49ers 32, Rams 48: Grades

Los Angeles Rams defensive end Aaron Donald (99) dives after San Francisco 49ers quarterback Nick Mullens during the first half in an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 30, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

The LA Rams just beat the 49ers 48-32. Here are the 49ers’ grades:

NICK MULLENS: B-PLUS. Threw for 282 yards, three touchdowns and three interceptions almost a year to the day after Jimmy Garoppolo threw for 292 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions against the Rams backups. And yet, people still say Garoppolo is vastly superior to Mullens. I say they’re roughly even and both have lots to learn.

Despite what you may think of Garoppolo, he would not have won this game – he would have struggled early for the same reasons Mullens did. Mullens had no protection. He threw one interception because his arm got tipped. Not his fault. He threw another interception as he got hit in the chest, an interception that was an accurate jump ball intended for tight end George Kittle, who has a 38.5-inch vertical leap. But, Kittle couldn’t outjump strong safety John Johnson for the ball. Again, not Mullens’ fault. He gave his playmaker a chance to make a play.

The third interception was 100-percent on Mullens – he forced a pass over the middle to Richie James, and the Rams returned the interception for a touchdown. Mullens was pressing, but he settled down and played well the rest of the game. Did not quit, as his defense did. Threw three touchdown passes and led the offense to 32 points. Mullens vastly outperformed the No. 1 quarterback on the trade market, Teddy Bridgewater, who today threw for 118 yards in a loss to the Carolina Panthers. Some team will want Mullens this offseason, and may offer the 49ers a second-round pick to get him. Will the 49ers accept?

RUNNING BACKS: B. Jeff Wilson Jr. injured his shoulder on his second carry of the game, and did not return. Alfred Morris replaced him, and rushed 16 times for 111 yards (6.9 per attempt) and one touchdown. Morris was the offense’s most valuable player today. The offense could not have functioned without him – he was the only healthy running back. Fullback Kyle Juszczyk carried the ball twice and fumbled once. Some “offensive weapon.”

WIDE RECEIVERS: B-PLUS. Kendrick Bourne caught five passes for 59 yards and a touchdown. He had the best game of his career. He’s intriguing because he’s young, he makes jumping catches over defensive backs and he’s the 49ers’ best weapon in the red zone. This season, he got 12 red-zone targets, caught nine red-zone passes and scored four red-zone touchdowns. Kyle Shanahan should have given Bourne more opportunities in that area of the field. Ditto for Richie James, who caught a nine-yard touchdown pass today. Both he and Bourne flashed promise for the future. Slot receiver Trent Taylor did not. He caught three short passes and picked up zero first downs. The 49ers need a new slot receiver.

TIGHT ENDS: A-MINUS. George Kittle caught nine passes for 149 yards and one touchdown. He put up great numbers and helped lots of fantasy football players win lots of fantasy football games. But, as usual, he didn’t help the 49ers win a real game. He is the physical embodiment of all Kyle Shanahan’s faults: lots of yards; minimal points and wins.

Kittle finished the season with just five touchdown catches. He has seven total during his career. And he’s not a threat in the red zone. In 2018, the 49ers targeted him 22 times in the red zone – he caught just 12 passes and scored only two touchdowns. Today, he dropped a pass in the end zone, and allowed another one to get tipped to the Rams for an interception.

But, he did set the NFL record for most receiving yards in a season by a tight end – a terrific accomplishment. One he could have celebrated after the game or the next day. Instead, he celebrated on the sideline during a blowout loss. Posed and smiled for a picture with teammates and assistant head coach Jon Embree while the 49ers defense was on the field. You would have thought the 49ers were winning. Terrible look for Kittle, Embree and Kyle Shanahan. Any self-respecting head coach would have slapped the camera away and screamed at Kittle in front of everyone. That’s how to change a culture of losing, which is what the 49ers have. Bill Walsh understood that. Even a terrible head coach like Mike Singletary understood that basic truth.

OFFENSIVE LINEMEN: F. Mike McGlinchey looked like a stiff for the third week in a row. He does not seem ready to play left tackle next season. Laken Tomlinson suffered a knee injury – the 49ers may need to replace him this season. And they definitely need to replace center Weston Richburg and right guard Mike Person as well. They can’t hold their ground against NFL defensive linemen. The 49ers must overhaul their interior O-line this offseason if they expect Garoppolo to stay healthy and play well in 2019.

DEFENSIVE LINEMEN: F. Never sacked Jared Goff and touched him only twice all game. Couldn’t set the edge against the run. Quit midway through second quarter. DeForest Buckner and Solomon Thomas made no impact, and Cassius Marsh almost seemed like he was playing for the Rams. He created superhighways for their running backs.

LINEBACKERS: C-MINUS. Fred Warner and Elijah Lee combined to make 24 tackles, but too often got knocked back and dragged for extra yards. Both need to get stronger this offseason.

SAFETIES: F. Marcell Harris was lost in pass coverage all game, and gave up two touchdown catches. Antone Exum Jr. gave up one touchdown when he missed a tackle and hit a teammate. The 49ers still need safeties. What don’t the 49ers need?

CORNERBACKS: D-MINUS. Either Richard Sherman quit at halftime or the coaching staff told him not to play. Either way, a real leader would have stayed on the field with his teammates, as Fred Warner did. I never want to hear another person call Sherman a leader of this team. He’s all about himself. After he left the game, his replacement, Greg Mabin, gave up a touchdown catch to backup slot receiver Josh Reynolds.

SPECIAL TEAMS: A. Robbie Gould was perfect and Bradley Pinion kicked one punt that landed inside the Rams 20-yard line.

COACHES: F. The 49ers played played three good games in a row at home and seemed to show growth. Then, they went on the road, got blown out and showed they haven’t grown one bit. The 49ers are the same undisciplined, unprepared team they always have been under Kyle Shanahan. The same awful team that got blown out by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers just a month ago.

The 49ers should be better. They have talent, as they showed during the past three home games. But, they’re poorly coached. That’s why their road record this season was 0-8. Poorly coached teams always seem unprepared on the road.

Shanahan didn’t have his offense prepared to face the Rams. His players couldn’t execute even the simplest plays until late in the second quarter. You would have thought they didn’t practice last week. And when the offense finally figured things out, the defense already had quit. Shanahan didn’t seem to mind. All he seemed to care about was Kittle’s record.

Shanahan may improve one day. But against the Rams, the 49ers could have used a real head coach. A leader. Not a mannequin with a headset.

This article has 316 Comments

    1. Mullens needs to compete for a starting position next season. OTA’s and camp should tell a great deal. Niners way overpaid Jimmy G. for unknown p[roductivity. No telling if Jimmy G. fully comes back from his injury. No mention of how Garnett played after Tomlinson went down. Does Garnett stay for next year?. He is a former first rounder and has hardly played due mainly to injuries.

    2. I agree. Kittle is a gem with a great work ethic, tough, durable, and self-motivated. I am fine for him getting excited during a losing contest. Why? Because the fans, the players, the coaches, and the league need to know the 49ers have sound building block reasons to cheer and feel good about their team. Even while we were losing, Kittle deceptively proved he was a leader. With his speed and strength and skills and hands, Kittle is who we thought we would be getting when we drafted Vance McDonald.

  1. First winless season on the road since 1979.

    Comments on Mullens/Garoppolo are spot on.

    Defense started ok but was getting blown off the ball by early in the second half.

    Would like to see Garnett get the nod inside. Think he’s more stout than given credit for. Could step in at either guard spot next season as the starter.

    Thanks for all the work this season Grant. The next 12 months will be very interesting in Santa Claraland.

      1. Thanks for all you do, Grant, to keep us informed. I look forward to your updates over the next several months. The offseason will make or break this team for 2019. We need a great draft and many talented FA’s to compete.

        1. I agree, keep up the good work Grant… will miss the periscopes for a while. Happy New Year and can’t wait for the draft and your camp video reports.

    1. Nor sure what to make of this team! They have some players but can’t seem to put it together.

      I keep hoping a few players will make a difference but games like this make me wonder.

      1. They need a few players at key positions to be a team that competes for the playoffs. They need a bit more time and talent to be a real SB threat though.

      2. They have some players and many are injured and others are very young. The expectations were inflated going into the season and weren’t realistic after losing so many to injury.

      3. The team is not good. Cheap wins at the end of the season have a lot of people thinking things aren’t as dire as they were in the beginning of the year but they are.

        We don’t have a head coach. We don’t have a general manager. So, you can’t rely or expect the team to grow and improve at this point. The players aren’t coaching and training themselves and they sure aren’t drafting or signing anybody new so since there isn’t anyone to do that at the moment the team isn’t going anywhere.

        Next year will be a lot of the same. We’ll lose close games to decent teams, beat the bad ones and get destroyed by the really good ones.

        This team wont sniff the playoffs again until they have a new head coach and general manager.

        1. True…KS and Lynch better kick it up a few notches and draft well. Grant is right. The coaching and games calls need to improve much. Hope JG will be back healthy the whole season and plays great.

    2. Spot on …. as in laughable!

      If Mullens is comperable to Garoppolo, the 49ers should have no problem securing a 2nd round pick for him, right Hammer & Grant?

      We’ll see how many offers the 49ers get for Mullens. I suggest you guys shouldn’t hold your breath!

