49ers lose Breida, Pettis to injuries for finale

San Francisco 49ers running back Matt Breida (22) remains on the ground during the first half of an NFL football game against the Chicago Bears in Santa Clara, Calif., Sunday, Dec. 23, 2018. (AP Photo/D. Ross Cameron)

The 49ers have to wait for next year to see more of running back Matt Breida and wide receiver Dante Pettis.

Breida sprained his left ankle last Sunday during the 49ers’ 14-9 loss to the Chicago Bears, while Pettis sprained the medial collateral ligament in his left knee. Both will miss the 49ers’ upcoming season finale against the Los Angeles Rams, head coach Kyle Shanahan confirmed Monday on a conference call.

Breida injured his ankle on the first play of the second quarter against the Bears, when All-Pro edge rusher Khalil Mack landed on his leg. Breida left the game and did not return.

Pettis injured his knee later during the same second-quarter drive, when he caught a four-yard pass from Nick Mullens and quickly tried to spin away from Bears outside linebacker Leonard Floyd. But, Floyd grabbed Pettis from behind and bent him sideways. Pettis’ foot caught in the turf. He immediately grabbed his left knee and lay motionless in the fetal position. The injury looked worse than it was.

Neither Pettis’ injury nor Breida’s injury is considered serious.

Pettis and Breida are crucial for the future of the 49ers offense. Both became starters this season after veterans went down with injuries. Pettis replaced Pierre Garcon when Garcon injured his knee midseason, and Breida replaced Jerick McKinnon when McKinnon tore his ACL before the season began.

Pettis finished 2018 with 27 catches for 467 yards and five touchdowns. And Breida finished with 153 carries for 814 yards and three touchdowns.

“Matt had a very impressive season,” Shanahan said. “He started out great, stepped in right away and played like a No. 1 back. For a while, (he was) close to the league lead in rushing. Had a ton of explosive (runs). Had a good yards per carry.”

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This article has 125 Comments

    1. I agree completely. The reason we have not been competetive for the last two years at least, is that so many have been injured and on IR. What gives with this? Are they doing everything necessary to keep them healthy and injury free? Why do we have more injuries than most anyone else?

    1. This team has been next man up since preseason. But if you ask commenters on here, this team has a losing record because our 3rd and 4th stringers lack motivation, or we need an offensive coordinator, or the hc is keeping the qb from running, or the HC doesn’t know how to coach or motivate, or he needs to rush 3rd and 4th stringers into the top ranked rushing D in the league to prove he knows how to balance, or THE hc neor because even though this team is stacked like the 2011 team we should be 11-4 instead of 4-11. (Sarcasm at its finest)

      1. Yet, that team full of 3rd and 4th stringers, beat a division rival that is a playoff team, when the coaching finally put players in positions to succeed. Too bad the HC did not prepare the team well enough to beat a team who had 2 out of only their 3 wins against the Niners. Too bad they did not know how to finish winnable games. Yes, the red zone ineptitude could have benefited from having an OC, since the lack of an OC produced this season’s results. Yes, unbalanced passing and running (21-3) produced zero points in the second half.
        It sure was inexplicable to see a QB with a clear path to converting a 4th down play and stop the clock, suddenly throw the ball out of bounds. Sure wish the coaches could have prepared him better so he could have been more aware of the situation.
        This team could have easily won 4 more games this season with better coaching. That would have put them at 8-8. With a little more luck, they might have gotten to 9 wins, which would have been good enough for a wild card berth. Too bad they were too stubborn, and inflexible, incapable of making timely adjustments.
        No one I know had said that this team is stacked with talent equal to the 2011 team. Most were lamenting the fact that this team was devoid of talent, especially when they were at 2-10.
        Instead, they were ripping the players, and absolving the coaches of any responsibility. Oh, the irony.

  1. Grant,
    If this young team can stay healthy next season it can have a statement year.
    The off-season moves, FA signings and draft will define the team for years to come.
    No excuses in 2019!

