Wilson’s progress at QB puts him way ahead of Kaepernick

Here is my Wednesday column explaining why Russell Wilson is better than Colin Kaepernick.

SANTA CLARA – You have to admit, Russell Wilson looked like a miniature combination of Joe Montana and Steve Young Monday night against the Saints – Montana’s cool demeanor and precision from the pocket, Young’s explosive ability to make plays on the run. Wilson has been that Montana-Young combo most of this season, his second in the league.

Kaepernick’s combo this season hasn’t been nearly as good. Sure, sometimes he looks like Brett Favre. But, other times he looks like a guy doing a bad impression of Alex Smith – the sacks, the inability to convert third downs at a respectable rate, the not throwing to receivers who are open, plus a bunch of delay of game penalties and fumbled snaps sprinkled in here and there. Call those Kaepernick Specials.

Last season, Kaepernick seemed better than Wilson — Kaepernick went to the Super Bowl and Wilson didn’t. But this season, it is not close. Wilson is way better.

Here are five reasons why:

1. Accuracy. Wilson has improved in this area and Kaepernick has regressed. This season, Kaepernick is completing 57.8 percent of his passes – stink-o-rama. Wilson is completing 64.9 percent of his passes – great-o-rama. When Montana was Wilson’s age, Montana completed 63.7 percent of his passes. Try to get your head around that one.

2. Elusiveness. This really isn’t Kaepernick’s strength. He’s fast when he gets his long stride turning, but he’s not elusive in the open field or in the pocket. Elusiveness always has been one of Wilson’s best traits. He runs circles around defenders, like Young used to do, and he sure runs circles around Kaepernick.

3. Improvisation. Another trait Wilson shares with Young. When Young was scrambling, he always knew when to pass, when to run and when to pump fake. These things were like breathing for him, and they’re like breathing for Wilson. This season, Kaepernick has not been a good improviser. He’s been mechanical, like Alex Smith.

On Wednesday, Jim Harbaugh gushed to the Bay Area media about Wilson’s ability to improvise: “(He has) that feel that only so many quarterbacks have had that have ever played the game – to extend plays.”

“Does Kaepernick share that ability?” a reporter asked Harbaugh.

Harbaugh paused and said, “I think they’re both very talented quarterbacks.” He could have said, “Yes, Colin shares the ability to improvise.” But he didn’t. Harbaugh didn’t give Kaepernick praise he doesn’t deserve. Finally, Harbaugh added, “They both throw really well from the pocket, too.”

4. Passing from the pocket. Even though Wilson is a peanut and Kaepernick is a giant, Wilson is a better pocket passer. On Monday Night when the Seahawks scored 27 points in the first half against the Saints, Wilson completed 10 of 13 passes from the pocket – 77 percent. Wilson sees the whole field and goes through more reads during his passing progressions than Kaepernick who tends to stare at his first read like someone lip-reading a menu and, if the first read isn’t open, Kaepernick just runs.

5. Composure and preparedness. This is where Wilson has separated himself from Kaepernick the most. Wilson already carries himself like Peyton Manning. Wilson understands NFL defenses, understands situational football and understands how to act like the face of a franchise. Kaepernick forgets how many timeouts he has and runs out of bounds when he has to stay in bounds – boneheaded stuff. Kaepernick rejects being the face of the franchise. Look at any of his press conferences.

And ever since Kaepernick’s last three plays of the Super Bowl when he failed at the goal line, he has failed under pressure. This season, he has lost to every team he’s faced likely to be in the playoffs, and in fourth quarters his QB rating is 51. When he’s behind, his QB rating is 58. Compare that to Wilson, whose fourth-quarter QB rating is 93 and whose QB rating while losing is 94. Like Montana, Wilson is cool under pressure. But Kaepernick is unsure of himself when things don’t go his way or things get tight.

I’m throwing in a bonus reason why Wilson is better than Kaepernick, and it has nothing to do with either quarterback.

BONUS REASON: Scheme, the thing the 49ers hate talking about.

The Seahawks’ offensive scheme perfectly fits Wilson’s skill-set. Their offensive coordinator, Darrell Bevell, has done a fabulous job orchestrating packages of plays for Wilson – read-option runs, play-action passes, quick passes, screen passes, rollout passes and deep passes.

The 49ers’ offensive scheme does not fit Kaepernick’s talents, it fits Alex Smith’s talents – choose the best possible play before the snap, manage the game and don’t turn the ball over. The Kaepernick Offense was supposed to revolve around the Pistol and read-option, but the 49ers pretty much scrapped all that back in Week 3 because Frank Gore couldn’t run out of it. The Niners went back to their 2011 base offense instead of creating something new for Kaepernick.

Maybe scheme is the reason Wilson has become so much better than Kaepernick. Kaepernick is not just any quarterback. He’s Harbaugh’s personal project, the selected one, and Harbaugh doesn’t appear to know how to coach him. If Kaepernick played for the Seahawks and Wilson played for the 49ers, maybe Kaepernick would be the better player right now.

Grant Cohn writes sports columns and the “Inside the 49ers” blog for the Press Democrat’s website. You can reach him at grantcohn@gmail.com.

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  1. Wilson has more experience in a traditional offense. He has the higher floor, but Kap has the higher ceiling.

    1. They both have three years experience. Wilson ran a shotgun/spread scheme at NC State. Wilson is a year younger than Kaepernick.

      1. Wilson has the intangibles. Let’s see how long he lasts in the league.
        Great article btw grant. I may be biased because I have the same concerns you have with kaep.
        The part I don’t like is how he has folded under the pressure in losing games this year.

      2. When you watch Wilson playing at NC State you see him doing exactly the same things he is doing now in Seattle.

        http://rivals.yahoo.com/video/college-football/Video-highlights-Quarterback-Russell-Wilson-730528

        If you take the name and number off the jersey’s and just watch the game without knowing who is who, there are a number of guys who most would say are better than Kaepernick right now.

        If not for a defensive collapse against Atlanta in the divisional round last year the Super Bowl start may have gone to Wilson instead.

        Only with time will their final story be written, and for 49ers fans we have to hope that Kaepernick reaches what many believe to be his potential.

      3. Warning. I’m going to contradict myself alot below.

        In defense of CK7…
        Wisconsin ran a classic “West Coast offense” while Wilson (and Tolzien) were there. Hence the good progression reads and pocket smoothness. As we know Kaepernick came from something entirely different in Nevada.

        He also played most of this season without Crabs and Delaney… many of the sub WRs blew assignments, running with their backs to him during blitzes.

        Possible reasons to fret about CK7…
        A good point about age. Lots of people forget Kaepernick is 26 in his third year (for perspective, Alex Smith is 29) . CK7 is young but certainly no “kid.” He has three years in the system. He shouldn’t be having problems with pre/post-snap reads.

      4. fan you are bias because you constantly only recognize Cks negative attributes rather than positives. I do agree with you that CK must play better and has played below expectations this year but give the dude a break, will you!

      5. I would give Kap a slight pass on the injury front. But it is clear that Russel is the 2nd best QB in the league. Right behind Luck. Peyton, Brees, Rogers, Brady excluded.

      6. The is my first time commenting on this site. I usually do a lot of commenting on sbnation, but I read of lot of your articles just to get a different perspective.

        I understand what you’re saying about Russell Wilson and how he’s been better this season compared to Kaepernick, but I believe your last bonus point about offensive scheme hits the nail on the head here. Wilson has looked better because he has a better scheme to operate in. It’s easier to look more accurate and improvise in a scheme that fits your talents to a tee. He is free to play his game without any restrictions while Kaepernick, like you said, has to operate Alex Smith’s offense (aka the game manager offense). I think you might see a difference in the way Kaepernick plays if the 49ers and Seahawks were to trade offensive coordinators.

        I don’t want to take anything away from Wilson because he’s had a good season and he’s developed in all the areas you mentioned, but his scheme and coordinator give him a huge advantage that Kaepernick just doesn’t have at the moment.