      News alert: If you think there are any NFL scouts, or GM’s, who think Mullens is in Jimmy’s league, then I suggest you might want to find a new hobby, because those scouts do not exists.

      And boy oh boy, if you could be this wrong about the most important position in the NFL … well then, I question why you even bother follow the sport, to be honest with you!

  2. We have talent, but lack coaching? Lol, okay Grant. We’re starting a 3rd string QB, 4th string RB (whom got hurt early), our starting WRs are #4, #5, and #6 on death chart. We have undrafted players in Mabin, Elijah Lee, and Exum starting on defense.

    And somehow you seem stunned that we couldn’t compete with one of the best teams in the entire NFL?

    Laughable.

    1. Grant never acknowledges that the 9ers are on backup players. He just loves to slam players that may have had a bad game. “Kittle is the embodiment of Shanahan’s faults”. LOL

  3. I think you’re too kind to Mullens here, again. Yes, the OL was awful, especially at the start of the game when the damage was done, but Mullens also made bad decisions and tried to force passes with defenders draped all over him. Sometimes taking the sack actually is the right play. Or throwing it away if possible.

    And no, JG wouldn’t likely have fared any better. But you would have crucified him for those decisions.

    With that said, I think the 49ers QB room looks a lot better heading into next year with Mullens the backup. I wouldn’t trade him unless they get a great offer.

    1. I gave Garoppolo a B last year for posting a passer rating of 84 against the Rams backups. You don’t know what you’re talking about.

      1. No losing QB with 3 interceptions should receive a B grade. You’ve again lost your objectivity, not uncommon when you become enamored with a player. You are clearly grading through the eyes of a fan when you watch Mullens.

        I don’t disagree terribly with the statement that he and JG might not be that far in separation but today was no B+ and it’s not the first time you’ve graded him much higher then he deserved.

        1. The reason Grant talks up Mullens is because Mullens represents a Shanahan (and Lynch) weakness in Grants eyes – the inability to recognize talent.

        2. Mullens played better today than Garoppolo did last year when he beat the Rams backups. And I gave Garoppolo a B last year. Mullens deserves a higher grade even though his team lost. He was playing with backups and facing Rams starters.

  4. “And yet, people still say Garoppolo is vastly superior to Mullens. I say they’re roughly even…”

    Not really though.

    “Today, he dropped a pass in the end zone, and allowed another one to get tipped to the Rams for an interception.”

    Are you talking about that ugly throw by Mullens where he missed a wide open Kittle for the TD? And also Kittle is responsible for Mullens’ INT? You are clearly biased.

    “Either Richard Sherman quit at halftime or the coaching staff told him not to play. Either way, a real leader would have stayed on the field with his teammates, as Fred Warner did. I never want to hear another person call Sherman a leader of this team.”

    Ridiculous hot take. You admit that you don’t know if the coaching staff pulled him, but you have no problem saying that Sherm isn’t a leader.

    1. Yeah, those “drops” by Kittle were all on Mullens/ OL. Mullens flat out missed Kittle when he was wide open on one. The other (the INT) was a flutter ball after Mullens got hit when Kittle was double covered. The DB always had the advantage on that one as the hit forced the ball to the wrong spot and floated.

      1. Mullens hit Kittle in the hands in the end zone during the second quarter and Kittle dropped it. Mullens threw the ball away from Mark Barron where only Kittle could catch it.

        1. Mullens hit Kittle in ONE out outstretched hand, in between double coverage. Kelce might’ve been able to pull that one in on his best day. A better throw is a TD.

          Then you don’t mention at all Mullens total miss of a wide open kittle in the endzone. What gives?

          I know you wrote a piece about how good Mullens is, how he might be better than Jimmy G and how Shanahan doesn’t praise him enough. But that doesn’t mean you should ignore or sugar coat Mullens deficiencies or turn a blind eye to HIS mistakes.

          Two of Mullens ints were on him, can’t argue otherwise. Two of his TDs came against backups. He was bad in the first half, decent in the third and good in the 4th against backups. That’s the truth.

          1. One of the INTs was on Mullens. One was on Kittle. And Kittle did drop a perfect pass in the end zone. He’s a bad red-zone target.

  5. Nobody knows if Mullen’s and Garoppolo are equal. Garoppolo has not played enough to make that statement. That will be played out next season and I would not trade Mullen’s for a second, we need him as security if Garoppolo gets hurt or plays badly.
    Richburg has a banged up knee that may need surgery , and overall KS is satisfied with him. Tomlinson is not great so they need to address that. I hope we trade down the second pick to address the defense among other positions.

  6. Grant, given that you (we) don’t know why Sherman didn’t go back on the field, isn’t it a little presumptuous to vilify him as being selfish and not a team leader?

    1. Just speculating on my part, but I surmise that RS went ballistic in the locker room during halftime. Maybe he said that KS should hire an OC. That is why they took away his helmet, and did not let him play in the second half.

  7. Incredibly important offseason. 49ers must find weapons to join JG and Kittle. WR, RB, and O-line are priorities. They must also find edge Rush, CB, and safety help. This team is still at least 2 years from respectability. They must trade Mullens and maybe Beathard if he has any value. Sign a veteran QB backup and build thru the draft.

          1. I don’t have a bias against them.

            Sure you don’t, and I’m a multi-billionaire that earned my wealth by opening a fortune cookie.

          2. Grant, I heard a few minutes of your interview this morning on the game. You despise both Lynch and Shanahan , saying both should be fired after two seasons The bias that you have affects your logic. Let’s face facts you have a Bromance with.Mullins. B plus with 3 picks,. Is that on a curve or did Mullins do any extra work after class?

            1. I don’t despise them. I simply have the courage of my convictions and the ability to project rather than wait until everybody sees the obvious.

              1. Don’t listen to these idoits Grant. You didn’t say you “despised” them, when people are wrong they need to exaggerate. In the mid season you said they were on a hot seat which most times is correct if your team you manage and coach are having a losing season AGAIN with 2 wins. But with Mullens and the D was good for a while, they won a couple more games, then you said they were off the seat. Hope the 49ers win 10 games next year and you’ll give credit due where it belongs like you always do….Morons!!

  8. Oh, and a B+ for Mullens’ performance is a huge stretch. I’d say the same if it were Jimmy G, Aaron Rodgers, or Tom Brady. Poor offensive line play or not, he still stared down receivers, made inaccurate throws, and multiple poor (or at least questionable) decisions. He’s got heart and determination, and that will possibly make him a successful starter someday. But he’s not there yet. And I highly doubt anyone offers a 2nd round pick for him. I’d love to be proven wrong and will happily eat crow if such a trade happens, but I just think your detest for all things Shanahan is clouding your judgement.

    1. Seems to me people are missing some major deficiencies in Mullens game that causes his interceptions. Mullens has a weak arm and below average athleticism for an NFL QB. His pocket presence isn’t all that great and when he does decide to exit the pocket he makes that decision too late and he doesn’t have the footspeed to get away from NFL d-lineman. He tends to throw off his back foot in traffic even when it’s unnecessary. It’s ok to say some Int’s weren’t Mullens fault because he was getting hit but he was getting hit because his pocket presence was poor and his decision making late. Best case scenario is some team has a Charley Casserly clone running their personnel dept and he gives up the farm for Mullens thinking he’s the next Drew Brees.

  9. You can’t even let Kittle enjoy it. Who cares if he was happy? Nobody expected them to win this game anyway and he’s been a bright spot on a bad team. You’re a miserable human being.

  10. Stupid season….

    Lots of good and bad…

    Who was the moron that said Cousins was worth $84 mil guarantee…….show your face and eat some crow…..

    1. You lost this argument a long time ago. It’s no surprise you are back trying to claim some shred of dignity after being wrong about everything you said regarding him and Shanahan and how the league viewed him but that ship has sailed.

      1. Lol…wow…why are you trying to rewrite the argument…

        It was very simple….i said Cousins was not worth 84 mil and I backed up my claim by pointing out he does have good stats but never wins the game……and you argued Cousins is worth 84 mil…blah blah blah

        Well you could be right next season but right now you were wrong and I am yet to be disproved…

        Not easy trying to find your quotes but came up with one just has drunk as yours…..

        I’m not as sold on Philly. I could see Minnesota in the SB with Cousins.

        Another funny quote …this time from Grant

        They got rid of lots of key players on defense, including Marcus Peters, the best corner in the NFL. They also have an inexperienced quarterback, Patrick Mahomes, who’s basically a rookie. He started only one game last season. The Chiefs will take a step back.

        1. I didn’t rewrite anything. You said Cousins wasn’t viewed highly around the league and Shanahan wasn’t interested. Both statements were proved wrong which is why I said you already lost that argument.

          A player is worth what a team is willing to pay him. A few teams wanted him which is why he got the deal he did. Things didn’t go as planned for Minny but the QB position isn’t their problem. They had an ol that was awful and couldn’t hold up in pass pro or develop a consistent run game.

          1. You said Cousins wasn’t viewed highly around the league and Shanahan wasn’t interested. 

            I understand lots of people were arguing that and it’s easy for you to mis-assign…..not going to hold you to that.

            My argument with you was Cousins was not worth that $84 mil guarantee…..simple…

            With his numbers of course he would be viewed highly in the league and having been drafted by KS, not sure how anyone will question a reunion….

