49ers @ Rams Periscope preview

San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle (85) against the Cleveland Browns during an NFL football game in Santa Clara, Calif., Monday, Oct. 7, 2019. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)

Check out my Periscope preview of Sunday’s game between the 49ers and Rams.

And check out this short video I made about Robert Saleh’s finest moment as a defensive coordinator.

This article has 82 Comments

  1. These two teams are trending different directions. One’s on the rise, the other on the decline. I like the screens, but I also like the stop n go deep with Goodwin matched up on Peters….

        1. He’s running out of opportunities. Training camp aside the drops is what’s killing his chances. A big game Sunday silences his critics( me).

              1. Yes but eventually teams will figure it out and Jimmys gonna have to carry the load.
                Shanny needs to trust him more. Especially on 1st down.

              2. If it’s not broke, don’t fix it but I feel like we might need Jimmy to sling it around in this game. Maybe not, but the Rams have no choice in the game plan. They have to sell out to stop the running game at all costs. With Talib out, I’d strongly consider letting a less rusty Jimmy open it up a bit….

              3. Nah. They need to stay the course, Run the ball, get after it on defense.

                I’d look for somewhere in the neighborhood of 28-35 pass attempts.

              4. They can and should stick with their formula of run the ball and play great defense. But, I’d like to see Shanny put more emphasis on throwing the ball on 1st down so that it gets the play action going and Jimmy in better rhythm.

                Razor is right, not broke dont fix it. I’m saying let’s start to develop the short and intermediate passing game more for maybe when the 49ers are trailing in games.

                A good read:

                https://www.espn.com/nfl/insider/story/_/id/27815130/the-san-francisco-49ers-undefeated-legitimate-super-bowl-contender

              5. Well, they’re averaging nearly 30 pass attempts per game, with the Steelers game the most at 32. I suspect it will be closer to 35 than 28….

              6. JG has been handcuffed? No, he is being allowed to win games.
                .
                Maybe at times, JG should become the field general, and be allowed to run the up tempo, no huddle with quick snaps, but the winning is the most important thing, even if JG does not shine statistically. Running the ball is also reducing the likelihood of injury, for JG.

              7. « I’m saying let’s start to develop the short and intermediate passing game more for maybe when the 49ers are trailing in games. »

                Like in the 4th quarter against Pittsburgh?

              8. In 12 games with Shanahan, Garoppolo has dropped back to pass more than 35 times on only 3 occasions.

                Chicago when the 49ers needed to come from behind late.
                Tennessee when the 49ers needed to come from behind late.
                Minnesota when the 49ers needed to come from behind late.

                That number would likely be 4 if Garoppolo hadn’t hurt his knee against KC. The injury occurred on his 34th drop back. And in that game, the 49ers needed to come from behind late.

                I think this shows a pretty clear pattern, and if the defense continues to play like they have there probably won’t be a need to “cut it loose”.

              9. Good point Jack. Don’t see the injuries changing Shanahan’s approach. If JG passes more than 35 times it likely means the team is chasing the game.

            1. I actually think Jimmy has been coming along just fine.
              He is completing nearly 70 percent of his passes and has shown steady improvement, the past 2 games were his best so far.

              Having said all that, I think they need to stick to their game plan. Running the ball effectively allows SF to minimize long-distance downs. This, in turn, allows Jimmy to get rid of the ball quickly and helps hide the deficiencies on the Oline. I fear SF’s 4th and 5th tackles will be exposed if Jimmy is forced to hold the ball on longer developing routes.

              1. I’m not saying they should avoid the run and let Jimmy air it out.
                My point was be less predictable on 1st down and pass more.
                If your moving the ball and moving the chains via the run of course stick with it.
                I just think getting guys like Pettis, Samuel, and Bourne the ball will help develop them and the short to intermediate passing game.
                (1st down situation)

                Eventually the league will catch on so this offense needs to evolve and one area that I’ve seen that needs evolution is the short/mid passing game.

              2. « My point was be less predictable on 1st down and pass more. »

                Shanahan runs the ball so much on 1st down for two reasons:

                1) They’re good at it, avg 5.4 yds, so it gives them 2nd and 4-6 which is a good spot to be in.

                2) Running so much on 1st down sets up the defense for play action and shot plays.

                « ….needs evolution is the short/mid passing game. »

                What do you consider this to be? 15 yards & under, 20 yards & under?