      7. NC State student here. Go tell Mr. Dana Bible that his passing offense isn’t pro.

        See: Russel Wilson, Mike Glennon, Matt Ryan

      8. Wilson is younger than Kaep true, but he has 10 games more as an nfl starter. I also believe I read that someone says that Luck is the best of the group which may in fact be true, BUT look how he is doing since the Reggie Wayne injury. He is also not the same QB. How is Matt Ryan doing this year without his recievers. There is more to it than all of the negative Nancy’s are telling,

      9. @justthefacts
        A small correction to your comment…..the offense that CK is attempting to run isn’t ‘Alex Smith’s game manager offense’, as you state…..the offense belongs to Jim Harbaugh and Greg Roman, and it should be fairly evident to everyone by now that they prefer a QB to be a ‘game manager’ as opposed to taking shots at the long ball down the field….the lack of offensive fireworks, lousy red zone production, early offensive timeouts, delay of game penalties, etc. all belong to Jim Harbaugh and Greg Roman.
        One observation I want to share is that I wish that CK would not audible so much….the plays he audibles to usually go for minimal or no positive yardage….I realize that he’s probably the victim of inexperience and that defenses are disguising their coverages, thus causing him to shout ‘kill, kill, kill…’ at the line of scrimmage…either that ro the plays that are being sent down by GR to JH to CK are really bad…

      10. Great article Grant, but NC State runs the WCO, just like he did at Wisconsin. Watch Gruden’s QB camp when Wilson was entering the draft and they talk about it. Terminology was a tad different but Wilson has played in a Pro system much longer than Kaep, and I’m a Seahawks fan. I watched Kaep all his college career (BSU fan) and always said he was a “system” QB with great talent but not a typical Pro QB. You’re right, they’re running the wrong system for him. What is Chris Ault doing these days?

    2. He has the higher floor, but Kap has the higher ceiling.

      Tim Tebow had a high ceiling, yet he isn’t playing and Alex Smith (whom many claim to have reached his ceiling already) is. A QB’s ceiling means squat if they don’t have some key intangibles.

      1. Tebow had a high ceiling??? Everyone always said for the years he was in the league he would have issues with his throwing. High ceiling or potential vs. Matt Schaub maybe.

        I’m a Kaep fan, but yes, as of right now, Wilson has all the intangibles. At QB, 50% physical and 50% mental or more…

      2. Midwest,
        What key intangibles are you referring to? Tim Tebow never had a high ceiling, which is why he is out if the league. He was all intangibles and no QB. He was a project that never panned out. Smith is who he is at this point, his eighth NFL season. He was drafted over Aaron Rodgers because of his high ceiling as a player. He was the #1 overall pick, yet he never played like one. Kaep was a project pick in the second round that has played like a first overall pick at times. He has a season under his belt, but there is a learning curve there. Intangibles aren’t the problem, inexperience and injuries to the receiving corps are.

    3. Wilson is clearly really good and he is actually one of the few likeable players on the Seahawks, but I wouldn’t be so quick to say CK can’t match his success level. Everyone in sports is a “prisoner of the moment”. Wilson plays on a team with a fantastic defense, an outstanding run game, a crazy home field advantage and great coaching. He has made lots of plays but he is almost always playing with a lead and a solid run game. He is very good, but Seattle was very close to losing to Houston, Tampa, Carolina, and the Rams this year. His defense bailed him out of those games. Seattle looks like they may go all the way this year. Let’s see how RW does when some of his teammates take those big contracts elsewhere, his defense isn’t as stout or is injured and the run game is not as potent. Everyone loves a winner….

      1. I understand your points, but if you want to talk about the teama round him, include it all. He has played a majority of the season missing most of his offensive line. Those close games against Houston, the Bucs, and Indi he was missing Pro Bowl LT Okung, All pro Center Max Unger, and starting right tackle Giacomini. On top of this, the starting LG mcquistan moved out to LT. So 4/5 O-line spots were being manned by back ups. The St Louis game I believe unger was back, but the tackled were missing and our guard was playing tackle still.

        If you go back and re-watch those games, notice how much pressure Wilsonw as under. He had to make a play just to get off a throw.

    4. I don’t mind that Jr. is calling Wilson the better QB.

      At this point in time he is. But how about in a couple of years from now?

      We’ll know a lot more then with Body Of Work. We’ll see but I like our QB that’s big, strong, rocket arm & has the ability to run out of the pocket to hurt defenses.

      1. I am trying not to take the bait. It’s what journalists do. Bait. Have you guys every watched the round table discussions with Ratto? Does the same thing.

        It’s not that Wilson is ahead of Kaep. It’s that Wilson has done a better job with broken down plays. Harbaugh has not allowed Kaep to do what he does best, play wide open. He is forcing Kaep to sit in the pocket, learn to read a defense and go through progressions. It’s a long term commitment focusing on the big picture.
        I don’t know how long Wilson will last. His style of play has exposed him to a ton of big hits this year. I”ll say this, he’s a tough son of a gun. He keeps getting up.
        I’ll also say that as much as I can’t stand “Golden” Tate, he is a playmaker. And Kearse has done a good job of fighting for balls that are just thrown up. He’s been a poor mans Alvin Harper. He’s young and he’s going to get better too. And I’ve always liked their tight end Miller. He’s a really solid receiving tight end. Veteran, savvy. One of the few Raiders that I liked when he was there.
        I’ll ask you guys this, this season when a team doubled VD and put their number one CB on Boldin, who have we had that has made plays? I know the answer to my question. And the responsibility falls solely on the front office.

      2. Kaep is like a boxer with a huge right hand. And he is always looking for the one punch knockout. Even if his opponent has both hands up and is covering up really well, Kaep is still looking for the knockout. Kaep is figuring out that if the body is open then he needs to punish it. Ultimately this will bring the hands down so that he can knock his opponent out just like he wants to.
        Kaep will be more than fine once he learns that Frank Gore in the flat is his body shot. I’ve seen too much coaches film to know that the term “safety valve” is not in Kaeps vocabulary yet. I bet the farm is will be this weekend though….

      3. Bay – thanks for asking…. I won’t be at game, I usually only get to 1 game per year from SoCal….zero this year :(.
        I Will try to get out to Levi’s Stadium next year for Sea game though. It’s a 45 min closer drive for me I think.

      4. @ Bay
        I kinda like your boxer metaphor in that context, I think it does speak to his underutilization of the underneath receivers.

      5. Bay,

        Kap will learn to take the shorter option eventually. It comes with time and experience. Right now he’s still in the mode of not wanting to give up on any play downfield which has led to sacks and 3 and outs. When he learns to use every option at his disposal he’ll be fine.

      6. @Bay…
        I think Golden Tate is a FA at the end of this season…how do you think he’d fit in the 9er’s scheme?

      7. 55 he would fit in anywhere. He’s a playmaker. Lotta heart. I can’t imagine him as a Niner though. He’s the enemy.

      8. Are you done playing tough guy or should I still leave my family at the gate? Heaven forbid we would not want them to see your wrath!
        Buwhahahahahahh!!!!!!!!

    5. No, Kap does NOT have the higher ceiling. I keep reading that everywhere. It’s become a mantra. Let’s look at what Wilson has done: tied the rookie record for TD’s set by Manning. Second year, set to become the winningest QB in NFL history the first two seasons. Stats wise, having the greatest first two seasons by someone not named Marino. Since they opened up the playbook, Wilson has the leagues best QB rating, ahead of Manning.

      Wilson is playing in the rarified air of Montana, Unitas, Manning, Moreno. You’re saying Kap’s ceiling is higher than THAT?

      No, stop being in denial. One can’t really expect Kap to EVER be as good as Wilson already is.

      1. Kaep and Harbaugh go hand in hand. They haven’t DONE anything.
        As much as I dislike Pete Carroll, he had USC ranked #1. Stanford almost got there. Harbaugh almost got the SB trophy. Same with Kaep. Almost doesn’t count.
        In truth Russell Wilson hasn’t done anything either.
        It just looks like it’s inevitable that he will…..

    1. “Oh snap?” What are you, a dress designer?

      Shrub is accurate in his assessment except he didn’t say what is obvious if you open your eyes: Colin will be a bust within three years. He hates getting hit. His wind-up to throw the damn ball is ridiculous and he’s not a very nice guy. Stuck up. Arrogant for no reason. A prick.

      Screw that Lulu.

      1. “he’s not a very nice guy. Stuck up. Arrogant for no reason. A prick.”

        Can you please post evidence of these personal conversations you had with Kaep where he exhibited these traits? I’m willing to be that you are going off media reporting, and personal grievances. Because we all know that the media never paints someone in bad light to make a story. Never.

        “hates getting hit”

        If you are referring to his willingness to get hit while running the ball, then someone hasn’t been watching this kid play lately. I saw him take a couple shots that made me nervous the last couple games. Most QB’s don’t do that. If you are referring to getting sacked, give me one QB that enjoys that experience.

  2. Grant ..
    I dunno if you can count one year
    holding the clipboard as “experience” …

    I see Kaep having a little better than
    a year and a half of “experience

    1. Steve Young, called holding the clipboard experience… as did Aaron Rogers. There a different kinds of learners but some people can pick things up while on the bench.

      In truth Kaep has regressed this year. He is not as decisive in his reads, he stares down the receiver he wants to throw the ball to, and worst of all he stops looking downfield if the pass rush gets near him and starts trying to avoid the rush ala Jim Everret.

      1. Did you guys happen to watch the last game against what is supposed to be a pretty strong defense in the Rams. I thought Kap played well and noticed him going through his reads multiple times. Boldin looked great and a lot of that has to do with Crab being back. No more double teams.