  2. Pettis is the reason why drafting a WR high is risky. They tend to get injured. Hope they find a grizzled veteran FA, who has been battle tested, and battle hardened, who has not been utilized correctly, and would benefit from going to a new team. Still, I hope they find a big and fast WR in the draft in the later rounds that could help in the red zone.
    Maybe Hyde might be persuaded to come back to the Niners, as a big bodied back to compliment Breida in the running game. He would be good insurance if JM does not come back strong from his ACL.

      1. Yup. The Niners need to find another big durable WR, who can high point the football in the red zone.
        Kittle is a good example of a rookie, who studied hard, learned the playbook and the system, and worked out to build muscle so he can take the sledgehammer blows. This season is the result of all that hard work paying off.
        I think you meant to say that you hope Pettis matches that in 2019, as I do, too.

  3. Merry Christmas! The stockings are hung and the presents are wrapped.
    Hope the Niners give us a final present with a win over the Rams.
    I wish Grant and everyone on this site a happy holidays, with peace on earth and goodwill towards all.

        1. Haha!!

          Good one-exactly what I would have said! Or how about….”a sharp poke in the eye”. I thought you might lay that one on me, too

  4. Sucks because as promising as next year may be it’s still unnerving the amount of injuries that have occurred on this team since Shannahan has taken over,last year was the same..makes me nervous about getting my hopes up for next year.Hopefully now there will be more competition in the secondary

  5. For a guy with a UT connection, Shanny has strayed far and wide from Longhorn talent. Poona Ford is a beast. He went undrafted and is now playing an integral part of the Seahawks D-Line. He’s like a cross between John Randall and Cortez Kennedy. Holton Hill went undrafted and he’s been a special teams stud, along with a decent fill in at CB. Chris Warren II is a monster and could’ve played a red zone hammer role. All of them went undrafted. Couldn’t have hurt to bring 1-2 of them in. Who knows, maybe they tried–but maybe they didn’t.

    Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas.

    My Niners Christmas wish is for them to show up on Hard Knocks. I want to see Shanahan’s charm and all around positive vibes under the klieg lights. :-)

    1. Yikes, Hard Knocks? That would be Grant’s dream. How many head coaches have survived a season or more following a Hard Knocks appearance? Mike Smith, Jeff Fisher, Hue Jackson… the league is littered with former HCs on Hard Knocks

  6. Got a 2019 49ers Calendar as a Christmas gift. Going into 2019, only one featured player is no longer on the team, Joe Williams. My wife asked what happened to him , my answer “every day he has the blues”. (For you metal fans, Joe Williams was a belter with the Basie Orchestra). However with the likes of Ward, Tartt, Garcon, Armstead in the calendar, we could see a significant drop off when the 2019 season starts. Oh, the joy of the rebuild.

    1. Someone who appreciates the classics!! Good reference!

      Cassie and Rocket have avatar problems. Apparently I’m going through an identity crisis. Either that or too much eggnog!

      Btw Feliz Navidad a todos los aficionados de los 49ers!

    1. The 49ers hold second overall based on Strength Of Schedule

      It’s still possible the Jets could pick 2. If the 49ers and Jets lose Sunday, the Jets get pick two if only three of the following happens:

      Ravens beat the Browns
      Bucs beat the Falcons
      Chargers beat the Broncos
      Giants beat the Cowboys

      Info from Matt Barrows of the excellent The Athletic and Jason at Over The Cap.

  7. Anyone watching Rich Madrid’s film breakdown of the offense from the Bears game? Anyone still want to tell me how well McGlinchey played? Ooof. He had quite a few whiffs outside of the notable ones, but bailed out by quick hitting passes. I have been really impressed with him this season, but I really don’t understand why people are trying to defend hims play in this game. Who cares that it was a tough matchup? He either played well or he didn’t. He didn’t. It happens, especially to rookies against top players. Nothing wrong with that when for the most part he has played well this year. No need to defend his play this game.

    Also, merry Christmas all! Even though its now boxing day here in Oz :-)

    1. No need to rewatch, saw it live. And you’re 💯 when you say it’s ok to say he didn’t play well this game. He’s done good most of the year. No need to defend his honor.

      Merry Christmas to all.

    2. “Anyone still want to tell me how well McGlinchey played?”

      I said by no means was he perfect. He missed assignments, understandable for a rookie and that should be less of a problem going forward.

