49ers 34, Rams J.V. 13: Grades

San Francisco 49ers running back Carlos Hyde scores against the Los Angeles Rams during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 31, 2017, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

SANTA CLARA – Here are the 49ers’ grades after their 34-13 win over the LA Rams Junior Varsity team.

QUARTERBACK: B. Jimmy Garoppolo had one of the worst starts of his young career, but still played well enough to win by three touchdowns. He began the game by leading back-to-back scoring drives, completing six-of-nine passes for 100 yards and one touchdown, and posting a quarterback rating of 141. After those first 15 plays – the ones coaches script and players walk through during the week – Garoppolo completed just 14 of 24 passes (58 percent) for 192 yards, one touchdown, two interceptions, and posted a quarterback rating of 63.2. Strange that he would play so poorly once the coaches went off script. He threw his first interception on the third possession of the game. Forced a pass over the middle into heavy coverage. Then, did the same thing during the second quarter and got intercepted again. Garoppolo tends to throw at least one pass up for grabs every game. Weird. The more he plays, the more he reminds me of Tony Romo – an accurate, mobile quarterback with a quick release who made bad decisions. Here’s the difference: Romo threw great deep passes. Garoppolo hasn’t shown he can do that yet. Brady Quinn said during the broadcast that Garoppolo has completed just three of 14 passes (21 percent) longer than 20 yards with the 49ers. Deep passes could be an issue for Garoppolo next season, unless he keeps winning every game he plays. In that case, I probably wouldn’t sweat the deep stuff.

RUNNING BACKS: A-minus. Carlos Hyde and Matt Breida seemed to be competing for next year’s starting job. They split carries 50-50 most of the game. And both averaged six yards per rush. Both ran well. Hyde was better in the red zone – he scored two touchdowns. Breida was better as a receiver – he caught a 32-yard pass. But, Breida won the competition, because Hyde fumbled during the fourth quarter. I expect Breida will be the starting running back when the offseason workout program begins, and Hyde will be on another team.

WIDE RECEIVERS: C. Marquise Goodwin caught a touchdown pass before leaving the game with the fourth concussion of his career. He had a mini-seizure on the field. I hope he’s OK. Aldrick Robinson caught a touchdown pass in the red zone and Kendrick Bourne caught a 16-yard pass on third-and-10. Both players made cases that they belong on the team next season. If the 49ers keep only one of them, I expect they will keep Bourne. He’s seven years younger than Robinson, and similar athletically to a receiver Kyle Shanahan coached in Atlanta – Mohamed Sanu. Robinson is just a backup.

TIGHT ENDS: A. George Kittle caught four passes for 100 yards in the first half. He was Garoppolo’s go-to guy. Kittle seems like he will be a productive starter for the 49ers next season. I expect his workload will increase, and I doubt the 49ers will sign a big-name tight end like Jimmy Graham during the offseason. Graham would inhibit Kittle’s growth.

OFFENSIVE LINE: A. Gave up no sacks, no quarterback hits and helped the offense average 5.7 yards per carry. Not bad.

DEFENSIVE LINE: A-minus. Elvis Dumervil, Cassius Marsh and Sheldon Day each sacked Rams backup quarterback Sean Mannion once. Marsh and Day both played very well. The Niners should bring them back next season. They’re better pass rushers right now than first-round draft pick Solomon Thomas, who couldn’t beat any of the Rams backup offensive linemen today. Yikes. To his credit, he hustled and recovered a fumble.

LINEBACKERS: A-minus. Brock Coyle led the team in tackles for the second game in a row. The 49ers should re-sign him. He may be a better player than Malcolm Smith, who is scheduled to start at weak side linebacker next season. Reuben Foster suffered a stinger for the third week in a row and left the game. He missed all or part of 12 games this season. Do we sense a pattern?

DEFENSIVE BACKS: B-plus. The Rams targeted Ahkello Witherspoon four times during the final 1:13 of the first half, and he gave up three catches for 95 yards. He’s an intriguing young player who still has much to prove before the 49ers consider him part of their foundation on defense. Against the Rams, he was the weak link in the secondary. Dontae Johnson was solid and both safeties played well. Adrian Colbert forced a fumble, broke up a pass in the end zone and should have broken up a pass along the sideline, too, but the officials said the receiver caught the ball. He didn’t. The receiver lost control of the ball as he hit the ground. Colbert should start at free safety next season. And Eric Reid should start at strong safety. He made six tackles and broke up a pass. He’s better than Jaquiski Tartt, who would replace Reid if Reid leaves during free agency.

SPECIAL TEAMS: A. Robbie Gould was two for two kicking field goals, and Trent Taylor averaged 10.7 yards per punt return. Good numbers.

COACHES: A-minus. Kyle Shanahan’s 15-play script to start the game was one of his most creative all season. The 15th play in particular was brilliant – a fake reverse by Marquise Goodwin, who turned around in the backfield, caught a pass in the flat and scored. I’ve never seen that play. The Niners should run it more often. After Goodwin’s touchdown, the 49ers scored only 10 points during the next 23 minutes and 42 seconds. I didn’t think the offense would struggle for such a long stretch against mostly backup defensive players. But the Rams eventually quit, and the 49ers blew them out. Congratulations to Shanahan and the Niners for finishing the year on a five-game winning streak. The offseason will be awfully interesting.

This article has 244 Comments

      1. When you were in college, didn’t you have some courses where the professors graded on a curve? If so, did you agree with that?

      2. Correct, but as an example it was very easy to see that the defense would not have given up only 13 points if the Rams had their regular starters playing. Mannion left at least 100 yards out there today by missing guys who were wide open.

            1. Sure Jack, whatever you say. It’s a win, some people played well, others didn’t.

              The grades reflect how each position unit played. You want to add more subjectivity to the game, that’s your business.

              1. Right. The QB threw 2 picks against backup. That’s not an above average performance.

                Defensive players blew coverages, and the Rams couldn’t capitalize because their QB was awful.

                Neither of those games are subjective. You could see it on the screen plain as day.

              2. I say it’s much ado about nothing. I’m just glad the seasons over. Now Lynch and crew can go about adding to this offense and defense. But I did notice something interesting about Cohn’s comment regarding the RB’s. He thinks Breida will be the starter. But he never mentioned wether Lynch will add any RB’s by free agency or the draft. Interesting. What if we sign Martavis Bryant or draft Saquon Barkley?

        1. Jack, you are still implying that the San Francisco 49ers have a starting lineup of NFL quality starters. Half of this team were backups or practice squad players at the beginning of the year. Yet in every loss, you seem to #itch at Kyle about what he does wrong. But now have the nerve to say we beat up on a team that played a bunch of backups. The only difference between these 9ers and these rams, Jimmy G. Because Lord knows, if hoyer or CJ was till playing, we would not have won the past 5 games. But like I always say, it’s your opinion

          1. “Half of this team were backups or practice squad players at the beginning of the year.”

            That’s not true. Especially on the offensive side of the ball. And I have given Shanahan more praise than grief over the last 7 weeks of the season.

            1. Taylor,kittle,aldrick,Bourne,fusco, Murphy, tomlinson,the whole oline has been switched in and out since day 1. The dline has been intact, but injuries have played a big part on the D as well. Especially the secondary, even linebackers.