      2. Having a 19th ranked passing defense and a 15th ranked rushing defense doesn’t conjure up the thoughts of a pretty strong defense.

      3. @MidWest…
        Nor does it conjure up thoughts of Super Bowl Trophy #6 sitting in the trophy case at 49er’s HQ..

  3. Grant, if there is one thing I’ve learned after many years of living is that individuals learn and improve at different rates. It’s not a cookie-cutter world where talent and intelligence equates to productivity on the same time-line. I’ve seen the shining stars burn out — and also seen them burn brighter. But I’ve also seen the seemingly hopeless get it much later and surpasss the shining stars as well. In Kaepernick’s case, I guess we’ll find out at some point, but not necessarily in this game.

    1. good point. Comparisons are odious!!!! No individual is the same and how do you know how Ck would perform if he was in the sea hawk uniform! not sure.

    2. Richard Sherman would be the perfect example… Who saw him becoming the best corner in the NFL out of college.

      1. I believe Sherman was converted into a corner at Stanford. I remember him getting beat quite a bit at Stanford but he was a fighter. He started to play with swagger in his last year there but the swagger was bigger than the talent. That’s where the adderal comes in, or another substance. He didn’t play as fast and wasn’t as instinctual at Stanford. The guy has picked up a lot of speed and confidence. He’s good and he knows he’s the best in the league now. Question is, can Seattle pay him 12-15 mil a year toe enp him. Will they? They’ve gotta give their safety about 9-10 as well. Wow.

      2. Sherman is very good, but is it him or the system? It seems like no matter who they plug in it doesn’t change the level of play.

        And yes, Sherman converted over to corner while at Stanford his final two seasons and had 112 tackles and 6 interceptions. Not bad.

      3. Pete Carroll has always been Cornerback University. His system is predicated on stopping the run with two shutdown cornerbacks. His philosophy, if you can’t stop the pass, you have no chance at stopping the run…..

      4. jjj,

        To answer your question: nobody.

        No one saw him becoming this good including his College Coach which is why he was a 5th round pick. Part of it could be scheme, but there is no denying Sherman’s skills in coverage. The guy has turned himself into one of the best.

  4. Seems to me that Grant is implying that the offensive scheme is the result of Gore’s inability to adapt to other types of formations. Yup!

  5. The Seahawwks offense is intelligent and creative; they don’t waste plays. The 49ers is not, and they waste a lot of plays. I fear this is not the 49ers year. The 49ers would benefit from imitating the Seahawks schematically, but I fear this is just not the 49ers year. Maybe the Seahawks will be worse next year and maybe the Niners will have a real offensive coordinator next year. And Kap – do some peripheral vision exercises.

  6. Grant, your like the “bad luck” guy no one wants at their Super Bowl party…are you a Seattle brat writer or 49ers? Can’t tell…seriously…

  7. Anyone that paid attention knows Wilson is much further along in his pro development than Kaepernick so the comparison is quite premature. Wilson also has more playing time at this level than Kaepernick but you conveniently leave that out.

    I know you want to be like your Daddy and all but how are we to take you seriously? Your personal agenda against all things 49ers is quite obvious and laughable to be frank. This blog went down the tubes once Maiocco left… Such a shame, really.

    Ciao.

  8. No doubt, right now… RW is the guy on the west coast. Although I despise Pete in Seattle, he done a great job surrounding RW with what he needs to have to win. The one thing that RW posses is (call it inferiority complex or whatever) ability to keep fighting. There will be a game in the playoffs where he has 3 turnovers and will find a way to win the game. He is that guy. Kaep will be able to do run the offensive flawlessly once he has A FULL YEAR OF receivers returning and a playbook that liberates him. The one thing RW has over Kaep, you cannot rattle Wilson… no one has yet.

    1. Wilson is an excellent QB, but how would he have done if his abilities were recoginized before the draft and he was drafted in the top five, as he should have been? He likely would have gone to a bottom tier team and he probably would have struggled. Circumstance plays a big role in these QBs development.

      1. no doubt, that’s why I applaud Pete. same goes for Kaep. he could have been a raider… god knows that’s not a method for success.

      2. Does the name Tom Brady ring a bell with you? 6th round draft pick by the Pats, so you cannot say that all great QBs are top of the first round picks. Despite Brady’s shortcomings in college, although nobody professes to know what they were, the Pats saw something in him to draft him, regardless of the round. Not every Pro Bowl player is a 1st rounder as neither are all of the members of the NFL Hall of Fame.

      3. havent you learned from the niners fans reaction to alex smith that going to a bad team as a high pick isnt a factor to consider

  9. Great column, especially the “bonus reason” about scheme at the end, which I happen to think is the root cause of the Niners quarterback and offensive ills this year. But what, if anything, will Harbaugh do about it? If they are eliminated in the playoffs, will changes be forthcoming or will we see more of the same stuff a year hence?

  10. I think the problem with CK is that he thinks too much, where Wilcon plays more intuitively. Kap is accused of not looking down his options, I disagree, I think he does look BUT he thinks too much about the choice. For instance Wilson will look downfield and see; A?-no C?- no B?-maybe D open GO
    With Kap it will be more;
    A? covered,try again B? maybe if he breaks free, If I wait, maybe if he cuts left. Where is C turn… SACK.

  11. It’s Frank Gore’s fault the 49ers aren’t running the Pistol? Did we have a different running back last year when the pistol was successful?

      1. Yes Coffee. It has to be Gore’s fault that Kaepernick was completely shut down running the read in the first 3 weeks. The opponents had nothing to do with it.

        1. No, nothing is Gore’s fault and he is not aging. It’s the fault of Kaepernick, Staley, Iupati, Goodwin, Boone, Anthony Davis, Vernon Davis, Vance McDonald, Adam Snyder, Joe Looney, Bruce Miller, Mario Manningham, the opposing defenses and global warming. Not Gore. He’ll play forever.

      2. Grant,
        No RB on the Niners can run right now. No Hunter, not LMJ, or Dixon. They ran well in the pre-season. Oh right, it’s pre-season.
        It’s always a combination of things, namely no good team with a good coaching staff fears our passing game. So they sell out on the run and dare Colin to beat them with a pass. It’s Madden’s Engage Eight all out blitz I tell ya!

        We never put any speed on the field and the minute it’s a passing down, everyone covers Boldin or Davis. Maybe they’re saving it for the play-offs like they saved the read option last year.

      3. Grant Cohn says:
        December 4, 2013 at 6:51 pm
        No, nothing is Gore’s fault and he is not aging. It’s the fault of …Not Gore. He’ll play forever.
        ——-
        That’s all I wanted to hear.

    1. There’s no question that Gore’s slowing down a little. At his age, that’s going to happen. The real question is HOW MUCH is he slowing? If Hunter were tearing it up, that would be one thing. But I haven’t seen a ton of room for Gore or Hunter or anyone to break off big chunks of yardage. Have you guys?

    2. Grant:

      Don’t try to flip things around. You’re the only one with an absolutist position, namely, the 49ers’ inability to run the last three games is all because Gore got old and lost his legs. By contrast, those of us who object to your absolutist position (most of us, anyway) have not argued that “nothing is Gore’s fault” or suggested that Gore will play forever. We just think that other factors are more responsible for the team’s reduced rushing production.

      1. You guys have the absolutist position, not me. Of course there are other factors like injuries and loaded boxes, but I think Gore slowing down is the biggest factor. You guys refuse to consider the possibility of him slowing down.

      2. I disagree Grant. Gore isn’t getting the results as of late mainly because defenses are stacking the box to stop the run because they aren’t afraid of Kaep beating them with his arm. Hopefully that changes with Crabtree and Manningham both back in the lineup and getting healthier.

      3. It’s just easy to blame Gore when the 49ers rushing game is lousy because of his age. There are so many other factors to make the running game successful. We’ve all seen running backs overnight lose it. I remember Roger Craig being a stud in 1989 with over 1,500 combined yards from scrimmage, and then never having a season approaching 1000 yards again. It’s like overnight, he lost it. Gore is on pace to rush for 1000 yards. Yes, the YPA are down this year, but there have been about 4 or 5 games this year where Gore looks like the Gore of old. I would not give up on him just yet He’s still the best they have.

      4. Grant:

        I must have missed the posts and comments in which you didn’t focus exclusively on Gore and acknowledged that other factors contributed to the lack of production.

      5. Grant I have a question…
        Before the question I want to say I agree Gore has slowed down a bit. Age and wear and tear will do that. But my question is. Do you think he can still have some big games? All of the other factors aside. Like developing qb, o-line injuries, or facing a stacked box. Simply do you think he still has something left in the tank to have some big games?

        I feel he does. I still feel he’s a threat that defenses have to prepare for.