              3. After rushing for 275 yards, you want the Niners to become pass happy?
                .
                I say, impose their will on the Lambs. and run it down their throat.

              4. Jack, my thought was to get the passing game in better rhythm and less predictable, it would be the next step in this offenses evolution to start passing maybe more on 1st down.
                Maybe the stats say otherwise, I was thinking more in the lines of getting those players more touches and making the play calling less predictable.
                I agree with everyone, it’s working but now let’s see what teams do and if passing on 1st down gets better 2nd and 3rd looks.

              5. « …..start passing maybe more on 1st down. »

                That’s a possibility. Right now they’re around 66% run:34% pass on first down. Over the last 5 years Shanahan’s been right around 50/50.

        2. All of us came here because we knew the team couldn’t go on the way it was going with all the injuries and losing. So it falls to Dante Pettis to take action. He has to ask himself if I do nothing, where does all of this end. Can anyone on the 49ers say that if we can’t do it, someone down the road can do it, and if no one does it, what happens to the team? All of us know the team would face an eventual collapse. I know it’s a hell of a challenge, but Dante must ask himself, if not me, who, if not now, when?

  2. Saleh is the best? lol, calm down. So he’s better than Fangio, Spags, Bowls, Crennel, Shiano, Capers, Mcdermott, Phillips, Williams and forth? He very well could be a rising star but his defense just last year generated the lowest turnover total of all time. He’s definitely capitalizing on having the best dline in the league at his disposal and how can you be sure any of the other could not eclipse the results so far? Say he exceeds your expectations and we all get the point, jeez.

    1. Saleh should be buying Ford and Bosa, Kwon dinner every night.
      Last year without those guys he could not do much. And the addition of the new dline coach has helped so not sure why Saleh is all the sudden a better coach.
      Some people just ride the hype.

        1. Amazing, eh, how some talented players and an upgrade on two key position coaches can freeze the coordinator’s hot seat and make him look like a genius — playing almost the same scheme all the while?

  3. Why don’t they use someone back to block for the punt returner? It’s usually the first guy down that gets to
    the returner. If you can pick off that guy, it usually gives the returner some room to run. The gunners almost always
    get past the 2 guys trying to block him at the line of scrimmage. Plus the blocker can give the returner insight on
    whether to call a fair catch. Nobody does it, is it illegal?

    1. Not illegal….i would think it makes more sense that one guy rushing the punter instead of being an imaginary blocker…..chances the PR follows the block is slim….

  4. This is the Attrition Bowl, for first place of the NFC West. if the Niners win, they have a 3 game advantage over the Rams. If the Rams win, the Niners may be tied with the Seahawks, and the Rams have the head to head advantage over the Niners.
    .
    Grant is calling out Pettis. He is pulling a Lowell, daring Pettis to prove him wrong. He thinks Pettis can win, or lose, this game.
    .
    Then, Grant made a Freudian slip, predicting the Niners will win. However, he first said that the Rams would win, 17-13.
    .
    The Niners are decimated with injuries, so they should not be expected to win. They do not need to feign weakness.
    .
    He is making this a clash of titan- coaches. KS needs to establish dominance over his former underling. However, this may be more of a clash between Saleh and Phillips, that will decide the outcome of this game.
    .
    I like Grant’s tie.
    .
    He leaves by teasing us about an interaction he had with Pettis. He will divulge what happened on his hot mic.
    .
    Interesting, Grant thinks the Rams will win, but Lowell thinks the Niners will win. I think Lowell is smarter than his son. (Sorry, Grant). ;p

  5. One thing I like about these periscopes is Grant’s delivery. He enunciates every word and he speaks in a clear manner. Grant does not say ‘uh’, unless he is thinking of a name, and his spiel is a rapid fire, stream of consciousness. Yet, he clearly provides insights on a subject, so he is easy to listen to. Some others drone on and on, and I finally lose interest, or forget what he was talking about, but Grant keeps me on the edge of my seat.
    .
    The best aspect is- Grant is interesting and informative. He gets right to the point, and he has an opinion. I could listen longer, but one hour is enough time for him to impart his salient points.
    .
    Yeah, yeah, some will accuse me of being a sycophant, but I also have disagreed with Grant many times, and have just referred to his father’s intellect, as being a notch above Grant’s.(Sorry, again, both are very smart.) ;p
    .
    With Grant’s delivery, and the content of his speech, I see Grant as having a national presence, on TV. He is light years better than Booger.

