seattle lacked confidence and that we would be tied with them at the end of today?

  22. The Bucs truly are horrible. Cannot score even 3 points in one half.
    The Seahawks have Been lucky to play two bad teams the last two weeks.

  23. Seascraps pick up the scraps again but look really bad doing it.
    Have to go into OT against a team with no wins AT HOME!!!
    Losses are coming soon.

  24. note to Coach Harbaw…
    Pete Carroll is a happy camper at 8 and 1.
    He is ready to bet two eyebrow removals
    that you lose to the Saints and that his team
    kicks their butts. Time to forget about another
    division championship. Wild card, baby; wild card.

      1. Jordan,

        Looking at your comments from today it looks like it is time for you to hit the showers.

        First the Chiefs losing streak, then the 49ers will be tied by the end of they day, now the Saints are a 3rd tier team…

        Forget that first sentence, watching you repeatedly crash and burn is good comedy.

      2. Fan,

        You just can’t keep it civil huh? It’s uncalled for and unnecessary. Show some maturity dude. It makes the blog a better place. I guess I’ll put you in the Prime category. Comment any way you like. I’ll allow the blog to prosper and keep it football. You can continue to be the antagonist. No more responding to you. Good luck my friend.

    1. Alex Smith guy:

      You’re a big talker while your team is winning. I think you will disappear when things don’t go your way.

      1. 7×7…… It’s name is Ds and it disappeared when smiths playing time did last season. It’s a troll dying of starvation. It and any football fan knows damn well the chiefs aren’t as good as their record says they are.
        So please everybody. Don’t feed the trolls in this zoo.

        Thank you,

  25. the Saints may be third tier, as 23jordan says,
    but they will be oh so motivated, fully revved up,
    by the time week #11 rolls around.
    The Niners may have a win streak going,
    but that string of wins is gonna make us complacent.

    Rex Ryan hosed his brother Rob today
    (Jets over New Orleans).
    Mister Hawbaw knows the feeling, huh?

  26. I made some hyperbolic comments last week about Adrian Peterson. His rushing yards are way down, but he’s not. I jokingly called him Superman for his efforts. Did y’all see his highlights for today? Ha! I rest my case! The Dude is something! High respect.

  27. How about that balanced attack called by Bill Callahan today?

    Nick Foles has shown how tough the Philly offense can be with an accurate QB.

    Baltimore is about done. Forget Flacco, they have lost their running game.

    Listened to the Chiefs-Bills game on Sirius today with the Bills broadcast crew. Got a good laugh when they said Tuel had a good day except for 2 interceptions, never mind that one was returned 100 yards for a TD and decided the game.

    Not excited to see the 49ers go up against Brandon Merriweather in a couple of weeks in DC after he followed through on his promise today.

    Last 35 starts prior to today: Alex Smith 28-6-1, Tom Brady 27-8, Peyton Manning 25-10, Aaron Rodgers 25-10

    Stop waiting for Seattle to lose. It probably won’t happen, and the 49ers will need to handle their own business to get it done.

    Speaking of Seattle, Marshawn Lynch ran for 125 yards on 21 carries today, but if you take out his explosive runs of 10+ yards he only gained 37 yards on 14 carries.

    1. Ha!
      “Taking away” or “except for” are nonsensical phases that seem to make their rounds throughout the NFL.

      Football as all sports deal with facts and not silly (what if/take away/except for) hypotheticals. Why these phrases have become popular sure beats the heck out of me.

      1. No I didn’t Hammer.
        My response was not aimed at you. I noted that this (take away/except for) phrasing is making it’s way around the NFL.
        I caught your sarcasm, I just followed it up with an opinion not a charge against you.

    2. Seattle is going to lose a game. They are more lucky than good right now. They are not going all the way.
      It’s going to be a team that flies under the radar.

    3. Agreed Jack. I don’t care how bad the Seahawks look at the moment against mediocre teams, the important thing is they continue to find ways to win. That’s what good teams do – win even when they are playing poorly.

      49ers can’t hope for the Hawks to lose a game – they need to get it done themselves. Win out and the division belongs to the 49ers.

      1. Speak for yourselves you two. I will continue to cheer during their games for their opponent to not only beat them, but beat them up. Hope is for the hopeless…

    4. Alex’s Chief’s defense may be carrying even more than the Niners 2011 defense did. Today was his 4th time in the last five games in which he has failed to throw for a TD. He blistered the Bills for 124 yards.

      On the flip side, I don’t like seeing the SEahawks continue to win ugly. They are beginning to look like a team of destiny. Russel Wilson takes big shots every week now and gets right back up. He’s a tough son of a gun.

      1. I could see the Chiefs losing 4 or 5 out of the next 7 games. They have a much tougher schedule after the bye, and the defense can’t bail them out every game.

    5. The seahaks are NOT as good as their record indicates.
      Neaither are the chiefs. There is such a thing as winning ugly. And when you win ugly vs teams that’s are well…. Ugly. It shows how good you are. Sorry still not impressed with Alex smiths (teams) overall record in the past 2 years. You can continue to throw that up to get attention. When the fact of the matter is the defense scored more points than his offense did. And that the seahaks beat bottom feeders due to absolute luck from opposing offenses giving them turnovers. These two teams aren’t even a top 5 team right now. They should be destroying their lame opponents. And show how superior they are.

      New England

      Those two could not beat any of these teams right now.

      1. I agree except when it comes to the Niners, they are a bad matchup for us. Whether its physical or whether they are in our heads who knows. But until we lay an ass whoopin on them, I do not like that matchup.

        how good does luck look now that he lost his “Crabtree”?

      2. “They should be destroying their lame opponents. And show how superior they are.”

        Unlike college football where margin of victory gets you votes, all that matters in the NFL is wins. The rest sorts itself out in January.

      3. Disagree. Andy Reid has taken the Harbaugh Stanford formula and elevated it, with the same Niner QB of 2011. I think the top NFC teams might beat them, but the fact remains, the Chiefs are 9-0.

        The Seahawks play to their opponent. Since they’ve had a soft schedule, made softer by backup QBs, they have played soft. Against us, they pumped it up. Against the Colts, who are just strange, they lost. Until we can get under their skin the way we do with the Pack, they remain the top seed.

      4. Jack…. Yes all that matters are wins. But you have to add in the luck factor also. And these two teams have had a good string of luck. That is a small part of a superbowl season. And I’ll bet their luck is pretty much used up. These boneheaded plays by rookie qb’s and backups are a huge part of their winning lately.
        I’m saying it now. The offensive output these two are putting out right now will not get them far in the playoffs. Seattle can improve offensively. KC still hasn’t proven anything in that category. Seattle has beaten 1 good team (sf) KC had not beaten a single team worth a damn. Their true measuring Sticks are coming up real soon. And if Seattle can beat NO and SF and KC can beat Den and SD. Then ill give them their due.
        I’m not ready to crown sf the champs yet, because they haven’t beaten great teams either lately, BUT we all know
        1 they can beat anyone on the road (exclude Seattle as of late)
        2 they were in the superbowl last season, so we know the potential.