      6. Good find Jack. Old M. Short always reminds me that he was brilliantly funny but usually cast in shamefully ridiculous movie roles.

      7. Grant Cohn says:
        December 4, 2013 at 7:46 pm
        You guys refuse to consider the possibility of him slowing down.
        —————-
        And you’ve still have no answer for the fact that Cosell disagrees with you on that point.

      8. Jack:

        Bravo on the Nathan Thurm reference. That character is the perfect archetype for describing Grant’s responses here and on other threads.

      9. Big P:

        I loved Dana Carvey’s John Mclaughlin and thank you for the link, but I have to say that likening Grant to Skip Bayless is a low blow.

      10. Grant,

        I have to call BS sorry. You have taken the position that Gore is done since the beginning of the season and even after that was proven to be incorrect you continue to try to perpetuate the myth.

        No one has said Gore is in his prime or one of the best backs in the league anymore, nor that he isn’t getting up in age and probably slowing down. The difference has been you saying he’s done while others say he’s not. Your position is absolutist; not ours.

        Gore is in the midst of a tough stretch of games as is the entire running game, but that does not mean he’s the issue, and looking at his season before this stretch says he’s anything but done or has lost his legs. You were wrong about him; accept it and move on.

        1. I love how you’re telling me what my opinion is.

          I never declared Gore done. I said his legs appeared gone and he may be able to get them up for a few weeks. You can look it up. To me, it appears he got his legs up for four games – Weeks 3 through 6. Also, he had a bit more juice after the Bye week against the Panthers.

          And now it seems he’s running on empty. We’ll see what happens the rest of the season. I’ll be happy to admit if I’m wrong.

      11. Rocket,
        question for you. Bill Walsh was great at shipping players out at the right time. I hated it at the time. I called it disloyal. However he did what he had to do and was very successful with his big picture strategy.

        My question, under Bill Walsh, do you think Frank Gore would be brought back to the Niners next year?

      12. Bay,

        Not if he had someone better. Right now the Niners don’t, but next year they might. There’s no doubt Gore is going to fade at some point, I just don’t see it yet.

      13. Walsh never cut anyone until he had a better replacement. Gore right now is the 49ers best all around back.

        Expect him to be back next year. He and Lattimore will make a formidable duo.

      14. Bay:

        You didn’t ask me, but that’s never stopped me before, so I’m going to answer your question. I hope you don’t mind.

        I suspect Walsh would give serious thought to replacing Gore in 2014. And I think Baalke will do the same.

        If Lattimore is fully recovered from his knee injuries and shows signs of being the runner everyone thinks/hopes he can be, the decision will be pretty easy.

      15. Grant,

        Now you’re back tracking and trying to hide behind semantics. Saying a guys legs are gone is no different than saying he’s done. You’ve been trying to make this argument since the beginning of the season and have gone to great lengths to do so including taking certain gains out to suit your view.

        If you had simply said Gore is not what he once was, nobody would have argued with you, but you took the extreme position of saying his legs were gone and now are trying to hang onto any thing that can support that position even though it’s already been proven to be incorrect.

        1. Back tracking behind semantics? I’m sticking with what I wrote and you’re trying to tell me what it really means. What a joke!

      16. Here’s what you said on Sept.15 in your Grades segment after the Seahawk game Grant:

        Frank Gore was terrible. He gained16 yards on nine rushes. It seems like he’s entering the twilight of his career and has lost his legs.

        Now from that statement please tell how I’m wrong to interpret you saying Gore is done.

        1. Seems he’s lost his legs is different than done.

          A couple of days later, I wrote this in my column: “He may or may not be able to get his legs going periodically, but definitely not consistently.”

          He got his legs up for Weeks 3-6, and the Bye week seemed to help him get his legs up for Week 10. Other than those games, he’s had no juice.

      17. Seems he’s lost his legs is different than done

        Not from where I stand. If you say a RB has lost his legs you are saying he can’t play anymore. From that point on Gore played well and you had to change your view from his legs are gone, to he won’t be consistent. You are moving the goal posts Grant. It’s pretty clear you thought Gore was done and then had to backtrack when he showed he clearly wasn’t.

        1. No, I wrote after Week 2 that he may be able to get his legs up periodically. I wrote what I meant. No moving the goal posts. No interpretation necessary.

      18. Grant:

        You made it clear that you thought Gore was done.

        On September 17, you wrote:

        And then there is Gore. He may never come back even though he’s still a 49er.

        His legs are gone. They no longer have the snap or explosion or whatever you want to call the thing a running back’s legs need.

        On September 18, you wrote:

        But his legs have not come back this season and I’m think they’re not coming back. That’s what typically happens when a RB turns 30.

        You’re telling me you really see life/explosion/snap in Gore’s legs this season? I don’t. Maybe the life will come back but I doubt it.

        I don’t think Gore is much better than Dixon right now. If/when Hunter becomes Hunter again he’ll be the best option.

      19. Busted. Well done Claude. I remembered there was more than one entry where he took this tact but didn’t have the time to find out where.

        1. Lol busted. You guys are hilarious. I’ve been clear on my stance about Gore. I said after Week 2 his legs looked gone. That was an honest impression. They did look gone. I wrote Week 2 he might be tired from the playoffs and possibly could get his legs up for spurts. That always has been my stance. You’re trying to make it seem like I said Gore never would rush for another yard. He’s having the worst season of his career.

  12. The one thing that Grant nailed is offensive scheme. We have complained about the receivers Kaep had but look at what Wilson has yo throw to. A bunch of busts and undrafted guys. He spreads the ball out to everyone and did so with missing some of his starting line. I love kaep he is a stud and so is Wilson but I’m willing to bet Bevelle gets a head coaching job before Roman. Bevelle is doing a lot more with less.

    1. Ricardo Lockette is one of those busts he successfully threw to Monday night. And, don’t forget, they still have quarterback B.J. Daniels.

  13. Glad to be getting QP back. His quickness could be key down the stretch. And Seattle has a couple CBs out. Maybe we’re finally evening up some things, our receivers vs. Seattle’s secondary.

  14. Wilson seems to stay calm ala Montana, Kap is more excitable like Young. Both Joe and Steve were great QB, with different styles.
    I agree with Grant; the Niners need to adjust their scheme to maximize Kap’s skills This does not mean going to the read option more often, NFL defenses have caught up with that approach. I think it means moving Kap’s launch point; giving him the green light to run, calling deeper pass patterns. Kap throws a very nice medium to deep pass, so use it. McDonald dropped one deep pass so we never see it again, but he was open. Try sending Vernon in a crossing pattern, Boldin running an out, Crabtree down the sideline and then send McDonald down the seem. Odds are McDonald will get open. If not who will they double cover? Davis; then either Crab or Boldin will get open. If not Davis then he can outrun just about anyone. They put in a nickel or dime defense, then run the ball.
    I would love to see the Niners attack the Seahawks. Go with a double tight end alignment and then go no huddle to start the game. Start out throwing the ball. Get the tempo up and see how their defense responses.

  15. Fair article at this stage of their careers. Wilson deserves all the accolades being thrown at him as Kaep did last year. Wilson was absolutely on fire Monday night. A dominating, MVP type game. I don’t really see Montana or Young. Wilson reminds me of Fran Tarkenton. His scrambling ability is what separates him from Kaep at this point in their careers. Plus his football smarts as you point out in the article. He rarely makes a mistake.

    The Seahawks hit the jackpot with the pick. I think the 49ers also did with Kaep. Fortunately, seasons are not 12 games anymore. Kaep still has more games this year to put himself back in the picture with Wilson, Newton, and Luck as the premier young QBs of the NFL.

  16. Great article Grant, but it would have been better if you compared Kaep to Griffin. Booth have similar talent around them but can’t seem to capitalize on it except against bad defenses or (more importantly) bad secondaries.

    1. RGIII, at this time, is not a fair comparison because he is playing like a player still injured or not fully recovered from ACL surgery; therefore, his game is significantly less than if he were healthy. Not fair to compare a healthy player with one who still is impaired or in physical recovery from surgery.

  17. No reason to throw in all the Alex Smith digs. Had no purpose in your article in other than one spot. Kaepernick doesn’t come close to matching Russell Wilson in skill and intelligence and certainly isn’t up to Alex Smith smart football standards either.

      1. But he has also missed the last couple of games, which has allowed the team to take a good look at undrafted FA Tony Jerod-Eddie in both a starting and reserve role. They have to like what they saw out of him when he started.

      2. Interesting. Looked up his cap and thought it said he was due only a million. If it’s 5 then we should look at parting ways.

  18. If Niners again show lack of offensive scheme against the Hawks again, Jim should take a page from his brother’s book and fire Roman immediately. John fired his offensive coordinator 3/4 through last season and it definitely helped the Ravens get a SB win.

