49ers’ red zone plan a mystery

This is my Thursday column.

Let me get this straight.

Ten games into the season, the 49ers have thrown one pass to Vernon Davis in the red zone. That was Week 1. He scored a touchdown.

Ten games into the season, the 49ers have by far the worst red-zone offense in the NFC.

Could those two facts be related?

I’m just asking.

Before the season, Colin Kaepernick said the Niners needed to improve their red-zone offense: “I think that’s something that we know we’ve struggled with here,” he carefully explained.

Before the season, offensive coordinator Greg Roman promised he would emphasize the red zone in training camp: “We’ve spent a lot of time there and will continue to do that. I don’t think there’s anything other to say except you get what you emphasize.”

Did Roman get what he emphasized? Hardly. He got a 25-percent drop in red-zone touchdowns from last season to this season.

The 49ers never should let Roman emphasize anything ever again. Take away his highlighters and his red pens and his state-of-the-art laser pointer. Emphasis is obviously his kiss of death.

I like to imagine the preseason speech Roman might have given to the rest of the coaching staff, the speech in which Roman laid out his master plan to improve the red-zone offense.

This is the scene I imagine: Roman fires up an over-head projector, grabs a felt pen, writes “RED ZONE” on a plastic slide, underlines the words three times, circles them and projects them onto a wall so they’re ten-feet tall.

“Two words, one area,” Roman lectures in a loud voice, “Red. Zone.”

The words echo around the room as Roman stares silently at the coaches who stare back full of hope.

“THAT is what we must improve,” he says. “And here’s how we’re going to improve it. Vernon Davis is our best red-zone receiver, one of the most productive red-zone receivers in football — everyone knows that. Teams expect us to throw him the ball in the red zone. So we’re not going to. We’re going to deke them out of their pants. We’re going throw Davis zero passes in the red zone this season. Other teams won’t expect that.”

The defensive coaches gasp. Vic Fangio, usually self-composed, falls out of his chair. Jim Harbaugh stands up and grimly shakes his head.

“Greg, that’s not going to work.”

Fangio sighs in relief and climbs back into the chair.

“A better idea,” Harbaugh says, “is to throw Davis the ball our first trip inside the red zone, then never throw him another pass inside the red zone again. THAT will catch other teams off guard.”

“Brilliant,” Roman whispers. “You’re brilliant. That’s why you’re Jim Harbaugh.”

“WE’RE brilliant,” Harbaugh says, and they embrace.

The defensive coaches stare at each other in horror, mouths agape. Fangio leans toward Jim Tomsula and whispers, “Jimmy, looks like we’re carrying the team again this season.”

End scene.

Maybe it didn’t go down that way. Harbaugh and Roman probably are smarter than how I portrayed them. Still, they’re ignoring their best red-zone receiver for some silly reason. Here’s a theory.

Didn’t Vernon Davis hold out of training camp? Are the 49ers punishing Davis by freezing him out in the red zone? Could they be that petty, that self-destructive?

I’m just asking. One red-zone target in 10 games is no coincidence. It’s a plan.

Davis deserves at least one red-zone target per game. Last season, he received 18 red-zone targets and converted them into eight touchdowns. In his career, he has made 1 TD catch every 2.2 times he has been targeted in the red zone. Jimmy Graham and Antonio Gates each have made 1 TD catch every 2.4 red-zone targets in their careers. They are great players but they are not in Davis’ class in the red zone. Rob Gronkowski has made 1 TD catch every 1.9 red-zone targets in his career. He is other-worldly. But Davis ranks among the best.

The 49ers are spiting themselves if they think they’re spiting Davis for holding out. Again, this is just a theory. If you have a better explanation, let me know.

I asked Davis why his red-zone touchdowns are down this year. He shrugged. “I don’t know why,” he said. He’s as confused as we are.

The Niners are converting just 39 percent of their red-zone trips into touchdowns this season. The past 10 seasons, every Super Bowl champion has converted at least 53 percent of its red-zone trips into touchdowns. The Niners aren’t even close to acceptable.

Thursday afternoon, a reporter asked Roman why Davis’ numbers are down in the red zone. “I’ve got to do a better job of getting him the football,” Roman said.

Sounds dangerously like emphasis, to me.

Davis better be careful. He might disappear completely.