    1. Holy Cow, Sebs………….were going to have to wear our boots to get thru some of this stuff your puttin out. I’ll bet Grant finds it very distasteful, all of this slurpin you do…….

      1. Naw, Saw, Grant hisself was doin’ the same ol’ thing on his periscope.
        .
        I like the man, and hope he succeeds in life. I watch many sports color men and analysts, and think they are in the wrong line of business. They state the obvious, and can barely read the cue cards. With Grant, talking is second nature, and I like his quick wit. Sure, he says some pointed criticisms, but he is just doing his job. During those previous seasons, the Niners richly deserved all of those criticisms. Any team that goes 4-12, should not consider themselves above reproach.
        .
        Now that they are winning, Grant has backed off, and has actually given high praise to KS and Saleh. Pettis should not have such a thin skin, because Grant saw KS and JG rip into Pettis, so he is getting criticism, from all sides.
        .
        Like with Lowell, JL and his Niners are proving Grant wrong. Maybe that was a master motivational tactic by Grant, to bring out the best in them. Now, Grant has stated he was way off base, and the season continues on its impressive course. Everyone seems happy, except for Pettis.
        .
        Now, we will get a bunch of that slurping you are talking about. The bandwagon fans will jump on, and be the loudest. Everything is perfect, the Niner players are heroic, and the coaches are genius’s. Any negative thought will be verboten, and the Niners are SB bound. 19-0!!!!
        .
        However, many will realize that last season, they were 4-12, so they need to play even better, before any accolades are bestowed upon them. Yes, we will get the bandwagon fans, but I know that fame is fleeting, and attrition can lay low any team. I am glad I have been on this site to help chronicle this season. We all know who has been here the longest, and who have jumped off.
        .
        I will continue to root for my team, but I will also point out areas to improve. I want to keep them on their toes, and not get complacent. The Niners could get much better. They could be so well prepared, they do not have a helmet malfunction during the game. They could work on their ball security, so they will not give up the ball 5 times, again. STs needs improvement, because Gould should not miss 3 times. Maybe a better strength and training program would help reduce the attrition, although obtaining fully healthy players would help, and attrition occurs, even with the best care.
        .
        Lighten up, Saw. This team is unbeaten, and deserves praise. Even the media deserves some praise. I have been fully informed, and highly entertained. Posey, on NN, has churned out lots of posts, and seems to have changed allegiance from the Chargers, to the Niners. Grant’s blog is churning out some good insights, while on NN they are boasting about banning posters, while mindlessly twittering amongst themselves, with their cliquish inside jokes. Even with all that, the Niners are the talk of the town, and reminding us of the Glory Years.
        .
        GO NINERS !!!!!! SIX !!!!!!

        1. And Saint Attila raised the hand grenade up on high, saying, “O Lord, bless this thy hand grenade, that with it thou mayst blow thine enemies to tiny bits, in thy mercy.” And the Lord did grin. And the people did feast upon the lambs and sloths, and carp and anchovies, and orangutans and breakfast cereals, and fruit-bats and large chu…

        2. Haha! Lighten up, indeed…………………Your the one who needs to lighten up. Why? BOSA IS NFL DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK………………..and aint nothin you can do about it!!!!!!!!!!

          (Let us not forget the huge stink-eye you were giving this young man……..never gave him a chance….and now….a fresh cup of coffee with that humble pie your eating….at THE WAFFLE BARN!!!!!!)

          1. Saw, what are you babbling about? Sure, I wanted 2 extra second round picks by trading back, and we will never know if that would have helped the team.
            .
            And sure, I worried about Bosa’s injury history. I did not scream like many did when Bosa went down with his high ankle sprain, because the Ninrs selected him, and I was rooting for his success. If you remember right, I was more concerned about Hurd, and his red flag.
            .
            There is nothing I can do about it? Wrong. I can cheer for Bosa, and hope he gets 12 sacks this season.

        3. Seb, you continue to operate under this idiotic assumption that Bill Walsh gave a crap what Lowell Cohn wrote about his team, and that KS even bothers with what Grant says. This “prove me wrong, motivational” approach that you ascribe to the Cohns is simply asinine. Both Walsh–when he was alive–and now Shanahan, have forgotten more about football than the Cohns will ever know. And, for that matter, your own opinions are nothing to write home about.