            I stand corrected K. Cousins was not worth $84 mil and the Vikings overpaid for an average QB……

  11. Smh. Same old nonsense week after week. Constant criticism of Coaching that shows little understanding of it and vain attempts at being the loudmouth who thinks he knows more than everyone or is trying to garner attention.

    Lots of work to do for this team in the draft and FA, but getting players healthy and keeping them that way is the key.

  12. Grant grades are ok too harsh on the OL.
    Your bias against the HC and coaching staff borders on the ridiculous. Grow up young man!

  13. I don’t care about the grades. We all probably have slightly different opinions. However, the harshness of your comments is outrageous. Some of your comments besides being stupid, are extremely cruel. If you are this way in your personal life, it must be very very lonely.

    1. Cruel? this team is 4-12, not 12-4. Grant may be a little too harsh in some areas, but he is spot on overall.
      .
      Guess what? A lot of coaches are about to lose their jobs. This is just a fact of life in the NFL. The only reason KS will not be fired is because he has a 6 year contract.

      1. You are wrong just like you are wrong on just about everything that you write. Name me one other writer that sayes he should be fired. I hear just the opposite.

        1. Name any 4 or less win coach who has not been fired. TB, Cleveland, GB, Miami, Arizona, Jets, Denver all fired their HCs. Maybe Cincy next.
          .
          That 6 year contract is saving his arse.

          1. No Seb. A massive slew of injuries, the team being in the beginning stages of a long-term rebuild, and the fact that he was able to get production out of practice squad players is why Shanahan is still the coach. Anyone that makes an actual effort to think about it can see that.

            1. Mid, I look at the way KS imploded, and could not finish games, just like his coaching in the SB, and marvel that he still has a job. The lack of focus and preparations, and the lack of discipline, were areas that were deficient, and the coaching was incompetent. KS still wasted 2 time outs last game.
              .
              Broncos went 6-10, and the Dolphins went 7-9, and both HCs were fired.

              1. Your comment about the contract saving Shanahan is ridiculous nonetheless, and using two fired coaches that were not in a rebuild process with their former teams is not a valid argument.

      2. Sebs-

        Digging out from Bulky’s mess AND dealing with all of these injuries—-what would you have done different, given the depth this team currently has?

  14. Yup, I’m all to familiar with the predictable narrative – It’s never Magnificent Mullins’ fault it’s always Shanahan.
    And now Kittle’ record season is only favorable for fantasy players (lol).

    Yes, McGlinchey has looked like a rookie, but he’s also held his own more often than not – but who’s counting?
    Donald was disruptive but there’s a reason why he’s garnered 20+ sacks this year. Aaron is the best defensive player in the league. And I don’t know of any other rookie Olinemen that has had any success going against him – since AD’ rookie season.

    I do agree that this team will need to address some area’s that were sorely missed this season.
    Such as:
    Getting a full season from our starting QB.
    Getting a full season from our starting RB.
    Getting consistent production from a full LB corps.
    Getting a Pass-Rusher who can actually get to the QB.
    Getting WR’s that can play for a full season.
    Securing a secondary that can stay on the field and build cohesiveness.
    And shoreing up the Oline to protect the GOLDEN BOY not named Mullens and creating running lanes for Shanahan’ O-machine to work on all cylinders.

    1. Agree with what you said but with respect to Donald it looked like the 49ers prepared by pretending he wasn’t there. You have to make some adjustments when facing him or he’ll do what he did to us. The 49ers continue to look like a team with a system that doesn’t take into account the individual players they have. Phillips and McVay flat out coached our famously talented HC/OC IMHO. if the teams swapped coaches the 49ers would have blown out the Rams. There needs to be more basic fundamentally solid football and less scheming and trickery.

      1. If the teams would have swapped players Kyle’s team would have won easily. You act like haveing good recievers a great o line and d line mean nothing. Talent does matter.
        I’m not saying Kyle is great… He might not be… But yesterday he had about 3 guys that would have started for the Rams. That kind of discrepancy in talent leads to blowouts.

        1. We agree to disagree. I can think of enough plays that I believe can be attributable to poor coaching that would have made up the difference in the score. Also, turning the first two scores into TD’s instead of field goals were way too easy and was an example of being out-coached. Sorry, I have hopes that KS and Saleh are the answer to our future but he is way behind the team of McVay and Phillips, and swapping coaches could have made the difference despite the talent differential. We could have, and IMO should have beaten the Bears last week and the Bears beat the Rams. Talent is important but not absolutely necessary with proper coaching.

      2. Sorry Whine, but this is oversimplifying things. McVay came into a situation where most of the pieces were already in place for him and needed to the right person to put it all together, which was similar to what Jim Harbaugh fell into with the 49ers. Meanwhile, Shanahan came into a situation where a lot of work needed to be done.

      3. Whine,
        While Donald is the heart of the rams defense they have other players that must be accounted for.
        Donald had a good game but imo he did not wreak havoc like I’ve seen him do against other teams. The 49ers were beat by the entirety of the rams defense yesterday.
        Brockers, Talib, Peters, Barron, Littleton and others played a part in our defeat.

        We could talk on and on about McVay out coaching Shanahan, but having the high talent level McVay has should warrant a win when they play against us.

        Speaking of coaches and team talent, I would venture that Alabama could beat some teams without Saban on the field by virtue of their talent.
        Steve Kerr let the Warriors players coach themselves in a game last year (which they won) because of their talent level.

        Point: Yes, coaches need to prepare and be able to put their team in best position to win.
        But they also need team talent to achieve success.
        Lynch and Shanahan are still working towards that level.
        McVay walked into a perfect situation.

  15. Grant. You’re trash. All of your articles about the 49ers are trash. There is always a good side and bad side. But you always tear into the negative side always about 49Ers. Do have really hate the Niners that much? Jimmy hasn’t played that much so don’t judge him bad yet stupid.. You are fired stupid Grant!

      1. You seem like you hate the Niners. Every nlf teams have bad sides. You never write any articles about Niners good side. All you write is negative. You’re such an asshole. I stop reading your articles months now. I just went straight to the comment because i already knew what on the articles.

      2. The *bad* bad side: They lost 12 instead of 13.

        Grant, are you already composing the article about Lynch blowing the draft with the second pick? Not that it won’t be warranted, because he probably will. If he had the first overall pick and been “forced” to take Bosa — as he would have been forced to take Myles Garrett if Cleveland hadn’t intentionally tanked that season — then his opportunity for failure would be averted. As it is, god knows what he does or who he takes — hopefully not another Stanford bust — but whatever, the outcome is likely to be similar to what happens to a driver with a blood alcohol level four times the legal limit during rush hour.

  16. Grades seem a little over the top. Mullens deserves a C at most because of his 3 picks.
    .
    The O line did let the Niners run for over a hundred yards, but a lot of that was on the big run of Morris. They gave up 3 sacks and constant pressure, so a D- is the most they should receive.
    .
    D line probably does deserve an F, because of no pass rush, and giving up 163 yards until the kneeldowns. They let Goff play so untouched, they probably do not need to wash his uniform. Armstead was a non factor, and Marsh pulled a Bellore. He not only jumped out of the gap they ran through, he blocked his own players.
    .
    The safeties do not deserve an F, because the D line was impotent. They let Josh Reynolds have a big day, but they also made some stops. They deserve a D.
    .
    Yes, the coaching was pathetic, because of the lack of preparations, but I would only give them a D. Why? Because they did score 3 TDs in the second half, where as in a couple other games, they were shut out in the second half. The play calling was way too predictable, with predictable results, but the play calling improved during the game. They even went bold, and went for it on 4th down, and i actually saw some bubble screens.
    .
    All in all, I am glad this season is over, and glad everyone recognizes that they have a lot to do. Trading back is smart, and they should trade back a couple times to get as many draft picks as possible.

  17. Along with your other bias’s ( probably just tying to instill enough controversy to create clicks though out the off season ) your take on Kittle celebrating was just absurd. Even after his score they had no serious chance of winning this game what-so-ever. In fact the only valid reason for even playing this game or watch it ,was to see if Kittle would get his record. It was a meaningless game that at that point they had no chance of winning. Your comments on this, take is totally to get people to respond and it certainly works. I must admit it is sometimes entertaining to wait to see what sort of BS you come up with each weak to respond too. It sort of like completing some of the puzzles that they used to have on the funny pages for readers to solve.

    Besides that many of us were happy they did not win this meaningless game to maintain a better draft position. The started with a 14 point handycap and still made a partial comeback, playing well in the process. In this case a moral victory was better than an actual victory. For the same reason it was smart to shut down Sherman for the year. It was obvious that he had been playing most of this season less than a 100% anyway. The Rams kept Gurley out and they needed this win.

      1. KS record 10-22. At this rate, instead of thinking about when the 49ers make the playoffs, we should be betting on whether Kyle can get to .500 before his contract is up. Remember though, no head coach has gone more than 3 years in the York era. Gonna take 14-2 to make it!

              1. For cryin out loud, Sebs-quit slurpin!! Grant sure as H doesn’t need you hovering over him like that!
                U think he cant defend himself???????????

            1. I gave Harbaugh his due and correctly pointed out Greg Roman’s incompetence when the rest of the league thought he was a genius and future head coach.

  18. Looking at the last game, the Colts showed how trading back in the draft helped rebuild the team, and how important their QB was for their success. A healthy Luck helped immensely, while an injured Mariota doomed the Titans. Gabbert pulled a Gabbert.