      He got beat by Mack, but didn’t give up a sack to him, to me that’s something for a rookie. Sure he got bailed out by some quick passes, but that happens to every team in every game, especially against teams that have a good pass rush.

    3. Can you provide a link to the film breakdown? My searches bring up the win over the Seahawks as his most recent film breakdown. Thanks.

          1. Thanks. But I don’t see any film review. I only see a tweet that says Glinch and the other guy were putrid. Is that all there is or am I not seeing a link to a review of film?

            1. It’s on Webzone’s twitter too. He points out a few plays McGlinchey misses badly on. I thought he held up pretty well overall considering they threw the ball 39 times against the best pass rushing line in the league and gave up one sack. There were mistakes obviously and I didn’t break it down and study it; just noticed more than a few plays where McGlinchey held up well one on one against Mack and Floyd.

              1. I did finally figure out that he was just showing individual plays in a series of tweets that were further down. In looking at the plays, I found it interesting that on several plays, McGlinchey seemed to fail because he didn’t have his body positioned correctly between the defensive player and Mullens. On one play he moved to Mack’s outside shoulder and all Mack had to do was just go straight at Mullens who was to Mack’s inside. In general, this makes me appreciate more how difficult an offensive lineman’s job can be if they don’t know where the QB is (they can’t look behind to find him whereas the rusher can see the QB). However, on this play it’s clearly McGlinchey’s fault. He moved so far that I wonder if he thought a different play had been called.

              2. The fact that they gave up only 1 sack doesn’t tell the true story. There were at least 2 times in which Mullens had guys wide open but got hit as he was trying to throw.

              3. McGlinchey is a stud that will be a perinnial pro-bowl player by year two.

                I can live with a rookie having a bad game or two when going against top rated players for the first time.
                Overall, McGlinchey has held his own in his rookie season and will grow from his mistakes.

              4. Well said AES. For a rookie to come in and face the type of edge rushers he’s had to face in his first year in the NFL, he’s done a really good job.
                He’s a dedicated all around good team guy. Heck of a pick!

  8. I hope the nines play well but lose the Rams game. Give the new Nick time to improvise !
    Let’s keep that #2 spot and see how the FO squanders another opportunity at improving the team!
    Merry Holidays!

  9. Grant,

    Not that I don’t like Mullens, but what about his TD/INT ratio (10-7)?

    You made a pretty big deal out of it last year when talking about Garoppolo (7-5).

  10. I Pray the 49ers get the 2nd pick
    Trade to 5 -7 for more picks
    Pick a pass rusher (preferably Burns or who they see fit best) ….must be ready to start on a day 1
    Possession WR (to Compete/Backup with Bourne)
    MLB (to Compete/Backup with Lee)
    LT/G (future LT but versatile to play Guard)
    CB/FS/SS (backup competition/Special teams)

    Free Agents
    Pass rushing OLB
    CB/FS/SS (2 yr backup contracts)

  11. To the tune of “Everybody’s Trying to Be My Baby”

    Went to a game, but to my chagrin
    The other teams quarterback stole my win
    Everybody wants a great edge rusher
    Everybody wants a great edge rusher
    Everybody wants a great edge rusher… now

    We had the lead, and I was feelin good
    But we gave up a bomb, then I under stood
    Everybody wants a great edge rusher
    Everybody wants a great edge rusher
    Everybody wants a great edge rusher… now

    We keep loosin games, and I think I know why
    The other teams QB, was clean and dry
    Everybody wants a great edge rusher
    Everybody wants a great edge rusher
    Everybody wants a great edge rusher… now

    We have four months to argue about which edge rusher to get. Looking forward to it.

    1. Very nice. Kind of interesting that every team drafting in the top 5 needs an edge rusher. If the 49ers stay at #2, they will be significantly impacted by Arizona’s decision to go O-Line or Nick Bosa. Very possible they go O-line to protect Josh Rosen. Then the 49ers have the luxury of picking between Nick Bosa and Josh Allen. As much as I don’t want him, the 49ers would have to go with Bosa. If the Cardinals go with Bosa, I think that may cause the Raiders to try to jump up to #2 to pick Josh Allen. Not sure what the draft chart says but the 49ers could move down to #4 and pick up another 1st rounder or maybe a 2nd rounder. At #4 the 49ers could go Greedy Williams, Deandre Baker, Devin White, Jonah Williams, or maybe Rashan Gary if they have him rated that high. IMO it’s much better to have the 2-5 picks in a draft than the #1 unless there is a clear cut stud QB and you need a QB. That isn’t this draft.