              1. “Taylor,kittle,aldrick,Bourne,fusco, Murphy, tomlinson,the whole oline has been switched in and out since day 1”

                Kittle, Tomlinson, and Fusco have been starters since week 1. Taylor and Bourne have been 3/4 receivers all year. Robinson replaced Garçon in the starting lineup.

                The oline had to be shuffled due to injuries to Staley for a couple weeks and Brown for a few. But all teams deal with that during the season.

                My issue with Shanahan was that his play calling was all over the board in the first half of the season and he made some bad in game decisions. He was much better in the second half of the season and I made comments and wrote blog pieces for ninersradio stating that.

              2. Oh, Jack, there you go again with your couch coaching. The play calling was fine. The players weren’t.

                We still have the same play calling. But now we’re winning as the rookies have improved, players have gotten better with their assignments and the QBing has taken a decided positive turn.

                You, and Grant, seem to be entirely incapable of understanding that. There was no magic pony. There was no sudden ‘Shanahan finally learned to call plays.’

                The. Players. Got. Better.

                That’s all.

              3. “We still have the same play calling.”

                No, we really don’t. Shanahan became much more balanced in his run:pass ratio over the second half of the season. That helped get the offense going even before the QB changed.

                “there was no ‘ Shanahan finally learned to call plays.’”

                Never said he had to “learn to call plays.” Coaches, like players, sometimes go through funks. We saw that a bit with Shanahan during the first half of the season.

            2. The Rams may have sat a lot of their starters, but their backups are still well rested NFL players playing with a chip on their shoulder trying to make next year’s squad. The 49ers have suffered more season ending injuries than any other team in the league while the Rams suffered the fewest. In fact, the Rams have had the good fortune of suffering fewer major injuries than any team over the last 5 seasons.

              The 49ers could easily have fallen into a trap today. It’s the final game of the season, and it’s always hard to “get up” for a game knowing you aren’t facing many of your opponents best players. Yet, the 49ers came out a dominated from the get go. That’s what good teams do. Make no mistake, today’s game would have been competitive regardless of who the Rams suited up.

              Yah, Jimmy didn’t have his best game, but neither INT was egregious IMO. On the first INT, Goodwin ran a very poor rout. Instead of breaking his route in at 90 degrees, which prevents the DB from jumping inside him, Marquise broke it at about 70 degrees, allowing the DB a clear route to the ball. On the 2nd INT, Bourne lost his footing at the exact same time Jimmy released the ball. If your going to be the kind of QB who anticipates and throws your receivers open, your going to have some of those INT’s. It comes with the territory. Of course Jimmy’s not going to make excuses and throw Marquise under the bus, but that was a poorly run route and Marquise would tell you that, especially after watching the film. I have ZERO concerns with Jimmy’s INT’s lately, and while I do see some areas where he could tighten up his footwork, the good outweighs the bad by miles with Jimmy, and he’s only going to get better.

              Arrows up for the NINERS! The 2018 season can’t get here fast enough. Happy New Year to all the FAITHFUL!

              1. “Instead of breaking his route in at 90 degrees, which prevents the DB from jumping inside him, Marquise broke it at about 70 degrees.”

                Way to parrot Brady Quinn

              2. And ….

                Quinn is correct. The receiver is taught to break in on a certain angle that allows his body to shield the defender. Marquise didn’t do that.

                Route running is important Jack. Go back and look at the play. It was a very poorly run route.

                And the one downside of throwing a receiver open is, what happens when he slips as you are releasing the ball? Fact! The second INT was a throw that was probably too risky for the game situation, I’ll say that. But it’s not like he didn’t anticipate his receiver would finish his route, or simply made an inaccurate throw.

              3. On the 1st pick the CB would have been in position to make a play regardless of the angle of the cut because he was already undercutting the route.

                On the second pick the ball was high anyway, almost exactly the same as the pick he threw in Houston.

                In the end he played good enough to win the game against a bunch of backups.

              4. Correct on the Interceptions…Bourne slipped and the CB was right there..even if it was a little high, if Bourne was there he may of tipped it away or obstructed the CB from the Int. The other may of been a bad route but was a more routine Int. Couple of JG’s passes were low or a hair off but he is fairly new to the system and WR’s like timing, ect.. but has done great anyway. Sign him asap.

                I can see 300-400 yard, 3 TD games routinely next year. With a full off season, he’ll be good. Hopefully they draft Quenton Nelson and a OT, Center maybe from FA. Also a big fast starting RB if Hyde’s gone and a big fast WR. They need a home run draft and the D needs help. Then maybe Grant’s 9-7 prediction will be correct and the 49ers maybe get a wild card.

          2. Exactly. No matter what it is, Jack will find a way to sh!t on the parade or interpret everything in the worst possible way. He’s a lot like Grant in that way.

            1. You cannot dispute the fact that the team has improved immensly.Thexse players are all pros and have shown much development, Sit tight , look on the bright side. Re sign Reid; Who cares about his anthem status ? Lago

            2. “interpret everything in the worst possible way”

              The Rams went without 17 starters yesterday. Yeah the 49ers have dealt with injuries, but once the season started they lost a total of 4 starters to IR; Garçon, Tartt, Armstead, Brown.

              Yesterday was a glorified preseason game.

              1. “Coaches, like players, sometimes go through funks. We saw that a bit with Shanahan during the first half of the season.” Jack Hammer

                The entire organization has been in a funk for 3 years. To believe that Shanahan was going to turn this thing around from the start of the season is a big stretch.

                I’m with Moses on this one. Young players were developing during the season and after Jimmy emerged players like Kittle, Breida and Taylor became better.
                On defense, Colbert became a pleasant surprise and Rueben “Tent” Foster made an impact when he was on the field.

                Not sure if the funk label applies to a first year head coach who is in full development mode.

              2. AES,

                Shanahan made some questionable strategic calls early in the season and was way too pass heavy which took away from the play action game.

                That changed in the second half of the season

              3. Yes, Kyle did abandon the run early in a few of those games. Why? The defense was stacking the box, daring them to throw the football, and the interior of the OL isn’t good enough to run the ball effectively against an 8-9 man box.

                Why have they found better balance since Garoppolo became the starter? Because Jimmy, unlike Hoyer and Beathard, is VERY good at quickly finding the soft spots on a defense and picked defenses apart through the air when facing extra defenders closer to the line of scrimmage, which in turn, opened up the running game.

                Basic football 101.

              4. “Why have they found better balance since Garoppolo became the starter?”

                It started prior to Garoppolo becoming the starter. That’s why I keep saying over the second half of the season.

              5. It did Jack?

                In week 8 VS the Eagles, take away Baetherd’s 6 rushing attempts, and the ratio was 18 runs – 36 pass attempts. That’s a 1-2 ratio. The following week VS the Cardinals, the 49ers ran 17 times, and attempted 51 passes. We can simply toss out the pathetic Giants, who sleepwalked through their week 10 matchup VS the Niners, IMO. The 49ers had a bye in week 11, and in Beathard’s final start, week 12 VS the Seahawks, if you take away Beathard’s 6 rushing attempts, the balance was 18 runs – 40 pass attempts. The 49ers really started to find some balance during Jimmy’s first start VS the Bears, week 13. Minus Garoppolo’s 4 carries, the ratio against the Bears was 30 runs – 37 pass attempts …. much better balance. 26 runs – 33 pass attempts VS the Texans. The Niners went back to a pass heavy attack during their victory over the Titans, based on the looks they were getting. And then actually had almost perfect balance VS their final 2 opponents, 60 rushing attempts – 63 passing attempts (minus Garoppolo’s 5 rushing attempts).