        Seattle still struggles on the road, and now they’re struggling at home to winless teams, and backups.
        KC again hasn’t played a winning team yet, and their defense is slipping a bit every week. Tired perhaps because of the offensive abandonment??? So yeah these two who are considered top 3 in the league should be waxing the *hit out of their opponents of late. Maybe not by 20 plus, but physically. And watching them lately they haven’t beaten any of them physically.

      5. Bay I think the seahaks have our number up in that soundbox. We are 1-0 vs them in SF. The past two seasons when they became a threat. If they roll into SF and beat us again, THEN ill worry about them. There are some places some teams just don’t do well in, in stretches of years. I think Seattle is our only kriptonite right now. Didn’t get to see the game last night (it was scary movie night with the mrs’ and the conjuring is an awesome horror film by the way. I recommend it) the colts got #2 because they beat the giants of the NFL. Houston is a divisional rival and we know those are the toughest games. Right now they might not be a #2 seed IMO but they’re still a top 5. I think luck is good enough to find ways to win without his #1. Real soon.

        I don’t believe that if the 49ers were playing the way Seattle is right now, and having a schedule like KC does to this point and winning the way they are, MOST on hear would be worried about this team. Some were throwing in the towel after week 3. Again everyone can say wins are all that matter. And it’s true to a point, but those wins HAVE to include playoff opponents. I can’t remember a schedule as soft as the AFC west’ this season. Nobody thought the NFC east would be this bad. Sorry y’all KC doesn’t impress me this far, and won’t until they can beat Den, and SD.
        Seattle hasn’t impressed me on the road, and I’ve called them overrated since the beginning of the season due to their road woes.

      6. You guys are fooling yourselves if you really believe KC and Seattle can’t beat good teams or cannot continue to win playing the way they are. This league is setup so any team can win in any given week and it happens regularly. It doesn’t matter how you do it; a win is a win.

        For those of you saying KC will be in trouble if they get behind because they can’t play catch up with that anemic offense think again. Have you seen KC in that situation yet? Have they failed to win a game because of the offense? There is a reason they are undefeated and to assume they can’t win if things don’t go exactly their way is silly. If and when that scenario plays out, feel free to crow about how you knew it would happen, but until then don’t waste your time pretending you know something you don’t. The 49ers rode a similar formula all the way to the NFCCG.

        Seattle has not looked good the past couple of weeks but they are still winning. It’s what good teams do and there are many points throughout a season when better teams struggle with lesser ones. It’s a problem if you lose; not if you win. There are no extra points given for style or point differential in the NFL.

      7. md,

        “Seattle has beaten 1 good team”

        And how many have the 49ers beaten?

        “KC again hasn’t played a winning team yet”

        Yes they have. Dallas is 5-4.

        Again, none of this matters until January. All they need to do is win and get into the tournament. The arguments all get decided there.

      8. The difference in the way we are playong right now and the way the Seahawks are playing is our focus. The Niners are focused on destroying every oponent we play. They have covered easily in all five of of their last games. They are not winning. They are issuing beatdowns. The Seahawks are getting complacent.they play to yhe level of their competition. That will catch up with you. It always does. Kansas City is riding a great defense and special teams. That will catch up with them just like it did us in 2011. Smith has to be able to step up and help K.C. and not just protect them from an offensive disaster. Cant make excuses for his effort yesterday. They get 2 defensive touchdowns. One of them a 100 yard pick 6.

        If you guys think Seattle and K.C. can win a super bowl with this form, you are mistaken.

        I know one thing. The Niners are playeing better football than any team in the league right now. They are getting stronger on defense and have weapons coming back on offense and defense. Even if Crabtree comes back as a decoy, it makes this offense better.

        The defense is setting themselves to keep Russell wilson in tge pocket. With Lemonier and Aldon on the edges, wilson cant get outside. If we keep wilson in the pocket, and stop Lynch, we own Seattle. In my opinion, something is not right about Harvins hip. I dont think he will be back before tge playoffs. Hes already reinjured it last week before the Ram game. I think we have Seattle where we want them.

        Kansas City is not relevant. They wont be in the super bowl for us to beat.

      9. The NFL is a marathon, not a sprint. The 49ers have dominated teams the past 5 weeks, but we are only now at the halfway point of the season. That kind of momentum is needed at the end of the year – lets just hope they can maintain it.

        The Seahawks are a good team finding ways to win while playing poorly during the first half of the season. If they keep doing that they will play themselves into form at the right end of the year and then be very dangerous.

      10. Jordan,

        That’s a lot of words without answering the question. This isn’t college football, margin of vicrory and style don’t matter.

      11. Jordan the Chiefs are the league’s only unbeaten team. That may not seem relevant to you but to everybody who doesn’t have a vendetta against Alex Smith it is. The man plays boring football, I’ll give you that. The problem is you are equating that to mean failure and it doesn’t. Smith wasn’t always throwing short passes. It’s a style he started adopting near the end of the Singletary era and continued under Harbaugh. Is it cautious? Yep. Is it boring? I guess, if you like big plays down the field. Does it work? Absolutely. The proof is in Smith’s record the past 3 years as a starting QB. Continually trying to disparage the QB of an unbeaten team makes you look small and unable to accept reality Jordan. There is no way you can change history now. You were wrong about the guy. Just accept it and move on.

      12. Rocket,

        Smith’s record??? I’ve heard that a few too many times on this blog. If there is any quarterback in the NFL that has any less to do with his teams success, it’s Alex Smith. 19-29 for 124 yards??? His defense scores more points than his offense in that game yesterday. 19- 29 for 124 yards!!! Come on Rocket. When have you ever seen stats like that before in an NFL game? Sounds like a high school game to me. We all know what type of QB smith is. Some of us are willing to say it. Some of us feel sorry for his career path and can’t say it.

      13. “19- 29 for 124 yards!!! When have you ever seen stats like that before in an NFL game?”

        In week 5, 49ers/Texans. The winning QB threw for 113 yards and rode his defense and running game to a win.

      14. Jack,

        You continue to manipulate the process. 19-29 for 124 yards. That’s 6.52 yards per reception. That’s also 4.27 years per attempt. That’s also the worst per completion yardage over 15 completions by any QB in the NFL this year. That’s called awful. That’s called throwing it sideways to the running back a soon as the ball is snapped. That’s something that half the guys on this blog could do.that means half of us could have led the Chiefs to the win yesterday against Buffalo. How does it feel to be a game manager jack? How does it feel to be Alex Smith Rocket?

      15. Jack,

        Why didn’t you mention how many attempts Kap had? You’ll never have a successful blog as long as you have biases. You have a bias or Kaepernick. Why did he have 119 yards passing against Houston. I’ll help you out. It’s because we were blowing th r doors and we didn’t need Kap to throw the ball more than 14 times. You’re leap years away from being a real blogger. Your jr. Blogger permit might be in danger of getting revoked. Learn to put out all the facts. Not the one to suit your argument. Until then, you’re just a poster with a bias on the Niners blog on

      16. You’re right. Prior to his garbage time TD throw to Davis, Kaepernick was 5-14 for 49 yards, a nice average of 3.5 yards per attempt.

        “Why did he have 119 yards passing against Houston.”

        He didn’t. It was only 113. And like I said in my previous comment to you, he was able to ride the running game and defense.

