49ers or Raiders? Closer than you might think

This is my Sunday column.

Better team right now: Raiders or 49ers?

Serious question.

Less than a year ago it would have been a joke question, but the Raiders are on the rise. And the Niners have plateaued – that’s the nicest thing you can say about them.

A harsh observer might say the 49ers have gotten worse. There’s truth to that. The Niners won 12 games in 2013 and just eight last season. This offseason, the defense lost Patrick Willis, Chris Borland, Chris Culliver and maybe Justin Smith, too – he hasn’t yet decided if he will retire.

A six-win season is within the realm of possibility for the Niners

The Raiders won only three games last season, but they just had their second terrific draft in a row. A six-win season is within the realm of possibility for them, too.

So which team has an edge on the other?

Let’s compare.


Each team has a quality young quarterback, although Colin Kaepernick isn’t THAT young. He turns 28 in November. He should be entering his prime.

But he hasn’t improved much during the two and a half seasons he has been the starter. He still struggles with foot work, reading defenses, going through progressions and throwing with touch.

He spent three months at EXOS training facility in Phoenix working to improve those weaknesses. We’ll see if that training has an effect on his performance next season.

Derek Carr is only 24 and has started just 16 NFL games, winning three of them. But one win came against Kaepernick. Carr beat him mostly throwing to a tight end and a fullback – Mychal Rivera and Marcel Reece.

In that game, Kaepernick had both of his go-to receivers — Anquan Boldin and Michael Crabtree — and still lost. Carr didn’t have a go-to receiver. Carr made do with what he had.

Now he has a go-to receiver. The Raiders just got Amari Cooper, the best receiver in the draft, and they signed Crabtree this offseason. Finally, Carr has weapons.

His stock is rising. He should have a strong 2015 season. Kaepernick? We have no idea.

Advantage: Raiders


I’m talking running backs, tight ends and wide receivers.

The Niners have better wideouts than the Raiders, even though the Raiders got Cooper and Crabtree. Cooper might become one of the best receivers in the NFL early in his career. For now, Anquan Boldin still is the best receiver in the Bay Area. And Torrey Smith always will be better than Crabtree, who runs in slow motion.

But the Raiders have better running backs and tight ends than the Niners.

Let’s start with the running backs. The Raiders’ top two are Latavius Murray and Roy Helu Jr. Last season, they combined to rush for 640 yards on 122 carries – 5.2 yards a pop.

The 49ers’ top two running backs are Carlos Hyde and Reggie Bush. Last season, they combined to rush for 630 yards on 159 carries – 4.0 yards per carry. They weren’t nearly as effective as Murray and Helu.

Now let’s compare the tight ends.

Four 49ers tight ends made 39 catches total last season. The Raiders’ No. 1 tight end, Rivera, made 58 catches by himself.

And he might not be the Raiders’ No. 1 tight end next season. They recently spent a third-round pick on another tight end — Clive Walford from the University of Miami. He’s talented enough to start right away.

Advantage: Raiders


The Raiders signed Rodney Hudson this offseason, and he is one of the four or five best centers in the NFL.

Raiders’ left guard Gabe Jackson played well for a rookie last season. Niners’ left guard Brandon Thomas didn’t play at all last season. He spent his rookie year rehabbing a torn ACL.

The Raiders have the edge at left guard and center.

The Raiders also have a very good left tackle — Donald Penn. But the Niners have a better one — Joe Staley. He might be the best left tackle in the NFL.

The Niners also have a solid right tackle — Anthony Davis — and a solid right guard — Alex Boone — while the Raiders have Khalif Barnes and Austin Howard, who struggled big time last season.

Advantage: 49ers


Quick, name as many defensive linemen on the Raiders as you can.

OK, that’s tough. Name one.

I’ll wait.

There’s Justin Tuck, who used to be famous and now is 32. And there’s someone named Stacy McGee, whom I had to look up.

And there’s the new kid, the second-round pick – Mario Edwards Jr. The Raiders drafted him to be their primary pass rusher, their Aldon Smith. But he’s no Aldon Smith. Even in college, Edwards Jr. wasn’t much of a pass rusher. He recorded just eight sacks in three seasons at Florida State.

Advantage: 49ers


The Niners used to have the best linebackers in the NFL.

Now, Patrick Willis is gone, Ahmad Brooks is getting old and NaVorro Bowman is … what, exactly? A linebacker who hasn’t played since he tore his ACL and MCL 16 months ago. A man who has to prove himself all over again.

The Raiders, on the other hand, have Khalil Mack – the best young linebacker in the NFL. He’s better than every linebacker the 49ers have.

Advantage: Raiders


The Niners have two Pro Bowl defensive backs — Eric Reid (2013) and Antoine Bethea (2014).

The Raiders have one — Charles Woodson. And he hasn’t gone to a Pro Bowl since 2011. And he’s 38.

Advantage: 49ers

That’s three for the Niners, and three for the Raiders.

Neither team has an edge on the other. They’re in the same spot, shooting stars crossing paths before they fade in different directions.

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

This article has 250 Comments

  1. I stopped reading the article when you said “The 49ers won 11 games in 2013.” That’s incorrect. Our 49ers won 12 games in the regular season and 2 more in the playoffs.
    Please research and recheck your stats before posting. Thank you.

    1. I stopped reading when I noticed who wrote the article. Grant has never written anything positive about the 49ers.

      1. He’s a hater and needs some attention for his petulant, childish behavior. It’s never about the facts but rather, his own wrong opinions. Got this job because of nepotism, not because he has any talent.

    2. Yeah, I always read for the humor in grants writing. Its nothing but jokes. I’ll take Grant serious when he learns to write real no BS material.

    3. I read all of the article so you don’t have to. Mostly thoughtful but Grant took a huge shortcut or was lazy in his analysis of the linebackers. Khalil Mack versus Navarro Bowman is not the whole story. It would be as if his offensive line analysis only discussed the center position. How can he overlook Aldon Smith, Ahmad Brooks, Aaron Lynch? It’s a shortcut which allows him to arrive at his three to three (even) conclusion.

    4. Lmao, he changed it after you had to correct him….worthless beat writer!

      1. I don’t think he is considered a beat writer because he does not go to all of the away games.

  2. When was the last time the Raiders won 8 games or more? In my estimation this year rest on CK’s shoulders. If he has a good year I am seeing 8-9 wins. If he has a really good year I see 10-11 wins. If he has an elite year 12+. There still is talent on this team, a team with lots of unknowns, but there still is talent. This will be CK’s defining year.

    1. I wish Baalke would have done more to help Kaepernick in the draft. Trade up two spots for Devante Parker or Jalean Strong in the second. How Kaep goes so goes the Niners this year.

      1. Don’t forget Baalke help Kaep in free agency by signing both Torrey Smith and Jerome Simpson, both highly gifted and have proven they can play at a high level in the league.

        1. I like both Smith and Simpson but I would have liked either Parker or Strong a lot more.

      2. Parker-how do you know they didn’t try? Also, mortgaging the future for a player who will get on the field but not as a starter. Might not be wise.

        As for Strong, you are assuming he will be better than Smith and/or Simpson. The later two are proven. Strong is not Parker. Last year there were some good picks but others that were highly drafted wr that still need to prove it.

        1. We drafted Eric Armstead who didn’t even play half the snaps at Oregon and likely won’t start for us either. The difference is that all our DE’s are young and our top receivers are not. I was not one of the guys who was adamant that we draft a wideout in round one, but I would have preferred that over our reality.

      3. don’t forget a healthy Vernon, healthy Anthony Davis, healthy Daniel Kilgore, Torrey Smith, Jerome Simpson.

        they should be better able to handle injuries with Pears vs Jonathan Martin in terms of tackles & Marcus Martin will be in year 2.

        the main ? is how well the RB by committee will fare vs Gore and his all-around, every-down ability.

        outside of that, they should be a lot better given health.

    2. Undercenter–just for the record I believe that the Raiders have had only seven winning seasons since 1985. That includes three during the Chuckie years.

    3. The Raiders play in a division that is much easier to win in than the NFC West. Let’s do a quick comparison. San Diego lost it’s receivers and running back and are replacing him with a 24 year old undrafted free agent in Oliver. He did well last season but now the league has had a year to adapt. Rivers appears to want out amid trade rumors and talks of retirement because he has lost faith in ownership. LD pulled those covers.
      Then there is KC. Without a running game, they have no hope of a passing game. Alex Smith is a game manager and they let Bowe walk.
      Denver lost one of the Thomas’s. Peyton Manning is a porcelain doll at age 39? He did loose his guard Orlando Franklin. The defense lost it’s safety, Rahim Moore, and one of the Defensive line men. He wasn’t a huge contributor, so that might not be as big of a loss as losing Julius Thomas.
      I am picking the Raiders to win that division at +1800, They should do it with 10 wins including 1 against SF. And I am not even a Raider fan.