              6. Week 7 …. 17 rushing attempts (minus 5 Beathard carries) 37 passing attempts VS the Cowboys. Week 6 VS the Redskins, 20 rushing – 47 pass attempts.

                So no, the balance didn’t start until Garoppolo became the starter.

              7. Week 8 is part of the first half.

                Yes, the Cardinals game was the tipping point. From that point on it was much better.

                Against Seattle you can’t simply take away Beathard’s 6 rushing attempts. In that game they ran had a bunch of designed runs for him off the read option.

                They were at 19:27 run pass through the first 3 quarters of that game, and it wasn’t until their last 2 possessions when they were 1:15 until it got out of whack.

              8. You aren’t paying attention. I said they weren’t balanced until the second half of the season. Why do you keep bringing up games from the first half?

                Here’s something I wrote for ninersradio a few weeks ago. At this point Garoppolo was headed into his 3rd start.

                “Prior to the game against the Giants, I questioned the unbalanced play-calling of Kyle Shanahan. At the time, the 49ers were coming off a four week stretch which saw them calling passes on 74% of their offensive snaps, 209 passes to 73 runs. It seemed as though the run was an afterthought, which seemed odd considering how well the 49ers passing game has gone when using play action and with a rookie quarterback making his first starts in the NFL.

                That has flipped quite a bit over the last four weeks, however. During this last four game stretch, the 49ers have become much more balanced with the percentage of passing plays reduced to 56%, 147 passes to 114 runs.

                Staying balanced is key to the 49ers success on offense, especially with the tough defenses they’ll face in the next three weeks.”

              9. If you toss out the Giants game, which is reasonable IMO, in Beathard’s final 3 starts, the 49ers had: 127 passing attempts and 65 rushing attempts, and that figure includes 15 QB rushing attempts. That’s anything but balance.

                The bottom line is …. you take what the defense gives you, unless your OL is good enough to take whatever they want, regardless of how the opponent defends them. Trying to run against 8 and 9 men in the box is a fool’s errand. You have to be able to beat those defensive alignments through the air, unless you have a dominant OL, which the Niners don’t.

              10. “If you toss out the Giants game” you’re just making stuff up to fit the argument you wan to make.

              11. Garoppolo on the other hand, CAN and does make the opposing defenses pay for selling out VS the run. Unfortunately, neither Hoyer nor Beathard could do what Jimmy has done VS those defensive fronts. And that’s been the difference. Jimmy has been able to “soften” up the way opposing defenses have defended the 49ers run game. And that, in turn, has lead to much better balance. NOT the other way around.

                Running the ball 40 times a game against teams who were scheming against the run isn’t a winning strategy. And Kyle didn’t all of the sudden wake up one day and come to the realization that running the ball effectively is a good way to win games, midway through the season. What happened was, he finally found a QB under center who could exploit the kind of defensive schemes they were seeing. That lead to teams having to attempt to defend the entire field, which then afforded him the ability to balance out the play calling.

                What else has changed? Kyle has been calling games for nearly a decade. And he learned from his father, who has always favored controlling the clock by running the football. But you can’t run the ball in the NFL unless you have A) a dominant OL, or B) a QB who can expose teams for selling out against the run. And Garoppolo is B!

              12. “Kyle didn’t all of the sudden wake up one day and come to the realization that running the ball effectively is a good way to win games”

                None of what you are saying is news to me. As I said, coaches are like players and can get into bad stretches. Shanahan got into one and corrected it.

                It’s not like the running game suddenly started to click with the insertion of Garoppolo into the lineup. Shanahan just continued to use the run and try to plug away with it.

                A good example of this was the Titans game. Even though they pretty much got shut down after the first series he continued to try and go back to it and in doing so kept the defense off balance and the play action game in play.

              13. What I am saying is ….. Kyle’s team couldn’t run the football because the teams they were playing were selling out against the run. It has nothing to do with a flaw in play calling. Unfortunately, when your QB can’t make teams pay for selling out against the run, that’s a tough go for any offensive play caller. Now he does have a QB who can exploit those kinds of schemes, and PRESTO, offensive balance is the result. Not the other way around. The 49ers didn’t all of the sudden learn how to run the ball VS 8-9 men fronts. What they have done is use Garoppolo’s talent to expose the run stopping schemes and have forced teams to defend the entire field, THUS giving them an opportunity to run the ball effectively. It has nothing to do with Kyle getting into a bad stretch of play calling and everything to do with have the kind of personnel (QB Garoppolo) that has allowed him to call a balanced attack.

              14. “THUS giving them an opportunity to run the ball effectively.”

                Except they weren’t running the ball effectively unless you consider 3.0 ypa in Garoppolo’s first 3 starts effective.

                It was an adjustment made in his playcalling and it started after the Cardinals game.

                Maybe you think I’m knocking him, I don’t now. I’m not. Being able to adjust like he did is the mark of a good coach.

      3. +1. Just want to say congrats to you Grant on your best year as a journalist covering the 49ers.
        Your takes were good bad and indifferent at times but at the end of the day, you did a great job!
        Happy NY everyone!

    1. They blew them out. If they hadn’t I would be grading them more harshly. And would have considered the completion level. Yeah they beat backups, but good teams blowout backups.

  1. Grades are spot on, Grant. And I completely agree with your assessment of Solomon Thomas today and throughout the season. He has a lot of work to do in the offseason to justify that draft position. Really thinking Lawrence or Ansah signing would be a good move.

    1. Thomas keeps winning weekly awards, but this blog knows better..
      Lawrence has two strikes doesn’t he? I dunno.
      Ansah is good, and impending coaching change may make him more approachable.

      1. Thomas — pretty much.

        Lawrence — Huge risk of suspension.

        Ansah — Will be over-paid (because that’s how it works) and is incredibly erratic. Do you get 2 sack Ansah? 12-sack Ansah? 8 sack Ansah? He’s typically a decent pass-rusher, but he’s not a consistently good pass rusher. And he’s certainly no Reggie White. But White was a true generational player. Not like Garrett or the ‘generational player of the week’ you see being over-hyped by the media now.

  2. And with the ninth pick the Niners select…….I hope it’s a CB. I believe Marshon Lattimore was the ninth pick last year. Players with his caliber will be there at that pick. Need an edge rusher, OL depth and one more receiver and we are right there. Not a lot to ask for this off season.

        1. Nelson just mashed people all year in college, yes edge rushers and CBs are hard to find but this guy is as close as you can get to a sure thing, and bare in mind we go up against Aaron Donaldson twice a year.

        2. I sure hope they pick Nelson at #9 or 10 if he’s still there, I think so. They showed a stat during the Bowl game yesterday on Nelson..in 813 pass plays in his college career he has “0” sacks against him, unbelievable..something like that. He also pancaked defenders all day yesterday, one DB was blitzing and he one armed him hard to the ground and in other plays he would block one guy then block another.

          He would also pull fast and block downfield, quick feet and unbelievable drive. Never jumps off sides.He would also block DL backwards into the ground or just keep pushing them back and back until the whistle blew. Never seen anybody block like this 6’5 330lb monster.