    1. Colts, a team that when the Niners lost to them, Grant said was “going nowhere”. We’re are wrong sometimes. Like those Giants making the playoffs. We’re all wrong a lot of times.

  19. If we get 2-3 impact players from the draft and 2 in FA we will be better, ok our record isn’t all that but our losing seasons with Shanny are far more encouraging than when we had Erickson,Nolan,Samurai Mike,Tomsula and Chipster as a HC.PERIOD!
    But it starts with a Edge rusher but we need to see if Bosa will be the real deal or guys like Allen,Ferrell,Sweat and Polite who have more questions market than Bosa on all reports.

    1. Bosa will be the real deal. For the Cards. And with the “quality” of our OL, he may put Jimmy G. on IR by the end of the first game of the season next year.

  20. I wish to disagree with Grant about JG. I do think JG would have done better. He would have had a quicker release, and not have his arm hit while throwing. JG would also not have had such rookie mistakes that Mullens fell victim to. JG is also more mobile than Mullens, and if he rolled out, he would have had less pressure on him.
    .
    No matter what, the O line played poorly, and allowed way too much pressure on Mullens. Thankfully, Mullens has shown that he can be accurate, when given time, so he will still be coveted by a team like Washington. If another team offers a second round pick for Mullens, the Niners should seriously consider it. Maybe add a conditional second the following year. If the team that trades for Mullens has a winning record, the Niners would also get a 2020 second round pick.

      1. IICRC, Garoppolo was still learning the system, the Niners dominated the Rams, and JG was unfamiliar with his receivers. The Niners won the game.
        .
        This last game, Mullens has had 2 years in the system, Rams gave up yards and TDs during the garbage time, and Kittle was fully healthy. The Rams blew out the Niners.

    1. That is the point. There are many talented edge rushers in this draft. If the Niners can trade back 4 or 5 spots to a QB hungry team and get additional picks in the second and third round, they should do that.
      .
      Bosa is considered elite by most pundits, but after that, no one pass rusher stands out.
      .
      I wanted Landry last draft, but KS wanted to move on from Brown. In hindsight, guess who proved to be right?
      .
      The Niners should trade back, and draft a second pass rusher with one of their additional picks.

  21. Laken Tomlinson suffered a knee injury – the 49ers may need to replace him this season.

    Had Tomlinson not gotten hurt, he’d played every snap in every game since he became a 49er. He’s a warrior and he’s improved steadily in Kyle’s scheme. He may have suffered a serious injury, hopefully not an ACL tear. To call for his replacement is pretty pathetic. no doubt plays well with Grant’s few acolytes on this blog…

    I never want to hear another person call Sherman a leader of this team. He’s all about himself.

    Trust me, few people care what Grant thinks about Sherman. Sherman is a team leader because individual players, including those in offense (e.g., Grant’s golden boy Mullens) have stated that without being asked. Kyle pulled Sherman at that stage of the game because Kyle’s smart.

    1. I’m sad to see what happened to Tomlinson but to suggest that those who don’t think he should be replaced are unreasonable or “pathetic” is inappropriate. Grant is Grant and he’s not at all ashamed of the positions he takes. One thing that is clear to me is that when there is a disagreement it is a poster, like you in this case, Mood, who resorts to personal slurs to argue your position in disagreement. Never once have I seen Grant resort to that tactic when defending himself. Reasonable people disagree on things. Only unreasonable people resort to personal attacks which adds nothing to support their position. Consider the possibility that “Grant and his few acolytes’ know more than you think they do and this blog is not a democratic exercise where the majority is able to deem themselves to be correct.

      1. So sorry to have offended your sensibilities about Grant, Whine.

        I forgot that Grant has special privileges to deride and be utterly dismissive about players, coaches and team executives while not being criticized for his fatuous remarks.

        I apologize and unequivocally retract my critique. Grant’s advise that Nines should consider cutting Tomlinson who just won the Bobb McKittrick award should be treated with great deference and consideration, just like we should the views of our country’s chief executive on strategic defense relationships because that’s the latter’s job, right?

        1. You can disagree with someone without the derogatory personal comments. You seem like one of the more educated among the group so I’m surprised you resort to those tactics. Disagree with Grant as you please and there is never a need to apologize to me for disagreeing – that is unless you make it about my person and not my position. By analogy, your position with Grant reminds me of a person who goes to Ford dealership and then commences to debate how the Chevy’s are so much better. Grant does what Grant does – he’s never made it personal like you did – and arguing with him is precisely what he wants you to do. Anyone who has a problem with that should look closer to home for the solution.

          1. “he’s never made it personal like you did”

            The Anthony Davis blogs were very personal on Grants part. That’s stupid on your part whine country. Quit sniffing Grants jock.

        2. Mood, we all get snarky. However, you think that Grant is like a coach, whose job it is to be positive with praise. When in actuality, Grant is part of the media, and his job is to be critical when deserved. This team is 4-12, not 12-4, so they should be criticized as a 4-12 team.
          .
          I like your posts, even the screeds against me. At least you try to use logic and facts to bolster your positions.

  22. I’m probably the only one who thinks Mullens is not that much better than Beathard. At best a C+ today against the Rams. Mullens cannot throw a deep ball, a problem in the NFL. Okay, Mullens had a good game against a terrible Raiders team. But the most competitive game the 49ers played this year against a good team: losing 33-30 at Green Bay. And the first half of that game probably their best half all year. And Beathard the QB.

    1. Beathard is better than Mullens. Not really a debate IMO. Mullens stats are certainly better than Beathard but that also has to do with competition and other factors. Both guys are backups. Trade them both for picks and sign a veteran FA.

      1. Come on guys it’s clearly that Mullins is a much better QB than Beathard,the poise , the pocket presence and natural ability Beathard can dream of this only his arm is stronger but he has less finesse.

        1. Mullens is a gamer and I root for the kid. BUT, There’s a reason Mullens was at Southern Miss and Beathard at Iowa. There’s a reason Mullens was an UDFA and Beathard drafted in the 3rd round. I totally disagree on Mullens pocket presence. I see him as below average in his pocket presence. At the end of the day, it really doesn’t matter – both guys are backup quality QBs.

          1. Mullens has outperformed Beathard since high school. People just thought Mullens’ production wouldn’t carry over to the next level, but it has.

          2. And which college Brett Favre played? ;-)
            Teams overlooked him and did bad scouting probably.
            Than we disagree cuz I find his pocket présence very solid.
            I don’t see Mullins as a backup.

            1. Well I’m willing to give professional NFL scouts a little more credit than rando blog commenters. IMO Mullens and Beathard are career backups. If Lynch agrees with me but other NFL teams agree with you about Mullens then the 49ers could have a very valuable trade chip. If you’re the Jags, Broncos, Redskins, Giants, Bucs, or Dolphins would you give up a #1 pick for Nick Mullens? If you believe Mullens is an NFL starting QB caliber player then it seems to me the bidding starts at a #1 pick.

              1. Scouts are also humans they miss also a lot.
                Sure at this moment Beathard looks nothing more than a backup.
                Mullens has shown that he’s capable to manage a offense.
                So you say every starting QB is worth a shot?! Every team has there own unpredictable rating of players.

              2. How much is Mullen’s propped up by KS’s system? I read somewhere about NM having a stat where his receivers have one of the highest separation grades in the NFL.

  23. lol at the Mullen’s and coaching grades.
    Hard to prepare a team who was using their pre season roster, and it’s hard for that team to look at alll like an nfl caliber team when their QB gives the other team 21 straight points.

    And no JG wouldn’t have thrown those balls. He is better in the pocket and would have taken the sacks instead of giving the other team the ball. And his release is much quicker so more than likely his arm wouldn’t have been hit while passing. Those little things are the reason JG will be starting and is a little better than Mullens.

    1. So Mullens “gave the other team 21 straight points”. I missed that. I only saw one pick six. The other times I thought I saw a defense on the field who forgot that you can force a team to kick a field goal. (Then it’s 37-32) BTW, when Richie James Jr. gets a little more experience, he’ll know how to stop a defender from jumping that route. And maybe Kyle will design a play that doesn’t leave a defender in center field watching the QB’s eyes and essentially double covering James. The game is already a contest between 10 offensive guys and 11 defensive guys. Best not to make it less than 10 offensive guys. Just another way of looking at things.

      1. No… it’s points when those picks aren’t even past the 20. Mullen’s gave them those points . And you expect the defense to stop one of the best offenses in the league easily? You can’t turn the ball over against a team like this. Qb’s get the wins. They get losses too.

  24. That whole article is a joke, Mullens B+ hehehe because he lost that game before it really started. And his epic almost comeback.
    OK Skip…

  25. If Garoppolo was playing yesterday you would have given him a D- for that performance lol…… Look, I like Mullens but Jimmy G he is not. That should be apparent once again when Jimmy takes the reins next year.

    As for the coaching grade its funny no mention of Saleh…… The offense was still fighting the entire game which has been comprised heavily of second and third stringers for some time (including the last 3 games you highlight). It takes a good coach to get those guys competitive against superior teams unlike the defensive side which clearly quit on Saleh…. That “pedestrian Jared Goff” as you put it passed threw 4 TDs for a 121.6 rating and that scrub Anderson ran for 132 yds on 23 carries (5.7 average). Can’t imagine how much worse it would have been if Gurley was playing :/ The D regressed from last year giving up more points this season….. Want Shanahan fired? That could very well eventually happen if he doesn’t wake up and kick his fraud of a DC to the curb.