          1. David, I will dismiss your screed out of hand, because my source for that info was Eddie DeBartolo himself.
            .
            Of course, back then, Eddie claimed never to have read the papers, but he then admitted to Grant, that he read every word. Eddie joked to Grant to take it easy on him, not like what Lowell did back then.
            .
            I do not claim that the Cohn’s were a genius like Bill Walsh, but Bill himself warned the players to be careful around the media, because they were very intelligent, and would parse every nuance, and pounce on every mistake.
            .
            KS whined for the media to stop saying negative things, because even though they talked until they were blue in the face to ignore what is written, he admitted that what is written is passed on by friends and family, and it seems to upset his players. He said that in May, I think.
            .
            I have a good memory, and those columns that Lowell wrote, upset even me. How dare Lowell challenge Bill Walsh to prove him wrong, after Lowell would concisely point out the pitfalls, and how a lesser coach would fail due his weaknesses.
            .
            Yes, I would grind my teeth, but after they won, in retrospect, I saw it as a master stroke of motivation, which helped Bill avoid the pitfalls.
            .
            I wonder if you even bothered to watch Grant’s periscope, because he did the exact same thing with Pettis. He called out Pettis, and dared him to be great.
            .
            As to my opinions, did you predict the Steelers would blitz like crazy, and that JG should attack the area the blitzer left? JG did exactly that when he made that pass to Breida.
            .
            Did you advocate for Saleh to dial up some exotic blitzes? Even a delayed blitz up the middle? In the Browns game, Kwon blitzed up the middle, and K’waun Wiliams came on a delayed blitz, and helped Kwon sack Baker.
            .
            I said that they should run Wilson up the gut, and he responded with 2 TDs.
            .
            Go ahead and diss whatever I say. Many marvel at the rhinoceros hide I have. I feel perfectly comfortable in advocating that they use the side line, to negate catches. Some game, a Niner defender will lift a receiver’s leg, and prevent 2 feet from coming down in bounds.
            .
            Thankfully, after repeatedly eviscerating the Niner coaches for wasting time outs like drunken sailors, I gave seen them save time outs for the last 2 minutes in the half, and it allowed them to score.
            .
            However, they did waste time outs recently, and they resulted in interceptions and a fumbled snap, so they wised up and have not repeated their mistakes, because it was counter productive. I guess you think they they can call time outs whenever they want, and who cares if the next play is a turnover.

          2. KS has forgotten more football that they will ever know? You mean like forgetting how to finish in the SB?
            .
            KS is doing well, and is very clever in designing plays that get a player open, but he is not above reproach. He can improve, like the whole team can improve. They ran for 275 yards, but will they consistently do that? Even with success, attrition may thwart their plans.
            .
            KS may want to forget about that second half, but he will be defined by that implosion, until he manages to win a ring. Hopefully, this season, if the Niners can overcome adversity, KS may achieve his dream.

      1. Yup, but I tend to coarsen the numbers to grades: 70-90 is an A for me with A+ above that score, and 50-70 is a B.
        Buckner (and Armstead) should get some credit in pushing back the pocket and not allowing the QB to step into it, giving Bosa and Ford a shorter route to the QB.

  6. I was still looking forward to this game even with all the injuries, this amazing defense will keep us in all games but I just read George Kittle is questionable and a good chance he does not play with a groin injury !?! Boy is the air going out of my balloon, still if the defense can stay dominat and no nw injuries, still have a punchers chance!

  7. Last week I thought the niners would lose to Cleveland and then beat the Rams.

    Unfortunately i now think the niners lose this one. If both were healthy I would take SF but given the injuries… Home field gets the edge here.

      1. Yup, a lot of LA fans are still ticked off that the Rams moved to St Louis.
        .
        With a 4-0 start, there will be a big Niner presence in LA.

          1. That is why Levi’s was an empty mausoleum last season.
            .
            I miss Candlestick, after attending so many games there, and witnessing history.
            .
            I have no desire to attend the killing zone, and would not attend even if Jed himself, gave me a ticket.

            1. That is why Levi’s was an empty mausoleum last season.

              No, losing seasons since Levi’s opened is the reason. Win and they will come.