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 224 Comments

  1. Ya know the “Easy Button” on tv? I wish I had a “Do-Over Button” for my choice to read this article.

    1. BT,
      good times are coming partner. Keep running the ball. Everything we do is predicated by running the ball. Don’t fall into Jr’s trap. Remember our SF Giants were the worst team in baseball, then they got hot at the right time…. This is the right time.

    2. @Brotha Tuna,

      Yep totally agree with you.

      Sometimes Grant goes into his Alter Ego of a 6th Grader. That being said, as much as Roman has failed in the Red Zone it’s really for the most part on the Players.

      I’ve been saying for awhile now but the 49ers Offensive Execution in the Red Zone is the REAL culprit here.

      And it starts & ends with Kaep. Simply put….He’s been horrible let’s face it.

      The good thing is he can only get better because he’s Flat Lined right now. Execution Execution Execution!

  2. The implication the organization is intentionally hurting their chances of winning because they have a vendetta against VD for holding out, is on par with the 23Jordans’ faking injury conspiracy theory….

      1. Right! the fact that he doesn’t get separation, doesn’t finish routes, doesn’t reach or try to catch any passes that are not right in his midsection and even drops some of those as they bounce off his chest, has nothing to do with not being targeted. I mean he even himself said he would act as a decoy, run routes and have fun, but don’t expect him to catch a ball because they might hit and hurt him.

        Cohan seems like he is trying to revive his reputation for his preseason statement that VD is the most important cog in the 49er offense and they needed to give him a new contract. So now the reason for that not being true is because of the Niner’s not targeting him rather than his lack of effort. Nice try Grant!

        1. That was my take on it, also. Vernon Davis has suffered multiple dings this season, from a bad back (Ooooh that smarts!) to other nagging injuries. He therefore looks to be mailing in his performance.
          But the fact is he cannot operate at his full capacity until he feels physically healthy. So there are drops, bad routes, slow runs and nearly comical cuts as he tries his best. But he is not at his best.
          Let us hope he heals up and gets his mojo back.
          And for the folks who always blame Roman for every little glitch in the 49ers offensive play; stop and get up on the abstract ladder a bit, folks. Sometimes he just does not have enough healthy personnel available to make plays.

    1. Or, from last year, that Roman’s play-calling was influenced by his desire to showcase himself for a job promotion even at the expense of his team at the moment, despite the fact that all calls go through Harbaugh, and Quixotic notion that an OC could help himself by calling plays that hurt or held back the offense he’s running. Huh?

  3. VD’s priority list:

    1. Jamba Juice store
    2. Art gallery
    3. Watching sport of curling
    4. Football

  4. Maybe if VD wasn’t dropping 21% of the passes thrown to him he’d get more opportunity in the red zone.

    1. No one wants to address that because they are too busy blaming the QB. Crabtree is also 2nd worst drop percentage of all WR….

      1. He’s having a bad year possibly because of injury. It happens.
        It could be worse, he could be you having a bad life, everyday!

        1. I think he did better last season when he was actually injured. Remember he himself stated he was 100% right after the break.

      2. @bay

        Do you think that it might be the fact that the same QB is throwing to both of them,,,,How do Boldins stats rate with his history with the Ravens and Cards ?

        1. Oregon in 2010 and 2011 Ni ers receivers had high drop rates. I wasn’t ignorant enough to blame the Qb for those drops then. I’m not ignorant to blame Kaep for drops now.

          1. Bay,

            If it wasn’t ignorance that caused you to criticize the QB for drops in 2010 & 2011, what do you think it was?

            As some have pointed out, you sounded then like FanSince’77 sounds now.

            Remember the lame term “Alexcuse”? You applied that to drops, bad line play, bad coaching, etc.

            1. Ex,
              unless you are XX chromosome quit living in the past. I disliked Alex’s game. The organization must have disliked parts of his game as well since they would not give him a market rate contract after the NFC Championship game. They must have not had confidence that he was “the guy”, that is why they ultimately replaced him. That was years ago. MOVE ON.