        Over the last 4 games the 49ers have run the ball on 65% of their snaps, including 64% in the first half. Kaepernick is doing a very good job of managing the game, and eliminating turnovers.

        The only thing that bothers me about Kaepernick’s performance so far is that he is making my pre-season prediction for him way off. Maybe with Manningham coming back it will help get those numbers closer.

      17. Jordan,

        Read what Jack said. The Niners are playing the same style right now with Kap as they played with Smith two years ago. The Chiefs are playing the same style with Smith that led the Niners to an NFCCG appearance and it’s working. That is the part you keep overlooking. It’s not about the stats. It’s about keeping the game winnable, not making mistakes, putting together a drive that takes time off the clock late in the game to put it away. These are all things Smith has done in KC this year. You and MD are saying they are screwed when they play a better team, but other than maybe Denver, I don’t see a team on their schedule that will score so much they can’t stay in the game and possibly win it. We also haven’t seen the Chiefs have to open it up and score more points so to assume they are incapable of doing it is also not looking at the situation honestly.

        One other point to consider in your evaluation of the game in Buffalo Jordan: the Bills have won 2 and lost 3 at home. Those losses were to NE by 2 points, Cincy by 3 in OT and 10 points to KC on Sunday. They are pretty good at home and played well.

  28. Despite the fact i do not like the seahawks and their coach i have to admit Russell Wilson is a true football player and a man. Seahawks are the team to beat, they are not perfect however until we can beat them they are the number one threat in the NFL. Tampa had a chance to win their first game but they decided to pass on the 3 and 2 after the game was tied and their running back had over 150 yards of rushing!!!

  29. But IF you take away all the touchbacks and penalties, the kickoff return is a very exciting component of the NFL game.

  30. Watching the games today a couple of things became pretty clear. Just like in Boxing some boxers will dodge an opponent because its a bad matchup for them. The same rings true in football. While matchups cannot be avoided, they can be dreaded.

    Last year the Rams played the Seahawks tough. This year they kicked their ass everywhere but the scoreboard. The Rams are a bad matchup for the Seahawks. The Seahawks unfortunately are a bad matchup for us.

    Second item. How many of you said that Andrew Luck was a better more refined QB than CK? I remember saying that losing his number one target is what is primarily responsible for CK’s drop in numbers. Well now that Luck has lost Reggie Wayne, Luck’s luck has run dry. He looks worse than Kaep.
    His halftime stats are 3-12 for 56 yards and no TD’s. And he his a 44 yarder. So besides that one play, he’s 2-11 for 12 yards. Not so refined huh?

    Without a number one receiver that a QB can rely on and trust, a QB no matter what his ability, is tied to who he has to throw to.

    End of year with his weapons back, our QB will be top three in the league again. Good news for us.

    Now who besides me is tired of watching the Seahawks win ugly?

    1. Once again Baydouche, you wet your pants too early with an opinion that’s emotional, ignorant, and with no concrete facts. It’s like listening to a child!

    2. I despise the Hawks, Sherman is the biggest turd that has hit the planet since Ray Lewis has gone to stud, and Cheating Pete Carroll is the kid on the block, that everyone can’t stand, just a pompous idiot. I could live with the Niners not getting the Lombardi trophy this year, but please not the Hawks and a second please to the Cowgirls who have no chance.

    3. Bay says,

      “Seattle hurting. After getting lucky versus Rams, their confidence is gone.”


      “How many of you said that Andrew Luck was a better more refined QB than CK? I remember saying that losing his number one target is what is primarily responsible for CK’s drop in numbers. Well now that Luck has lost Reggie Wayne, Luck’s luck has run dry. He looks worse than Kaep.
      His halftime stats are 3-12 for 56 yards and no TD’s. And he his a 44 yarder. So besides that one play, he’s 2-11 for 12 yards. Not so refined huh?

      Without a number one receiver that a QB can rely on and trust, a QB no matter what his ability, is tied to who he has to throw to.”

      Double Whoops. Looks like he found a new number one receiver.

      1. “Teams that I said are overrated keep winning. They refuse to cooperate with my predictions of their demise. Maybe I was wrong about those teams. Naahh, there’s no way I could be wrong about anything football-related. Those teams are just lucky.”

      2. Looks like we can still count on Claude to troll on in and start the troll wagon of the day. Pretty brace when you never make predictions or have an opinion of your own. Facts only. Way to lay it out there Claude. Must suck to be you.

      3. Yeah, what a horrible person I am. I don’t pretend to know more than I do. I don’t form and argue strong opinions without a sufficient factual basis. I am the worst. The world would be a much better place if more uninformed people would hold themselves out as experts.

        And I wouldn’t characterize pulling something out of your butt and throwing it out as informed opinion as “brave” if the person offering such an opinion isn’t willing to accept some heat when it turns out that he was wrong.

      4. Jack,

        Funny how someone that claims to know so much about the game, shields the truth to try and ridicule Bay. Houston owned The Colts last night until the coach collapsed at halftime. Aftet halftime, Houston stopped blitzing and went to a zone and started playing quarters on defense. They started rushing 4 and they stopped throwing the ball. Too bad they didn’t trust Keenum and let him do his thing. The Texans blew that game.

      5. Jordan,

        The truth is that Luck brought the Colts back from 18 down and won the game. Sure the Kubiak thing couldn’t have helped Houston, and neither did Fat Randy missing 3 field goals. Unfortunately for you and Bay the world isn’t made up of hypotheticals and the results are what they are.

      6. Jack

        To be fair, Colin has every opportunity to surpass Luck eventually, as he is physically superior to Luck, possesses smarts that likely equal Luck’s, and has the added benefit of probably being tethered to Harbaugh for the foreseeable future, as Luck only had the benefit of Harbaugh for 3 years.

        The main reason Colin is currently behind Luck is that he has not had the benefit of growing up with a professional QB in-house, and also has not had Harbaugh’s tutelage for the same length of time (yet).

      7. E,

        I’m not saying that Luck is ahead of Kaepernick. I think they are fairly even when everything they do is taken into account.

      8. I’ll take my lumps on that one. At the time of my post, down 21-3, Luck was 3-12 for 56 yards. Regardless of what anyone thinks, I know he was missing Reggie Wayne. Big time.

        If you know it all’s want to ignore the fact that emotionally the team let down after their coach went down, go ahead. If you want to ignore the fact that the Texans kicker missed three field goals, go ahead. The Colts had no business winning that game last night. The Texans gave it away more than the Colts won it. It’s not by accident that teams like the Rams coughed up a big lead to the Seahawks, or Tampa Bay to the Seahawks or even last night the Texans coughing it up to the Colts.

        These teams are terrible. They are amongst the leagues worst team which include coaching staffs. All three of these teams will get blown up next year. New coaches, new QB’s. So yes, did Luck pull it off? Sure, the score says so, but I am still of the opinion that in all three of these cases, The team that lost had more to do with the loss than the eventual winning teams.

      9. You just suffered a case of premature jocularity Bay, it happens.

        “Luck was 3-12 for 56 yards”

        That’s almost as bad as Kaepernick going 4-14 for 45 yards through 3 quarters against the same defense.