      1. Can’t see the Raiders winning the AFC West. Denver lost some players but they picked up some as well and you can never count Manning out unless his arm is completely gone. Bowe is no loss for the Chiefs, the guy they got from Philadelphia is almost certain to be an upgrade, DeAnthony Thomas has another year of experience and as usual Alex’s capabilities are being underestimated. San Diego picked up one of the top rated backs in the draft in Melvin Gordon so I suspect that division will be pretty competitive. I doubt the Raiders have a realistic chance of winning it.

      2. Matt,
        I’m not disagreeing with you about the AFC West vs the NFC West, but wanted to point out a couple things you missed or neglected to mention.
        The Chargers signed the second best running back in this years draft in Melvin Gordon, and he’s pactically guaranteed to start game one. The Chiefs replaced Dwayne Bowes useless a$$ with a much better receiver in Jeremy Maclin, so those two teams aren’t going to skip a beat over the loss of Ryan Mathews and Dwayne Bowe. I think the Raiders have a chance in their division but I don’t see them winning it, not yet, not this year.

      3. No running game in Kansas City? Jamal Charles just had his fifth thousand yard season in six years and his third in a row.

        Denver Broncos haven’t really lost anything, nor has San Diego. The Raiders might win six games, but they’re only taking one game in division.

        1. As far as RB’s go, SD picked up one who is injury prone and probably won’t hold up well in the NFL. I was and still am a huge Eddie Lacy Fan. He is big and strong, but even he hasn’t been able to hold up in the NFL. The Packers throw the ball a lot to take pressure off the run and Lacy is still beat up and dinged up every year. So, no I do not give much credit to rookie RBs.
          As for KC, I said without a running game, meaning that they are going to have to have Jamal Charles carry that team. I don’t see that happening. Its a huge toll on the body to run 5 straight 1000 yard seasons. I expect some age factors and wear and tear to help the Raiders. If they just split the regular season against Denver, SD and KC, I have them at 9 wins. That means they just need a lucky bounce in any of the 7 loses.
          I don’t think SD is gonna miss their receiver or RB as much as I think their QB is going to mess things up. He is frustrated. He is going to be pushing and we’ve seen what happens when he tries to force the ball. I expect him to lead the league in INTs.
          There is a reason the line is +1800 on the Raiders. I’ll take it though.

          1. Lmao, what makes you think melvin gordon is injury prone? That’s Gurley (Rams) you’re thinking of, or maybe that back from Wisconsin that the broncos took a few years back. Gordon is not injury prone

  3. This is what drives me crazy about the off-season; it’s like sitting in a dark room and running the theory of everything through your head and all possible eventualities. The difference is many don’t get a platform for it. This article could be “Jaguars or 49ers – They’re More Similar Than You Think.”

  4. Khalil Mack is better than Aldon Smith(who also plays Ahmed Brooks positions btw) Ahmed Brooks who is also a much better player and Navarro Bowman who plays inside linebacker? Huh?

    1. Bowman still a top 3 linebacker people are hoping he does not come back as good as he was raiders having better linebackers then the niners is the most crazy thing I ever heard

  5. Ha ha ha. Carr has won only 3 games and because he has a rookie wr and crabtree with a weak oline.

    That is advantage? Smh

    1. Next year will be a reality Check For Carr. Raider fans put too much in that game. These teams aren’t even close. The only advantage I might give to the Raiders is their head coach just because he has experience and we know nothing about ours.

  6. Articles like this are inevitable in a two-team market, and in that sense pretty harmless. That a click-heavy spit ball fight might erupt is just an added bonus.
    There were a couple of assertions that may or may not hold up. Grant rates the Oakland RBs better than SF. It’s only opinion, but I disagree. I will note that just throwing out raw stats and adding them up is of limited use. Helu ran behind a different OL. So did Bush. Different systems, different OLs, different roles on the teams. Hyde played behind Gore the workhorse. In that one case it’s not just apples and oranges, it’s fruit salad.
    Does it look like Oakland is closing the gap? Yeah, I could buy that. I’m not expecting a 6-10 season though.

      1. well the raider TE rivera is two yrs in the game and has over 100 receptions..the raider o line tied for a franchise low of 23 sacks allowed..the niner gave up 52—so to me their line is clearly more efficient at pass blocking and keeping the QB upright is critical.Their run game clicked when they went to the I to run with murray. Most don’t consider aldon a LBER–that said I do expect the raiders to be very effective defense with del rio and norton—as a whole I think the raiders will place a more effective offense with the raiders and niners fielding solid but not dominant defenses

  7. This seems like a thank you captain obvious article. Raiders are getting better we are getting worse.

    Wait who is getting better? I think I forgot.

    An interesting article would be to review what the last 10 teams that got new stadiums did the couple years before and after the stadium in regards to wins/losses, coaching salaries, free agency.

    Comparing revenue from candlestick to Levi stadium.

    On a side note: I wish there would be a few Silicon Valley companies willing to put up cash to buy back tickets at face value from fans to have a one game boycott of a Niners home game. Ideally a prime time national game.

  8. With a worse Oline, the whole team will struggle. Advantage 49ers. Mack better than Aldon? Ummmm ok…… Carr didn’t beat kaep, he beat the defense that had how many players on IR? Amare Cooper will not have it easy in the nfl. There are top notch corners wsiting for him and he wasn’t even explosive in college. way overated!!!

  9. I will not argue as this kind of posts are clearly made to draw clicks by being ridiculously polemic.

    I’ll just say I would bet any amount you want that the Niners win more games than the Raiders. Even could give you a one game handicap.

    1. Give me that bet. Just like last season when I jumped on a bet the Niners would finish 8-8 I’ll take this action too! Please name the stakes, the 49ers have a much tougher road than Oakland. The 49ers play 6 NFC West games. The Raiders play the Brown, titans, Jets, Vikings, Bears, Chiefs twice…That’s 7 wins without effort and no NFC West Opponents.

      1. Matt

        I’m not going to make the bet with you, but I think that you have undersold the chiefs, bears, and the Browns….I’d save my money if I were you….

        1. I dont even need the Niners to have a great season. 7-9 would be enough to be better the 4-12 Raiders.

      2. No problem.
        Do you know any site that we could place this bet or that would have to be a gentleman’s agreement?

        1. Man, I guess you just want to SAY that you want that bet, not actually PLACE the bet, isn’t?

      3. Matt,

        You bet the 49ers would finish 8-8 last year? Wow, did you luck out. It took a staggering number of injuries and other misfortune for the 49ers to finish 8-8, hat was the worst that team was going to finish. In fact, they were actually 9-7, but the refs took the Rams game from them.

          1. Niners being better than 8-8 a virtual lock? That must be sarcasm. Even a SB contending team isn’t a virtual lock at 8-8. As you already mentioned, injuries, and I’ll add penalties, dictate wins more than talent and coaching. The industry is getting too involved in the outcome of games as money has become an issue.

            1. I was one of the few who predicted the Niners would be lucky to finish 9-7 last year. Here’s another bold prediction… the Niners finish 6-10 this year.

              Tough division… Poor talent additions… A terrible QB… A coach who got his job by stabbing others in the back… This will be the most embarrassing Niners club in recent memory.

              1. I don’t think the team will have a winning season but not because they are not a good team. My Raider comments were more of a contradiction to Grant’s assertion that the team is as bad as the Raiders.
                I don’t think the Raiders are that bad and by saying that, neither are the 49ers. I just think the team (49ers) is using the wrong scheme to win in its division. Defenses are built to stop the run in the NFC West and that is exactly what the 49ers want to run – a run first offense.
                The draft as you said was mediocre at best. So, the team will struggle because of coaching and concept, not a lack of talent. It’s like trying to rock crawl in a 5 Series.

              2. Actually, the team overachieved last year at 8-8. Injuries, mutiny on the Harbaugh, divisive locker room, suspensions and lawlessness. It can’t get anymore embarrassing than Wilson/Sherman dining on your turf at midfield,Thanksgiving Day. There’s plenty of talent on this team, and I imagine a chip on every player and coaches shoulder. They could go 6-10 or they could go 10-6. Health. Health is paramount for that offensive line. That line comes out of the gates cohesive and healthy, this team will compete….

              3. I missed typed, I had intended to write, “…a virtual lock to finish 8-8 or better.” I don’t think 8-8 is any thing to write home about, btw.