              I have no desire to attend the killing zone, and would not attend even if Jed himself, gave me a ticket.

              In other words you can be arsed to make the 100 plus mile trek. There’s no disgrace in that. When I lived in the south bay, I’d never given it a thought to drive up to Sonoma for a game.

    1. Homefield advantage is more than just the crowd.
      The home team has the advantage of sleeping their own bed, sticking with a set routine and is typically more well-rested. Additionally, while I am not a huge proponent of ref’s deciding games it most be noted that typically the home team gets the edge in terms of calls. It is not a huge difference but it is a noticeable one.

      So when you are looking at a matchup that is this close… all of these can come into play.

      1. Generally true, but at least in this game there is no time zone difference so I think the “well-rested” part is not as big a factor.

  8. Grant,

    I’m getting nit picky here but it was Fangio that first used the 6-1 Defense against the Rams last year.
    Bill then copied him in the super bowl. Ted Nguyen wrote an article about it in the athletic.

  9. I believe the 9ers get the win this Sunday. Score may well be closer, but the defense remains in pretty decent shape, and I suspect Saleh’s guys will perform well knowing the offense may not have every stinkin’ weapon available to it.

  10. The Niners front four are really coming into their own. Not sure how offenses are going to defend their QB’s against the Niners. For the most part teams are doubling Buck, which frees up the others. Bosa is wrecking havoc so teams are going to have to do something about him. Hard to envision double teaming him too, so the alternative is to chip him with a TE. The TE. loses about 3 steps when he has to chip, that’s a plus for the D. That leaves Ford and Armstead one on one. They will win that battle most of the time. The Niners front four is a huge (literally and physically) problem for the opposition. The difference between Ward and Moore was quite evident in the Browns win. Is the weak link on the Niners defense Richard Sherman? If that is the case all I can say is holy cow. I do believe the Niners have a SB defense.

  11. I hope KS becomes more creative. Maybe activate Matthews, and use him as a FB. Dwelley may be the player chosen to replace Juice, but if Kittle does not play due to his groin strain, Dwelley is a better pass catcher than Toilolo. I wonder if Toilolo will also be used as a FB, but with his 4.86 speed, he might do better on the right side, helping out Brunskill.
    .
    If Kittle is recovered enough to play, I hope they will use him as the fullback. He is the best blocking TE on the team, and can catch the ball out of the FB position. If they line him up in the back field, the defense cannot jam him on the line of scrimmage, and he will not garner double coverage.
    .
    KS should also consider putting consider putting Coleman in at FB, and get him more involved in the passing game.
    .
    Sure, the Rams will stack the box, and sell out to stop the run, so JG must pass more. However, the Niners should not abandon the run, and become pass happy, although a logical weakness will be the replacement to Talib.
    .
    Grant thinks Pettis may be a big factor in the passing game. I am hoping Goodwin can make a couple long scores, torching Peters.
    .
    This game will be a stern test for KS. Will he overcome adversity, and keep his team resilient? McVay has had 4 extra days to formulate a plan to defeat the Niners, but other than Witherspoon, the defense is essentially intact. If they can get to Goff, sack him, and get into his head, rattling him, the Niners have a good chance to win.
    .
    GO NINERS

  12. Game time weather should be very tolerable. Depending on winds, air quality could suffer some–likely little to no impact.

    1. Gurley has essentially been MIA since last year, and I don’t expect that to change. Wouldn’t surprise me if he’s out of the league in 2 years….

      1. Yes, it is so basic, but there are way too many times when a shorter DB is out jumped for the ball along the side line. If he can manage to prevent both feet from staying in bounds, he may affect the outcome of the game.

    1. Don’t sleep on Malcom Brown, he’s quite capable. I think McVay uses the same game plan with or without Gurley. If Rams OL can’t get run game going Goff might get rattled.
      SF offense is going to have to put up some points even down four starters. Gould is going to have to put up points as well, even if past misses weren’t all his fault; get it fixed guys.

      1. Brown capable, but he doesn’t scare a soul.

        If the Rams can’t get the run game going? How they gonna do that? Nobody runs on this defense, and not one rushing TD.

        Niners got this!

  13. Pettis is in the doghouse with JimmyP….agree…..need to activate JWilson today at RB to pound the rock….and get Mathews involved in the passing game…

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