      10. Jack,
        terrible example. For starters, Kaep had a pretty awful game that day too. Only his was scripted that way. The Niners were not going to pass unless they needed to. They destroyed Houston on the ground. But yes Kaep also had a bad day. To my point, in part due to missing his number one receiver. Which is why I said Luck struggled early. Missing his number one target.
        Jack you may be the blog know it all, but you are far from being a window licker like some of these other tools. Either way, agree or disagree no skin off …..

      11. No Claude you’re a troll because nobody else’ opinion or post is wrong except 23 and bay. You’re a bitter little nerd.

      12. MD,
        you don’t have to point it out. It’s painfully obvious. His type has the classic “oppressed” always been a victim reaction. He doesn’t like me and he doesn’t care for Jordan. That’s why he ignores everyone elses crap that they throw up on the blog daily. He doesn’t engage and attack until he sees one of our posts. Everyone sees it. Everyone knows it.
        He’s a dbag without an opinion or an original thought. So what….. Let the little troll play his game. Help make his day.

      13. It’s still early on a Monday, but so far Jack Hammer wins The Creative Phrasing Of The Day Award for:
        “premature jocularity”. Further nominations accepted through Midnight.
        I almost succumbed to that in more than one game yesterday.

      14. I picked Houston to win last night because I thought they would rally around the young QB and Luck would take some time to get used to playing without Wayne. Well Houston did rally around the young QB but Luck only took a half to get used to not having Wayne and the Houston kicker missed 3 FG’s – two of which should have been almost automatic.

        Just backs up my theory that any team can beat another on any given day. That’s why I don’t buy statements about the Chiefs and Seahawks not being very good because they’ve struggled to win and haven’t beaten anybody. Every team you play in this league – with the exception of the Jags – will beat you if you don’t bring your A game. We see it every week. The key is to win even when you don’t have your best game and that is what teams like KC, Seattle and the Niners are doing.

  31. Andrew Luck continues to astound. The Colts do NOT have the talent of the Broncos, or the Chiefs, or the Seahawks, or the Saints, or the Niners. And they don’t have Reggie Wayne. Yet Mr. Luck wills them to wins.

    Keenum reminds me of Jeff Garcia. Looks like him, too.

  32. the Niners and the Saints are tied for second
    in the NFC at 6-2…
    All that will change on week #11. And…
    if San Francisco drops that one,
    then we should expect the Seahawks
    will “take us to task” on our home field.
    All these comparisons of Luck and Kaep…….
    By the end of the season, no one will be
    in any danger of confusing our rookie QB
    with Tom Brady or Peyton Manning, ok?

    1. Smith 19-29 124 yards yesterday. 4.3 yards per pass. All he does is win????? All he does is manage not to throw a pick in all those check downs. Hes still discount double checkdown Smith! Thank God hes not in San Francisco. Chiefs defense and special teams score 17 points. Offense scores 7 on a short field. Smith is who I always said he was. Below AVERAGE!!!!

      1. Nah,
        he’s no longer below average, he’s average now. Got to give him some due. Although, to your point, I am over the top happy he’s not here anymore. Smith wins games, Kaepernick will win superbowls.

      2. He’s 9-0 and disproved everything you’ve said about him over the years Jordan. When are you going to give up? You hate his style of play and everybody gets that, but when you continue to pick against him and say he’s going to fail you make yourself look bad. Forget about Smith and focus on something else. You were wrong, it happens.

      3. rocket:

        I think the fact that 23jordan has been so demonstrably and repeatedly wrong about what Alex Smith can and cannot do prevents him from ever letting go. Jordan’s trying to balance the scales, but I don’t think he can. Remember, his big welch was all about Smith.

      4. Smith is the dude alright. Put him on the bucs and watch his numbers Crash Bay. You think hes average because for tge Chiefs, all he has to do is play safe and not mess it all up. Wait for tge defense or special teams to make a play. Just like 2011 for us. However, if he had to make a contribution on offense, like he would have to for Tampa or several other medioce teams in the league, you’d see those numbers dip because he’d have to throw the ball further than 10 yards down the field. When smith throws past 15 yards, thats where it gers dicey. Did you see all yge swing passes and screens yesterday. Hes not average. Hes protected! Sheltered. Lol

      5. Rocket, I was wrong. Those are words you just do’nt hear around here very much. [Grant included] Its too bad, if our fearless leader and certain posters would occasionally admit to being wrong they would be taken far more seriously and not just laughed at. I’ll start it off, when Harbaugh was hired and he decided to stick with A. Smith i thought it was a monumentally stupid move. I believed Smith was a terrible NFL QB and that no coach Lombardi and Walsh included could win with Smith. Now 3 yrs later i have been proven wrong in a large way. Smith has become a good NFL QB now i do’nt believe that he will ever become a great or even a very good QB but then again i have been wrong before. There i said it I was wrong.

      6. old coach:

        I see what you did there. Thanks for setting a good example, but I believe the vast majority of commenters already respected your opinions because they are rational, as well as based on facts and your actual coaching experience.

      7. Funny Rocket…. You dropped off the face of the earth when I was right about smith last season, and you threw a fit at what I said. Now you want to come back and point your finger? Man please. And for the comment you made about fooling myself over the chiefs and seahaks. Nope! This isn’t one or two games. This had been the whole season for KC and the latest run for Seattle. I don’t believe for a minute they can hang with the big boys. Seattle had NO I-line to protect the overrated midget qb. Two injuries they have won’t be enough if they come back. Their d-line is getting ran all over lately. They aren’t getting sacks, and bottom feeding defenses are killing their qb and shutting down the wr’s.

        KC has a play it safe qb who contributes not turning the ball over only. No downfield threat at all, takes sacks when he shouldn’t. And he’s playing at this level vs scrubs. Their defense has been slipping, they’ve played NOBODY worth being worried about. They’ve feast on backup and rookie mistakes from qb’s.
        No Rocket you’re fooling yourself if you think they are going anywhere with their play this deep in the season.
        No way the seahaks win in SF, or NO, and I’m starting to doubt they could beat either at home.
        KC doesn’t have the firepower to hang with sd, Denver, ind, or New England. Their defense is getting tired. Same old song and dance. With Alex smith. The guy is a bum riding the coat tails of the defense and running game.

        Jack says they’ve played ONE winning team this season and named the Cowboys this threat of a winner. Lol at home by the way. I’m not saying they’re bad teams, I’m saying they’ve benefited from weak schedules and luck, an timely boneheaded turnovers so far. And I’m saying like Seattle on the road, Alex smith is a bum. Seattle starts beating playoff teams on the road and KC starts beating quality opponents. THEN ill buy the hype. An right now I don’t see ONE single team that is going to run away with it. Sea and KC aren’t a top 5 team. No matter Espn and Smithers tries to sell it.

      8. MD,

        These guys would agree with you if you said your name was Jack Hammer or if you said you loved Alex Smith 4 years ago. The Smithers have always been sheep and they always will be sheep. Rocket can’t defend the play of Alex smith, the Chiefs or the Seahawks.