        1. No Bosa for me. I’m not a fan. He has #1 pick talent but he’s not committed to his teammates and he’s a ‘me 1st’ player. Don’t really want that on my team. But if he’s there, his talent will be next to impossible to pass up.

          1. I think Cody Ford could be an answer at RG in round 2 to counter facing Donald/Suh twice a year, while also serving as a viable option at RT once and if McGlinchey takes over LT when Staley hangs up the cleats. He’s a more athletic version of D.J. Fluker….

            1. Agree. Ford is really good. I’ve seen him in some mock drafts going in the back end of the first round though. Not sure where he’ll end up. If the 49ers end up going o-line early I’ve seen multiple reports saying Jonah Williams can play guard or tackle in the NFL. He might be a viable option to play guard and then take over for Staley when he retires. You have to take Williams with the 1st round pick though. He’s a top 5 pick type of player.

        2. I liked Burns, especially his production, but some questioned his size. I really want to assess their Combine results before making a final determination. Thankfully, this is a very deep draft in pass rushers.

      1. I’m a chart guy in my mocks, mainly because many teams still trade close to chart value.

        But the value of top five picks fluctuates wildly. If there’s two highly sought after quarterbacks in this draft a trade back sounds great. Or if Bosa drops to 2 and (for some reason) the 49ers are skittish about him they could fetch some picks.

        1. Houston 9er – Sorry, I didn’t see your post below. You nailed it. It’s all about the presence of a coveted player at #2. And there definitely could be one coveted enough to pull in some nice picks.

          1. Not sure if you’re a chess player but in Chess each piece has a value.

            Pawn – 1 point
            Knight – 3 points
            Bishop – 3 points
            Rook – 5 points
            Queen – 9 points

            So a QB must be worth 9 points. Left Tackle and edge rusher may be worth 5 points and so on. So I wonder if there is a way to combine the Draft Value Chart with a positional value chart similar to chess to determine a trade value for a top 10 pick. For instance, the #2 pick in the draft is worth 2,600 points in the Draft Value Chart but a top end QB is available and that position is worth 9 points so a trade for that spot must equate to 2,600 points x 1.25. If a top end edge rusher is available and that position is worth 5 points then that pick is worth 2,600 points x 1.15. Or maybe all those charts are total BS and you just ask for the stars in exchange for the #2 pick and settle for the moon.

            1. Interesting concept. Positional value is certainly a factor. I wanted Lynch to choose Derwin James when he was on the clock. But I wasn’t too mad he chose McGlinchy because of the value of the tackle spot. (Though in Saleh’s system strong safety has alot of value to).

              I think the top 5 picks are more market driven. The rest of the draft trades are more chart driven.

            2. I agree that positional value dictates what can be acquired in terms of a trade.

              If a coveted qb was coming out a trade back would be a nice option. That Does not appear to be the case this year however. And teams don’t give up the farm the type of players at the top of this years draft class.

              Looking at it from that perspective, I think our trade back could be done with our second rounder.

          1. Unless one of the QB’s draft rating skyrockets during the offseason workouts and testing, there won’t be any big trade up this year. Teams don’t generally give up much in the way of picks unless they are going after a QB. Best we can hope for is that the Cards pass on Bosa which is unlikely.

      2. IMO you don’t pass up Bosa or Allen.
        Mark my words right now.
        Allen will be a stud and game changer in this league. He’s got Mack and Aldon Smith written all over him.
        And not the troubled A Smith.
        I’m actually leaning more towards him over Bosa.
        His family history of injuries and now his own have me a little nervous.

        1. If Bosa is not available, I like J. Allen as well.
          With Herbert deciding the stay in college it might cause a little ripple effect now.