                I’ll be here all year, so you guys can remind me if I’m wrong, if you want. On the other hand, you have little to fear if I’m right. Unless you come in and self report, it’s doubtful I’ll remember that you predicted doom for the 49ers. Oh, well, I’ll just have to put a general “I told you so” post on here.

  10. Grant – again your analysis reaps of sour grape like a little child that didn’t get what he wanted for xmas. Your analysis is laughable in light of the lack of scientific presentation or metrics used (if there were any).

    Comparing the running backs is the biggest example. Hyde was not the main back, if you project his numbers as a starter, then the niners would have more. Using Bush he played for a different team and different scheme is like apple and oranges, he may do more or he may do less.

    You also did not take into account that the OL was injury prone all season and did not gell.

    Then there is the linebackers, as a whole you could only name one for the raiders and gave them the +, Bowman is a question mark, that is true, but as a whole Lynch, Aldon, and even the old guy, though old still is playing, hell Boldin is old yet he still produces.

    Get a new job. if you are going to deride the niners and their fans, at least do it with compelling and intelligent writting that is throught provoking.

  11. Extremely difficult to get to that 9th win for a team like the Raiders. A milestone that’s the mark of an ascending team….

  12. The Raiders had little push and stuff with their D line and their backers and secondary were slow. The result; 3-13. I give The Niners a big edge defensively. Offensively we look even..

  13. The 49ers have equal chances of 11-5 with a deep post season run… or 5-11. Alot depends on pivot players. If…

    – Aldon Smith plays to his potential
    – Vernon Davis is 75% as good as 2013 Vernon (or better)
    – Boone avoids holdouts and gets his act together

    That gets you at at least 8-8. Not far fetched. Its a contract year for all three.

    and if…

    – Bowman can play somewhere close to the old Bowman
    – Brock, Ward, Anthony Davis, VMack stay healthy
    – Overall injury rate is about NFL average

    That’s at least 9-7, even with the meatball schedule.

    and if…

    – Colin is the 2012 Colin or better… (he does not have to be a high % passer… high yards per attempt + good TD/INT ratio will do)

    That’s 10-6 to 11-5

    and if…

    – Mangini uses all that defensive line and OLB depth in the regular season… the 49ers will have a fresh, explosive defense post season going against worn out offensive lines.

    That’s 11-5, with an offense built for the post season, and a fresh defense with the best bookend pass rush combination in the NFL.

    Who needs super bowl “windows” when you can run through brick walls?

    1. The “ifs” by themselves are not far fetched. Going 4 for 4 on the “ifs” is the sticky part.

      Bad injury luck, Colin having trouble, Aldon/Vernon/Boone playing like they did last year. Any one of those happen and there’s little chance of a post season.

    2. I think one of the most critical factors for 49ers success this year will come down to the contribution from the players drafted in 2013 and 2014.

      We should find out this year whether the guys on the periphery from the 2013 draft are ever going to be any good (Tank, VMac, Lemonier, Patton, Dial). Third year players now, these guys need to step it up or they’ll be written off. Early indications from the 2014 draft class were generally positive, and the expectation will be for a few of those guys to solidify themselves as key starters or role players this season too.

      With a lot of vets leaving this off season, and the 2015 draft class generally considered to be quite raw and needing time, if the team doesn’t get strong contributions from players out of the 2013 and 2014 draft classes this year, they’ll likely be in trouble.

      1. Great points. The safest bet seems to be Dial. NT was not his ideal position, yet he did pretty well. I’m eager to see him play over tackles and guards.

        1. One guy I’m very curious to see in pre-season is Corey Lemonier. Most fans have written him off after he played his way onto the bench after a few games last year. But its worth remembering that while he was bad, the rest of the pass rush wasn’t a whole lot better, especially during those early games.

          What made it so disappointing last year was that he went into the season as a guy with high expectations from most fans and media. He’s a guy that some pundits prior to the 2013 draft believed had first round talent, and he showed some promise as a rookie getting 23 QB pressures in 284 snaps, and 1 sack, compiling a plus 4.8 pass rush grade from PFF. There was a bit of excitement coming from the coaches heading into the 2014 season.

          This is something of a make or break year for Lemonier (as it is with a lot of the 2013 draft class), but he showed as a rookie he has the talent to be a useful edge player, and if he has refined his pass rush repertoire he could end up being a surprisingly effective part of the front 7 rotation in 2015.

          1. Lemonier’s an enigma. Based on his speed and size I wasn’t expecting Aldon, but I was hoping for a good all around OLB that could drop back, set the edge, had speed to pursue, 8-12 sacks per year.

            His college highlights were great, but I expressed concerns while posting this breakdown vs Luke Joeckel. If a good OT was ready for his edge move, he could shut him out. (did not go over well on this board at the time)

            Still, even in that less then flattering game, you can see Correy’s athleticism. I’m not counting him out yet either.

            I have the same concerns re Harold, at only 247lbs. Once his speed move is shut down, he’s locked. I’m 95% sure Harold will be OLB… but he seems intriguing as a roving OLB/ILB wildcard.

            What I really like about Harold is his ability to close on a scrambling QB in space. He’s tailor made to catch Wilson in space.

            One thing that would really help Harold (and maybe Lemonier) is setting up wide. I saw some plays where the wide location allowed let Harold build speed, shocking the OT backwards.

            Harold has quick feet, is a really hard worker, smart. I see good things ahead. Like Ellington, I just don’t know where he fits.

            1. Lemonier has a good first step but really only has one pass rush move – the bull rush. That was the big question mark about him coming out of college, and its something he hasn’t shown signs of addressing as a pro. Even so, as a rookie he was able to use his existing skills to create some pressure on the QB.

              I think the real question that needs to be asked is what happened last year that rendered him ineffective?

              Its easy to blame it on his skill-set, but that neglects that the same skill-set was effective enough the previous year. I think a range of factors went into it – extra work load as the starting OLB, needing to worry about both run and pass, over thinking his pass rush moves, the pressure of being relied upon to fill the gap left by Aldon (and as I said previously, there was quite a lot of expectation on him), and not having the other pass rushers being particularly effective to take some of the pressure off him. It was a rough season for him, and it will be interesting to see how he responds this year. If he can learn to use his hands more effectively and develop some counter moves he’s got the natural athletic ability to be a decent player.

              With Harold, I actually think he comes with very similar question marks coming out of college as Lemonier. A different skill-set, as Harold is better at turning the corner and using his speed, but both guys are high effort players with decent size, long limbs and athleticism, but raw when it comes to pass rush moves. I think Harold could have similar growing pains to Lemonier while he learns he needs other weapons in his arsenal to consistently beat pro-level OL.

              As for Harold potentially being an ILB, sorry mate, I just don’t see it. He’s a long, angular player, best suited to the edge.

              1. I meant to say Lemonier has only a speed rush, not a bull rush, though he doesn’t bend the corner consistently well. He’s not as flexible as Harold appears to be. And once the OL gets a hold of him its all over. Lemonier needs to learn some other moves, some counter moves, and also how to pace his moves better. At the moment the OL knows what he’s going to do pretty much every time.

              2. Lemonier needs Karate classes. That will enable him to utilize his hands as weapons….

              3. Agreed Harold isn’t built for full time 3-4 ILB, but his body seems suited for hybrid roles.

                Harold will be an OLB. They’ll put (a little) more weight on him. Try to improve his hand punch and shed.

                The big question… can he can put on muscle without losing speed and agility? If so he will shine.

                If the 49ers do improve their interior pocket pressure, he’s perfect for chasing down flushed quarterbacks.

              4. Brodie
                Eli is 6-4 247. If he gets in the weight room would it be surprising if he put on 13 pounds of muscle by December? I suspect not. So then he’s 6-4 260 and better fits Trent’s OLB prototype. Even skinny Gregory was up to 242 by draft day and another 10 pounds could be expected even if it takes two years in his light framed case.

              5. “Agreed Harold isn’t built for full time 3-4 ILB, but his body seems suited for hybrid roles.”

                What makes you say this Brodie? Is it because he is under 250lbs?

                There are not many ILBs in the 6’3″/ 6’4″ range. They tend to be a bit shorter and stockier. Harold is tall, lean and tapered. His body type would seem best suited to strictly the edge, in my opinion. In the 49ers scheme he would ideally add around 10 lbs to be more in keeping with their other OLBs, but it wouldn’t surprise me if they keep him around 250lbs.

              6. Harold fits the Baalke mold for OLB. Baalke likes his pass rushers to be in the 6’3″+ 245-265 range. The current player that is the farthest out of line would be Lynch who weighs in at 270. However he’s also 6’5″.