              I am curious about one thing. Back then this room was filled with people that passionately protected the QB and ANYONE that spoke negatively about him. Now that Kaep is the one that faces those attacks, where are the folks that protect their Niner QB? The only Smither that I see that protects Kaep is Rib. The rest of you either sit on the sidelines and don’t say a word, or they’ve gone full hater and hypocritically turned on the new signal caller. Some of the comments about Kaep sound person. I base my likes and dislikes according to style of play. If I get personal it would be because a player scarred his child with a switch or because he knocked his fiancee out with a left hook on camera. You can also lose respect for a journalist / blogger if he drags a man’s name through the mud for spousal abuse before due process is served. Then when the truth comes out lacks the integrity to apologize publicly.

              Go look in the mirror and figure out which one you are. As for me, I’m a Niner fan and I am enjoying the ride and the ups and downs of the season.

              1. Bay

                This isn’t a confessional, it’s a football blog. You (like all of us ) have a history…and you can’t just make strong statements and walk away from them…people remember. My statement was to question whose fault it is for all of those ‘drops’, QB or receivers. We have much better receivers now than we did in 2010-2911. I think it’s the QB

              2. Bay,

                It’s funny that when someone holds you accountable for something you actually said, you call it living in the past.

                It’s also funny that you’re so out of it that you can’t recognize that FanSince77 is doing the same thing to CK, that you did to AS. Except 77 isn’t calling CK by a female name.

                I can’t speak for anyone else, but I don’t have the energy to argue constantly with the CK bashers. I get a comment in here or there, but I already know, it’s never going to make a difference, so what’s the point? Besides, I’m sure CK will somehow manage, even without my help.

                I do agree with you on one thing, some of the attacks against CK seem to be influenced by non-football issues.

              3. OregonNiner,

                A drop is when a catchable ball isn’t caught. As such, it’s primarily on the receiver, regardless of whether or not the ball was thrown optimally, or not.

                Besides that, there have been a number of perfectly thrown balls that have been dropped this year (e.g., the ball to Boldin that might’ve been an 80 yard TD against the Saints, or when Crabtree let a first down pass go through both hands and hit him in the facemask against the Giants).

              4. exgolfer:

                As for bayareaoriginalfansince77, you nailed it. Fansince77 would receive more pushback (and he already receives plenty) if he started telling those who disagreed with him that they weren’t real fans and that they didn’t understand football.

                As for the drops, while I think the majority of the blame goes to the receivers, I also have to admit that Kaepernick sometimes doesn’t throw the most catchable passes.

              5. Claude,

                There most definitely are clear stylistic differences between the QB bashers.

                On the dropped ball issue, at the risk of being called a troll, there are still a few too many times when CK will be completely off target, or at least off target enough to turn a catch and run, into a catch and tackled on the spot, or contribute to a drop. Having said that, I think the 49ers have been incredibly unlucky with the timing of many of their dropped passes (I happen to believe that luck can factor heavily into success or failure when it comes to sports, life, anything. It makes me nuts when someone says, “It will even out”. Overall, yes, but not necessarily for any given team and definitely not necessarily at times of equal importance – last year Brooks flagged for the sack/strip fumble on Brees. I’d like someone from the “It will even out” crowd explain just when and how that’s going to square up. Now, I’ve got to take my anti-digression medication…)

              6. Ex-
                I lay it on pretty thick on my issues with Kaep specifically to Bay — or course at times there is collateral damage — to show what a jack-a$$ and two face he is.
                He fails to see it or notice that I am mocking him

                That being said — Kaep needs work. That’s the truth, that’s not hate and thats not negative. The only way to move forward is acknowledge the things that need to be fixed. No excuses. No denial.
                Alex Smith played a good 3rd and 4th quarter but when it counted he hasn’t delivered for the Chiefs. Doesn’t matter if he doesn’t have any WRs, winners find a way. Until you do it, you’re a wannabe.
                Kaep, Smith, RG3, Luck, they haven’t done it. Russell Wilson has. Gotta give credit where it is due — that raise your game and beat the champ.
                Earn it.

              7. 77,

                Wilson is an OK QB who rode a superior defense and running game to a SB championship. CK still has a much higher upside

              8. 77,

                Also, if you use winning the SB as a way to judge the relative worth of QB’s, are you saying that Wilson > Marino? I hope not…

              9. Exgolfer — There are a lot of great players in all sports who don’t have rings. Rings matter. Russell didn’t ride a dominant D and running game, he made plays when it mattered.