          There are some good Edge players that could go in the first to early second.
          Brian Burns could be a late 1st or even slide to 2nd because of his weight.
          Jaylon Ferguson could be a 3rd rd steal if he is not gone by the 2nd.
          Polite and Sweat are other options that might go late in the 1st rd or early 2nd.

          Once we draft our Edge we could shore up the Oline. Looking at a couple of mock draft sites shows Alabama T Jonah Williams going in the 2nd rd. That’s a big slide from a few weeks ago when he was a top 10 pick.
          He would be a nice pick up for us if he doesn’t go in the first rd. But I am concerned why he is trending down.

    2. In 2012, the Rams had the #2 pick in the NFL draft. The Rams traded that pick to the Redskins (who picked RG3) and in return the Rams received:

      2012 1st round – #6 pick
      2012 2nd round – #39 pick
      2013 1st round pick (ended up being #22)
      2014 1st round pick (ended up being #2)

      Thats 3 first round picks and 1 second round pick in exchange for the #2 pick. I doubt the 49ers could get that much for the 2019 #2 pick because there isn’t a QB worth that much in this draft. BUT I do think they can get worthwhile compensation to trade out of that pick. Interesting tidbit I just learned about this trade: in 2014 when the Rams were playing the Redskins, RGIII already had his career derailed by injuries, Jeff Fisher sent only players the Rams acquired in that trade out to do the pre-game coin toss just to troll the Redskins organization. Jeff Fisher may be the worst long term head and I have absolutely zero respect for Jeff Fisher as a coach but I have to give it to him – that was a nice troll job.

  12. Congratulations to our 2018 Fantasy Football Champion, Wolfpackers! He defeated, Rebelscum who finished 2nd, followed by CaliFornettecation. Thanks to all participants for making our blog tournament one of the most highly competitive and exciting ever! See you next year!

    1. Woohoo! I won! I am the tops to a largely irrelevant and almost completely arbitrary competition that people throughout this land take way too seriously!

      Wonder what that means for football acumen! 😂

      Thanks for hosting Razor.

              1. Haven’t got to him yet. Interior defensive line is last on my to do list. Still finishing up edge, then I’m gonna go through wr’s, cornerbacks, iol and ilb….


    “We’ve gotten very good center play. He started this year at an extremely high level. He was doing as well in the run game as anybody I’ve had,” Shanahan said. “He had a number of setbacks with his knee injury that he’s battled through. He only missed one game because of it, which is a credit to him. He’s starting to get healthier”.

    “It will help him a lot more being a year in the offense coming back next year and we need to find a way to keep him healthy throughout the year.” Shanahan pointed to how well left tackle Joe Staley and left guard Laken Tomlinson have flourished this season after a year in his system.

    Pretty much my thoughts as well….

    1. Me too. Think the oline has been really good since the Raider game.

      Another offseason of conditioning for Richburg and learning the offense inside and out will help him tremendously.

        1. Bingo. What changed is they put a QB back there that processes quickly and gets rid of the ball. The same thing happened last season when JG took over. The weird thing was JG struggled a bit in that regard this year. I think he was overthinking things to start the year.

          1. But after Jimmy G was inserted last year the run game remained awful.
            This year the run game has been way better with less talented running backs.

            Last year the run game ranked 21st. This year 13th.

            Passing yards 9th 2017, 15th this year.

            1. The run game averaged 4.8 yards per carry over the first 8 weeks. In the last 7 weeks they’ve averaged 3.9 yards per carry. In the last 4 they’ve averaged 3.1.

              Could be wrong, but that doesn’t look like improvement.

              1. It is kind of hard to assess the run game since Brieda has been injured for most of the season and the position has been a turnstile this season.

              2. Overall ranking gives a better indication as opposed to yards per carry.
                Winning is also a better indication of improvement.

              3. But the line has been solid Mid regardless of whose been carrying the ball.
                From 21st to 13th with our 2nd, 3rd and 4th string RB’s is impressive.

              4. From my laymen’s perspective watching every game, the offensive line is playing better as a unit in both pass pro and rushing. Where they’ve struggled is running power, particularly down on the goalline. They get that rectified by either Garnett having an epiphany or drafting a guy like Cody Ford with their 2nd pick. An athletic mauler that’s impossible to bull rush. Both Richburg and McGlinchey would be much obliged, even though Person was very good this year. The bonus with Ford is he can play RT too….