    1. I gave Garoppolo a B for throwing two picks and posting a QB rating of 84 against the Rams backups last season.

      Fair points about Saleh.

    2. Red – Good analysis. I share your opinion on Saleh. Even Chip Kelly got the 49ers ready to play the Rams. They’re not that good. Donald moves around and does what he wants to disrupt things. You had to know that Phillips would try to use him to overwhelm McGlinchey the rookie. This coaching staff projects like they know they don’t have the talent and are going to just wait it out, and a lot on this board agree. They are better than 4-12 IMHO and it’s not the players. Finally, I agree with Grant that the show put on with and for Kittle because of his personal record, under the circumstances was very bad optics, and optics matter. The bucks stops with KS on that one.

  26. The niners would be better served keeping Mullens and trading Garappolo due to 2 reasons. Salary cap and inability to stay healthy. Mullens has as much upside as Garappolo and has something Beathard doesn’t, the team rallied behind his start and won. The offensive line has been a sieve all season and would stunt ANY Quarterback’s ability not to mention the lack of discipline clearly coming from the headl coach. That’s a similiar recipe Alex Smith had to eat during his stay here in SF. I prefer the notion of Jeff Brohm as coach, but Bill Musgrave should be a consideration too. Look back at that minnesota game where he took on a stocked Vic Fangio defense and won.

  27. Embarrassing grades…
    Just a little recap:
    – Kaep over Smith because AS can’t win games.
    – Gabbert (Gabbert!) over Kaep because he’s a leader (no fear of the hits) and teammates respect him.
    – Kaep over Gabbert because BG is not accurate.
    – AS over everybody because he led the Chief to po trips and he’s accurate.
    – Hoyer is a good fit because knows the system.
    – Hoyer is garbage.
    – Beathard is tough and legit.
    – CJ freaking Beathard.
    – Garoppolo the savior, franchise qb.
    – Garoppolo should be traded.
    – Garoppolo injured, niners season is over.
    – Bring Kaep back (probably the funniest of all, saying that a mediocre, locker room disruptive, 2 years-inactive, unfamiliar with the system QB gives the best chance to win for the niners).
    – Mullens ultra-celebrated, while our best offensive player (by far this year and since years in the receiving corp) is not a winner, not a leader and a RZ phantom.
    Either you are confused, or biased.
    Stop embarasding yourself, please. Especially because you are a very good writer.

  28. Mullens didn’t have the best of games. Most of his play improved in junk time when the game was out of reach. He made bad decisions and forced some balls.

    Having said that, he was not helped by play calling and the OL. He was hit on that interception and while he forced the ball, he did the same on the two passes to Kittle that we all now celebrate.

    Speaking of the celebration, I was certainly pleased but am a bit troubled by that as the season was a waste and for all the greatness of Kittle, the team still had a dismal record and celebrating while in the middle of a blowout, is bad form.

    Are the grades accurate? We rarely think the grades are right except during wins where everyone is praised.

    Is Mullens better that CJB or Garoppolo? We don’t know. Each has their virtues and shortcomings. I still get the sense that JG is the more complete QB. Mullens is a gritty guy who scraps for all that he has. Glad our backup situation is what it is.

    Agree that Bourne should be featured more in RZ. There are still glaring problems with the RZ. Shanahan has to do something about this if the team is to improve.

    Needs: Edge Rusher, CB, WR, S, G, C

    Hope the FA period is better than previous ones. The off-season will be make or break for Shanalynch!

    1. “He was hit on that interception and while he forced the ball, he did the same on the two passes to Kittle that we all now celebrate.”

      Completely different situation. The game was already over when they got Kittle the record. I doubt they would have done that if the game was still on the line. Actually I know they wouldn’t have. Case in point, Kittle needed about the same amount of yardage to break the single game record against Denver, but they didn’t try to force feed him.

  29. After two years of Shanahan and Lynch we are right back to the same place – the #2 draft pick. I do think we are a little better, but not much. Roster is full of holes. They need to make significant additions to this roster in the offseason, or…

    Btw, of the two hits on Goff, one was by practice squad player, Ryan Delair. Sheesh. We have a big talent deficit.

  30. Grant when you speculate why a player like Sherman does not play the 2nd half and call him not a leader as a result, you become fake news…

    1. Yup, big omission on Fooch’s part.

      Should have quoted Grant from above post: “…the 49ers may need to replace him (Bobb McKittrick Award winner Laken Tomlinson) this season”.

  31. I am on this blog because I am a long time fan of the Niners and I have always rooted for them. I often do not post, but I always read. There are many great insights that get posted and if I am truthful much fun in reading some of the back and forth of opinionated regular posters. So, thank you from a, mostly, silent participant in the in the ongoing discussion of all thing 49er.

    Oh! And Seb, please never stop posting! You bring much comic relief to this blog.

    Next year is going to be a great year for the San Francisco 49ers!! Happy New Year!

    1. Leo,
      You and I go back to the prehistoric days of the PD. You are a true “Faithful” whether you frequent the blog or not.
      I’m already excited about next year and I’m glad to join you in a great 49ers 2019 season.
      Have a great New Year!

    1. You don’t feel that acquiring a credible edge rush to complement interior pressure, and having a stable group of DB starters (from the current players) won’t lead to a significant improvement?

      1. I feel that it would lead to a decrease in successful pass attempts but the ones that do get off will still end up being for completions until we replace those DB’s.

        I’ve never said don’t upgrade the pass rush, I’ve only requested that it not be with Bosa. Quinnen Williams is my first choice at #2 followed by Devin White.

        1. I see. Perhaps you mean that Niners need a ball-hawking playmaker DB. I’d agree but such playmakers also tend to be risk takers who give up bog plays. Saleh’s and Kyle’s approach on D seems to be conservative — keeping things in front, not unlike Fangio’s.

          I don’t follow college football enough to evaluate draft picks. Can’t make any meaningful assessment with those highlight reels on youtube. What’s your beef with Bosa? Injury-prone? Takes plays off / inconsistent motor? Does not play thru to the whistle? Not coachable?

        2. CFC,
          These are all very good players that are worthy of being top 5 picks.
          My only pause is that they are surrounded by other good players on their team that enhance their play.

          On the opposite side, a player like Josh Allen made his name without being surrounded by the type of teammates as the others.
          This does not devalue what Bosa, Q. Williams and D. White have done, they deserve high praise no doubt. I’d be fine with any of these players, I just like to look at different angles (guess I’m getting old and cynical). Oh, and yeah, I like Allen a lot.

  32. Gase was given 3 seasons and the team never improved under him. If the 49ers earn 6 or fewer wins next season it should be Shanahans last.

    1. If Niners have only league-average injuries next season and have 6 wins or less, then I think I’d have to re-think everything about what it takes to build a winning team in modern NFL. Also, I wonder what is the aggregate record of teams that routinely go “3-years (or less) -and-out” with coaching staff.

  33. Let’s revisit this as Black Monday is upon us:
    Coffee’s for Closers says:
    December 17, 2018 at 10:04 am
    Going to be a a huge off season for coaching changes:

    For Sure:
    NYJ
    CLE
    DEN
    ARI
    TB
    GB

    Good chance:
    BAL nope
    WAS nope

    Probably wont but should:
    ATL nope
    DAL nope
    CIN
    DET nope

    The lone surprise so far has been Miami.

    1. Miami wasn’t a surprise. Gase hasn’t done anything in 3 years. And for the ones hoping he came to the Niners without Peyton Manning, were in for the same surprise if he did come here. But some of swear you know logic! How is Green Bay doing by the way? Since they hired a “real general manager”

  34. Wont have to worry about the Raiders being any good for a long time. Enjoy your new team Las Vegas.

    NFL is on a dangerous trend of hiring tv personalities to run their teams. WTF?!?! Maybe it’s just something in the water out here but whatever it is it needs to stop, immediately.

  35. I will keep on repeating myself, Mullen is a good NFL backup and there aren’t that many of them, so he is very valuable to the team , at least until he becomes a URFA. The reason he will never be a top 20 starter in the NFL is arm strength. Give NFL DC’s one off season to game plan for him and they will shut him down. Grant, today I would like you to tell Richard Sherman that he isn’t a leader in your opinion and ask him why he quit on his team. Where are the 9ers drafting this year? Happy new year!!!!

    1. Happy New Year!
      .
      I wish to respectfully disagree. Teams will look at the film and see the Niner O line getting pushed back in Mullens’ face, so Mullens will not be solely blamed for this last game’s failures.
      .
      Mullens is accurate, and with time, will work out hard and develop arm strength.
      .
      Right now, Washington, Miami, Denver and TB may consider Mullens to be a big upgrade over their present QBs. He does have trade value. The Niners should offer Mullens for 2 picks. A second round pick in 2019, and a conditional pick in 2020. If the team does not have a winning record, it becomes a third round pick. If they make the playoffs, it becomes a second round pick. If they make it to the SB, it becomes a 2020 first round pick. Both Washington and Miami do not have a QB, so they may want to pull the trigger on that deal. Both Denver and TB may want to move on from Keenum and Winston, since their new HCs may have different assessments.