              10. 77,

                It’s true, Wilson made some plays. IMO, though, the Seahawks running game opened up opportunities for him to make those plays. Additionally, the Seahawks’ running game and defense being so good minimized the need for Wilson to make plays, further reducing the pressure on Wilson to perform.

                Additionally, Seattle’s offense is very simple and provides Wilson with easy reads. The problem is, when the running game isn’t working, the Seahawks’ passing game isn’t very effective (as seen this year) and Wilson doesn’t have the horsepower to win games by himself.

                On the other hand, while CK hasn’t been able to do it consistently, he does have the ability to win games more or less on his own. The question is, can CK become more consistent, further improve his pocket passing and touch throws. I’m think, yes.

            2. Yeah the conditions were horrible, and the Chiefs were playing on a short rest after a physical game with the Seahawks, but that’s no excuse. Charles looked tired. They woke up in the 2nd half, and looked better.

              Some unexpected things happened, Chiefs gave up two rushing TDS and a 4th quarter TD. Smith had two minutes to lead a drive and didn’t get it done. No timeouts? So what? Doesn’t matter. Good teams and great QBs find a way 9 times out of 10.

              He’s had 3 chances this year: Against the Broncos, Niners and Raiders. They lost. No excuses, no small victories. If they want to get to the next level they find ways to win those games. Smith has to close them out, it’s that simple.

              Same with Kaep. It’s the NFL man, you can’t take the pressure and the expectations, then you should play the game.

              Let’s see if Bay Area Summer’s Eve can be honest with Kaep’s lack of performance in the 4th quarter.

              1. Blaming Alex for the Chiefs not beating the Raiders is absurd even as a dig to the posters that blame Kaep for all the Niner losses. What is wrong for the goose is wrong for the Gander. I was not posting on sites back then, but had I been I would have been defending Alex against UNREASONABLE criticisms as well.

                I preferred Kaep to Alex when he replaced him but it was based on specifics as to who would be a better fit, not on the negatives that a lot of posters ragged Alex about. It is completely absurd to compare players on different teams since they are operating under entirely different circumstances. That is one of my main peeves with the Kaep haters. They try to compare the present team with the 2011 and early 2012 season. The reality is that this team underwent a drastic change during the 2012 season and isn’t close to what it was in 2011, yet the simplistic explaination for some of you is it’s the QB.

                To have a vendetta against Kaep just to get back at those that might have criticized Alex unfairly is illogical and downright sick.

              1. Nick,
                you have to initially have credibility to lose it. To blame the QB for drops is asinine.

              2. Why is it asinine when the QB cannot throw a fade with any touch or a slant with hot sauce out the ying yang!
                Bay,watch the games, don’t just look at the box score!

              3. Kaep’s biggest fault is in inconsistency. We never know what we’re going to get. Because he’s the QB it starts with him. If he’s sloppy mentally, it trickles into all aspects of the offense.

              4. Let me correct that for you fantroll,
                it’s starts and ends with the head coach. Has the O-line been consistent? Has the running game been consistent? Have the WR and TE consistently caught the ball?
                Play calling has that been consistent? This season I’ve seen Pistol, spread, spread no huddle, ground and pound. Run the QB, don’t run the QB at all. Where is the identity? Is there even a consistent system? Last year I knew who we were. The year before I knew who we were. This year, no clue. And THAT falls on the head coach.

              5. Bay Area Summer’s Eve:
                Keep making your excuses. Coaches coach. Players gotta make plays. They surrounded Kaep with so many weapons but he hasn’t made the jump the next level. So now we got back to the drawing board.
                That’s not hate, it’s what it is. Dude ain’t ready to take it all on.
                Not much a coach can do when he draws it up, players are open, and the QB doesn’t throw it in rhythm. A new OC will have to adjust because Kaep doesn’t have good mechanics now. Maybe he never will so maybe he should go play for Chip Kelly.
                Meanwhile our team keep learning on the defense until they figure out a game plan that works.

              6. @Nick

                Why do you even bother to post…you haven’t made a football statement in over a year


                To have you and Nick question my credibility, to me is complimentary…stick with your CK blow-up doll

            3. Bay…. Some on here just can’t get past the fact they were wrong where the org was going with Alex smith. You’re right it’s old news. An of course there isn’t hardly anyone defending ck. Even though he’s exceeded smiths production. It’s not about the Niners. It’s about being right or clinging to bitterness. I still get crap from two morons for being a hater. Even though I have smith his props and had his back. You can’t be wrong without eating crow, but the shoe doesn’t fit the same foot. Is what it is. I know I was right to a degree. Oh well. Some on here can’t move on.