  19. “Maybe scheme is the reason Wilson has become so much better than Kaepernick. Kaepernick is not just any quarterback. He’s Harbaugh’s personal project, the selected one, and Harbaugh doesn’t appear to know how to coach him. If Kaepernick played for the Seahawks and Wilson played for the 49ers, maybe Kaepernick would be the better player right now.”

    This whole paragraph seems like a cheap shot to me. Ill be surprised if GC has any person in the entire 49er organization willing to speak to him by the end of the season.

  20. Right now, if I had to choose a QB to lead my team tomorrow, I’d go with Wilson over Kaep. He’s played better than Kaep all year, except Week 1. You are correct he is ahead of Kaep in most areas of his game at the moment. And that is pretty much why the ‘Hawks are going to the playoffs as first seed, and the 49ers are fighting for a wild card.

    Long term I still have high hopes for Kaep as the better prospect. His play hasn’t been helped this year by not having any complementary receivers to Boldin and Davis until recently. But from a development perspective these struggles can actually be a silver lining. Most people improve through adversity. I imagine Kaep will be no different.

    1. His play hasn’t been helped this year by not having any complementary receivers to Boldin and Davis until recently.

      True, but Wilson’s options in the receiving game haven’t been much better yet he continues to shine.

      1. That part wasn’t meant as a comparison – just a statement that Kaep’s level of play hasn’t been helped by not having any other receivers than Boldin or Davis. That has a big impact on any QB, but especially one that is still learning to make reads and progressions.

        As I said, Wilson is ahead of Kaep in most areas of his game.

      2. There coaches put him in positions that help him shine. we have Julius Caesar aka Gro that looks Jimmy raye and calls fade routes om 4th and goal from the 5 in the super bowl not to mention the screen play on 3rd and goal from the nine, last week……One coach builds and the other shoots himself in the foot. Greg roman is holding this team back and harbaugh is letting him.

  21. Can’t argue against any of the points Grant makes here. Wilson is way ahead if Kap as a NFL QB at this point of time. Why is Grant always at his best when he’s tearing down Niner player, coach or F.O.?!

  22. As of now, yes Wilson is the better QB. But do not compare a second year player to two of the greats please. If I remember correctly you were one who deemed Kap a star before this season. So hold off on Wilson. Let players play without comparing them to others.

  23. Gotta agree with Grant, I felt like Gores legs have been shot, since game 1. Its like a power hitter in baseball, sure as he gets older he will hit the One down the middle outta the park, but he starts missing on balls he used to hit out, Love Frank Gore but hes gotta have a huge hole to get some yards. Every once in a while he pops one, but his legs are shot ……

  24. Alex vs Kap…..like the great Ronald Reagan said in 1980.
    Are you better off today than you were four years ago?

    Yes ☑
    No []

      1. >>Crabs has played one game this year and your plan is to take money away from your franchise QB to sign a guy who hasn’t contributed at all?

        That’s the point. Addition by addition. Remember all season while Kaep has been throwing for 120 yards, guiding the team to 3 and 9 total points, the league’s VERY worst passing attack – the refrain has been “wait til Crabs gets back…wait til Crabs gets back…wait til Crabs gets back…” We’ll he’s back and last game CK looked like a changed player.

        If the team had just come off it’s performance against the Colts. Or the Panthers. Would we be giving them any chance at all against the Seahawks? What’s the difference?

    1. …..and also like the fraud Ronald Reagan said somewhat later?

      “Mistakes were made.”

      Yes []
      No []
      Maybe (we’ll know next season) ☑

      1. Hous, at this point, with this season hanging in the balance, we can only hope CK has re-found his groove. And if so, take half the money Niners were going give him on his new contract and give it directly to Crabtree.

      2. Speaking of fraud – what you just wrote makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. It sounds like you’re saying – If CK starts playing better then the 9ers should take half the money they were going to use to resign CK and give it to Crabs. That’s about as muddled as the US’s current foreign policy. Are you saying if we like our QB then we can keep him? If that’s what you’re saying then I really hate to see CK go.

      3. >> It sounds like you’re saying – If CK starts playing better then the 9ers should take half the money they were going to use to resign CK and give it to Crabs.

        That’s EXACTLY what I’m saying. If it takes the re-emergence to #15 to get #7 from stinking up the joint while he was gone, just who is more valuable to the team?

      4. I can agree with that razor. I read a great book about the inner-workings of the aftermath of the Beirut bombing. There was a green lighted plan to take out Hezbollah and bomb the hell out of Khamenei in Tehran as there was evidence that Iran was behind those bombings working through Hebzollah. Caspar Weinberger worked through political and executive branch channels to kill the plan as he thought a retaliation would start a world war. In hindsight, it was a huge mistake not to exert our dominance in the region.

      5. You’re missing the point. Chemistry. Jerry Rice talked about it. Kap/Crabs have it. You pay both….

      6. ribs, that makes no sense. Crabs has played one game this year and your plan is to take money away from your franchise QB to sign a guy who hasn’t contributed at all?

      7. >>it was a huge mistake not to exert our dominance in the region.

        Hous – and start a blowback that would have made 9/11 look like kiddies playing with legos.

        razor – I don’t recall Montana only able to hit two other targets when Rice as not available.

      8. Dude, you seriously didn’t go there did you? Comparing Montana to Kaepernick is like saying blow back from a small terrorist organization funded by a third world country should intimidate a super power with 5,000 nuclear warheads……

      9. ribs, I’ll back away from the political stuff. It’s obvious we’re from opposite ends of that spectrum. I’ll only say that many very well educated people completely disagree with your point of view.

        Just as a I disagree with your point of view on Kaepernick. CK is a unique talent that is going through some growing pains which is normal. CK’s upside is amazing and if he can develop and the offense can add a weapon here or there then CK is capable of winning Superbowls. Comparing CK to Wilson is all fine and dandy but it’s meaningless. Grant’s assertion that CK would be better off with Bevell as his coach is asanine in the extreme. Harbaugh has a long history of maximizing the talents of every QB he’s worked with over his coaching career. Harbaugh has credibility in this area. He will get it done regardless of what some kid says who literally has no idea what he’s talking about on his blog.

      10. >>Dude, you seriously didn’t go there did you?

        Razor, I did go there. After you led me there with your reference to Rice.

      11. I’m actually in agreement with you Houston. Kaep will eventually get to the point where he can pull off the Brady/Manning feat – elevating lesser talents around him, specifically wide outs he’s not particularly comfortable with nor has a history with. Let’s hope managment can keep a powerhouse team around him while he goes through that learning curve.

      12. @ribico

        I mentioned Jerry Rice because he said in an article that Mr. Crabs should be the priority signing after Kaepernick due to the special chemistry they had…..If I somehow implied that Mr. Crabs was on the same level as Jerry Rice, let me be clear…..I was not.

      13. Razor, I’m just saying, and I we won’t know for sure until the rest of the season plays out (indeed if that chemistry returns), that Crabs is more important to the team than ever as CK goes through his much ballyhooed “learning curve” into all-around QB.

  25. I think not only is Wilson playing better than Kaep, Kaep has our offense is playing with NO bravado or moxie! It’s like they’re uptight and scared all of the time. Now the Seahawks smell blood in the water and are encroaching on our territory. Flying the banner over the stick crosses a line that has consequences…can this offense deliver those consequences?

    1. Roc
      You didn’t see improvement in CK’s attitude last week? I did, at least as I interpreted his facial expressions and body language. I noted it very early in the game, and it seemed to me to be best expressed in his play clock management. He seemed more poised and to be looser and having more fun. I’d agree we’ll be hoping for more of that in the face of that Seahog defense.

  26. Say what you want abt Wilson. There is absolutely no way I would give you Kaepernick for what Wilson is right now. The potential is too great.

  27. The season is not over.The great Frank Gore is not done.The fat lady ain’t singing. Seattle is not a lock to go all the way. Sincerely ,an Absolutist.

    1. agree. right now Seattle looks like the 84 Niners, but the NFL has a way of humbling the mightiest teams. a lot of otherwise great teams have faded into the end of the year. an injury, some big heads, just the wear and tear of a season…ok, i haven’t quite convinced myself to bet on it, but i remain hopeful…

      1. Remember the 1998 Minnesota Vikings. No team is a sure thing!, for that matter remember the 1987 49ers, or the 18-0 Patriots! or a load of other “dominant” teams that didn’t win the big one.

  28. Hard to believe that Andy Lee, makes more money then Kaep, I know that will change,nice job make a few kicks a game, and make over 2 mill a season.

  29. 4 of the last 8 Super Bowl winners (Steelers, Giants, Packers and Ravens) entered playoffs as wild cards. 50 freaking percent!

    “If you get in the dance, there’s a chance.” -C15

    All arrows up!!