      1. Seb,
        One of my points was that good #2’s aren’t readily available and if you find one hold on to him. I don’t believe the 9ers can win a SB with Mullens but I do believe he can keep the team in the playoff hunt if Jimmy G goes down for 3 to 5 games. I believe they can hold on to him for another 3 years before he becomes a URFA and if his value continues to rise they can trade him during that 3rd season ala JG.

        1. Old Coach, I guess I am an optimist. I am assuming JG plays all year, since the ACL was not too severe. He did not have a player fall on his leg.
          .
          Mullens will provide good trade value, and I want the Niners to trade away as many backups as possible to get a boatload of draft picks that can be locked into rookie contracts. That will help the rebuild for the future.
          .
          If they do trade away Mullens, I think KS would be content with CJB as the backup.

          1. Develop arm strength? Nah, either you’re born with it or you’re not. I’ve never believed you can quantify any substantial increase in arm strength through development….

            1. Most rookies will work out hard and add muscle so they can endure the sledgehammer blows in the NFL. Many rookies will spend more time getting stronger, because that is their job. Looks like Mullens has studied the playbook, because he seems to have mastered all the calls.
              .
              Just as long as he is accurate, Mullens does not need a howitzer for an arm. It also looks like he has nice touch on the ball, and can deliver it to his receivers in stride.
              .
              Getting his arm hit while throwing just means that the O line is allowing the pass rusher to get too close.

            2. There are probably limitations to how much arm strength you can develop but I can absolutely tell you arm strength can be improved. My own son was my proof. He went into high school with what I would say was slightly above average arm strength. A coaching friend referred us to a QB guy that began my son on band workouts and a training regimen that improved his arm strength to a shocking degree. He went from throwing 20 yard outs on a loop to throwing absolute darts. By the spring game his freshman year his arm was by far the strongest in the school. Made varsity his sophomore year largely in part to his improved arm strength and athleticism.

              The only thing we don’t know is – maybe Mullens has already worked extensively to develop arm strength and this is his ceiling. There’s a group in the Southeast called QB Country that works to develop QB mechanics and arm strength. The guy in Alabama may be the best QB trainer I’ve ever been around and we’ve done the Manning camp and the Whitfield QB Academy. There is no doubt Nick Mullens has been exposed to top notch QB training so his arm strength may be the best it will ever be.

            3. Body torque, flexibility, and mechanics are certainly part of it. Improving arm strength is not about lifting weights and doing Overhead presses, lateral raises or upright rows. It all works together from leg strength to core strength to upper body strength. My son did all of that. But he already had pretty good mechanics and he has always been a workout fanatic. Better mechanics and improved overall strength did help him but the biggest improvement in his arm strength was due to band workouts that strengthened the posterior cuff. I’m telling you it is absolutely possible for QB’s to improve arm strength.

              1. I feel like arm strength has little to do with the arm itself, and more to do with core/hips. Next is biology. Some guys possess natural length of bone and placement points where the ligaments/muscles are attached. They usually have rocket arms. For the ones that aren’t blessed with those biological traits, their best hope is through biomechanical efficiency.

                Another major component of arm strength that doesn’t relate to the arms strength per se is quick twitch reaction. How fast can you get the football moving prior to release. Force = Mass X Acceleration. Unlike raw strength, acceleration training isn’t as responsive….

  36. Another tough year for the Niners and their fans is over. I think we can all agree the Niners still need a serious talent upgrade. The pass rush is pathetic, the secondary is limited, the O line is weak and they need a play maker at wide receiver. Hopefully this off season can bring in at least a significant upgrade to the pass rush and O line.
    I enjoy this site, even if some of the commentators think they could actually coach an NFL team. News flash: you can’t. However, most of the discussion is interesting and occasionally informative. To all 49ers fans;
    Have a Happy New Year! Let’s make the playoffs in 2019.

  37. As usual, WF gets it right:

    http://www.walterfootball.com/images/fball/49ersb_logo.gif

    #2 San Francisco 49ers: Quinnen Williams, DT, Alabama
    The 2017 NFL Draft was a huge failure for John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan. They ignored the off-the-field and injury concerns with Reuben Foster, and he did not last two seasons before getting cut. They also reached on Solomon Thomas. Many teams across the league had Thomas graded as a late first-rounder, and he has been a big disappointment having been benched in the pass rush. Even after taking Thomas, Lynch said the 49ers need more pass-rush talent. With the trade up for Haskins, San Francisco has the best player in the draft available, and Williams could be an incredible interior player to go with DeForest Buckner. There are plays when Williams reminds me of Warren Sapp, and I’m sure John Lynch will see a lot of his Hall of Fame former teammate in Williams.

    Read more: http://www.walterfootball.com/draft2019overreaction.php#ixzz5bHpkBvwv

    Read more at http://www.walterfootball.com/draft2019overreaction.php#qUar74TFTv5e5XCv.99

  38. Oh and Grant, Bill Walsh was the silent assassin when it came to his relationship with his players. He could be a real S.O.B. in private but he never publicly embarrassed his players. He would light into one of his assistant coaches at practice rather than the players but his coaches knew it was just theater. Great coaches treat their players like men. I’m guessing none of the P.D. sports editors ever publicly screamed at you or your Father. If it did happen it happened in private.

    1. I never trust anyone who swears by Bill Walsh :) “Walsh would have done this… Walsh would have done that”…..
      I agree that good coaches treat their players with respect. Additionally, it’s a different era — and somewhat different ways to manage and motivate players may be helpful.

  39. The Falcons have fired all of their coordinators. With the scheme-fit, will the 49ers go after their DC and Special Teams coordinators?

    Grant any news on this?

        1. I think he’s improved us a lot. I think we went from one of the worst defenses stopping the run in the history of football to being a pretty sound defense versus the run.

          That’s how I remember it, but I believe Hammer is of the belief O’Neil was responsible and that the players weren’t that bad against the rush….

  40. I’m sure I’m not saying anything new, but the team absolutely has to resign Robbie Gould. The offense has not shown the consistent ability to score TDs in the redzone and as such the team needs a very reliable FG kicker, which Robbie has proven to be.

    1. Walter Payton award nominee from the team, no less! Sign the man to a 3-year contract so he has some job security and can move his family from Chicago to our beautiful South Bay :)

  41. Well, the blood letting has begun. Joseph, Bowles, Wilkes, and a big surprise, Gase.
    .
    Niners should be looking at Gase for OC, and talking to Frank Gore to bring him back.

        1. Maybe, but Adam Gases red zone offense was barely better than San Francisco. Wouldn’t be an upgrade. If Kyle ever got an OC, I’m sure that person is already in San Fran.

    1. Interesting idea. There will be lots of coaching churn this off season, and maybe having multiple styles of defenses could benefit the Niner defense.

    1. In the past when the 9ers coaches coached the Senior Bowl it seemed to workout very well for the team. One year they fell in love with P. Willis. I can’t remember who they chose the other time.

        1. would be happy with a Willis, Staley or Davis but Balmer along with AJ Jenkins have to rate as 2 of the worst 1st RD picks in 9er history.

  42. Grant,
    I know its a little early but go ahead and take a flier. Without giving it any real thought who do the 9ers choose with their #2 pick. Gut reaction.

    1. Seriously!

      Gotta say that time is running out for John Elway…..how a GM can survive so long without drafting a QB is just beyond me.

  43. Once again the 49ers fall in love with a Coordinator. SALEH! That guy has to go! We will suck again next year with him. Ask Cincy how that Marvin Lewis 16 relationship worked out!

  44. If I was Elway, I’d hire Jim Schwartz. In spite of his goofy run in Detroit, I think Schwartz is a good coach and might’ve learned something. He’s competitive and detail oriented and they have a basically good defense that Schwartz could help. I’d bring Press Taylor over from the Eagles–he’s been their QB coach for six years. Make him the OC and then deal for Nate Sudfeld. I think Sudfeld is one of the more talented, non-starter QBs in the league. Every time I see him get into a game, he makes plays. Now, you’re set with a defensive coach that has experience, a potentially good, young, OC and a QB that looks like he can play on a cheap contract.

  45. 171-265, 2260 yds, 11td, 8int, 8.5ypa, 92.6 rating, 21 sacks

    176-274, 2277 yds, 13td, 10int, 8.3ypa, 90.8 rating, 17 sacks

    Crazy how close the numbers are on these guys after 8 starts as a 49er and the stuff that is said about one compared to the other.

    1. Maybe add the QB ratings of the two above QBs for passes thrown under pressure / blitzes? I saw those numbers somewhere but can’t locate them. Those two numbers are rather different for the two QBs.

      1. Someone with a PFF subscription should be able to give you those numbers.

        Regardless, their overall numbers are nearly identical.

          1. That’s the point, it’s nearly identical. It was a big deal for JG in Grant’s view, but he’s never mentioned it WRT Mullens.

              1. “I used that stat to show how people were jumping the gun labeling Garoppolo the next Great Quarterback.”

                Cool. Use it again and check yourself on Mullens.

    2. Yeah, Mullens definitely impressed me. He’s a keeper as the backup in case JG gets injured again or just isn’t as good as hoped.