              1. Some on here just can’t get past the fact they were wrong where the org was going with Alex smith.

                Wow, talk about trying to rewrite history. Wow.

              2. Ninermd says Even though he’s exceeded smiths production.
                What exactly is that?
                All you Smith haters said that the move made to switch QB’s was because he was a guy that could stretch the field. Challenge it with throws outside the numbers? Make the passing game more dynamic. Has he done that or is it the offensive line and Roman’s fault that we keep hearing you guys use as an excuse?

              3. Ninermd’ Essentially correct.

                claude balls — One can tell a lot about a persons character and mindset by their moniker or picture. Reminds me of a stage I went through between adolescence and late teens.

              4. FDM— He did when he had receivers who could stretch the field and an offensive line to give him the time to do so. Like in his first season as a starter.

              5. Not quite Willtalk. The 49ers coaching staff tried to open it up. Give CK more to handle from opening up the passing game. We all seen the results and now we are seeing why this offense needs to get back to running the ball and less on CK’s plate.

      3. Boldin dropping about 10%, very uncharacteristic for him. Last year, he was one of the league leaders in not dropping passes.

  5. Vernon will catch a red zone TD
    this Sunday vs the ‘Skins … and
    all will be right with the universe, again..

    and, Grant..
    you can take that to the bank

      1. You guys underestimate him. He has a good chance to catch a redzone TD provided it is thrown to another 49er receiver and he can just wrestle it away with out them both dropping the ball.

    1. MWN,
      That’s quite a bold statement there bud, especially considering the limited opps VD has been getting thus far.

      Had CK7 thrown a better pass last week VD may have has a TD, and in the week prior he may have had a TD had he not been distracted by the oncoming Safety.
      I do want to see VD become an integral part of the offence because if he and Kap are clicking going into the playoffs we are going to be tough to beat.

      1. AES—Interesting that all you Kaep haters operate under a different standard when it comes to other players. “If he had a better pass to catch” etc. You make excuses for everyone but Kaep. I personally have no respect for a players lack of effort and it should be obvious to every objective individual that Davis is not giving much of an effort. Yet the same people who are crying about those of us that bring up reasonable variables to consider in respect to Kaep play will constantly reach for any excuse to make for Davis.

        1. I am curious – have you ever read any of AES’ posts? One thing one should consider when labeling someone a hater of a particular player — if the person so labeled has an established history of supporting the player he/she supposedly hates, the person labeled a hater is not the one who will appear foolish.

  6. Oh and Grant ..
    one more thing …

    I like the humorous scenario you paint, above..
    It illustrates that you (actually) .. do
    have a sense of humor … as well as a bit
    of imagination !

    Bravo !

  7. How about Mike Shannahan taking over? Harbaugh and Roman can go back to the collegiate ranks where they belong. Hopefully Fangio and his staff aren’t dumb enough to follow these offensive, non-guru’s.

    1. Mike Shannahan has some wonderful experience with running quarterbacks. But his last one didn’t work out so well.

  8. I wouldn’t sign Crabtree….Let him walk.
    If I could go back in time I would change screen name/avatar too……Hopefully that greedy rat Jerry Jones overpays Crabtree…..
    I’m tired of MC making that stupid face everytime Kap misses him.

      1. Prime – Can you imagine Crabtree and Dez playing together?……Cowgirls would be America’s “most selfish” team.

    1. He hated not getting throws and now he hates getting them. There’s no pleasing the pre Madonna. His face when he drops them is what bothers me.
      Josh Gordan 2015!!!!

        1. They should have made an offer while he was still under suspension and they could have gotten him at less cost. It should have been obvious that he would not serve his entire suspension under the circumstances facing the league with Rice.

      1. “pre Madonna”? Hilarious!
        I swear, you can actually chart the decline of Western Civilization, right here on this blog. Such fun!