          1. He’s also a great team mate, every play he fist pumps his OT and Center. At the end of almost every play, he goes and picks up his RB’s and WR’s off the ground. He’s professional and squeaky clean. He has fast feet and pulls hard and fast, blocking more than one defender down the field. He’d fit in great in Shanny’s offense.He’s never called for holding or off sides, not once. I’ve watched almost every ND game this year. I never saw him get hurt or tired, jumps right back to the huddle. I can see him be an All-Pro for many years. He’d be a great first pick, even a OG, and the start of building a solid OL.

      1. Leo,
        You might be right. Nelson could become an elite player in his first season. He’s not a sexy pick in the top 10 of the first rd, but he’s going to be a day one starter and hold the position for the next 10-12 seasons.

  3. After those first 15 plays – the ones coaches script and players walk through during the week – Garoppolo completed just 14 of 24 passes (58 percent) for 192 yards, one touchdown, two interceptions, and posted a quarterback rating of 63.2.

    In other words, about a complete game for any of the other Niner QBs the last 3 years.

  4. I really do wish you would stop with the continual mentioning of the QB rating, especially by quarters or even after a couple of drives???? The rating can be useful over a few games of a season but is absurd to mention game by game. Grant, you weren’t born yet, but during “the Dallas game”, Montana threw THREE interceptions. No one ever mentioned his rating (which was highest in the nfc that year) for the game or the picks … He made the plays which had to be made. THAT is the standard by which you evaluate a QB’s game … Capisce?

    1. Grant and (one or two other fans) pick and choose whichever metric shows the player or coach in a negative light — wins or losses be damned.

    2. Are you sure it was only 3 picks for Montana in that game. I seem to remember 5 interceptions. Maybe it was 5 turnovers including some fumbles.

      1. It was three picks. He also fumbled once. Bill Ring fumbled. I don’t remember who lost the third fumble.

        In total the 49ers turned the ball over 6-times. The game was stressful I quit using tobacco because I “HAD” to have a smoke. Then I thought ‘FU tobacco’ and quit cold turkey in one of the most stressful football games I ever watched being one of the many 49ers fans (in those days) who was around for those three playoff losses to the Cowboys a decade before.

    3. Grant… For this site next year, embed a QB rating widget–updated live with every offensive play. This way, we could know instantly how generationally great or lousy our QB is. Might be a tall order for the PD IT department.

  5. 1. So Bourne is our Sanu? What about their arm lengths? Okay, so who is our Julio? More on that.
    2. We need to pressure the other teams qb. It has been an issue for the last 4 seasons. We have attempted to draft and acquire edge rushers throough FA, but to no avail. It is imperative.

    3. Kittle is pretty good. It would be a huge mistake to pickup Graham. He is over the hill and far away.

    4. I would not be heart broken if Hyde went away. Then raises the question who replaces him. Breida is a quick pass catcher. We need a 220 lb bruiser.

    5. Did anyone catch the 3rd down play in the 4th when Reid pushed their TE out bounds before he could pick up a first. It was former niner Derek Carrier. I always liked that guy.

    6. back to our Julio. We need a Julio, AJ, Antonio type of receiver. We have a bunch of 2s. We need a 1. We need an athlete. We need someone with great hands and speed. The good news is that Shanahan knows this. In one of his press conferences he reference the fact that we dont have a playmaker receiver.

    I say FA Allen Robinson and Pits Martavis Bryant should be on our radar.

    7. Happy new year .

  6. http://www.knbr.com/2017/12/31/49ers-easy-win-in-l-a-has-to-be-unsettling-for-the-rest-of-the-nfc-west/

    “The Rams turned everything around this year with the hiring of Sean McVay and the development of former Cal star Jared Goff. Now here come the 49ers, with an impressive quarterback of their own and a coach who taught McVay a lot of what he now knows about offense.”

    “They also have a history, however brief, of impressive talent evaluation. In free agency, the team signed receivers Pierre Garcon and Marquise Goodwin, along with nose tackle Earl Mitchell and linebacker Brock Coyle. All have contributed mightily to this surprising season.”

    “Their draft class includes safety Adrian Colbert, cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon, tight end George Kittle, receiver Trent Taylor, linebacker Reuben Foster, defensive end Solomon Thomas, and running back Matt Brieda to mention a few. And often players make their biggest improvement from year one to year two.”

    We’re on our way.

  7. Was Thomas playing LEO today? He looks kind of lost at the position. It’s a hard job because you have to charge into the backfield yet be aware of the running back and protect your C Gap. I think I saw him look kind of confused or out of place on some of the runs. Like he was a hair late trying to make a tackle and didn’t get it or had to settle for making the tackle downfield or let a runner get around him.

    I think Thomas should be at Carradine’s “Big End” or Closed End position where he can play a simpler fit in and control the gap role. Maybe play some 3 technique when opponents pass out of a 21 personnel package. The problem is that Carradine has played the Big End role fairly well so there’s no real need to move him out of there. Thomas is a “tweaner” so it’s kind of hard to find the right role for him….which isn’t the greatest thing for someone you spent a 3rd over all pick on…but oh well, that’s water under bridge at this point.

    1. AFFP: I posted a couple of weeks ago if the thinking in drafting Thomas is that physically he is similar to Michael Bennett. Arm length is the one measurement I couldn’t find on Bennett and we know that Thomas has short arms. But most of Thomas’ combine measurements were superior to Bennett’s.

      Didn’t get any responses on my post, but am curious as to your thoughts.

      1. yeah, Bennett is a good comp. I remember seeing that comp in some draft evaluations. Bennett is played all over the Seahawk’s line but often at the Closed End (Big) and 3 Tech spots. Sure Thomas could become like Bennett because of similar physical traits. But in terms of actual play, Bennett is far more explosive and disruptive. As far as play goes, Buckner is a closer comp to Bennett. Buckner is a bigger and stouter in terms of clogging the middle when not exploding into the backfield.

        Thomas at LEO isn’t a bad idea with the way Saleh plays the position (mostly as a run defending attacker). But because Thomas is bigger than most traditional LEOs he isn’t going to change direction as well when charging into the backfield when they have to switch into containment mode. so the bigger LEOs need to have more awareness of blocking schemes and plays (basically be able to tell immediately if he should charge into the backfield or hang tight and defend his edge and gap). But at this point Thomas’ skills are probably best suited for the other roles on the line which are simpler gap attacking and control assignments.

    2. He was drafted to play big end and come inside on passing downs. That he’s at LEO is because everyone else on the roster can’t do it against the run.

      You remember the Rams TD run? That was a design run to the weak side. But Thomas destroyed the design of the play and stacked the whole Rams line at the POA. Marsh, however, got picked off by the back-side blocking and the back, seeing the play destroyed, made a great play turning upfield.

      There’s a REASON he’s been nominated for Rookie of the Week 4x. There’s a reason the run defense has improved from 4.8 YPC to 3.8 YPC and a huge part of the reason is because Thomas is a monster in run defense.

      But Grant and a few others whine because they don’t want see it. The kid is doing great despite missing half the offseason training. With a full offseason in the weight room and working on his technique and being moved back to his natural position, I expect he’ll do quite well. And, of course, that the whiners won’t stop whinging.

          1. Yeah his best sack total as a Bengal. By the end of his tenure he was considered a disappointment. Great player that was more dominant as a run defender and played his best football when he moved to 3T full time. The same position Saleh has already said they want Thomas to evolve into.

            1. Saleh hasn’t said he he wants Thomas to become a full-time 3T. Saleh said he wants to keep Buckner at that position in the base defense.