              7. CFC
                Lynch was supposed to be up to 270 last summer but I think they got him under that later. Vic wanted him quicker.

              8. I agree with everyone, even though it might have seemed otherwise.

                Again, Harold will be an OLB without question. He will face many of the same challenges Lemonier did.

                He will gain weight, but to what degree? A few lbs as he naturally matures?… or another 10-15?

                And until that day arrives, can his unique speed and agility be used in specialized roles… a roving blitzer on passing downs… or a tight end coverage specialist… or line up as rush OLB but drop back while Bowman or Whilhoite blitz?

    3. I agree with you generally but think those win total possibilities are awfully optimistic. It’s very easy to see them losing five in division. That makes 11-5, even with everything going right, awfully tough to get to. I’m thinking more along the lines of a hard-earned 8-8 or 9-7 and out of the playoffs because teams with easier schedules will top that finish.

      But hopefully some guys build on the experience and units gel … or it’s a totally lost year because we have no coaching. Remains to be seen how Tomsula and company do.

      BTW, the Raiders could easily get swept in division. I’ll take the Niners for a higher victory total.

  14. The 9ers lost the press conference, and the current heart of the Bay Area. Arrogance is usually the issue as it is with 9ers.

    1. What “current heart of the Bay Area” are you talking about? Is the current heart the trendy bandwagon types? F that. The Faithful are the Fing Faithful, even if we natives get a little restless some times. Go polish the RayDuhs rear bumper if you want while they make plans to leave town.
      “Losing a press conference?” Are you daft?

  15. My problem with rb comparison is if you take away the 1 game Murray had 4 carries for 112 yards then Murrays average drops below 4 ypc. And if you look at any game with 10 carries or more he averaged 3.8 yards per carry

  16. These 49ers are a laughing stock and have intentionally morphed into the bumbling, criminal Raiders of lore. Even their new jerseys look like horrible wannabe Raider jerseys. Even the idiotic new generation of 49er fans are worse than Raider fans. Assault case after assault case, bad move after bad move, this team is seriously the biggest failure of almost any sports franchise, being so revered to squandering real potential to becoming horrifically embarrassing meat heads. It would be like if the Patriots all of a sudden decided to have black jerseys, hired a bunch of stupid criminals, and all their fans stabbed people at games, to the point that the mighty Patriots become the joke of the NFL. Well, that’s not what hapened to them, but that’s what happened to our 49ers.

    1. The A’s wear black jerseys on occasion and I haven’t heard a single complaint from Giants Fans.

      1. Oakland is a 3 win team until they prove otherwise Albert Einstein. If the Niners suck while having more than twice as many wins, then what do the RayDuhs do? Uh-huh.

        1. If the Niners suck while having more than twice as many wins, then what do the RayDuhs do?

          Continue their tradition of losing?

          1. niners fans are really boorish gang bangin punks—has any of your punk fans assaulted and nearly killed anyone in a restroom lately? As far as losing yep, we have done a lot of it, as did the niners for a decade prior to harbaugh–but that is over, so onto the dunce tomsula..LOL and you must of been really bummed to get your tails kicked in by such a losing team–heck, we took a knee on the 11 yd line after a first down 10 yds run–yep it could have been even worse!

    1. Prime Time

      That was my number , but I now think that we’ll be lucky to go 8-8

  17. Reading Pmaning and #7’s response to the “Brady cheat story” continues to confirm #7 still does not get it.

    Willl #7 ever grow up? All his problems are brain issues.

  18. If the 49ers Offensive Line can coalesce while remaining healthy, they will have a great chance of getting 10 wins….

  19. Razor

    Over time, you have become one of my favorite posters…We will always have minor disagreements, but I admire your loyalty to the cause (‘niners RULE!) I was especially impressed with your optimistic posts during this draft…which incidentally I was extremely pleased with. I only disagree with the QB situation…I believe that we have all of the pieces together for a run at #6 barring that one integral position. I am a cheerleader for Coach Tomsula and his entire coaching staff…I’m extremely pleased with the release of Coach Harbaugh and to a lesser degree, the rest of his staff. With Baalke’s excellent work on the draft and Free agency, I believe that unless we make stupid trades, we are in position to go deep into the playoffs…with, of course, our minor disagreement….ciaou

  20. Another clickbait blog entry, yay… Credible journalism – Grant Cohn vs all the other bay area scribes? Not even close.

  21. Grant,
    Nice reading fodder. But that’s the bottom line here. Didn’t you do something similar to this last year with the Giants and the A’s?
    If memory serves me right I believe you rated the A’s better than the Giants.

    Sports (especially team sports) has to many variables. One bad injury, one bad bounce, one bad miss, one bad throw, one bad at bat, etc can make the difference between wining and losing.
    What we see on paper won’t always represent what we see on the field.

    I expect the 49ers to win 8-10 games this season.
    I won’t blame Tomsula for a losing record if that happens.
    Anything below 7 wins must come to rest on York and Baalke’ lap.
    York himself said they he will be held accountable.
    Time will tell.

  22. One of the best things you can give a lady is a laugh. And on this Mother’s Day.. (Happy Morhers day to all of the ladies BTW) I will show my mother this article.
    The parts I will show her are the two laughable ones I saw.
    1 Mack is better than bowman. That was really hilarious…
    2 the raiders have better tight ends.. Because of one off season by probably the 3rd best TE in the game.
    Grant you keep it up buddy. Your days as a Niner beat writer are almost over… And then you can get your covenant Raiders job. And to be honest I can’t wait for a new writer repping my team. I’ve never critiqued your work on this team in the past. You kept it real and I like that. But the past 2 years you’ve rolled off of the deep and in search of “controversy” and hits only. Somewhere along the line you’ve had to many dinner dates with Tim K and was snubbed by the franchise, coach, player…..
    This is by FAAAAR! Your funniest post to date. TMZ would be proud.

    1. He didnt even write this article…it was plagiarized lol…also mack was rated as the #1 outside linebacker in a 4-3 defense so dont sleep on him.also happy mothers day. ~ a raiders fan

  23. LOL boy you do write some silly things, not sure why I still come here to read about the Niners. Yes Oakland,who went 3-13 is right on par with a 8-8 SF team that had 10 starters on IR and a bunch of PR issues from players and the coaching staff last year….Oakland drafts a bunch of unproven rookies so that makes them better? Pretty sure SF has drafted 33 players in the past 3 years and more than half haven’t had a chance to even play yet due to old vets and bloated contracts….you’re stretching for a any kind of story on this one lol

  24. Rating position groups to come up with a win/loss column? Only in Grant’s tilted world does that kind of thing work.

  25. there are a lot of sad truths in this article – “Crabtree…slow motion” made me LOL – but i could only scan this as the pain of reading about our off season collapse would be too much…

    the Niners have enough talent to be competitive this year, but this is a team loaded with veterans whose minds might not be finely honed blades of steel fully intent on being manly men and winning a title…methinks one foul breeze will put Vernon and Boone (should he remain on the roster for 2015) on another plane (the one where the notion of selling out the body is trumped by dollars). it’s going to be a long, hot summer…

    1. What? Boone and Davis both said they are going to be a training camp and I haven’t anything stating anything else….you’re really really stretching the idea the vets don’t want to win games lol. Last I knew players get paid more for doing better lol

  26. The Raiders still have too many question marks and play in an easier division Grant, which make it hard to even consider them on the same level as the 49ers let alone being better.

    1. well they just played and that certainly lends itself to comparing the teams? Oh and every team has injuries–sniveling about injuries is comical.

  27. Grant wisely left off coaching because, frankly, who knows what the Niners have? They do have a DC who has never really succeeded in the NFL and has failed upward with the Niners all the way to the DC spot. Watch for him to politic his way into HC if Tomsula falters. He’s the Niners’ Lane Kiffin. No one knows how Chryst will do either, but there is a lot of experience on the staff otherwise … so wait and see.

    But he’s too harsh on Kaep vs. Carr. Grant has a history of downgrading Kaep at every turn, and here he does so again. For all Carr’s promise, his rating was 76.6 and QBR was 38.4. He is no threat at all to run, averaging 3.2 YPC and fumbling 6 times. Those numbers aren’t likely to drastically improve in terms of his legs as a weapon. For all the talk of Kaep’s regression, his rating was 86.4 – a career low for a full season – and his QBR was 55.9, drastically below his previous nadir (68.6), yet miles above Carr. And of course his running remains at an elite level.