        All three have one thing in common. The lack of a Super Bowl. They all have minor awards. These people talk about Alex Smith winning games. He continues toride teams with great defenses and good special teams. Like I’ve always said, he doesn’t have what it takes to win a Super Bowl. It takes talent and ability. He does not have that.

        The Super Bowl does not allow the Minnesota Vikings to be the Chiefs opponent this year. The Chiefs can’t skip over the Chargers, Broncos, Patriots, Colts, or the bengals and just be nominated to the Super Bowl. They have to beat those teams to win that berth. Andy Reid duplicated the Jim Harbaugh plan for Alex Smith. Hes gonna get the same results. They may make it to the playoffs. Win a playoff game, maybe. Although I doubt that very seriously. That’s when Andy Reid will learn what JH knows now. Alex Smith can beat the doormats of the league with that defense and special teams. He can’t beat playoff calibre teams, therefor, he can’t win a Super Bowl.

        Rocket, I wasn’t wrong when I said we couldn’t win a game with smith at QB. That why coach benched him. He wasn’t even capable of getting us there. We wouldn’t have won the division last year with him as quarterback. Thank god we have a real QB! Not 19-29 for 124 yards. Who completes19 passes for 124 yards? Has that ever been done in the history of the NFL??? Alex looked like crap yesterday. Against the Buffalo Bills!

      9. Of course J23….. They got their 8th win. There is absolutly NO reason for a 49er fan to be clinging to the nuts of another qb. But yet they still defend the Bum.
        It’s this simple. Ribico, Claude, rocket and other bitter smith backers. Either you roll with what Harbaugh knows or join team Andy and Alex. There is NOOOO reason for you to defend him now. You made the “draft pick” excuse. And now that its signed sealed and delivered. What else could you possibly root for in his case? Trolls will be trolls. Can’t change these bum lovers.

      10. 23jordan, ninermd:

        No matter how many times you repeat a lie, it’s still a lie. The truth is you both were wrong about Alex Smith. Over and over and over again. There’s no shame in that, but I guess if you can’t handle being wrong, you can’t handle being wrong. The funny thing is that you seem incapable of learning from your mistakes; you keep repeating them.

        Plus, your compulsion to keep writing about Smith only goes to remind everyone of your past failures. But you guys can’t stop writing about him. Who exactly is it who is “clinging to his nuts”?

      11. MD,

        Funny Rocket…. You dropped off the face of the earth when I was right about smith last season, and you threw a fit at what I said. Now you want to come back and point your finger? Man please.

        What the hell are you talking about MD? First off I’ve never disappeared or ducked a conversation ever, and it certainly wouldn’t start with the nonsense you post. I actually responded to you a week or two ago on another topic thread regarding this but I’ll do it again seeing as though you seem to have missed it.

        You were not right about Smith. You said he lost the job and confidence of Harbaugh due to the performance against the Giants and that was when the decision was made to replace him. You felt Harbaugh didn’t want him as the QB because he didn’t throw deep enough. None of that is or was true. It’s another delusion you made up and convinced yourself was real. Smith started 3 more games after the Giants and was the starter until getting a concussion against the Rams. That is what transpired; not the nutty theory that plays out in your head.

        And for the comment you made about fooling myself over the chiefs and seahaks. Nope! This isn’t one or two games. This had been the whole season for KC and the latest run for Seattle. I don’t believe for a minute they can hang with the big boys. Seattle had NO I-line to protect the overrated midget qb. Two injuries they have won’t be enough if they come back. Their d-line is getting ran all over lately. They aren’t getting sacks, and bottom feeding defenses are killing their qb and shutting down the wr’s.

        So who is it that you don’t think Seattle or KC can hang with MD? Give me all these teams that you think are better than they are.

        KC has a play it safe qb who contributes not turning the ball over only. No downfield threat at all, takes sacks when he shouldn’t. And he’s playing at this level vs scrubs. Their defense has been slipping, they’ve played NOBODY worth being worried about. They’ve feast on backup and rookie mistakes from qb’s.

        Ok MD, the Chiefs are 9-0 because they’ve played nobody. A team that was 2-14 last season should be expected to beat every team they face the first 9 weeks of the following season because there are obviously way worse teams in the league than ones who went 2-14. How can I argue with deductive reasoning like that?

        No Rocket you’re fooling yourself if you think they are going anywhere with their play this deep in the season.
        No way the seahaks win in SF, or NO, and I’m starting to doubt they could beat either at home.

        I don’t think they win in SF either, but I do think they will beat NO in Seattle. If they lose at the stick it certainly doesn’t mean they can’t hang with the big boys either. You can’t let what happens against lesser teams affect how you assess a team overall MD. Good teams struggle against bad ones regularly because they aren’t as geared up for the game as the lesser team is. That is why we see teams like Cincy lose in Miami, or the Patriots and Saints lose to the Jets. The Colts beat Denver, but barely squeak by the Raiders. There are a multitude of examples, look it up.

        KC doesn’t have the firepower to hang with sd, Denver, ind, or New England. Their defense is getting tired. Same old song and dance. With Alex smith. The guy is a bum riding the coat tails of the defense and running game.

        KC will have trouble staying with Denver, especially if they get behind and you can say that about pretty much every other team that Denver has and will face. The others you mentioned are laughable. They can’t hang with SD? Who lost to the Raiders a few weeks ago and yesterday to the Redskins? They can’t hang with the Patriots who lost to the Jets two weeks ago? They can’t hang with Indy who struggled to beat Houston last night and lost to Miami at home earlier this season? Do you even watch the games MD? Can you keep up with what is going on in the league while preparing your food supply and bomb shelter for the New World Order?

        KC can beat pretty much any team because they have a formula that works and has worked many times before. They have a great Defense, but the defense also isn’t forced to defend short fields and deal with playing in excess of 35 mins a game because their offense doesn’t make mistakes and puts together time consuming drives. They go hand in hand just as they did with the Niners two years ago and over the course of the last 5 games in the Niner winning streak. You don’t win because of one phase of the game MD. The fact you still don’t understand this is really quite bizarre.

      12. Jordan,

        Rocket, I wasn’t wrong when I said we couldn’t win a game with smith at QB. That why coach benched him. He wasn’t even capable of getting us there. We wouldn’t have won the division last year with him as quarterback. Thank god we have a real QB! Not 19-29 for 124 yards. Who completes19 passes for 124 yards? Has that ever been done in the history of the NFL??? Alex looked like crap yesterday. Against the Buffalo Bills!

        Jordan you were wrong. Deal with it. Smith did beat playoff teams while in SF and was not replaced because of what you think he can’t do. He was replaced because there was a better option and one who would be here long term. As for Alex looking like crap, what did you see in the game that was crap from him? I’m interested to know what it is you feel was so crappy about the game he played yesterday. I watched it and would love to get your thoughts on it.

      13. Old Coach,

        You are right, it shouldn’t be so hard to admit you are wrong. We are all just fans who have a passion for the game and throw out opinions. We’ve all been wrong and that is never going to change.

      14. Rocket,

        Here’s some information for you straight from the horses mouth.

        Tony Dungy: ” Coach Harbaugh why did you replace Alex Smith last year?”

        Jim Harbaugh: Alex Smith can win football games. COLIN KAEPERNICK can win Super Bowls.