              1. Saleh I believe also said he sees a lot of Calais Campbell in Buckner. Campbell was excellent as a DE for the Jags this year. Wouldn’t be at all surprised to see Saleh mixing it up a bit next year with Thomas getting some snaps at 3T in base and Buckner at big end. Keep OL on their toes and having to face different types of players.

                I expect that while Thomas is already pretty built, he will come back bigger and stronger next year and more capable of handling 3T duties even in base.

              2. The Jaguars use their big tall guy Jacksonville Jaguars DE Calais Campbell on the end. Was that ever contemplated with DeForest, putting him on that big end spot?

                “It was. There’s a few guys, it depends on how you want to use it. Seattle uses [Seattle Seahawks DL] Michael Bennett. Jacksonville had brought in [DL] Red Bryant, [Pittsburgh Steelers DL] Tyson Alualu, Seattle also had Red Bryant for a minute when coach Bradley was there. There’s different philosophies. You could with Buck. I think he’s really proven to be a really dominant three-technique. I really do believe that. And so what we can do with that big end spot kind of frees us up to go get, I’m not trying to knock Calais because he is a freak athlete, but to get more of an athlete instead of just a pure run stopper. Not to say that Calais is just a run stopper obviously, he’s just special.”

                Thomas says he plans on staying at 275 pounds next season.

      1. Moses I hope you are right about Thomas and next year.

        The reason people like me “whine” about Thomas because the expectation of the 3rd overall pick was suppose to be a lot better than what he produced.
        But you are right, there is an entire off-season to improve.

  8. Dang! Context anyone?
    Perhaps Witherspoon was being targeted because he got less help (more faith) than Johnson? Naw, crazy talk. Which one will be here next year? I’ve got a guess.
    OK, Jimmy gets a B and OL gets an A? Seriously?
    The run plays success was scheme related, and JGs quick releases supported the pass pro competency. When Phillips blitzed, JG did pretty well.
    If you only look at numbers……you might be a number-skull.
    “Numbers never lie.” – But faulty analysis of numbers are misleading.
    Don’t believe your lying eyes

  9. The Niners should not pick who ever Razor Eator thinks as he was ,is and always will be wrong!He’s the dumbest poster on this blog even though he thinks he’s Isaac Newton..Dude can’t make a decent pick to save his life

  10. So Jimmy g gets the lowest rating of anybody except the wide receivers? All the time while leading the team to a 20 point win.

    Lil Cohn gave Hoyer A’s for losing every game he played.

    Yup, lil Cohn sure knows his football.

  11. Kezarmike

    If it’s any comfort to you Mike…I don’t know how to figure out QBR, and I don’t care to learn….to me it’s just another stupid made-up stat to make some people feel superior…or more knowledgeable…good luck to them…I agree with you…Happy new year…and GO NINERS!

    1. Oregon, probably need a computer program to do it, but I think it’s based on four stats, Completion percentage, Yards gained per attempt, TDs per attempt percentage and Interceptions per attempt percentage.

      Of course, it doesn’t measure clutch plays, smart plays, leadership, etc … For example, a QB who smartly throws out of bounds to avoid a sack will see his QBR go down slightly while the QB who takes the sack, even at a crucial time and loses yards which take his team out of a potential game winning FG range, won’t.

  12. “Carlos Hyde and Matt Breida seemed to be competing for next year’s starting job.”

    Yep. Especially with Shanahan running the same play on the same drive at one point for each of them. There’s no doubt who the more explosive of the two is.

  13. No secret … OL, pass rush and DBs are the off season priorities. If you have your QB, you then have to always look at upgrading those positions in the pass happy NFL. It’s usually a big waste to draft a WR or a RB high up (an occasional exception of course) good ones which can be found in later rounds if you have a very sharp organization. I wouldn’t discount the chances of the 49ers trading up or down in this draft (depending on who they sign as FAs.)

  14. Why would you want to get rid of a running back that does what he is asked to do, wants to be a part of the process and has high character.
    If Hyde comes at the right price, keep him.

    He has value and seems to fit well with the system. ( needs a little help with pass catching)

    Need, Dynamic WR, DE, and OL help.
    Piece of cake.

    Happy New Years!

    1. He had a bad year with the drops this year he dropped in his reception rate to 67%. But he’s been, for his career, a solid pass catcher (82% success rate last year, 70+% the prior two). He was certainly better than Brieda who clocked in with 59% success. Of the backs, Juszczyk had the highest reception rate at 76% of targets converted to receptions (his best year so far) but Hyde is better, over-all, for his career.

      But you won’t find those positives about Hyde here. The fact that he’s shown himself to be the best pass-catching back on the team, despite the drops this year, is counter to the narrative that “Hyde Can’t Do It and Must Go” that Grant has pushed all year.

      And you won’t find the negatives about Breida, either. That, too, would go against the narrative as he’s being elevated to next year’s starter even though he’s got a lot of work to do. And, FWIW, I like Breida. I think he makes a very solid complementary back in Shanahan’s scheme and I hope he sticks. But he’s got a lot of work to do in the passing game.

      1. “And you won’t find the negatives about Breida, either”

        I posted about his trouble catching the ball during the game yesterday. Then he went and made a big one in the second half. 😂

    2. I think Hyde is a solid running back, but for a different offense. If you can upgrade to someone who physically fits your offense better why not take that player?
      My other issue with Hyde is his health. I don’t see it being some miracle he played every game for the first time on a contract year. I like the kid, but only in a harbaugh/Roman type power run game.
      This offense needs a true double threat.
      I think Breada looks better in this offense.

    3. Nice take…seems that lots of folks want to get shed of Hyde….çept me’….I’d rather buuild the Oline with Nelson, throw some Jalapenos into Garnett’s Jock, draft Courtney Sutton, trade down for extra picks, and ‘beef’the Oline and linebackers with quality backups in FA and clean out some ‘dead wood’ …That’s how Walsh did it…a lot of popular players got cut….

  15. Thank you all in this room for making it soo fun and interesting,
    I don’t know you all in person, but by reading what you all post every day I feel like I know you. thanks for been part of this entertainment.


  16. Beat 3 playoff teams in a row, even though the Rams were playing lambs, still 3 playoff teams. First things first get JG signed then start filling in the holes.

  17. After the Goodwin hit, Jimmy G was incensed and he told in the huddle that they were going to score on the next play. I like the kid’s spirit.

  18. Nice grades. I would have given JG a B-. But the margin between a B and B- is not worth quibbling about. And although he threw a couple of int’s, he never lost control of the offense and the game.

    We are one Mike Iupati type Guard away from making our running game dynamic by clearing lanes for Breida to break some long runs.

    I am excited about next season for another reason besides Jimmy G. Our rookie class will be the foundation to build on going forward.
    The 49ers seem to be meeting my expectations from the start of the season.
    1. 4-6 wins (check)
    2. Lynch and Shanahan having a good draft (check)
    3. 2-3 years to become a playoff team (on course).
    As my old friend Hofer67 used to say; “all arrows up!”

    1. Bold Prediction: Niners will be in the play-offs next season.
      I don’t think Iupati has the lateral quickness to be a guard of choice for Shanny’s O.