  46. Head coach openings abound! For those of us who feel vastly superior to most if not all NFL coaches, here’s your opportunity! You could be making millions! Credentials? Don’t need no stinkin’ credentials. Dominance on this blog is more than good enough. C’mon Grant, you’re in this too…

    1. Seb to the jets with an OC, they still come in last place because he believes in other guys philosophies when he also believes his is superior. Lesson Seb, if you know it better than anyone else, don’t hire anyone to teach it if you haven’t taught it as well as it needed to be taught. But that’s my philosophy.

      1. No, I would not touch the Jets job with a 10 foot pole.
        .
        My philosophy- Choose your battles wisely.
        .
        Go up against BB twice a year? No thank you.

        1. You’re waaaaaaaaaaaay smarter than Bill B. Even if you lost to him twice each season, you’d win every other game….14 and 2 seasons year after year is pretty good. Go for it Sebbie. You can’t be afraid of several 14 and 2 seasons.

          1. No, no, Cassie. Baalke thought he was smarter than everyone. Hence pulling the envelope out of his pocket….. When it really came out of his rear end.

            1. So it would appear then that you’re just someone who romps in a sports blog and really has no exceptional football acumen. That’s okay.

  47. Chris Kouffman @ckparrot
    So what do I hear? I heard a surprising number of veterans, including SURPRISING ones like Frank Gore, Kenny Stills, and especially Cameron Wake, all rose up and disavowed Gase privately. Wake and Stills directly to Steve Ross. Kenyan Drake wanted a trade if Gase remained.
    7:34 AM – Dec 31, 2018

    Had Niners hired Gase instead of Jimmy T, and then Gase imploded after the 3-season stint, wonder if the fans who criticized Baalke/York for hiring the lovable gasbag over Gase would have also criticized Baalke/York for hiring Gase! This is why we need communication between the Multiverses :)

    1. Yes… But that’s logic in this room. To my recollection this entire board wanted Gase, I didn’t because he wouldn’t have had Peyton Manning. But I’m sure if it would have happened here everyone would have blamed York and Marathe

    2. Since gases are found in the universe, it stands to reason that there’d be gas (and lots of it) in the Multiverse…

  48. On Rotoworld;

    “49ers LG Laken Tomlinson suffered a torn MCL in the Week 17 loss to the Rams and will be sidelined three months.

    Tomlinson’s ACL is in tact, so that’s the good news. The former Lions first-rounder should be good by the time OTAs and minicamp roll around and 100% well in advance of training camp. Tomlinson took over the starting job in Week 2 and signed a three-year extension through 2021 back in June.”

    1. That’s a big sigh of relief. I feared the worst, it looked bad. If it was the ACL he probably wouldn’t have been ready for the start of the year.

  49. Heh, I love Eric Crocker’s reaction to the idea of taking Josh Allen at #2.

    Gotta say, I agree with him. I like the player, but that’s too high for Allen. If they miss out on Bosa either trade back or take Q Williams.

      1. If they can find a trade partner, that does look like the smart plan. Whether it is then Allen or one of the other good looking edge guys doesn’t really matter to me.

      2. If the 49ers trade back, they stand a strong chance of not getting Allen because there are several teams behind them that would be more than happy to take Allen off the board. I personally believe the risk is too great.

        1. I guess that’s where we differ. I don’t see Allen as being much better than a few of the other edge guys that will be available. Miss out on Allen? No big deal, there are others they can get.

          1. I think there’s Bosa and then everybody else. Next tier you have Ferrell, Allen, Polite, Burns, and Sweat. Wouldn’t be as thrilled with Ferrell, because I feel we need more speed to compliment what we have, but I won’t be upset as long as we get one of them….

            1. Yeah, I see Bosa as above the rest, then as a you say a group of guys that you can make a case for who should be the next edge taken. Allen probably leads that group, but not by much.

          2. The problem with that though is that while there are a plethora of edge rushers in the draft, there is a considerable number of teams behind the 49ers that need an edge rusher.I am a fan of Sweat, but (as of right now) I would not be surprised if he was a surprise top 10 draft pick.

            1. While many teams need an edge, this year is a deep group of edge guys in both FA and the draft. I highly doubt all these teams will draft an edge round 1.

              If you trade back and miss out on Allen there will still be a good edge prospect available.

        2. The theory behind trading back sounds great. But in reality it’s really difficult and risky.
          First the value in return has to be substantial and there is no guarantee that the guy or need you require will be there.

          The point is the 49ers have glaring needs on the edge and in the secondary. By staying at #2, you will address one of those needs with the best player in the draft.

      1. I think the need for an edge player has 49ers fans over valuing Allen and exaggerating how many teams will feel the same need to over draft an edge.

        1. Oops, Oakland has the 4th pick. I should have said Allen will be a top 4 pick. If Az takes Bosa, SF takes Allen. If Az takes Williams, SF takes Bosa, Oak takes Allen.

          1. Don’t be so sure. Oakland has a LOT of needs. With it being a deep edge class they could easily choose to wait and take an edge with one of their other 1st round picks. Especially if they decide to move on from Carr.

            1. It’s just what I think will happen, I’m certainly not betting the farm.

              “Especially if they decide to move on from Carr.”

              Hmm, we have an extra QB. Mullens for #25 or #27? Maybe we have to throw in a 4th or 5th to make it an even trade?

    1. I’ll be that guy who goes all in for a player.
      Allen will be the best edge rusher in this class. Take him at two.
      And I wouldn’t be mad if they took Ferrel either. He dominated vs ND.
      But I like Allen’s range. He can play OLB or DE and is fast.
      We will strike out big if we pass on him.
      And we can go back to this post after next season. 😛
      Happy New Year everyone. Be safe and think about how you’re getting home before leaving.
      And remember. The toughest thing we will face tomorrow is remembering to write 2019 instead of 2018. 😛

      1. I agree with your take NinerMD. Normally I am one of those who advocates for trading down, but I think the 49ers would be shooting theirselves in the foot if they did so during the upcoming draft.

      2. ninermd

        Well, i guess it’s time for our yearly ‘post agreement’….I do agree that Josh Allen is the best edge rusher in the draft, and should be drafted by the niners if he’s still available at #2…if not, Ferrell is the next best and should Allen be gone…Ferrell…

        Happy New year everyone !

        Grant…Good job… The niners did you like they did KS…’not much to be positive about….

  50. JG as a Niner

    6-2 W/L, 173/267 (64.8%), 2278 YDs, 12 TDs, 8 INTs, 4.5 TD%, 3.0 INT%, 8.5 Y/A, 8.1 AY/A, 13.2 Y/C, 94.1 rating, 2 4QC, 2 GWD.

    Mullens

    3-5 W/L, 176/274 (64.2), 2277 YDs, 13 TDs, 10 INTs, 4.7 TD%, 3.6 INT%, 8.3 Y/A, 7.6 AY/A, 12.9 Y/C, 90.8 rating, 0 4QC, 1 GWD.

      1. No $hit. That’s why I said JG as a Niner. And before you say something about JG’s TD against Seattle being a garbage TD, note that Mullens had plenty of garbage stats in his first game against Seattle. Mullens also had his share of garbage stats yesterday. Mullens also lost to NY and TB.

        1. Lol. Was simply pointing out the difference between the numbers you posted and those that I posted.

          Extremely similar. If the guy wearing #4 had been a draft pick the last couple years or a more recognizable name the narrative around this situation would be so much different.

          1. “ If the guy wearing #4 had been a draft pick the last couple years or a more recognizable name the narrative around this situation would be so much different”
            No, there only seems to be one guy who does that and that’s you.
            I think most fans recognize what Mullen’s is and that is, he is a back up.

  51. 2019 opponents

    HOME:
    Arizona Cardinals, Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, Cleveland Browns, Green Bay Packers, Los Angeles Rams, Pittsburgh Steelers and Seattle Seahawks.

    AWAY:
    Arizona Cardinals, Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Los Angeles Rams, New Orleans Saints, Seattle Seahawks, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Washington Redskins.

    Happy New Year all.

    1. RAZ

      Naw, ‘wish it was though…incidentally, our (DUCK) QB isn’t declaring for the draft….maybe next year…with a Heisman under his arm….

  52. All disagreements aside, I think the contentious comments posted on this board are actually a testament to Grant’s talent as both a writer and a sports analyst. Like Leo, I seldom write but enjoy the provocative, creative crossfire that follows Grant’s articles — almost as much as the articles themselves.

    Grant is a fine young writer, sometimes wrong, sometimes brilliant, but never boring. The thing I appreciate most about Grant is that he takes clearly delineated positions on players, coaches and games. No fence-sitting here. You may not agree with his point of view — hell, that’s half the fun — but you’ve gotta admit he gives us all an excellent reason for reading.

    Happy New Year, Grant: looking forward to more of the same in 2019.

    1. Talented writer? I’d agree.

      A reason for reading? Ah, not so much. For myself, I get tired of the hot take shivs–the ice pick under the ribs. As stated before, I’m here for the ‘crossfire’ and occasional humor.

      To all a Happy New Year…

  53. Did I hear right? Mike Mayock as GM for the Raiders?
    .
    Hmmm, they take these blogs seriously. Zero GM experience, but he is a draft guru.
    .
    Gruden is either going to thrive, or fail spectacularly. I think the latter. Wonder if Mayock would have advised Gruden to trade away Mack and Cooper.