        That was 3 weeks ago before our Sunday night game against the Texans. What part about that statement are you confused. I wasn’t wrong at out that! The coach even agreed. He just waited a year to have to find out he hard way. Alex smith has not won playoff games. He’s won A playoff game. 1 in 8 years! If you want him to take the credit for the win. Make sure he takes the blame for the losses.

        I’ll never forget when smith says he likes the Niner offense because you aren’t asked to do things that don’t feel comfortable doing. Things like leading a team to a victory!

      15. rocket:

        If you wrote that to vent, I understand completely. But if you wrote it to convince them of the error of their respective ways, I think you are wasting your time. Neither will ever admit to being wrong, and I’m not sure ninermd is even capable of understanding how he was wrong.

      16. Rocket,

        He’s proved me wrong about everything? I told you he wouldn’t be our QB for the whole season last year. I told you all that he was a game manager. I’m sure you agree now that he is. I told you that we wouldn’t win a super Bowl with him. I told you he would NEVER win a Super Bowl. Clearly, I wasn’t wrong about EVERYTHING regarding Smith. Rocket, I told you all that Kap needed to be warmed up. Kap got warmed up, and he got the hot hand and Smith disappeared. Lol.

      17. Claude,

        Yeah I know it won’t change anything but there needs to be checks and balances when things start getting slanted so badly.


        Harbaugh made the change to Kap because he thought he was the better option. No one is arguing that. I’m telling you that he didn’t plan the change until Smith was injured and Kap played so well. Do you honestly think Harbaugh was planning a change while Smith was 6-2 and coming off of an 18-19 completion game against Arizona? He would have stuck with Smith if not for the injury and you know it Jordan. The injury just opened the door and Kap slammed it shut behind him. I’m glad it happened because I think Kap is the better player, but it doesn’t mean the guy he replaced wasn’t playing well enough to keep his job if not for the injury.

        As for all the things you predicted, lets just say you predicted a lot more that was wrong than what was right, and it’s because you were looking at it from the standpoint of a fan who didn’t like the QB’s playing style.

      18. 23jordan:

        I told you he wouldn’t be our QB for the whole season last year.

        Now who’s trying to manipulate the debate?

        What you told us was Smith might not be the QB for whole season in 2011 (wrong) and that he wouldn’t be on the roster in 2012 (wrong).

        I should wait for you to call me a liar and then post your comment back for you, but I’ll save you the embarrassment:

        23jordan says:
        September 20, 2011 at 8:55 am

        I’ll stop posting here altogether if Alex Smith Is a 49er next year. Write that down and locknot in. He may get benched before the season is over. He will NOT be back here next year.

        Also, as to this statement:

        I told you all that Kap needed to be warmed up.

        Was that before or after you told us that the 49ers should trade Kaepernick because he wasn’t going to play in 2012? Before or after you told us that Josh Johnson would become No. 2 on the depth chart because Kaep was not the answer?

      19. Claude why don’t you go back into the archives and show me where I was wrong about smith….
        Ill tell you where I was wrong. I believed he would blow up defenses and become a top tier qb.
        I also said. If he didn’t start stretching the field and making throws further than 6 yard outs an curls he would be benched or gone the next season. Now take your fat fingers and punch in the archives like you love doing and prove where I was wrong. You troll.

      20. ninermd:

        Since I have a history of backing up what I say and you have a history of living in an alternative reality, why don’t you show me where you weren’t wrong about Smith.

        Even on the rare time when you were right, you get it wrong. Remember when you bet your “friend” prior to last year that Smith would be a top 7 QB? Based upon his numbers for the 8+ games he played, he ranked 3rd in the official passer rating stat and 8th in ESPN’s total QBR. So, it looks like you were right about that, but of course you now act like you were wrong.

        By the way, you may want to look up the definition of “troll” before you use it too many more times. I don’t think it means what you think it means.

    2. Jordan,
      I get you. Smith is like the tennis player that just sends the ball back waiting for the other guy to mess up. There are only a small hand full of teams that Smith could have gone to and succeeded. 49ers, Carolina, Jets, Miami and Seattle. Teams that have decent defenses and good running games. What Smith does will win games though. He’s proven that. But he needs a specific “type” of team that doesn’t require much from the QB.

      Top sacked QB’s in the NFL. Russel Wilson has been getting the $hit kicked out of him. His center was injured yesterday now too.

      1. Bay,

        Thats exactly what I mean. His last 2 coaches have designed the offense tgeyhad to design because they saw tgeresults when putting him I situations in practice and seeing Smith not get the results the coaches wanted. Remember the mattersses in Youngstown in 2011 for Smith. Remember when Reid was upset this year in the preseason when Smith was having no success throwing deep in camp and often wouldnt make the throws at all?

        Its amazing that teams are playing his receivers so deep down the field. Theyve seen that he isnt even a threat deep for 9 games.

        Look how our defense punished SmithIin the preseason. The fact is, other teams have done enough to stop Smith. The problem is, those teams offenses and QBs have been worse than the chief’s. Lol

    3. Alex Smith only needs tow things to succeed, a good field goal kicker and a great defense, but that will not take him to the promise land.

      1. Most teams need those to succeed, Neal. Look at Niners last year. They could have used a reliable FG kicker, cost them a couple of games. And where would the Niners, no matter the QB, be without their defense? Can you say Dallas Cowboys?

      2. True Ribico, but AS needs it more then other QBs. We still made it to the Super Bowl and Akers made a couple of field goals I believe.

    4. >>There are only a small hand full of teams that Smith could have gone to and succeeded.

      Not many QBs, Smith or otherwise, go to 2-14 teams and succeed.

  33. Grant,

    Did you watch that NFC East team crush the Raiders on Sunday? The other NFC East team – the one with the offensive name – also won. So do you still think the Cowboys will win the division? There’s a lot of football to be played, but the NFC East is wide open at this time.

    1. The Cowboys have a 1.5 game lead over the Eagles because they beat Philly in Philly already. Foles was a whopping 11-for-29 for 80 yards and no TDs in that barn burner.

    2. Romo nearly gave the game away in the 4th quarter with that boneheaded INT. The Cowboys are not for real and will not win the division.

  34. I wrote about this a few weeks ago,

    From @PFF, “49ers QB Colin Kaepernick has a 114.3 passer rating and 9.3 YPA when using play action; 76.5 passer rating and 7.4 YPA when not.”