  19. Every year my colleague and I bet on the final Niners regular season record. I’m the optimist and he’s the pessimist (I’ve lost 2 of the last 3 seasonal bets). Anyway, this season I was going to go with 7-9 but settled on 6-10 after Niners cut Kerley which I read as a sign that they will develop players at the expense of maximizing wins. I cannot believe I won! Jimmy G is magic means a bottle of good Napa cab for me!

    Grant, you should take a break and enjoy the evening. I suspect you are busy writing an article on “How Niners 2018 season could be devastated if Jimmy G throws two interception in the season opener”!

    Happy New Year’s Eve to all!

  20. “Jack Hammer says:
    September 11, 2017 at 9:46 am
    The NFC West is going to be a dumpster fire this year. Seattle will win the division at 9-7/8-8 thanks to their defense.”

    Didn’t see the Rams being as good as they were. Props to Houston though on saying the Lambs would have a better D.

  21. Discussing the results of this game seriously is like discussing the results of the Harlem Globetrotters vs. the Washington Generals. This was an NFL exhibition game that we all had to endure and now we are left to rationalize how we got f###ed having to pay for it. Let’s just leave it at that. Now, on a positive note some analytics. The last two times we were 6-10, we were 13-3 and 12-4 the next year. And the last time we were 6-10 and had an Irish HC and Italian QB, well….you know the answer.

  22. No, I do not think that Dontae Johnson is a very good cover corner and will not be on the team next year. If he is he will not start, however, he did lead the team in tackles this year.

      1. BT: I’m looking for a good Napa cab to start drinking (up to $50 a bottle or so). I like the Merryvale style but maybe you have some better suggestions. Happy New Year to you and yours.

        1. CUBUS
          Sorry, didn’t catch this until this morning. I’m not up to date on retail pricing for some of the Napa Cabs, so I’m guessing what fits… A number of those go 75-100+, so I don’t reach for them much. For instance I always like the Silver Oak Napa Cab blend, but they were getting $100 a few years ago. The famous names are up there: Far Niente, Duckhorn, Ch Mont Helena, Grgich Hills, Cakebread, Jo Phelps, etc
          Silverado Vineyards is a consistent middle weight Cab I like.
          Trefethen Vineyards is a little lighter but silky smooth.
          I always liked the ‘Elevage’ Cab-Merlot blend from Chimney Rock, but I don’t know their status post fires.
          Groth is consistently good
          Pine Ridge does really good work, but check their pricing on line
          Robert Sinskey Vineyards a good onet
          Pride Mtn
          In many cases the bigger style wines will come from Up Valley (north) as well as Howell Mtn and Spring Mtn. That’s a start, and you’ll have fun saying “Oh yeah!” Or “Tuna’s nuts, this isn’t a dog’s lunch!”
          Check out Thomas Fogarty Winery. They’re Santa Cruz Mtns and it’s a small unpretentious house.
          I’ll plug a long time friend as a broker: Dick Warner Wines. He’s on line and has a knack for finding small lots of vintage clear outs and passing them along at reasonable prices.

            1. Cubus
              Just checked and I guess Dick W. Doesn’t have a website but is on Facebook under Twisted2, the excellent little restaurant he and his wife run. You could give him a call, give him a price range and he can make some good suggestions from his current stash, which varies. Leave a message, he’ll get back. If you like one he can ship UPS. Ship to work so someone can sign for it. 707-789-9914.
              He won’t know who BT is, but he’ll probably recognize the initials TY as the referral. Now I’m headed to the Bomb Shelter after exposing my identity.

              1. Both good. Wilson has the stout body of the Napa Cabs. Many do in Dry Creek Valley on Sonoma side.
                Sleeper: Mostly placed in restaurants is A. Raffanelli. Cab, Merlot, Zin and a select Cab that needs 10 years in the bottle. 10 month’s is a long time in my cellar.

      2. I agree he is not a good corner, but his leadership in tackles, 72, was not just because of blown coverage’s. He has been instrumental in the improvement in the run game defense. It has been a joy to me to see the improvement in the defense during this season. Last year it was painful to watch the games because you knew teams where going to jam the ball down our throats. Thankfully those days are over and with a functional offense the defense will get even better. I am always grateful for corners who are willing to stick their heads into running plays. So “thank you” to Dontae Johnson as he tries to catch onto another team.

        I will be pleased if Shanahan sticks with Saleh as the defensive coordinator. I think we have a good one.

    1. It’s because they constantly threw at him! He was getting targeted mercilessly the second half of the season. I think the Jags threw at Witherspoon 3 times and at Johnson about 10.

  23. And the Cardinals knock the Seahawks out of the playoffs. What a wonderful end to the year!!!

    Can’t wait for next year!!!!

  24. Great team win. Quarterback play was good not as great as previous weeks but good enough for the win. Sign the kid. Grade C+ Running backs A. Sign Hyde for 2=3 years. NEED his spunk. OFFENCE LINE. Needs help but good players that will buy into the team concept. Like Stanley. Cornerbacks NEED a lot of help. Pass rusher will come when Cornerbacks are addressed. NEED a lot of quality back ups too many in:people by

  25. When we acquired Garoppolo, some people suggested that he might not sign with us long term. I think Jimmy is happy to be here.


    “I think it was a good match between the 49ers and myself, and myself and the 49ers,” Garoppolo said. “I think it was kind of the perfect match. It just happened at the right time, and good things are coming from it.”

    1. No one suggested that. Stop the jackass narrative. All they said was they were worried about how Jimmy had been avoiding the question about being here long term. Stop twisting people’s words around to suit your bull$hit narrative.

        1. You literally stole a quote from the Grant man himself, who was accurate BTW. Who are ‘some people’? I know I was feeling uneasy about Jimmy’s noncommittal responses to questions about wanting to be here. I never suggested he might not sign with us. There’s a difference between what you are stating we are suggesting and what we are trying to convey- that he wasn’t all in yet. The keyword being ‘yet’. At this stage he seems likely to return. I hope they get it done without much angst on either side, as the optics of the situation are going to be huge. I doubt it will come down to money. They better not piss Jimmy off.

          1. So those people were worried that JG wasn’t all in yet. OK, so if they thought JG would eventually sign, why would they be worried?

            “They better not piss Jimmy off.”

            Are you suggesting that JG might not sign with us long term if he gets pissed off?

            1. I’m suggesting that they shouldn’t have him reluctantly sign. The 49ers hold all the cards with the Franchise and Transition tags. They could still sign him and yet manage to piss him off. The organization should consider themselves immensely lucky to have this opportunity. Make him happy, back up the Brinks truck and don’t jack him around in negotiations.

              1. If you want to see how an organization can manage to keep a player, pay him the highest amount and still manage to find ways to piss him off, look no further than the Washington Redskins.

                (I’m not saying Cousins is worth all that).

              2. “look no further than the Washington Redskins.”

                Yeah, I made that point about a couple of months ago. But instead of worrying about that, I said KS wouldn’t let the front office dick around with his QB. And Lynch is a player’s GM. I said those things to try to get people to stop “worrying” that the team would blow the contact talks.

                I tried to do the same thing with my original comment tonight. I posted JG saying he and the team are a perfect match so the people who were concerned about him not being “all in” could relax.

              3. Jimmy should consider himself lucky as well. He could still be playing behind Brady for another year or two.
                Coming to the 49ers was a great opportunity for both parties.

    2. Today’s game was a chess ,match between McKvay and Phillips and Shanny and Saleh. Years to come. We get they held back. The score speaks to that. Orale.