  30. Here’s how i know Wilson is darn good: i root against him on every play, and he fricking breaks my heart on a continuous basis. The kid is just plain good.

    Good stat on the pocket passing, Grant – I had thought most of his bigger plays were on scrambles and rollouts, but you’ve shown what I was afraid of: he can stand in the pocket, scan the field, find the guy breaking open, and hit him (often in stride).

    Kaep vs Wilson is going to be a great matchup for many years to come (touch wood on Kaep).

  31. “Kaep vs Wilson is going to be a great matchup for many years to come (touch wood on Kaep)…”

    Nope.

  32. I watched last season’s game against the Seahawks in San Francisco. I noticed a few things. Both good And bad.

    The good-

    1. We ran the ball with Gore and Hunter very effectively. Frank was tearing of chunks of 5-7 yards a carry in the 1st half.

    2. Our offensive line was agressive and powerful. Most of Gore’s runs were right up the middle.

    3. We were running quick hitters, right up the gut. We had success with Kendall outside on a couple of sweeps .

    4. Any Lee kicked the crap out of the ball in that 1st half.

    5. Ted Ginn kept us in that game. He had a couple of big time returns.

    6. Alex Smith didn’t have a very good game throwing to the receivers but he did hit Gore in the middle of the field in the 2nd half to move the football successfully. Our wide receivers were getting down the field well enough to drop their linebackers deeper into coverage so the underneath routes to Gore out of the backfield were open.

    7. Gore was a lot quicker last year than he is right now. He had several runs of 15 yards or more in that game. At least 3 or 4.

    8. Our defensive line got some decent pressure on a Wilson. Forced him to throw it earlier than he wanted.

    9. Our corners made plays on the ball to break up quite a few passes. Culliver was outstanding in that game. He broke up at least 3 passes.

    10. Our defense stopped the run in the 2nd half.

    The bad-

    1. Alex Smith was a bit inaccurate and indecisive in the 1st half. Good part was that he didn’t force anything but he only hit on a couple of passes.

    2. We couldn’t sustain any drives even though we ran the ball great. Not very many completed passes. They were covering well as normal. That was discouraging.

    3. Our defense did not play great. Seattle was moving the ball at will between the 25′s. They just couldn’t finish the drives.

    4. Lynch was gashing us in the game. He was getting 6-7-8 yards a carry at most times. Even Turbines came in and got good yardage as well when Lynch got nicked up.

    5. Their receivers and tight end dropped at least 4 passes. Turbin(I believe) dropped a touchdown in the 1st quarter with Willis in coverage. The tight end dropped at least a 40 yard gain as well, up the sideline on one play. Lynch dropped a couple out of the backfield.

    6. Smith turned it over in the red zone. A that pick almost swung the momentum in the game.

    My conclusion from that game was that we didn’t really win that game as much as Seattle gave it to us. They left several points on the board int he 1st half. That dropped pass by Turbin and a missed field goal was at least 10 points. Then again we lost t least 3 with the red zone pick. I can say that our defensive line kept decent pressure on Wilson and did a better job on Lynch in the 2nd half. Ted Ginn was huge for us. He had a couple of 30-40 yard punt returns in that game. We got good pressure on Russell and sacked him a few times. He looks faster now though and more decisive.

    We need help from LMJ on special teams. We have to control field position. Kap is going to have to play the game of his life. We need a touchdown on our 1st drive of the game. That is mandatory. We have to set the tone against them. Our offensive line is going to have to step up big time. I don’t know if we can run on them but we need to be able to in order to beat them. We need Vernon to get deep on Cam Chancellor a couple of times to get him out of the box. Our defense will do their job. We need them to force 2 fumbles. 1 from Lyncha and 1 from Wilson. We need a great game plan on offense. We need some help from special teams. Go Niners!

    1. You forgot to review last year’s game in Seattle. Here’s all you need to know:
      Colin Kaepernick sucked!

      1. Do you know that you know absolutely nothing but you talk like you know everything?
        Okay, the game in SF, here’s all you need to know:
        We won! First half they forced the ball down the field. 2nd half: They took the check-downs, angle routes underneath with the RB. I wrote about this crap moons ago, saying that COLIN needed to take those check down routes and stop forcing the ball to Boldin. But all you could see was negative criticism against your boy toy.
        Here’s what needs to happen this Sunday.
        Colin needs to play a lot better, play calm, see the WHOLE field. Don’t force anything,
        He does that, Niners win. Only weak link on this team is the QB, just like it was when ALEX was the QB. Alex did eventually raise his game. Now Colin has to do the same thing. Last year is a fluke

    2. 23J,
      we can’t really use that game as an example anymore. As a team the Seahawks have grown into an experienced squad on both sides of the ball. And one thing that cannot be discounted, they have embarrassed us twice in a row in their house. They have a supreme psychological edge on us.
      They are going to try to lure us into a fight in the middle of the ring. I hope we don’t take the bait. This has got to be a chess match. We will win because we will be better tactically then they are. Our offense will be better than the last two meetings. It has to. On defense, stop Lynch and keep the midget in the pocket.

      31-20 Niners. Bottom line, we need it and they don’t.

      1. >>Bottom line, we need it and they don’t.

        Agreed wholeheartedly. SEA has a home field thru the playoffs cushion. We are playing for our playoff lives.

      2. Bay,

        It’s all about game planning. We need a monster offensive game plan. We need the best that Roman and JH have ever had. JH brought his dad in as a consultant for this game. We’re pulling out all the stops. We’d better win it.

        As for the 2 losses in Seattle. They were in Seattle. Look how everyone has played in Seattle. The only team that’s had a shot up there was the Bucs. That was because Seattle underestimated them. Kap has not played them in San Francisco. We’ll see how he handles it. More importantly, how JH’s and Roman handle it.

      3. ‘we need it, they don’t’
        Golly, I saw that expressed Monday night, and I got news Buckaroos!
        These guys don’t need any motivation to get up to play the Niners. They’re coming loaded for bear. They’ve got 3 year olds who hate the Niners & fools flying banners over The Stick. Its ON!

      4. Jordan and Bay,

        If you want to see how to beat the Seattle defense, watch their game in Houston from earlier this season. It’s all about getting the running game going and then throwing between the LB’s and secondary. The problems happen if you can’t run the ball and their LB’s can cheat back and fill the passing lanes. They couldn’t against Houston and really should have lost that game.

    3. Jordan,
      when I was a kid I made the mistake of feeding this big stray Marmaduke looking dog. We had a big rot iron gate. I gave him some scraps through the gate. For the next two weeks he stayed right in that spot. Slept there and crapped there right in front of our house.

      My point,
      quit feeding Marmaduke77 and maybe, just maybe he’ll leave and quit crapping in front of our house. Don’t engage and don’t answer. No one else talks to him. Prime used to, and now Prime is magically gone. Peace has now fallen over the room. Ignore the troll.

      1. We tried that a couple years ago and you guys still crapped all over the place.

        Face it, there’s always going to be contrary opinion, and nothing any of us can do will squelch them.

  33. People forget Seattle has been lucky in a number of games this year. Carolina was about to go in for the clinching score late in the 4th quarter when Deangelo Williams fumbled. Houston had them put away when Matt Schaub had his brain fart and threw that horrible pick 6. The Rams sacked Wilson eight times and would have beaten them if Zuerlein makes an easy field goal. Tampa Bay gagged a 3 TD lead.

    Mark my words, luck has a way of evening out over a 16 game season. Seattle is due for a run of bad luck. I see them losing to us, the Giants, and either the Cardinals or the Rams.

    Go Niners

  34. Grant, you forgot your usual “right now” qualifier on the poll question. Or was that not an oversight on your part?

  35. If Wilson is as good as so many are saying than he should have no problem getting a ring, especially with home field advantage throughout playoffs.
    If Wilson’s better than Kap, he has no excuse for not going farther than Kap went.

    1. I hear ya Crabs, I look at it as this is just a progress report. Report cards come out in 10 years. Then we can REALLY say who is better.
      Kap and Wilson are just entering turn 1, nobody can tell who ‘wins’ yet.

  36. @ Houston & @Razor & @Rib
    I usually enjoy reading comments from you three (among others). The thread above that drifted into, and then fairly gracefully out of, Politics was an example. Y’all seemed so,….umm..grown up in your disagreements. I appreciate you.
    PS respectfully offered:
    anyone interested in an alternative take on US foreign policy from the point of view of the tip of the spear might seek out a small book called “War Is A Racket” by Smedley Butler. Some good things come in small packages. Both the book and its author.This was written prior to the outbreak of WWII, and is predictive for its time. His observations still hold up; even more blatantly than today IMO, but the solutions offered are now hopelessly outdated by technology and the nature of current threats. If you don’t recognize the author by name (Razor probably does) it would be worth googling.
    This is just one perspective, I’m not trying to lay out foreign policy here, we can’t agree on Offensive Football Policy! ; >)

      1. Reagan was a syphilitic cretin with strings out his ass that the military-industrial complex pulled to great effect. See S&L looters for how he treated the little guy.