    Grant appears to base his favoring of Carr on the belief that last year’s “poor” showing for Kaep is indicative of an inescapable decline by the player, not due at least in part to horrendous playcalling, organizational chaos, poor pass protection and a shocking number of drops by even his best WR, Boldin. If Grant were correct and these numbers spelled out an inevitable fall, than virtually any signal-caller in the NFL would be preferable to Kaep – including Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow; their numbers at least are consistently poor, not indicating a trip down the watery spiral. I doubt any serious football fan believes that.

    If one were instead to take all factors into consideration, one would be hard-pressed to predict a better year from Carr than Kaep in 2015. There simply isn’t enough data to confidently predict drastic improvement from Carr, but there is enough information (starting with the absence of Greg Roman) to predict a return to the range of at least average performance levels for Kaep. If Kaep performs below but reasonably close to career norms – after all that work with Warner and Warner’s coaching outfit, better pass protection, losing Roman, and replacing Crabtree with Smith – that would be, let’s say, a rating of 88 and a QBR of 65. Carr would have to jump more than 10 and 25 points, respectively, to match those standards.

    I’ll take Kaep in that bet.

  28. Great heel article Grant. Now that I’m expecting your antagonist style I get far more enjoyment reading your stuff.

  29. Grant sez:

    “…Better team right now: Raiders or 49ers?..”

    (then, he points out ..) =>

    “…Now let’s compare the tight ends.

    Four 49ers tight ends made 39 catches total last season. The Raiders’ No. 1 tight end, Rivera, made 58 catches by himself….”

    u-mmm .. Two words for ya, Grant …

    “The Bell-dozer” …

    ’nuff said

      1. Tell you what, Grant ..

        I’m thinkin’ “The Bell-dozer” will replace V-Mac..
        and become the surprise hit on the offense ..

        (ya know.. like my guy, Vernon, was out the gate)

        And .. when Bell blows everyone away ..
        will you post that plate of crow
        (we have handy around here, somewhere) .. ??

        A-a-an-n-d-d .. if he should happen to bust ..
        and you remind me ..
        (ya know .. “senior moments syndrome”)

        I’ll post it for me !!

        Whatya say, Grant ….Deal ??

          1. MWNiner

            actually, I wasn’t merely stirring the pot….did you by chance see the link of Bell’s QB skills ? Some pretty nice QB ing….

    1. I think there is a pretty decent chance of Dorsey playing RDE in base, assuming he and Ian Williams are both fit and healthy. What do you think?

      1. Pardon me for giving an answer that wasn’t asked of me but if they did that they would be making the same mistake that the Chiefs did the year after they drafted him. His best spots are in between the 3 techniques. 3210123 is where he belongs.

        1. Two things:

          – Dorsey was unfairly criticised for his play at KC. He was playing a 2-gap system and actually played his role quite well – good run stuffer and freed up Tamba Hali to put up stats. To see how effective he was, look at how Hali’s stat line jumped up once Dorsey was playing inside him, and how it took a hit in 2012 when Dorsey was out most of the year. He’s also never quite reached the heights of 2010 and 2011 again. Dorsey was labelled a bust by the fans and media that couldn’t rationalise why a top 5 pick wasn’t putting up big stat lines.

          – For the 49ers, if they remain true to recent structures, would have the RDE play quite a bit of 3-tech.

          Hi best spot may be closer to the middle, but with Williams manning the NT spot, he won’t be starting. But he can play RDT well, he’s proven it. I think he’d be a good guy for the spot, as he has better run stuffing skills than Dockett.

          1. There’s a difference between being able to play a spot and being best suited for it and I’m speaking to the latter. I also said that he’s suited to play in between the 3’s so if in fact he’s ending up as a 3 as the RDE then sure he would be fine there. We’re not arguing about his ability to play 3 tech. Not sure how often the end ends up in the 3 that he would get that much play there, more often then not Justin looks like he’s lined up as a 4 or 5.

            Williams has yet to play more then 9 games in a season. Let’s see him make it a full year before we lock him in as the no question answer at NT.

            1. Sure, and what I am saying is that while he may be best suited to interior work, he’s still plenty good as a DE in a 3-4. If he’s better than any other 49ers DL as the RDE, and Williams wins the NT spot (which he has done in the past against Dorsey so if both are fit and healthy there is no reason to believe he won’t again), it would seem pretty silly to leave Dorsey on the sideline just because you think he’s better suited to the interior.

              1. Rather then go in circles lets just wait until the end of the season and count how many snaps he ultimately spends at the position.

              2. Armstead Williams Dorsey

                That would be a formidable 3-4 base defensive front….

              3. CfC, I’m just wondering out loud whether Dorsey would be a better fit for the RDE spot than other potential options on the 49ers roster.

                You have stated you think it is a bad idea because he is best suited to the interior. I’m not going to dispute that he may be better suited to the interior, as he played pretty darn well as the NT in 2013. I’m just saying that rationale as to why he shouldn’t play DE doesn’t make a lot of sense to me if it means he ends up sitting on the sideline most of the game as the backup even though he could be a better option than other guys on the roster at RDE. So I guess the question I have for you is this, do you think Dorsey shouldn’t play DE in the base formation because he’s better suited as an interior player, or because you don’t believe he is any good as a DE?

              4. I agree razor. Though Armstead may not win that role year 1 – it may be Dial this year.

              5. Scooter, I’d rather a 1st Rounder over a 5th Rounder. Armstead will clean up his technique, grow stronger and make you glad they didn’t use Dial….

              6. Out of all the defensive lineman on the team, Dorsey would seem to be the best suited to replace Justin Smith in the base defense….

              7. That’d be fine by me, razor. I had Armstead, Williams and Dorsey as my projected starting line up last week. But maybe he isn’t ready from Day 1. We’ll see.

              8. You gotta believe internally the 49ers feel he can win the job, just like the rest of Baalkes’ first rounders except for Jenkins. I wouldn’t feel too good about the pick if Dial beats him out….

              9. I wouldn’t be too worried if he didn’t win the job to start the season. Dial has shown he’s competent. And Armstead is a bit more raw than your usual first round pick. But I’m sure he’ll be given a good chance to win the job.

              10. I believe as a rotational RDE as long as he spends most of that time closer to the 3 then his talents are being best utilized.

              11. I don’t know how to best answer that question given how little we know about those players. From the 49ers pov I think their best option is for Armstead to be everything they hope and for him to be able to start right away in Smith’s spot on the right side. If that happened I imagine Dockett would play on the left unless Carradine or TJE can beat him out. If Armstead isn’t ready to be on the right side then I imagine that scenario will be swapped. If Armstead isn’t ready to start at all then I think their best options are a combo of TJE/Tank with a peppering of Armstead on the left side. Williams and Dorsey are clear for the middle and Dockett would be on the right. Ideally for the team they’d obviously love to see Carradine beat out Dockett but if that happens I don’t expect it to until the season is already under way.

              12. It is interesting that you see Dockett as being a good option for one of the DE spots, but not Dorsey. Even as a DE for the Cards, he was primarily played as a 3-tech. He is a guy that is better suited to being inside, and playing in a 1-gap scheme, as outlined in the 4th paragraph of this article.


                To me the guys on this roster that are best suited to the traditional DE spots in a 3-4 are Armstead, Dial and maybe Jerod-Eddie. You may be right that they want to try Armstead in the RDE spot, but he played LDE for Oregon and I think that is probably where he is best suited until he improves as a pass rusher. But who knows, maybe they get lucky and he fills that RDE role right away.

                Dial and TJE are best suited to LDE also, as the RDE is usually on the weakside of the formation and expected to provide more of a pass rush than either of those guys provide.

                Tank is a bit of a wild card as we still don’t really know where he fits. He’s still finding his feet playing closer in. I’ve always assumed he was expected to be Smith’s heir apparent at the RDE spot, but from what we’ve seen he’s not yet ready for that role full time.

                As I’ve posted previously, Dorsey has quite a bit of experience playing the RDE spot, albeit in a more traditional 2-gapping 3-4 system. And despite what Chiefs fans will want to lead you to believe, he was actually quite good at it. It is no coincidence that the ROLB (Hali) and RILB (Johnson) for the Chiefs went to the Pro Bowl in 2011, Dorsey’s last full season at the Chiefs.

                Anyway, that’s my take on the matter. I think it will come down to one of Dockett, Dorsey and Tank at RDE this season. The scheme they want to play will be a big factor in who wins the job.

              13. As a rotational guy I don’t see a problem with Dorsey jumping in at end from time to time I just don’t think he’s best suited there as a starter or as his primary role. My initial reaction to your question to Grant was taken from the angle that you saw him as a full time player at that position. Once you mentioned it more as a rotation or situational role then I backed off the thought that it was a bad idea.