              5. ”It is kind of hard to assess the run game since Brieda has been injured for most of the season and the position has been a turnstile this season.”

                Mid, prime addressed that at the end of the sentence.

                “This year the run game has been way better with less talented running backs.

                “Overall ranking gives a better indication as opposed to yards per carry.”

                The overall ranking for the run game has also gone down consistently over the second half of the year as well. The two kind of go hand in hand because they’ve been running the ball almost the same number of times per game.

              6. Yards per carry doesn’t not give a accurate account of the run game because you can have a back break a 90 yard run and end up with a higher average per carry.
                Whereas a total yards gained over a season gives a more detailed account as it’s based on an all encompassing total of the entire run game.

                Point is the oline has shown improvement from last year regardless of whose the QB.

              7. “Yards per carry”

                My last comment to you said nothing about yards per carry. In the first 8 games the 49ers ran for 1069 yards. In the last 7 games they’ve run for 706.

                Yards per carry, or total yards rushing, the offense has fallen way off in the run game over the second half of the year.

              8. Fallen off? That’s incorrect. They are controlling the game more, and feeding off the play action now. The play calling has been exceptional allowing for a more efficient offense.

                The original thread was that the praise should go to Mullen’s but it clears that the line deserves the credit.
                The rank of total yard matters not wether they gained so much in the 1st half of the year versus the last half. Who cares?
                It’s where they rank for the total year, and the comparison from last year to this with less talented running backs. That’s all on the offensive line.

                You brought up yards per carry but that means nothing.

              9. “You brought up yards per carry but that means nothing.”

                To you, and that’s fine. Either way they’ve had a decline in production in the run game, from 134 yards per game in the first 8 down to 101 in the second half and only 73 over the last 4 games which has been made up for in the pass game.

                As for the play action stuff, that’s a large part of Shanahan’s playbook so they’re going to do that regardless.

                When it comes to a reduction of sacks over the second half of the season that has a lot to do with a QB who gets the ball out of his hands quickly. There are a number of plays where Mullens is getting the ball out in wherever the previous QB’s this season were not. That is what my original comment in this thread was referring to.

                The only place in which the offensive line has been really good since the Raiders game is in your head.

          2. I don’t know what Jimmy’s problem was, but he definitely looked like a deer in headlights at times this year as opposed to his steely eyed demeanor last year. Perhaps he was playing with house money last year, and he might have been a little tight this year. Just dunno but we’ll find out soon enough next year. Hopefully, time in the book and Mullens create the perfect storm for Jimmy to take the league by in 2019….

          3. “The only place in which the offensive line has been really good since the Raiders game is in your head“

            When you consider the ranking of the offense in total yards from last year to this year, it’s a huge improvement.
            That’s all on the line being able to pass protect better and run block a lot better. It also indicates that another year together in the same scheme they are getting better and better.
            I’d go as far as saying the oline has helped Mullen’s more than he has helped them. Since that Raider game they came in and shown a determination to play better for Mullen’s than they did CJB.
            Shanny simplified the play calling and he’s been masterful at getting the offense with less talented backs to play better on the shoulders of the oline.

        2. I’d say it’s more of a product of coming together as a unit than giving the praise to Mullens.

          The play calling has allowed the unit to get into the games sooner with more run to pass calls . And that has allowed play action to be better later in games.

          Yes Mullen’s has played ok but he still holds the ball way too long. Let’s be honest, Shanny has done a great job of protecting Mullen’s via his play calling.

          Point is the line has held up for him and the running game with back up RB’s has been really good. I don’t think that’s a product of teams respecting Mullen’s all that much as it is to the line finally showing some cohesiveness.

        3. No question that’s part of the solution, but there’s no denying that continuity and experience within the system are the remaining factors. I think they’re playing better as a unit, because although Mullens/Garoppolo have fast processing; there are times when Mullens holds the ball longer than 3 Mississippi’s, and the offensive line was able to oblige….

          1. “there are times when Mullens holds the ball longer than 3 Mississippi’s”

            And as a result batted balls by dlinemen at the line of scrimmage.