  26. If the Raiders win the 9th pick in a coin toss then that tends to be a problem. They like to take players they know the 49ers need. Most likely the best pass rusher or running back like Saquon Barkley.

    1. Barkley is not going to be available at #9 or #10. Only three or four teams in the top 10 need quarterbacks, and the team with 2 picks in the top 10 isn’t going to draft 2 quarterbacks.

      Then there’s the possibility that veteran QBs may be switching teams and one or more of the three or four needy teams could grab said veterans. The Broncos come to mind.

      That leaves at least 5 non-QBs selected prior to the 49ers (even if the 49ers win the coin toss). Do you really think Barkley isn’t going to be in the top 5 non-QBs selected?

      The only way your narrative may be supported is if the Dolphins and/or Cardinals move up into the top 10 to select a QB. Actually it would take at least couple extra teams doing this for Barkley to fall that low.

  27. I’m very happy with the events of the day

    – Goodwin’s OK.

    – Niners took out the trash, soundly beating LA’s scrubs.

    – Niners have longest win streak in NFL at 5. I couln’t be more pleased at how the latter end of the season went.

    – Thanks to a gift from the Bengals the 49ers are guaranteed a top ten pick. At least one of my (too dang early) draft crushes should be there. Especially if there’s a high run on quarterbacks. We are well positioned with free agency and draft to fill key spots.

    – At the presser Garoppolo seems very grateful to be where he is. A good omen for an extension.

    – Love how rookies are contributing. What stands out from the 2017 draft is how few flops there were. The only question marks being Pita T. and Joe Williams.

    – Seattle knocked from the playoffs. Oh the joy!

    What I’m hoping for sooner rather than later
    – We hear Buckner’s injury is not a torn anything. Torn labrums seem to be the Kryptonite of pass rushers.

    – 49ers sign Garoppolo

    – 49ers win coin flip

    – Darnold (and all the top quarterbacks) declare for the draft. This pushes BPA down to picks 9-10.

    – NFL fines the tar out of the DB that head hunted #11.

    – This guy MCs the coin flip for the 9th pick https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OLCL6OYbSTw

    Happy New Year everyone!

    1. I understand the concern with Buckner’s injury, but he actually came back in for a bit after the initial injury and was part of the pressure that resulted in Marsh’s sack fumble. He left the game for good after that hit, but the fact he was back out there at all leads me to think its not a torn pec. Very hard to play on with a torn pec. Probably more a sternum/ rib injury is my guess.

    2. Don’t think the DB was head hunting. He was going low and the only reason it ended helmet to helmet was because Goodwin was going down.

      Glad to hear that he’s ok.

  28. Grades are about right. Offense was uneven. I wouldn’t throw a Romo on Jimmy G. Don’t seee them as remotely similar. Jimmy G is a franchise QB who spreads the ball and delivers wins. Romo was ok but never great.

  29. Happy new year to everyone who makes this the most entertaining 49er blog in existence. About 1 year from now we’ll be speculating on which of the lower playoff seeds we’ll be hosting in our first playoff game since the 2013/14 season. Good times ahead!

  30. Never heard of this newspaper here on the east coast but gotta say it has been by far the worst analysis I’ve seen throughout the season. All the outcasts seem to hang out here. Jack Hammer is ridiculous. Don’t worry never coming back

    1. The Truth

      Sorry to see you go…I’ve enjoyed and agreed with some of your stuff….I don’t enjoy and agree with ALL of anyone’s stuff…Happy Trails…

  31. The Rams can’t say they didn’t face backups also because next season will start (hopefully) with new CB, DE, WR, and OL plus Buckner and Goodwin a full game if that happens they faced about only 75% of our starters. : )

  32. “49ers cornerback K’Waun Williams completed the type of game that few players manage to achieve on Sunday, allowing negative yards in coverage. Targeted five times on 34 snaps in coverage, Williams allowed two receptions, but they totalled -1 yards.”

  33. It’s a beautiful New Years day here in Louisiana, cold but beautiful. I woke up to realize that we are starting the New Year without a conversation about the firing of our Head Coach, or ever whether the coach should be fired, or how Jed would screw up a new hire. We are actually talking about how the team can get better. What a wonderful New Year in Niners land! Happy New Year!!

  34. The Garopollo “B” grade is a bit harsh, IMO. He threw the one pick into heavy coverage and the other pick, Bourne slipped and could not get to the ball. I do agree on the long ball assessment.. Tell you what, he is an A+ shredding defenses mid range but would like to see him air it out, see what he has. Jimmy reminds me a lot more of Aaron Rodgers than Romo. Same footwork as Rodgers and same processing speed as Rodgers. Better short/mid range zip and accuracy than Romo. Rodgers the best overall arm in football..

    Don’t know if I’ve ever seen one player transform a team culture like Jimmy did this season. They went from fearful, inept, unconfident to an aggressive play making, anticipatory group who barely resembled the guys we saw the first 9 games. It was amazing..

  35. The Big Wheel keeps turning, it’s now 2018, and still the only people who don’t know what a catch is are the NFL replay folks. I’m not whining about any one call, but the replay guys are like that box of chocolates……you never know what you’ll get

    1. Looks like Jim Harbaugh is going down in flames again…whaddaya’think for next year….High school…?
      No…I’m never going to forgive him for trading Alex Smith…and Keeping KAEPERNICK..Happy New Year….

      1. My sentiments exactly! Should have never traded Alex Smith for that useless other guy.
        Set us back 4 years!

        Jim Harbaugh is a joke. He should go work for his brother and learn to be a real coach!

  36. well, the end of another season, but this one had a happy ending, on the whole…been a while…
    since we won’t have many metrics for a while to bolster a premise, at least till preseason, it’s time for our version of a hot stove league…
    roster predictions for 2018:
    traded/released division:
    — Armstead
    — D. Johnson
    — Lynch
    — Harold
    — Hyde? Not so fast…I bet he makes himself fiscally attractive to JL– we need a “hammerer” in the RB stable as a change-up from the race horses– Brieda, Williams, etc.
    Hyde knows the position well enough now…he’ll be here in ’18 TC….

  37. Brian Hoyer vs Rams starters – rating 98
    Jimmy Garoppolo vs Rams backups – rating 84

    I’m shocked shocked neither Grant nor Hammer have pointed that out yet

      1. and a Rams D still figuring out Phillips system, showing itself in pass coverage errors…against Hoyer, that is, and don’t forget the unbelievably goofy color rush uni’s they had to wear, 2 big handicaps that night…

        1. Why do the 49ers always wear uniforms absent of color for the “color rush” games? All gold unis would make way more sense.

  38. I remember for weeks after Jimmy G was brought on and through the JAX game, one of the biggest concerns was that Jimmy would get hurt. It didn’t happen and I think we’re all grateful. And the anguish over at fieldgulls.com only makes it all so much sweeter.

    1. Yeah, I recall quite a few people saying he could never survive behind this OL. But there were a few voices of sanity pointing out how a good QB won’t take as many hits as Hoyer and Beathard.

  39. Well, the 49ers had two seasons. One prior to JG, and one after. They were a study in contrast as the team seemed to turn a corner and rescue what all of could agree was a dismal season.

    Not just JG but the play calling improved (simplified perhaps) and the players seemed to execute better. Each subsequent week brought great progress from the team both defensively and offensively.