                I think the 49ers want Armstead to replace Smith which is why I said it was the best option for the 49ers for him to start on the right side. For me there aren’t replacements for either of our starters from the last few years on the team at the moment. Carradine might be but we don’t know however outside of that potential I don’t see anything that looks like a reasonable starter on either side. Dockett, TJE are both depth players and Armstead if in fact better suited to be on the left side is a zero factor at this point given that we know well, zero about him.

                I think Baalke could be putting too much stock into Tomsula’s ability to coach up players. Sure hope I’m wrong.

      2. Dorsey struggles when isolated with single blockers his best use is to hit gaps and absorb interior lineman.

    2. Grant, I agree with all points.

      Amazing run stat difference when Anthony Davis is in. I’m hoping he can stay healthy.
      I wonder how much of the production drop was because Davis was so good, and how much because Jonathan Martin was o bad.

    3. Grant can you tell me why your posts on Bleacher Report tend to take a more positive slant regarding the 49ers, while your posts here on the PD blog are not nearly as positive?

  30. This article reads like a 3rd grade essay. You’re really terrible, Grant. At least your dad had a little reasoning power. You are clueless.

  31. C’mon, french ..

    you haven’t been around long enough
    to bad-mouth Grant ..

    If you actually took the time to understand why
    Grant writes the way he does .. then you
    just might have the cajones to say sumptin’

    Why not visit your local Wal-Mart ??
    (they have “clues” on sale)

    … buy one

  32. MWNiner, I don’t think you have to be a regular reader of Grant’s to sneer at his latest hatchet piece, I mean, article. There is no way in hell the Raiders have better skill position players, or LB’s. You could make an argument for choosing Carr going forward, but CK should definitely be expected to have a better year than Carr.

    Its easy to call Grant out on this one. Another terrible article, one I hope for Grant’s sake was cynically written to generate clicks. The alternative isnt good for Grant.

    1. “….Another terrible article, one I hope for Grant’s sake was cynically written to generate clicks….”

      Golfer .. see ..?

      You just proved my point ! …

      That’s exactly .. why he does it ..

      But then, you’re one of the regulars around here, too !

      and you … get it !

      It just irks me when a n00b comes in here
      and bad-mouths our host, when you don’t know
      where he stands on … anything !!

      It’s kinda like .. YOU calling Uncle Fred a drunk..
      it’s ok for you to say it .. but let an outsider say it ..
      and he’s entitled to an punch in the nose !

      1. just because someone doesnt post every thought that pops into their head doesnt mean they dont read the blog

      2. Why be a blog snob? Are you claiming some sort of ownership? It is Grant’s blog — not any one fan’s or group of fans blog just because they have been posting longer. The notion of that kind of thing is irrational on the internet anyhow. Everybody that reads an article and desires to post a reply has the right to do so. It isn’t up to you to judge when that fan can or cannot post based on how long they have been participating. I’m sure Grant would agree with that even when it is a post critical of him. So lighten up, Francis!

  33. Stacy McGee??? Beter do some homework. Raiders D-line, revised: Justin Tuck, Dan Williams, Justin Ellis, and Mario Edwards. That’s a very formidable line up. So much so they passed on Lenard Williams.

    Linebackers: Sio Moore, Curtis Lofton, and Khalil Mack. Way more youth and potential than what the niners currently have.

    WR’s: Cooper, Crabtree, Streater, Holmes, and the steal of the draft, Josh Harper. Of that group, Holmes was the only wr to play last year. Advantage, Raiders. Niners have a couple of Baltimore cast-offs well beyond their prime.

      1. Jack,

        I think you’re right. Even if CK doesn’t show signs that he’s the 49er QB for the long haul, they won’t replace him until 2017 at the earliest.

      2. If he does struggle I wouldn’t rule out the possibility of a trade. There will still be plenty of owners and coaches that will think they can win with him.

        1. As long as he keeps making highlight reel plays that make it on SportsCenter Top 10 he’s not going anywhere. The owner feeds off that type of stuff.

    1. Until they have another realistic option on the roster to replace him, there’s nothing to talk about.

      1. That was my point, Rocket. 2017 seems like the earliest that could realistically happen.

  34. Grant, I respectfully disagree…. If you recall, the same comparison was made before last season by local media (95.7 The Game) and Raider nation and fell short. Tell you what, after the Raiders move to LA and establish a foundation, then maybe you can start comparing. Till then, as low as the Niners have fallen, they are still in a much more stable environment then the Raiders. It is not possible for anything to ascend when they don’t even know where to plant their feet. Niners may no longer be a competitor, but they are still leaps and bounds better then the Raiders. Lets reopen this discussion next January and see who even came close.

  35. Comparing the running backs is ridiculous at this point. Doing so and claiming the Raiders have a better group is simply laughable. Hyde was behind Frank all season and Bush wasn’t an every down back and never will be. We’ll see who’s better when Hyde piles up more rushing yards this season than the entire Raiders stable. smh

  36. Haha, I just noticed that the JETS hired Murray Hewitt as their G.M.

    1. the headline in the above article reads : .. =>

      “…Santa Clara: 49ers’ Bruce Miller faces domestic-violence charge in March clash with ex-fiancée…”

    1. It’s pretty safe to say that most are these days. It’s also common to hear that when the team doesn’t yet feel like they have the right personnel for a “pure” 3-4 usually meaning they’re missing a true NT.

      1. Nothing new regarding schemes and formations. What I noticed was how Fangio felt free to dialogue a little. The 49ers are secretive to the point of paranoia.

  37. DJ Swearinger is on the trade block for a sixth or seventh round draft pick, according to Rotoworld:
    “SS D.J. Swearinger will not be with the Texans in 2015. The Texans are trying to find a trade partner for Swearinger, the No. 57 overall pick in 2013, as we speak. If they can’t salvage a sixth- or seventh-rounder for him, he’ll be waived. Swearinger is a name because he takes no prisoners as one of the league’s biggest (and most undisciplined) hitters, but he’s also brutal against the run and nothing special in coverage. Swearinger is not a fit in the culture Bill O’Brien is trying to build in Houston.”

    Anyone know about what it means that he does not “fit in the culture” at Houston? Could add depth to our secondary, no?

    1. We just spent a second round pick on a better version of Swearinger.

      1. I know. Talking about depth, and how can you be sure he’s not better than Tartt?

        1. Tartt is mostly depth himself at this point. I don’t know that Tartt will be the better player but it won’t be that hard either.

    2. Although he had a down year, PFF score wise at least hard to call winning the SB a down year, Kyle Arrington is probably better then both of the guys slated to start for us. If you’re looking for a DB about to be cut to sign he’s the better option.

        1. Not anymore. Wasn’t tying them together just happened to notice a blurb about his release and the connection is that they’re both DB’s which is why I said “If you’re looking for a DB about to be cut to sign he’s the better option.”

  38. This post reminds me of one Grant did last year comparing the A’s chances to the Giants chances. He came out strongly in favor of the A’s…..well we all know how that worked out.

    1. He has to get the masses stirred up sometimes OC.

      For what it’s worth, I don’t see the Raiders closing the gap too much this year, but they are starting to accumulate significant young talent and if they get another draft in the top 5 along with the cap room, they will be a contender sooner than later. McKenzie is building the right way with draft picks and no long term FA contracts. He’s starting to put it together the way Wolf did in GB.

  39. Last I looked this was a blog, not a beat reporter joint although Grant wears both hats at times. Some of you guys are really nasty when your feather’s get ruffled.

    Guess what? It’s only a game folks, it’s not cancer research.

    I think the Raiders are going to surprise a bunch of fans this year. They are devolving from a bozo circus to what they were first time around in Oakland: a blue-collar team for blue-collar fans. I have no problem with that

  40. the fact that the raiders talent is catching up to the niners is a direct result of the draft and the philosophy that each team employs. the raiders draft guys who can play now(at least near the top of the draft) the niners always seem to be drafting projects for a bright future that just doesn’t seem to be materializing. in this draft for instance, neither of the players that the niners drafted in the first two rds is expected to see any significant playing time this yr. whereas the raiders drafted amari cooper who is expected to come in and make major contributions immediately. for the second yr in a row baalke has nt taken a top flight wideout with an early pick despite having every opportunity to. eventually all these “projects” are going to have to start paying dividends if the niners hope to compete with anyone in the league, let alone the nfc west

    1. Thank God. Hopefully no appeal and this ridiculous subject will finally go away.

      1. Shoot first, then evaluate the investigation. Great system for your peace of mind.

  41. Brady suspended for 4 games, a Million dollar fine, loss of 2016 first round draft choice and 2017 fourth round. Think Roger will get a Christmas card from his buddy Bob this year?
    I know Brady can appeal his suspension, but I don’t think an owner can appeal a league sanction. I think the owners have given the commish a lot of power to discipline them.