        Back to political lurk…

      2. Bro Tuna – This GhostMustard/DS embryo called me the “A” word recently, he’ll probably respond to this and say “you are!” …Lol

      3. Crabs
        Although I differed with his views on a number of things, Ron was actually a good guy. I got to meet him once while he was Governor, have dinner with him. He was a gracious and charming man who treated everyone in the room with the same respect and genuine friendliness despite their ‘importance’. Not everyone in his family did so.

      4. Tuna – Wow…..thanks for sharing that. I didn’t agree with all of Reagans policies but he was a real man and loved football.
        Btw, I’m for real eating tuna right now……started Atkins 6 weeks ago and have dropped 20 lbs (my target weight)…..the $hit works. I stay same weight now even drinkin IPA’s. I should be on a frickn Atkins commercial lol.

      5. Stay with that. My wife’s got me mostly off dairy (damn I miss good cheese. I cheat) and gluten and I’m furious because I’ve lost 15 lbs and feel better. Now I have a turkey sandwich with lettuce for bread. smh

      6. Tuna – What’s your score prediction for Sunday? 27-17 Niners is my call.
        Oh…..Extra sharp cheddar all day bro!

      7. Crabs
        You put me on the spot, I’m nervous about picking scores, I rarely do. Let me stew on that and I’ll throw something up there for everybody to giggle at.

      8. Tuna – remember the awesome movie Dazed and Confused? The scene where the 3 buddies car trunk in full of beers on ice and they’re drinking in front of the 4 hot chicks parked in convertible behind them. Chick says ” hey Can we have some of those beers?” Dude says “one of these?” And teases them and then says “why?”……chick responds with “just gimme a beer!!!”
        Tuna – ” just give me a score!!!”

      9. ‘Kay: 27-26 Niners & The Duchess calls the Paramedics & the Bomb Squad late in the 4Q because she’s positive my head is going to explode.

  37. Wilson is very good but you have to look at the season in context as a whole. If you do that you see that Wilson is on a great stretch of 4 games right now that have pumped his numbers up big time. In the first 8 games of the season, Wilson had 4 games where his completion percentage was less than 60% and two where it was less than 50%. That doesn’t mean he wasn’t playing well, it just means that a good run of games can skew the numbers.

    Wilson is on fire right now but 3 of the past 4 games of the great stretch have been at home. I can’t argue that he isn’t the better QB in a comparison with Kap right now, but I don’t see the gap being as wide as portrayed here. Wilson has a lot of quick passes and first read only plays built into the system he plays in and often times you see him throwing to receivers with nobody near them. The scheme has helped him a great deal, but in the games he hasn’t performed well in, the difference has been pressure and contain. If you keep him in the pocket and don’t let him escape, he’s not the same player. The Niners did a pretty good job of that in the first game this year. The difference in this one has to be the Niner offense putting together some drives and not turning the ball over. That is the key to winning this weekend.

    1. Sure it’s a key every week. Problem is in the past two games against the Hawks they haven’t been able to do it. They have no chance to beat this team if they can’t win TOP and not turn the ball over.

  38. Grant if CK out plays Wilson this week what sort of justification will you give then. There is no arguement with the fact that head to head competition proves more than all the cherry picked statitics in the world.

  39. I agree with those who say it’s more Roman than anyone else. Defenses dare Kap to throw. Do you think that’s because, with his arm and accuracy, he can’t get the ball to a receiver? A case in point is the way they under-utilize Kendall Hunter and LaMichael James. Bottom line: I doubt Roman could get the OC job at any of the top clubs, and I hope he leaves.

  40. Off Topic:

    Grant (or someone in the know), what is the deal with Tank Carradine? Any news on when/if he will see action?

    1. Mr Rock according to M. Miaocco Carradine is having a difficult time learning the 9er D in college he was a standup LB alot of the time the 9ers expext him to play DT\DE and he seems to be having a difficult ttime mastering his assignments. From what i’ve read its pretty common for players making the same position change to struggle early. I look at it as if the team will have 2 or possibly 3 1st rd picks in camp next year. Carradine would have been an early 1st rd pick if he had been healthy.

      1. Okay because last I heard he was an active man on the roster…I guess that is just an insurance plan for now? I thought he was actually going to play. Thanks.

  41. Wilson is better than kap. Period. He turned an ok Seattle team into the sb front runner. But manning has only won one Super Bowl. Montana was knocked out by the ny giants. We have the better team. If we can put Wilson down, we can win but with all the focus on passing and not touching the qbs, it won’t be easy. Go 49ers,

    1. Niner says: If we can put Wilson down, we can win but with all the focus on passing and not touching the qbs, it won’t be easy. Go 49ers,
      Wow, I’m shaking my head in your thoughts of injuring the opposing Qb, just to win a football game… That’s so lame and unprofessional to do…and very poor sportsmanship on your behalf.

      1. you can hit a guy hard and even take him out of a game with a LEGAL hit. it’s part of football, hitting a guy so hard that he starts to shy away from contact. hitting a QB so hard and often that he starts to get happy feet and is flushed early from the pocket which screws up their passing game. hitting a guy so hard that it knocks the wind out of him and he has to come out of the game to be examined. hitting a guy so hard that he has snot bubbles coming out of his nose. all of which can be done LEGALLY.

  42. Grant says, If Kaepernick played for the Seahawks and Wilson played for the 49ers, maybe Kaepernick would be the better player right now.

    You’re absolutely right, the Hawks have a better system, you can see how well coach and disciplined are their players. It just shows that the hawks have a better coaching staff than the 49ers. The hawks have a pretty good idea, how to make their young players play up to their standard.

    1. The hawks have a pretty good idea, how to make their young players play up to their standard.

      Yes, but steroids and HGH are against the rules.

      1. Claude,
        Absolutely you’re right; it’s illegal in the NFL to use Steroids and HGH. If three or four player in the team got caught using the illegal substances, it doesn’t mean that every player on the team are also on PEDS.

    2. >>you can see how well coach and disciplined are their players.

      Yes, Sherman was so “disciplined” when he took out that Saints WR in the endzone monday night. He’s probably been “well-coached” to not let the refs see those kinds of cheap shots. Doesn’t work all the time.

      1. It wouldn’t surprise me, if Sherman does the same thing again to the 49ers receivers, just his way telling WR don’t get too comfortable.

  43. We know about Staley and Iupati, but I’m skittish about Vance McDonald’s DNP (ankle). Hope VMac can play. I was hoping having more games under his belt would make him a better weapon vs 9-man fronts.

  44. Grant, what are you about 28 or 29 years old? Which would make you about a one year old in 1984 when Young came out of college and about four when Young went to the 49ers?

    I don’t disagree that Wilson is further along than Colin. Wilson came from a Pro style offense so his reads and progressions are going to be more advanced.

    But your comparisons to Young are just way off. Young was a horrible passer in the USFL, with the Buccaneers and even in his early days with the 49ers.

    Here’s a quote about Young when he came to the Niners:

    “Everybody acknowledged that he (Steve Young) was a really good athlete who didn’t perform that well. At the professional level, Steve’ lack of fundamentals had betrayed him. He just didn’t to the quick, explosive players in the NFL. In college, Steve could take his time and throw off his back foot from anywhere on the field, and if he didn’t have a receiver open, he could run. But even in the USFL, pass rushers were getting closer to him, so consequently he flushed from the pocket and started scrambling and running before patterns developed downfield. When he reported to Tampa, the style of football again forced him to run far too often. The patterns simply took too long to develop and he didn’t have alternate receivers. His team was continuously behind so the pass rush was on him every play. Most coaches and general managers of other organizations thought he was too inconsistent to be a starting quarterback, not realizing that with hard work on mechanics and techniques, you can measurably develop a man’s consistency.”
    -Bill Walsh
    The Genius by David Harris pg. 277

  45. The 49ers’ offensive scheme does not fit Kaepernick’s talents, it fits Alex Smith’s talents – choose the best possible play before the snap, manage the game and don’t turn the ball over. The Kaepernick Offense was supposed to revolve around the Pistol and read-option, but the 49ers pretty much scrapped all that back in Week 3 because Frank Gore couldn’t run out of it. The Niners went back to their 2011 base offense instead of creating something new for Kaepernick.