  54. Looking at the draft order, there are many teams with QB issues.
    .
    Jets at 3 may not be sold on Darnold, with a new HC.
    .
    TB at 5 may want to move on from Winston, with a new HC.
    .
    Giants at 6 may need to find Eli’s replacement.
    .
    Jax at 7 may want to move on from Bortles.
    .
    Detroit at 8 may want to move on from Stafford.
    .
    Denver at 9 may want to move on from Keenum, with a new HC.
    .
    Cincy at 11 may want to move on from Dalton, with a new HC.
    .
    Miami with 13, may want to move on from Tannehill, with a new HC
    .
    Washington at 15, desperately needs a new QB.
    .
    That is 9 teams who may be in the market for a QB, and this is a QB driven league.
    .
    The 4 teams who may be forced to draft a QB are- the Giants, Jax, Miami and Washington. 6.7.13.15.
    .
    I am assuming that Arizona will take Bosa, the BPA.
    .
    Niners at 2 should trade back to 7, so Jax leapfrogs ahead of the Giants. Jax gives up their first, second, 4th and 2020 second round pick for number 2 overall.
    .
    The Niners at 7 trade back with Washington, who want to leapfrog past Miami, Cincy, Denver and Detroit for the 3rd best QB after the Giants pick the second best QB. Washington trades their first, second and 2020 3rd round pick for the number 7 pick.
    .
    With number 2, Jax takes Kyler Murray, a 2 way threat who is light years better than Bortles.
    .
    With Number 6, the Giants select Dwayne Haskins, a big time QB from Ohio St.
    .
    With pick number 7, Washington selects Drew Lock, would would replace Alex Smith.
    .
    By moving back to 15 from number 2, the Niners would receive number 15, 2 seconds, a 4th, and 2020 second and third round picks. 5 additional picks.
    .
    With pick number 15, the Niners could pick either Jachai Polite DE, Montez Sweat OLB, Devin White ILB, or Brian Burns. They might miss out on Josh Allen, but may hope he slides due to the Bowls or the Combine.

    1. Niners could possibly have picks number 15, 34, 39, 47, 66, 102, 107, 139 and 176.That would be 7 picks in the top 107 picks, and 9 picks total, with additional second and third round picks in 2020.

        1. It’s pretty easy just dial up all 31 teams and trade back and get all the picks you want.

          Then unicorns and leprechauns appear at the end of the rainbow!

    2. Looked at Matt Miller’s mock. He also had the Giants choosing Dwayne Haskins, Washington choosing Drew Lock, but Jax selecting Daniel Jones

  55. Could Bosa fall in the draft, somehow? Suppose that he gets hurt in a private workout like Street, or he does something stupid like get behind the wheel intoxicated?

    How far could he fall, and would he be worth it then?

  56. I was at the game yesterday having travelled from England; it was a brutal experience and my sense is that we are no further forward. The brick-by-brick concept has not succeeded. That said, our opponents yesterday are one of the best teams in the NFL so perhaps we should not be wailing or gnashing our teeth too much?

    There were thousands of Niners there in the, ahem, stadium, but I don’t feel as though the players cared enough. Still, I am sure they will all be back on the trading ground later this week to make sure that they earn their salaries!

  57. Watching the game, it appears that the coaching staff approached this final game as a preseason game with the intent to get Kittle the record.
    The record- a silver lining to a lost season. Player development was probably plan B for the second half but then after going down 3 scores made it became plan A in the first quarter…
    Mullen’s was hit 6 times in his first 11 drop backs. There are so many holes here free agency and the draft my not address enough to be .500 next season.

  58. Well I’m in the minority, and I’m really not ashamed of it. I’m not round of the way the season went, but considering the injuries, the lack of talent, teaching 3rd, 4th, and 5th stringers, I’m really excited about the future. I’m all in on John and Kyle. When you completely gut a team and start from scratch, there will be growing pains. People try to compare Tomsula and Jim Kelly records to this team, but I say it’s unfair. Mainly because they still had built in teams, they still had nfl players playing nfl football. This team is full of rookies and 2nd year players coming into their own. Now, John and Kyle wanted it like this, so I don’t feel sorry for them, but as a football fan I know what it’s like building from scratch. So I gave them no unfair expectations. Plenty of people have and that’s their choice.
    The beauty of it all is, if it works, they were given the chance to succeed with their product. Also if it fails, they failed with their product. So many coaches go into head coach jobs with these unfair expectations, and after 1 or 2 years they are fired. Without ever really getting a chance to see their product through. It’s why I love the fact they were given 6 year deals. They have a chance to prove their product works, and I for one think it will work. When any head coach can have a team competing with a depleted roster, they are good in my book. This team loves their coach, they haven’t quit on him or the gm, they are being taught how to play in this system, and not, as some have said, not being taught how to do the little things like protecting the ball. I for one am anxious to see this offense completely healthy, and continue to want to see this defense grow, with more experience and adding vet players at key spots. Kyle stated there would be no major coaching moves, so we have what we have. I’ll eat crow in a year if this product isint better. But like I said, I’m happy at the direction. One thing is for sure, all these young guys have helped build depth, now we need our injured players back, and add some stars to our starting lineup. This is my feeling about this team… Happy New Year Niner Fans, here’s to a bad azz 2019 for the faithful!

    1. If Quinnen Williams is available at pick # 2, that should be the pick. He’s the best player available at that spot.

      He’s too disruptive to pass up .

  59. Question, primarily to Grant, but really at anyone who may know, did the team have the longer practices or did it revert back to short practices?

    Those TOs were killer. The first two put the D on its heels but recovered somewhat until Mullens gifted a pick six. Afterwards the D played with much more listlessness even though they still managed to slow the Rams.

    For those who blame Mullens for those 21 points, you are way off. The first was entirely Juice and a good play by the Rams. The second was mostly on OL which meant that Mullens was hit and threw a ball off target.

    Even the Kittle INT is less Mullens and more on OL and Kittle not trying enough. It is true that the Rams has inside position but Kittle could have gone higher and outmuscled the ball. It was a 50/50 ball. The star player needs to make a play. In either case the D forced a punt on that INT.

    Mullens did something I saw a lot of from JG earlier this season which made me ask if the Shanahan system is making the players think too much and therefore creating opportunities for mistakes?

  60. Happy New Year! GO NINERS !!!!!!Well, we watched the ball drop, had a couple shots of tequila, sal y lima, and rolled a BFO. I hope this new year is better than this last one.
    .
    What is the state of the Niners? Things are looking up, and there is a light at the end of the tunnel. After Baalke dismantled the SB team, things were looking bad. Now that Baalke was fired, JL has changed the culture. No more leaks. After 2 successful drafts, and a decent free agency, they are building the foundation, brick by brick.
    .
    However, the coaching needs to improve. Glad KS admitted that the Niners should have won 3 more games this past season. I think they could have won 5. The Chargers, both Cards, GB and the Giants. Even with JG going down with an ACL, the Niners could have won enough games to be in the wild card hunt. KS mentioned that the players needed to learn how to close out games, I will counter by saying KS should learn that skill, too.
    .
    There are many positives about the Niners. They have gained talent, the offense is humming, the defense has improved immensely from 2016. The locker room is tight and every player is playing hard, with no quit in any of them. Even third stringers and UDFAs have contributed, which is a tribute to the scouts. Yet, the red zone issues are frustrating. Game management, ball security and preparations are deficient, and they have yet to install that winning culture. The injury bug is debilitating, the opponents have shaped the Niners, and they need to finish games by being smarter. The Niners need to learn how not to defeat themselves by committing the unforced errors.
    .
    While I have not called for KS to be fired, I have pointed out how they can improve. It is extremely hard to win in this league. Other teams are spending every penny of their salary cap to win games, while Jed likes to pocket the excess salary cap. JL should spend every penny of it to lock up Buckner and other players to long extensions, and retain all the building blocks. They need to out bid other teams for decent free agents. Some day, I hope elite free agents will take less to come here, in order to have a chance at a ring.
    .
    Hope springs eternal, and I yearn for a return to those Glory Years. I will always root for my beloved Niners to win, even if it by only one point. If they learn from their mistakes, and improve the coaching and the talent level, I think they are poised to a return to relevance. If everyone come back healthy, they trade back for a boatload of picks, and they sign a couple ringers, the Niners have a good chance at a wild card spot.
    .
    I want to thank Grant for putting up with me, and fully acknowledge he threw me a cookie when he advocated for Kaep to return. We are fortunate to see Grant carry on the tradition, and think he is a chip off the old block. I appreciate good writing, and lament the paucity found elsewhere in the media.

  61. Grant here is a quote:

    “Mullens played better today than Garoppolo did last year when he beat the Rams backups. And I gave Garoppolo a B last year. Mullens deserves a higher grade even though his team lost. He was playing with backups and facing Rams starters.”

    I think that you haven’t factored in time in the playbook along with game experience for both QBs. It’s not just about the QB’s but also the changes in the OL as well that we must consider.

    There does’t seem to be a great advantage for the Niners to win all their games at the end of the season. I think a lot more has been gained by playing the rookies to see what thay can do in less than ideal conditions.

    I am optomistically waiting for the start of free agency, the draft and trainig camp and the preseason to see what the team looks like.

    There may have been some names on the roster before JL and KS arrived in Santa Clara, but a fare amount of them were not necessariely top flight talent. That appears to be changing, especialy at the skill positions

    I kind fo think the Niners will be about ready to make a bid for the playoffs at least next season.

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