    Does any one think Brady will appeal his suspension, if so will it be reduced?

      1. Its possible the fines and suspensions have more to do with refusal to cooperate with interview and cell phone requests.

  42. ht
    I thought when the Colts complained the refs checked the balls and found most of them to be under pressured. Is there another problem?

    1. The investigation started out flawed and the method used to arrive at it’s conclusions in regard to the football’s level of inflation is flawed.


      To the “best of his memory” the referee testified that that he used the “W” gauge before the game. That gauge measured air pressure higher than the other gauge.

      At half time they recorded the air pressure with both gauges. The results indicated that there was no problem if the “W” gauge was used before the game.

      Because the official couldn’t say “with out the slightest doubt” that he used the “W” gauge before the game, the investigation based it’s conclusion on the premise that the other gauge that measures “low” was used before the game. Given the game official’s testimony, that’s the least likely scenario.

      If the referee’s best memory of what he did before the game is use, three balls were over inflated, five were in the accepted tolerance, and three were too low at half time due to the effects of the weather on air preasure.

      All this begs the question why hasn’t the NFL ever shown the slightest interest in the accurate inflation of footballs in any previous game no matter how far back you go?They have also never shown any special care with inflating balls or maintaining possession of said balls.

    2. You have to realize that air pressure changes in a football if you inflate in in a worm room and then take it out into the cold weather at the game in question. Then it’s important that the device used to measure the pressure be accurate. In this case one device measured “high” and the other measured “low” so it’s essential that the measurement at half time be done with the same devise. In this case the half time pressure readings seem to have been selected to support the idea that intentional deflation took place.

      1. “it’s essential that the measurement at half time be done with the same devise” that was used before the game.

      2. Without my making any comment with regards to guilt, do you know what the accuracy of the gauges is? I wouldn’t be surprised if the accuracy is only +-0.5 psi.

        1. I’ve seen nothing about checking the gauges for accuracy. As for the NFL, they have no record of trying to inflate their game balls with any kind of precision. The key for the investigation has to be based on the pregame gauge and what the same gauge measured at half time. The game official couldn’t be absolutely sure which gauge he used, but his “best memory” was that he used the gauge that indicated no tampering.

      1. The penalty statement is written such that they can throw out the investigation and still hang him for not cooperating.

        If it’s such a big factor in all aspects of the game, why has the NFL never treated ball inflation an important factor through out the game. Every ball should be checked for “proper” inflation each time it enters the game — especially in cold weather.

        I wonder what air pressure the ball had on the quarterback sneak to end the “Ice Bowl” game at -30 degrees? ;-}

      2. If so, why wasn’t the HC included and only low level ball boys got fired. Of course the hidden ball play works a lot better with a flat ball.

      3. If it could be proved they’ve been doing this since 2006, they should have their division championships and SB victory taken away from them, IMO. Of course, it can’t be proved, only suspected.

  43. This thread has been failing to work properly since MWNiner’s post at 10:13 PM on the 10th.

      1. You “might” have done it so you are “probably” guilty, and you will be punished for claiming it’s not your fault!

        P.S.; I’m looking for a $40+ million dollar job, anyone know where there will be an opening?

        1. lol… ht…

          I’d settle for Gabbert pay ..

          I mean… I could hold a clipboard probably
          better than him

    1. I think Harold will take Brooks’ position, while Lynchmob moves into Aldons’ spot. Unless of course he looks like he’s back to form and they extend him mid season….

      1. I assume you are referring to 2016, not this season?

        With Harold, I doubt he ends up at Brooks’ spot. He’s on the smaller side of 49ers OLBs, and the LOLB is typically tasked with more run D duties than the ROLB. I think he’s a backup for Aldon. Lynch will likely take over the LOLB.

        Personally I think Aldon will be in for a monster year this season. The question will be whether the 49ers can re-sign him.

        1. With Harold, I doubt he ends up at Brooks’ spot. He’s on the smaller side of 49ers OLBs,

          Brooks is 6’3″ and weighs 259 pounds. Harold is 6’3″ as well and weighs 247 pounds. The only difference is the weight, which can be added throughout the season and following offseason.

          1. I think its all up to Brooks. If Brooks comes into the season in top shape, a good attitude and motivated he will easily get more snaps then Harold or Lemonier. He will even compete with Lynch for play time.

            But if Brooks has the same attitude he had last year, he’s probably cut. At minimum reduced snaps.

            I see Mangini using Harold in situational roles where his speed is a mismatch.

          2. Do you think Brooks still really weighs 259lbs, Mid?

            You forgot a key point I made there too. “and the LOLB is typically tasked with more run D duties than the ROLB”. Harold played RDE/ ROLB in college. He’s not a good run defender. He’s best suited to the ROLB job for the 49ers.

            1. Do you think Brooks still really weighs 259lbs, Mid?

              Well we won’t know until next season, but he’s listed at 259 pounds on Wikipedia, NFL.com, ESPN.com, etc.

              You forgot a key point I made there too. “and the LOLB is typically tasked with more run D duties than the ROLB”. Harold played RDE/ ROLB in college. He’s not a good run defender. He’s best suited to the ROLB job for the 49ers.

              Actually I just talked about Brooks and Harolds’ builds where you said Harold was on the smaller side. But if you’d like, I can address that key point and say that it really doesn’t matter because Harold can sit this season and learn to play LOLB and be better against the run because he has a guy named Lynch who can play both positions ahead of him on the depth chart.

              1. The numbers they have on NFL.com etc are unreliable. According to NFL.com Justin Smith weighs only 285lbs, but its been reported he’s been playing at close to 300lbs the past few years. Here’s some info on Brooks’ weight from back in 2012.

                “Entering his second year as a starter, Brooks claimed to be in the best shape of career at 270-pounds, with 16% body fat. Brooks played at 265 in 2011, but claimed he added 5 pounds of muscle this offseason as he witnessed all his weight room numbers increase.”


                “It really doesn’t matter because Harold can sit this season and learn to play LOLB and be better against the run”. I guess. But why try and shift him from what he does best? He’s been a weakside pass rusher his whole college career, and he struggles against the run. And as you point out, we already have Lynch who can play either side – why not have Lynch replace Brooks?

              2. The numbers they have on NFL.com etc are unreliable. According to NFL.com Justin Smith weighs only 285lbs, but its been reported he’s been playing at close to 300lbs the past few years. Here’s some info on Brooks’ weight from back in 2012.

                “Entering his second year as a starter, Brooks claimed to be in the best shape of career at 270-pounds, with 16% body fat. Brooks played at 265 in 2011, but claimed he added 5 pounds of muscle this offseason as he witnessed all his weight room numbers increase.”

                The etc. also includes the team’s website where Brooks was listed at 259 pounds as well.

                I don’t know if they’ll shift Harold or not, but I do know that the 49ers love to have guys who can play both positions.

              3. “The etc. also includes the team’s website where Brooks was listed at 259 pounds as well.”

                I think its fair to say all of the sites use the same source for the weights they list, which I assume is the team website.

                As the article I linked outlines, Brooks himself is quoted as saying he played at 265lbs in 2011, and was up to 270lbs in 2012 where he considered himself to be in the best shape of his life. Maybe you think he was telling porky pies, but I don’t see why he would have been.

                And yes, I imagine Harold will play both sides to some degree, just like all of the 49ers OLBs. But like Aldon, I imagine he will primarily play on the right.

                The long term LOLB is likely Lynch. I’ve been thinking he’d be best suited to the ROLB spot, but watching some of his college film he played a lot as the LDE for ND playing around the 270lbs mark before he transferred to USF, and was good against both the run and pass. As his body matures he’ll likely be a natural fit for that LOLB spot to replace Brooks.

              4. Maybe you think he was telling porky pies, but I don’t see why he would have been.

                I never really indicated that, but don’t forget that Brooks showed up out of shape. The 259 pounds could very well be what he ended up at the end of the season.

                It’s hard to say where Lynch will end up. I agree that he is better siuted at LOLB, but that may not be where the team thinks he will be, especially given that they were willing to release Aldon if he hadn’t renegotiated his contract and planned on Brooks being on the team this upcoming season.

              5. “I never really indicated that, but don’t forget that Brooks showed up out of shape. The 259 pounds could very well be what he ended up at the end of the season.”