    This is just malarkey and shows a complete misunderstanding of offensive football. Do you really believe that Harbaugh wants Kaepernick to play the checkdown game like Alex Smith? Hmmm…if that was so, why not simply stick with the original Alex Smith? The Niners compressed the passing game for a while while Kaep was struggling. If you’ve watched closely the passing game has opened up more in the past few games. More backs in the flat, more short underneath safety valve options. Harbaugh has said he’d like Kaep to find them more often. That’s because it beats forcing the ball to the same receivers who are covered (because defenses usually focus on covering them). Going to the checkdown is simply the correct read in those situations. But it’s not like Harbaugh wants Kaep to be conservative to the exclusion of bigger play options when they’re there to be made (this was his issue with Alex Smith).

    The offense was supposed to revolve around the read option? Really? Around a single play??? Did it occur to you that you’re right, Kaepernick isn’t as agile and slippery as Russel Wilson so the Seahawks can run more read option plays and roll outs because he can more easily escape those crashing Ends and Linebackers looking to exclusively hit the QB?

    As for Gore not running well out of the read option? He ran in it just fine last year in the read option…in fact he had one of his better yards per carry averages in many years. It’s simple, when defenses see the Pistol formation they stack the box and crash the A Gaps. There’s not much there. Defenses don’t respect the Niner’s ability to pass out of that formation and the personnel groups used in the Pistol. In the past few weeks the Niner’s offense has done a bit of a better job of passing out of the Pistol with play action out with a read option look.

    1. Good rebuttal, affp.

      As for this statement of Grant’s:

      The Kaepernick Offense was supposed to revolve around the Pistol and read-option, but the 49ers pretty much scrapped all that back in Week 3 because Frank Gore couldn’t run out of it.”

      It was obvious they scrapped it back in week 1 against GB. And never considered the read-option as the “Kaepernick Offense” this season. Why? Likely fear of QB injury (remember the pre-season stink JH made over the league’s refusal to grant protection to a QB faking the RO run?) . Realization that it’s not that hard to defense against by competent DCs.

      Grant get off the Gore hating, man!

      1. they still run the read option from time to time. they did at least 2-3 times against the Rams and the Saints too I think. The thing about the Niner offensive philosophy is that it’s based situational play calling. Meaning they’re not going to call for the read option unless they see something that may indicate that it will be more successful than when they usually choose not to call it.

      2. That is true, but IMO the offense wasn’t ever going “revolve” around it as Grant was suggesting it would were it not for Gore.

      3. yup, you’re right. the offense revolves around the power run game. everything else is just match up based opportunity.

  46. Just stop using Young in your columns. You’re bias doesn’t account for Young’s oft-repeated happy-footed mishaps.

    Wilson is Montana-esque. Montana could make plays on the run, while escaping pressure. Montana was Joe Cool. Wilson is Russell Cool.

    Young has never been cool, never. He is the anti-cool, and you should embrace that fact sooner than later.

    1. Wilson shares Young’s ability to run and make people miss and throw on the run and improvise. You’re right, Young was the anti-cool.

      1. Young’s ability to run and make people miss? Huge joke. He ran into and through people, and got his bell rung so often that a hit from a defensive back ended his career. Not only that, he took a decade to become a serviceable QB, and was the reason the Niners failed to reach 6 and 7.

        He was the anti-cool, the not-Joe. And that is his main flaw. Those who champion Young are either too young to have seen Montana (you) or too forgetful to remember what a pathetic loser he was until he finally “took that monkey off his back” (and still is, in the eyes of any fan with his sense aboot him, eh).

  47. Grant, your last 2 paragraphs hit it on the button. A successful coach puts the players in position to succeed, not to seemingly fill his ego by insisting his plan is the one and only.
    Also they need to stop taking each and every play down to the zero on the play clock which makes it soooo easy for the defense to time its rush.

  48. Grant,

    I know it is the Cohn family tradition, or signature dish, is to compare players, coaches etc. Comparing Wilson to Young and Montana is quite silly. Although Fran Tarkenton was before my time, looking at old tapes, Wilson reminds me of him, more then Young and Montana. Overall other then the comparisons, I can’t disagree with anything that was written. I do believe that Kaep will be a much better player next season, he has not even played two entire seasons yet.

    1. Kap has been in the league for three years; Wilson is only in his sophomore year. How many more years does Kap need to be productive like R. Wilson? Maybe give him another two or three years and he’ll probably get the 49ers playbook memorize in his head.

  49. Grant,
    When you say they’ve both played 3 seasons that’s not exactly correct…Wilson’s been Seattle’s starter for 28 (regular season) games, while Kap has started 19. The QB’s come from different offenses in college…so Kap’s adjustment to what Harbaugh wants him to do is a much greater challenge than Wilson’s. You’re right…at this point, Wilson is executing Seattle’s offense better than Kap is. So what. IF Wilson takes the Seahawks to the SB, then we’ll have a better comparison. Until that happens, your points don’t really mean much. The BL is W-L and the playoffs…so to that end, they’re pretty close, really. Styles are different…so are the offenses. If Wilson had to play most of the season without 2 of his top 3 WR’s things might be a little different. Understand Rice is out now, but I’m not sure how he’d compare with Crabtree in terms of importance to their offense(s).

  50. Not to come to Grant’s defense here, because I believe he’s off-base on this QB comparison thing, but he’s dead on right about Frank Gore. To those who argue that Gore isn’t getting his chances because defenses are stacking the box — what do you think defenses did before Harbaugh arrived? We had no passing game to speak of before Harbaugh turned Alice Smith around. Frank Gore was the ONLY consistent weapon we had and defenses loaded up to stop Frank the Tank year after year after year.

    Those were some lonely years for Mr. Gore.

    The Frank Gore in his prime? I remember him. I remember Frank the Tank STEAMROLLING defenders who lined up to stop him. If a defender tried to arm-tackle Frank the Tank? They needed arm reattachment surgery after the game. Smaller defensive backs QUAKED with fear when Gore broke out of the box at full tilt. They KNEW the Big Hurt was coming.

    To be brutally honest? Frank tends to hit the ground at the first tackle attempt now. He’s not breaking tackles like he once did. Defensive backs no longer fear him like they once did. He’s been able to put together some nice late years because the team bulked up with some massive linemen and other run blockers. There are some runs where Frank isn’t touched for the first four or five yards. That’s nice if you’re a running back.

    But the Frank Gore of 2013 cannot compare to the Gore of 2006, 2007 and 2008. In this respect, Grant is correct.

      1. How is it that Gore is sixth in the NFL in yards after contact by RB’s (I believe that’s the ranking that was posted by another commenter)?

    1. I don’t remember Frank being that type of runner Bill. Frank’s asset in the run game has always been two things from my perspective; the first is that he is patient and has always been patient. He will wait for that certain opening that he knows he can fit through which leads to the next point; he has the ability to slip through cracks that other guys don’t even see or bother to try if they do. With his low stature he would get bunched up in piles and then *boop* appear on the other side and run for daylight.

      The Frank Gore the i’ve come to respect and love on this team was never a freight train type running back and I don’t agree with your metaphors at all.

      1. Per PFF ~

        Only 5 running backs in the NFL have more snaps than Gore this season.

        Only 10 backs in the NFL have > 200 attempts. Of those backs Gore has the 7th highest yards after contact average.

  51. This is a fair, if somewhat disheartening, assessment of the state of the quarterback in SF. However, I think what Kap showed us last year was not a mirage and we will see it again. He has the capacity to be great, but for whatever reason, right now he’s a very flawed QB. We can blame it on coaching, scheme, or the receivers, but I note what you call his rejection of being the face of the franchise: This is a glaring indication of immaturity. Granted, it may be exacerbated by a head coach who is himself racalitrant with the press, but any starting QB should understand that it’s part of his job to step up, take the heat, and be the one who answers the questions. What Kap does with the media is a childish kind of monosylabic defiance. In light of his responsibility to his teammates, the franchise, and the league, it’s borderline insubordination… I’m suprised the NFL hasn’t fined him. To me, this shows a young man who has not yet come to terms with the responsibilities of his life. He’s overwhelmed and he trys to hide it with a kind of stone faced defiance. And why should we be surprised? Success came blindingly fast. He went from small school QB, to backup QB, to mega superbowl superstar QB in the blink of an eye. Like Cam Newton, it may take him a couple years to grow into his talent and become a leader and a man.

  52. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Kaepernick show up after a game wearing a beanie with a propeller top, playing with his transformers, while listening to hip hop on his headphones. He shows up to those conferences looking like a little kid being forced to go to church. The guy is so full of himself that he doesn’t realize that someday he’s going to want the press in his corner. The reason he gets those big $$$ is because of all the publicity associated with NFL football. Kaepernick sucks in the clutch, and the only things worse are his press conferences. Get someone else to lead the team, this guys too much of a kid.

  53. Can we all just cut the bull crap and just state that kap is really not that great of a qb. Seems like you guys are looking for a slib er of hope that je will get better. The proof is in the pudding Wilson has elevated his game to mvp like status while cap has regressed lile rg3 and luck. Wilson is here to stay.

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