  35. This whole Dolphins dust-up is fascinating in a grim way. So Incognito is a d888; we get that. Conrad Dobler, Jon Runyun were nasty brawlers. Dobler’s repertoire included lots of cheap stuff. But those guys dished it out on their opponents, not each other to the best of my knowledge.
    Like many on here I’m a consummate “Team Guy”, so that stuff doesn’t really compute for me. TO’s egocentricity made me MAD, as in crazy. Lots of questions arise:
    Where was this team’s Gore, Staley, Cowboy, Whitner? Isn’t that where ‘enforcement’ comes from? A sense of proportionality to the Players Only Culture that we know exists?
    This is hazing gone wild, and like some other scandalous issues that have gone public from the NFL’s Backstage, it may be a case of degrees and blurred boundaries. To wit: The Saints Bountygate. I recall Darren Woodsen saying after listening to the tape of Robinson (best memory on quote): I don’t have any problem with 85% of what he said. “Turning Gore’s head” was about not letting FG square his shoulders; thats legit. Putting fear in the rookie RB (Hunter); its the playoffs; still within boundaries. Go after Crabs’ knees? Nope, crossed the line Aho!!
    Alright, so hazing has been around for years. There have been too many incidents to mention league-wide where it has crossed the line a bit. Some a lot. My impression is that many teams have damped it down or don’t allow it. Incognito appears to be a bully mentality to who milked it past any reasonable limits. The NFL & NFLPA need to look at this. To me, the NFLPA should take the lead on this going forward, but the legal reality in our society requires the employer to maintain a safe work environment, so the NFL HAS TO ACT.
    Final thoughts are that today any rookies who can play, do play. Bring ‘em into the fold, don’t chase them around the Barnyard. Young guys with the 1st money they’ve ever made have enough challenges with managing those assets. Getting drilled for $30k dinners at the whim of veteran players isn’t going to help their cash flow and bill paying.

    1. Brotha,

      The more I read about this thing the worse it gets. Incognito went from blasting Schefter on Twitter yesterday morning for slandering his name to later deleting those tweets altogether, and being suspended.

      Then this morning Deadspin came out with this:

      Apparently the suspension came about as a result of Martin finally turning over text messages and voicemails from Incognito that support the accusations.

    2. It’s a pretty crazy situation BT. You never think about what is going on in the locker room as far as how players are treating each other individually, but it really hits home how players can be intimidated in some instances. Incognito is a deranged individual on the field and now it appears he is carrying that over into the locker room. I don’t know how Coaches cannot be aware of what is going on when rookies are being strong armed to pay for thousands of dollars in expenditures by vets, but that is all going to be looked at now with the investigation to come.

    3. Thanks guys for weighing in on this. I’m trying not to be hypocritical on this. I do recall smirking to myself back a couple of years. The then less civilized Dez Bryant (he’s much better now, IMO, just loud!) refused to carry a vet’s helmet out to practice. There were some minor words thrown around and then a few weeks later a bunch of vets hung $25k dinner on Dez. At the time I thought it was an amusing retribution and lesson for the young upstart. But if these big bills are a regular part of hazing, that seems weird to me, and a bit too much.
      Too many years of puny paychecks on my part I guess! ; >)
      But more seriously, NFL is serious, dangerous, big business; hazing is Frat Boy bull@#$*, and as such is boring and lame and small-minded.

      1. Yeah “hazing” is the term to cloak harassment and threats and intimidation. See “Bullying” has become politically incorrect, as it should. But hazing, well its just rough-house fun. Sure.
        There are attorneys among our group on Grant’s Blog who may choose to correct me, but I think those VM’s Sheftner noted might qualify as “making terrorist threats”.

    4. IMHO, if Martin had stood up to Incognito, this could have been prevented. He’s the victim, but could have handled it better.

      1. Nick,
        I thought the ridiculous and laughable Alex Smith bashing that Bay, MD and Jordan (the 3 stooges) posted above was ignorant, but your post takes the cake.
        Your post is simply….offensive.

  36. Forget Alex Smith for a minute. The Chiefs’ D is giving up 5 yards per carry and that’s the worst in the NFL. They’re going to start losing.

    1. A lot of that is skewed by them playing some running QBs, and them giving up 264 yards on 27 carries to the Eagles which is obviously a game they still won. Theres a reason PFF has them having the second highest run def grade as a team on the season.

    2. Hold on a second. I point out that the Giants defense is giving up 5 yards a play and shouldn’t possibly be considered the #3 defense in the league and you say it’s because of the turnovers the offense is making. The Chiefs are giving up 5 yards a carry and now suddenly they’re going to start losing?

      1. Grant, I already pointed out that in two of their last three games they faced Josh Freeman’s first game as a Viking after being on the team for a week and Matt Barkley filling in for an injured Vick. Can those games be taken seriously when trying to determine the true trend their defense is making?

      2. I’m gonna go back to what I said yesterday. Let’s see what happens when they face a real offense in week 11.

      3. I do have to admit something though, 5 yards per play is actually good compared to the rest of the league. When I looked at that number the first time I must have looked at it wrong because it appeared to be one of the worst when in fact it’s one of the best. HA /bonk me

        Guess I’ll have to stop using that one. I’m still sticking with their defense sucks though but that’s OK cause you still think the Cowgirls will actually make it past the first round in the playoffs.

        1. Herm Edwards said on Sportscenter this morning that he thinks the Cowboys are a playoff team and that “the biggest team in the Cowboys’ way is the Cowboys.”

      4. Is being a playoff team in the NFC East really mean anything? The division could be won at 7-9. I’ve never said they wouldn’t make it to the tournament and I’ve never said that the team isn’t any good. My point has always been that Romo can’t win in the playoffs so nothing that comes before it really matters.

      5. Grant:

        You have to like the Cowboys’ chances of making the playoffs as the NFC East champion. They’ve got a one game lead in the division and currently own the division record (3-0) and conference record (5-1) tiebreakers. That said, it’s by no means certain. Two of their three remaining division games are on the road, and the one at home is against Philadelphia, which is 0-4 at home and 4-1 on the road thus far this year.

        Dallas is 0-4 in games against teams that currently have a .500 or better record. (KC, San Diego, Denver, Detroit). That doesn’t bode well for the playoffs. If we assume it wins the division, next week’s game at New Orleans and the week 15 game at home against Green Bay probably will tell us what to expect from Dallas in the playoffs.

      6. Good point. If Dallas make the playoffs, one of those two teams will be its opening round opponent.

        Do you think they match up well with either team? I don’t see it.

        1. The 49ers don’t have the best pass rush this season, and Romo is very good when he has time. Tarell Brown and Tramaine Brock would have a tough time with Dez Bryant and Terrance Williams I’d imagine. If Miles Austin is healthy, he’d give Carlos Rogers trouble in the slot. Austin has beaten Rogers many times before. And Witten matches up well against the 49ers’ defense, too. If Murray is healthy, the 49ers’ defense could have a tough time stopping the Cowboys’ offense.

          Dallas’ defense is hard to read because it’s banged up right now, but Staley gave up 2 sacks to Ware two seasons ago. And Jason Hatcher v. Mike Iupati is looking like a matchup advantage for Dallas.

      7. “And Witten matches up well against the 49ers defense, too.”
        OK I’ve got to ask the question: How so? I’m not dissing Witten (or you). He’s been great and even on the downside of his career he’s still good. In a Game Plan vs SF he will be a factor. Agreed.
        Please explain though how he’s that great a match-upadvantage. He’s not stronger than Brooks in line play or beating press in line. He’s not as fast as Bowman or Willis. He has height advantage over Whitner but not Reid.
        Some TEs are Trouble for the Niners. Witten is a real player and can’t be over-looked, but

        1. Like Victor Cruz, Witten tends to run option routes in the middle of the field and those are hard to defend. Witten had 7 catches, 2 drops and 102 yards against the 49ers two years ago.

          Witten is the same age Brent Jones was in ’94.