                He turned up out of shape last year, not in 2011 or 2012. If he was 265 – 270 lbs and in shape in 2011 and 2012, imagine what he was coming into camp last year.

              6. He turned up out of shape last year, not in 2011 or 2012. If he was 265 – 270 lbs and in shape in 2011 and 2012, imagine what he was coming into camp last year.

                That’s actually not a good example there Scooter. Just because he was fit at 265 in 2012 doesn’t mean Brooks was fit at a lesser weight (if that was his weight last season). It mainly depends on conditioning.

        2. I think the potential is there for Harold to be a very formidable edge setter against tight ends. Wilson typically runs to the right like a chicken with his head cut off. Harolds’ ability to change direction rapidly will allow him to pluck Wilson….

          1. He’ll need to become a lot better at holding his ground once engaged and shedding blocks if he wants to be good against the run.

            1. Functional power and consistency along with an arsenal of pass rush moves. He can develop all three this year….

    2. “Jerod-Eddie would be the seventh defensive linemen. The Niners typically carry just six.”

      From memory, the initial 53 man rosters for 2011 and 2012 had 7 DL, with Williams, Dobbs and Tukuafu the 5th, 6th and 7th DL behind Justin Smith, Ray McDonald, Isaac Sopoaga and Ricky Jean-Francois. So would hardly be unprecedented.

  44. Yes, the Raiders will win more games than the Niners this year.

    The Raiders now have the better QB, the better coach, and the better #1 WR. We fail to win against them head-to-head in practically any category–unless Aldon outplays Mack.

    1. I always look through the comment section for my laugh of the day. Uncle Sully is today’s wiener!

    1. If there was a game to tank, it was the last game of 2014 vs AZ.

      They could have gotten Parker at 14… or traded back to the late 20s for at least an extra 2nd round pick. They would still have gotten Armstead.

      1. MWNiner if you think Baalke is gone if the 9ers tank how long do you give Tomsula under the same scenario?

          1. Cubus,

            Neumann does a good job. My only negative is it is based off a total of 3 games. There have been a lot of opinions thrown out by folks with very limited information.

            1. Baalke didn’t flinch in the draft like a GM whose job was on the line in 2016….

              1. Razor,

                Baalke isn’t going anywhere. He’s the chosen one of ownership.

              2. A sub par seasson with the young guys not developing and or performing puts Baalke on alert.
                He will definitely be the scape goat this year if the Niners are not contending in the division.
                Like Jed said, if we are not winning SB’s, we are underachieving.

            2. Those three games include his two final games which are widely considered to be his best games. If you are drawing conclusion on him off those three games, chances are it is more favourable than if you saw the other games too.

              1. I’m most interested in seeing his games against Stanford in 2013 & 2014.

              2. Just out of curiosity, do you recall what the consensus opinion on this blog was regarding the chances of Eric Reid and Jimmy Ward starting?

              3. Most people assumed they would win the starting role as a rookie, Cubus.

              4. I seem to recall an individual declaring Dahl would be the starter over Reid, but for the life of me I can’t remember the wretched name….

            3. @Jack. Yeah, at the end of the article, he pretty much agrees with your assessment that three games is less than one would like for evaluating a prospect.

              1. Cubus, It hasn’t seemed to slow down many from making declarations on how poor the pick was though.

              2. Jack:

                I think if this was the 2012 thru 2014 draft, the howling wouldn’t have been as severe. The issue is that there is a very large amount of uncertainty surrounding the team that wasn’t there in 2012 thru 2014. As a result, fans want to feel some certainty with regards to some aspect of the team. We’re uncertain about the coaching staff, has Kaep’s game really improved, we’ve lost our starting CBs and the loss of Willis and Borland only continue to fan the flames of anxiety. Yet again, Baalke seems unable/unwilling to pick a WR early (although I do like the Smelter pick – but no benefit from him this year). A first round pick that most fans felt would result in a sure-fire starter at a position of perceived need would have helped a bit to calm those fears. In a few years, we may all look back and say that the Armstead pick was one of the best that Baalke made; but most likely it won’t be this year.

                This is just my explanation of what I think the dynamic is. I think all the pieces are there, but arranging them and getting them to work in sync is a challenge for this upcoming season. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the niners finish 6-10 or 11-5 or somewhere in between.

              3. Cubus,

                “I think if this was the 2012 thru 2014 draft, the howling wouldn’t have been as severe.”

                I don’t know about that. I was pretty outspoken about the Jenkins pick, but that was also because I had watched just about every game of his senior season.

                “The issue is that there is a very large amount of uncertainty surrounding the team that wasn’t there in 2012 thru 2014. As a result, fans want to feel some certainty with regards to some aspect of the team.”

                I understand this to a point.

                “We’re uncertain about the coaching staff, has Kaep’s game really improved, we’ve lost our starting CBs and the loss of Willis and Borland only continue to fan the flames of anxiety.”

                I think we’ll see an improvement in Kaepernick this year with the new weapons. Regarding the CB’s, Cox was a journeyman and the team did just fine in 2013 without Culliver. I don’t think the inside linebacker spot should be a concern to the degree some are showing. Wilhoite is decent, and with Bowman returning I think they are in a better spot than last year.

                “Yet again, Baalke seems unable/unwilling to pick a WR early (although I do like the Smelter pick – but no benefit from him this year).”

                Picking a WR early would have been nice, but that player wouldn’t have been a starter over Smith or Boldin this season, and I think they already have depth there with Patton and Ellington.

                “In a few years, we may all look back and say that the Armstead pick was one of the best that Baalke made; but most likely it won’t be this year.”

                Maybe. It’s fun to go back and look at how the 2011 draft was perceived in the days and weeks immediately following the draft. It wasn’t anywhere near as positive as how it turned out.

          2. Cubus thanks for the link. What surprises me about this article is it makes Armstead seem to be stonger against the pass then the run. Evrything else i’ve read says the opposite.

            1. Yeah, I just reread the article and watched the embedded videos again. From the examples provided it seemed like a lot of the “underachieving” was making the wrong decision, in a few cases not being decisive and probably not diagnosing the play quickly enough to put himself in the best position to make a play. When people say that a player is “raw” I would think that these issues are part of that.

              I feel pretty confident that Tomsula and the OL coaches can turn Armstead into a very good player; just not so confident that it will happen this season.

        1. hard to say, coach ..

          I mean, you can’t compare his situation
          to the one George Seifert found himself in ..

          but then … we’re talkin’ about the Jedster
          ya know

    1. One of the violations was providing a signed helmet and jersey for a fundraiser to benefit a high school scholarship fund.

      Harbaugh responded on twitter with. “No good deed goes unpunished” Oscar Wilde

    2. “The violations are classified as Secondary/Level III. Violations of that nature typically result in no punitive action by the NCAA and are handled through education of the coaching staff through the school’s compliance department.”

      … and the “good deed” contribution was to a fund dedicated to a high school student who committed suicide.

  45. I have the Niners with 11 wins. Home 6-2 (Wins: Vikings, Ravens, Falcons, Cards, Bengals, Rams, Loss: Packers, Seahawks). Road 5-3 (Wins: Rams, Bears, Giants, Browns, Lions, Losses: Seahawks, Cards, Steelers).

    I have Raiders with 6 wins. Home 4-4 (Wins: KC, SD, Jets, Vikings, Loss: Den, Bengals, Ravens, Packers). Road 2-4 (Wins: Browns, Titans Loss: KC, SD, Den, Bears, Steelers, Lions).

    Best case for the Raiders is 7 wins (flip the road game against the Bears). The worst case for the Niners is 9 wins (flip the Bengals at home and the Lions on the road).

    Bottom line: There is no way the Raiders have a better record than the Niners this year.

    1. George:

      I’ve been meaning to tell you that your alerting the blog to Smelter as a possible selection in the draft was very insightful. Good job. However, realize that we’ll be expecting big things from you next year :)

  46. “49ers or Raiders? Closer than you might think”

    Grant Cohn and William Randolph Hearst? Closer than you might think.

  47. It’s a race to the bottom with the Bay Area’s football teams – with both ownership groups essentially being clueless about football operations, and more concerned in profits and market value of the team than they are wins. Wins will only be pursued if it is seen as a way to increase profits or market value.

  48. I love my Niners, but Raiders have the momentum and a brighter outlook. Niners looking like IBM, Raiders in start-up mode. If Davis Jr. stays in Oaktown, he will have the ‘local’ team. Not the suburban upper-class bobos now clinging to the red & gold, but the urban, BART-riding, car-less, bicycling millennials. The citizens of both cities were blessed to have two local teams, regardless of records, but now we may not have any. If you need a car to go see your team, then something is wrong.

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