    They ended up with two more wins than I expected and versus playoff teams. I didn’t think it possible and still think the team has a lot of holes, but for a losing season, I think we can all be pleased as to where the team is.

    Hope they are not complacent and continue to grow. The progress has been impressive.

    What this means going forward is hard to say still, but I think that the nightmare of the last two years can be put in the rear view mirror.

    -Looks like a QB worthy of wearing the uniform has finally arrived.
    -The play if some of the rookies especially in the second part of the season is quite laudable.
    -The defense has tightened up and I attribute it to:
    -Buckner’s play
    -Mitchell’s play
    -Saleh growing into his role
    -Gould had an incredible season and should have gone to the Pro Bowl.
    -I think Shanahan evolved over the course of the season from a play caller to more of a coach.

    1. The D tightened up as soon as they weren’t on the field more than the offense.

      But in terms of why it was already better than last season prior to JG – a lot of that is scheme. Sound run D. Once they add a CB and edge to help them get off the field in 3rd downs the D will be very good.

      1. I guess I should’ve specified a bit on the defense. They were far better with the run than last year and I think Mitchell’s play was especially important.

  40. Jim Harbaugh is snakebit. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a team(s) that have wasted more scoring opportunities inside the 10 yard as Harbaugh.
    Wow, frustrating.

    1. He better win this game or his reputation grows even worse.
      In fact I hope whatever happens he makes his way back to the NFL.

      Then, he will win probably 20-22 games his first 2 seasons then you will see his team and management slowly start to turn on him. It’s like clock work.

  41. Packers fire their d coordinator Dom Capers.
    When is that organization going to learn that Mike McCarthy is a fraud. Without Rogers he cannot coach himself or a team out of a wet paper bag!

  42. Jim Harbaugh just quit on his team. 4th and 10, 3 minutes left on your own 25 and you go for it? Hammer where you at!

        1. 2017 was expected to be a down year for Michigan with all the starters they lost. Add to that injuries at key positions and I’m surprised they even made a bowl game.

          The next couple of years will be a better litmus test of where the program is. If Michigan is struggling in 2018 and beyond, then it’ll be fair to call out Harbaugh.

          To call him out now is lazy and ignorant.

  43. Hindsight 101: games we would have won with Jimmy G

    Week 3 vs. Rams
    Week 4 vs. Cards
    Week 5 vs. Colts
    Week 6 vs. Skins

    1. Agreed.

      Also: How about week 1 vs Carolina? Cam was still not fully recovered from his surgery. A little bit of offense might have been enough to make a difference. And don’t forget the game against the Seahawks in Seattle. I put that one on offensive failure as well.

      If Jimmy G had been acquired in the off season, had a full camp under his belt, and been the starter from week 1, I think a 12-4 season was not beyond the realm of possibility.

      Cannot wait for the 2018season. Go Niners

  44. I like Reid but he’s not better than Tartt. The only advantage he has over Tartt is that he is more experienced. Tartt was having a breakout year and PFF graded him very high before his injury. I think most teams will shun Reid and he ends up resigning with the 49ers on a discount for insurance to Tartt.

    1. -All seven of his TD passes were in the RZ-
      Well Hallelujah!! Robbie Gould can’t have all the fun.
      I noted B.Quinn was quite critical of JG’s 20+ yard accuracy and effectiveness, but called it fixable. Paraphrased; They didn’t run 7 step drops at NE, he just has to get his timing and rhythm.

      1. I’d take Quinn’s diagnosis with all the salt in the Cargill flats in south bay…
        the short/mid quick strike pass game is a staple in NE, i.e.- success of TE’s & slot rcvrs, substitute for spotty run game, etc.
        looking at the film review of JG’s throwing style, he uses upper body muscles, back/waist/hips to get velocity on throw, yet so quick…
        a bit reminiscent of Garcia’s throwing style, just a bit… regarding the lower body vs. upper body throw style, that is…

    2. “All 7 of his TD passes were in the RZ.”

      It’s been well documented over the last 24 hours that he’s struggled with throws of > 20 yards so this makes total sense.

      1. “It’s been well documented over the last 24 hours that he’s struggled with throws of > 20 yards so this makes total sense.”

        Yeah, I mentioned that too.

        “He was 2 of 12 on passes longer than 20 YDs.”

      2. Sure, but he scores in the RZ now, and the blame for previous futility was shared amongst many.
        So, waddaya want, Lamonica to Branch from 70 yards out?
        : -)

        1. Somebody posted a link yesterday that broke down JG’s game. The guy had a pretty good line. He said Garoppolo doesn’t try to eat the burger in one bite.

  45. I’m curious to compare Matt Cassel’s starts taking over a new team vs. Garropolo. Still not on his bandwagon as a QB, especially with the current state of the O and D lines. the D line has no outside rusher and it still makes me wonder how much better CJ would of been with better coaching decisions behind him. I don’t think Shanahan had a whole lot of choice in calling up more runs and balance in the second half. It was either that or get his 3rd QB undercenter and shiny new addition mauled into the ground.

        1. What round is Michel projected to be drafted? He has the quickness to run the outside zone and the strength to run between the tackles like Hyde 👍🏻

    1. Hammer,
      Which round do you see Chubb being drafted?
      I like him a lot, but would wait to see if he falls to the 3 rd. Edge Rusher, WR, Oline, CB are my early rd priorities.
      The only RB that I take in rd one is Barkley.

  46. “Center Daniel Kilgore won the Bobb McKittrick Award, which goes to the offensive linemen who best represents the courage, intensity and sacrifice of long-time offensive line coach McKittrick. Kilgore is scheduled to be a free agent, and he got strong votes of support Monday from quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and tackle Joe Staley.”

    1. Kilgore will be back if he’s willing to sign a reasonable deal. In that case Niners may draft a center in the mid rounds. Unfortunately, Kilgore’s athleticism and strength does not match his football smarts and work ethic.

  47. 80,
    The magic of the “stick.”
    The “catch”
    The “catch 2”
    Steve Young’ TD run against the Vikingss
    Alex Smith TD run against the Saints in the playoffs
    And yes, Kaep’ TD run against the Packers in the playoffs.
    Candlestick was magic!
    Hope to see some great memories made at Levi’s next year.

  48. Har! You know you’ve been binge watching football when your tv asks you if it’s ok to auto-shutdown due to no activity in several hours!
    And there’s another game coming! Oooh-Rah!

    1. My draft wish list at the 9/10 spot.

      1. Roquan Smith LB:Georgia
      2. Quentin Nelson G/T: ND
      3. Courtland Sutton WR:SMU

        1. The most unique part of this draft is there might be a lot of veteran QB’s available. Meaning maybe teams will shy away from the Darnold, Rosen and Mayfield’s.
          This might leave us with someone totally off the conventional mocks.

  49. Is CB DJohnson really that bad?

    Yes he struggled mentally this season, but he wasn’t like this since he was drafted…

    Or could it be the scheme…..he is not a good man player but better with zone plays..

    1. Regardless of DJ, we need an upgrade at the position. Someone we can put on the corner and not have to worry about the next 10 years. If he is there, Minkah Fitzpatrick.
      BTW Oneniner, I’m in agreement now on resigning Eric Reid.

  50. no way Reid is better than Tarrt y’all do remember his pick of cam early this year.Reid wishes he could make a play like that.sorry Tarrt has way better upside Reid has slowly regressed,sorry 2 good games at end of year mean nothing to me.

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