      8. OK then, thanks. I can’t argue his route running, he’s a cagey vet. Maybe its match-up, but maybe he does that against everybody, like Gates and Gonzales do. Its just discussion.

      9. Grant,

        The Niners played the Cowboys in the second game of Harbaugh’s first season with no offseason and were up by 10 halfway through the 4th quarter. They choked and blew it but they are a very different team now. The Cowboys are a one dimensional offense that the Niners can deal with. The Cowboy defense is a joke. They will probably win the NFC East but it will be because nobody else can win more than 8 games.

      10. Unless things change dramatically, the way I see it is the Cowboys win the division, and that’s the last thing they win all year if they play any of SF, SEA, NO, CAR, GB.

        As far as the Chiefs defense, they’re riding a lucky streak with turnovers. The bills run game (which is one of the best in the league btw), repeatedly gashed the chiefs, who were keying on the run, for big chunks. Bills lost the game on a 1st and goal series from inside the 5 that ended up with a 101 yd pick six. Terrible play call letting the undrafted rookie qb toss the int. instead of giving the rock to Fred Jackson.

    3. Grant Cohn says:
      November 4, 2013 at 9:05 am
      Forget Alex Smith for a minute.
      yea good luck with that.

  37. Top-5 scoring defenses in the NFL:

    1. Chiefs: 12.3 ppg
    2. Panthers: 13.2
    3. Seahawks: 16.6
    4. 49ers: 18.1
    5. Saints: 18.2

      1. Brodie i think sundays game will be a great game. I think it will come down to a last minute FG. the diffrence will be how much the recently activated players will contribute.

    1. Here is the same list ordered by the number of points the teams they’ve faced are averaging this season:

      #1 NO – 21.94
      #2 SF – 21.78
      #3 SEA – 20.7
      #4 KC – 20.0
      #5 CAR – 18.42

  38. Top-6 scoring offenses the last three games:

    1. Broncos: 37.7 ppg
    2. Patriots: 36.3
    3. 49ers: 35.0
    4. Redskins: 32.0
    T-4. Bengals: 32.0
    6. Panthers: 31.7

    1. Same list ordered by the number of points the opposing defenses have given up on average the past 3 games:

      #1 Bengals: 24.57
      #2 Patriots: 25.03
      #3 49ers: 25.23
      #4 Panthers: 25.37
      #5 Redskins: 26.13
      #6 Broncos: 28

  39. Drayton Florence is giving up a 45.8 passer rating this season – 12 catches on 24 targets for 112 yards, 0 TDs and 1 INT.

  40. Here some interesting stats about the 49ers:

    10th in yards per play at 5.7
    11th in 3rd down percentage at 40%
    10th in turnover ratio at +4
    16th in time of position at 30:14
    17th in yards penalized at 468
    21st in 1st downs per game at 18.6
    7th in fumbles lost at 7

    8th in total defense at 325yrds/game
    6th in yards given up per play at 5.0
    5th in passing yards per play at 6.5
    4th in QB rating against at 75.3
    3rd in 3rd down percentage at 33%
    11th in rushing yards given up per play at 3.9
    12th in rushing yards given up per game at 104.6
    8th in passing yards given up per game at 220.5
    8th in TDs given up at 7
    25th in sacks at 17

    Most alarming to me is how well the defense is playing despite the low sack total.

      1. Mood:

        You think he meant “alarming” as in “alarming to future opponents”? That would make sense.

        I agree with you on the need to include hits and hurries when evaluating a team’s/individual’s pass rush. Do you know whether the 49ers’ pass rush ranking improves when taking those things into consideration?

      2. I agree. Imagine how good the the defense can be with an improved pass rush.

        Best case scenario… If Justin, and Ray Mac and Dorsey heal and play at their usually high level. Aldon is his old self, and if Tank is the player we hoped for. A historically good defense dominates the league.

        Or… Justin, and Ray Mac and Dorsey don’t quite heal fully. They play, but are not their usual selves. The addition of Aldon’s and Tank take up some of the slack, but the D (though still pretty good) never reaches the peak level it had in 2011.

      3. Claude,

        I used the wrong word. I should have used “surprising” or “serendipitous”. Of course it’s encouraging. With Aldon Smith coming back soon, the pass D should improve even more.

      4. Nick:

        I agree. With Smith and Carradine added to the rotation, I am looking forward to a bump in performance from the pass defense.

    1. When the FS is in the right spot, it has repercussions, and I think we are seeing the difference between one who understands the value of being exactly where you are supposed to be and one who just wants to blow everything up.

    2. Nick,

      That number is about to rise very quickly by leaps and bounds in the next 8 weeks. We are about to terrorize the QB in the back half of this season. We are getting our horses back now.

  41. Grant…I think youre putting too much stock in that game against the cowboys two years ago..That was the second game of harbaugh era and the defense’s together as well..miscommunication between dbs led to cowboys win in Ot…Not to mention harbaugh declining penalty and keeping the field goal on the board…as opposed to a fresh set of downs and perhaps gettin a td..

  42. Did anyone see the Mich\Mich St game saturday? I have been touting a WR for the 9ers 1st rd pick next yr but if they do go for a CB those 2 CB’s on Mich St. may be the best tandem in college this yr.

    1. Pretty much anyone the 49ers release at this point will likely be claimed by someone. The thing I never understood about keeping Stupar over someone like Cooper is they already have two all-pro ILBs on long term deals, and two other backups they liked. The CB position was the complete opposite – lots of decent vets but only one healthy guy on a long term deal (and over-priced at that). Still shaking my head at letting Cooper go… oh well.

      1. I like our secondary. If Brock doesn’t price himself off the team, I can see Brock, Wright, Culliver with a high draft pick on a cornerback next year to compete with Morris…..

    1. Grant, correct me if I’m wrong, but is that chart showing that the Saints are the best balanced team on offense and defense combined?

    2. Grant, something is going on with that link. I just went back to it and the Bengals and 49ers positions have changed after being almost in the same position on the good offense/defense side.

  43. Grant’s take on Gore is that his mediocre average is skewed by his big gainers. Bay’s take on Gore is that he should sit for the little scatbacks because he can no longer break big gainers.

    Press-Democrat, can you rename this blog to Inside Rashomon?

  44. This is where fans with opinions that are wrong say they were wrong.
    Bye Nnamdi I thought for sure he would shine this year under our defensive philosophy and talent.
    See Claude it doesn’t hurt to leave an opinion or prediction. Can’t win them all. Try it out sometime and talk football instead of trolling for fights where you feel you’re a final fantasy God.

  45. Alex versus Colin.

    Yes, Colin’s stats may dwarf Alex.
    Yes, the Niners may end the season
    with a better win/loss record than the Chiefs.
    And, yes, San Francisco may go deeper in the
    postseason than Kansas City; however,
    if Kaep/Harbaw do not bring home the bacon
    (aka the Lombardi trophy) then no one will care.
    Win the battles but lose the war, hmmm?
    Still got that Super Bowl monkey on our back.
    Fans are expecting/demanding #6….

    1. But no one can prove we would have won a SB with Alex, since we didn’t in 8 years with him. It will always be a hypothetical comparison no matter what happens.

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