            1. Wrong. Most of the time the batted balls are guys who aren’t getting a pass rush so they have to keep their eyes and hands up, thus a number of the batted balls are on quick routs.

              1. How many did Hicks have on Sunday? The ball is being held too long if a linemen can come out of a stance, straighten up and raise his hands. It’s also because Mullen’s is too slow in his drop steps.

              2. Mullens would tell you he’s to blame, but I’d say it’s the responsibility of the offensive lineman to bat the defenders arms down with violence, or take their legs out so they think twice about doing it again, who bear the most culpability….

              3. I don’t think I’m wrong because one he is too short, second it’s up to him to adjust his footwork or arm angle on the throw, and 3, it’s happened in shot gun and under center.
                Now tell me how is an olinemen suppose to get the defender to lower his arms? Spielman on the telecast said chop the guys knees but I think he was being funny.

              4. Spielman wasn’t being funny, that’s how you do it. Once you cut them down a few times they won’t be as quick to get their hands up is the theory behind that technique.

              5. Yeah, that is why you’re aiming at their belt/midsection. If they jump they’ll go down. If they’re on the ground with their hands up they’ll need to enjoy getting punched in the gut.

              6. I don’t think that’s what you want to teach players to do. Maybe 10 years ago but that would never fly in today’s NFL.

                In any case, batted balls are a result of the QB not taking the right angle to fit the ball thru or to slow or too short in getting the ball out or in his drop steps.

              7. “Yeah, that is why you’re aiming at their belt/midsection. If they jump they’ll go down. If they’re on the ground with their hands up they’ll need to enjoy getting punched in the gut.”

                Thanks for that explanation as I wasn’t following how an OL chopping at the defender’s knees would produce the desired effect. Still, I think Prime has a point about penalties when doing that especially in today’s NFL. Spielman played a long time ago.

              8. If you can execute it perfectly. But the truth is you never know exactly where the guy will be when you try to execute the chop (the DL has to come out of his stance). It just doesn’t seem like the refs will give as much leeway in case you wind up going a bit low. In other words the chances of getting a penalty called would probably be higher today than they were 15 years ago.

                After all, if the guy jumps, the OL doesn’t know that ahead of time. So, if the OL aims for where the defender’s mid section will be when the defender comes out of his stance, he’s going to be way low if the defender decides to jump.

              9. Is there a designated ref(umpire) to specifically watch for that?

                Regardless when you look at the defensive front 7’s the 49ers oline has faced this year, they’ve held their own early and have gotten better as the year has went on.
                Considering the injuries, the 3 QB’s and ranking of the offense, they look to be a bright spot next year.

              10. You can still cut block to some degree. The point of emphasis was to get rid of chop blocks where one lineman was already engaged with the Dlineman and a second player took his legs out.

                If a defender goes high to knock down the ball, an olineman should easily be able to drive through his thighs.

                In any case, while the Oline has improved, the are about average, not good or great.

                They can’t be relied on th generate push for hard yards and good Dlines have been able to consistently generate pressure withought the need to blitz.

    1. “Thomas has a 77.9 grade over the last two weeks which ranks 15th out of 103 edge defenders.”

      I’m not a big fan of PFF, but at least they know that Thomas hasn’t been invisible recently.

  14. Looks like the Rams are playing for something. They could win and claim a first round bye.
    However, Gurley has knee issues, so they may want to let him heal for the playoffs.
    Sean McVay sat his starters last season, lost, and did not win their first playoff game. He may want to play his starters so they get more in sync, since they struggled a bit towards the end of the year.
    Niners should expect their ‘A’ game, and game plan accordingly. The Rams will be hard to beat. Niners need to be more balanced, and negate Donald.

      1. CJ Anderson ran for 167 yards last game, so Gurley will benefit from resting and healing. Then, if they win, he will have 2 more weeks before playing.
        Rams look vulnerable without Cooper Kupp. He was the go-to player for Goff. Now that he is gone, the Rams have struggled at times.
        Woods and Cooks need to step up, but Josh Reynolds may be another threat the Niners cannot afford to take lightly. He can high point the ball and is a red zone threat. Niners should jam him hard at the line of scrimmage, to disrupt his timing.

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