        1. It is pretty imaginative. : >).
          And in the intended context its hilarious too. It might rank with some of the better Bush-isms as semantic inventions.
          But there are forums with much steeper angles of cultural decent. Try reading the comments section of a blog on NASCAR. After catching your breath,
          IF you’re feeling brave,
          try out the comments on a pro wrestling blog. Here you’ll find the vortex of sound logical progressions and refined discourse.

        2. Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift, Rihanna, Miley Cyrus… does this mean are we in the post Madonna era now?

              1. It seems like most everybody knows at least some Italian:

      1. MWN – No I will keep it….I’m disappointed In Crabtree though…..He’s been great at times but way too many drops and he shows up his QB too often…..Maybe playing for Mike Leach at Texas Tech screwed him up somehow.
        Your boy VD looks like he’d rather be elsewhere at times rather than on the football field…..I’m sure MC & VD will have big games vs Skins now that I dogged them. :)

        1. Crab15– That actually works. Rag on a player and the fates will make sure they have an outstanding game just to make you look bad. lol.

      1. Hammer – Lol……Hey man, you never gave me the review of that “Draft Day” movie or was that Bro Tuna who was going to see it?…..BTW, if you haven’t seen the Breaking Bad series it’s fricking fabulous! I was late to the party on that show. The meth stuff gives me the creeps, I never made it past beer, weed and vicodin lol…..The show kicks ass and takes no prisoners though….Hope you and your family are doing well Hammer.

        1. Hey Crab, you didn’t ask, but I saw Draft Day, and thought it was excellent! It’s hard for me to imagine that anybody who is into football as much as the guys on this blog wouldn’t like it. Thumbs up…or is that “arrows up”?

          1. Rusty – Good to hear from you bro! Thanks for the review….BTW, I will be attending a high school fb playoff game tonight. Tesoro (from OC) vs Vista Murrieta. Are you familiar with Tesoro high or live near there? Should be a good game, my wife teaches at Vista Murrieta and my friend is the athletic director so I get to be on the field….TGIF Rusty.

  9. Grant – You out there Ulysses?
    Our Bruins are going for the 3-peat vs USC Saturday night! UCLA owns LA!!

      1. It doesn’t look good for Alex, prime ..

        DuhRaiduhs are playing lights out defense
        (who woulda thunk ?)

  10. Great post, I laughed out loud at that imagined scene. Roman leaves a lot to be desired with his play calling. But, what do you expect from ex high-school football coach? Harbaugh also shares some of the blame as he has veto power on the final play call. Kaepernick also shares some of the blame for his lack of good adjustments at the line.

        1. Win some lose some. Alex Smith and DEREK CARR scored a TD in the 4th quarter. When will Kaep get his?

            1. Losing to a 2 win team is no great shakes either. That Raiders debacle is a cautionary tale for our team.

              1. You don’t want to be that team this deep into the season losing to a winless team.
                Now I mentioned Alex smith only because apparently ck loses our games by himself.

              2. >>You don’t want to be that team this deep into the season losing to a winless team.

                Agreed. Especially when you in the thick of the playoff hunt. WASH and OAK are the two gimmies left on our schedule. I say gimmies, I hope the team isn’t thinking that.

          1. Alex hasn’t thrown a touchdown to a wide receiver this year, not one, look it up! All his TD’s are to RB’s and TE’s, and Jamal Charles has done most of the work (YAC) an his TD’s. Niner fans would be roasting Kap if that were the case.

            1. To be fair he doesnt have any WR to throw to. Junior hemiongway doesnt count and AJ Jenkins……….nuf said. The only legitimate WR Bow has vernon crabtree stone hands

  11. If one of your father’s readers wrote a critique of his writing tactics similar to what you write about Roman and Harbaugh, your father would delete their posts as personal attacks.


      1. What was the Michael Keaton movie when each successive clone was more of a diluted version of the original? That’s what Grant reminds me of, sometimes (actually, almost all of the time lately).

        My favorite sentence of Grant’s article: “Maybe it didn’t go down that way.” Maybe?!? Maybe?!? Yeah, maybe, Grant. Maybe the Earth is round. Maybe the sky is blue and water wet. Maybe Jim Harbaugh and Pete Carroll hate each other. Maybe you need to take a script writing class, before you embark on another misadventure like the one above. I get what you were going for, but it bombed, in glowing neon.

  12. Alex and his 48 yard half gave the Raiders life. The Bay Area just isn’t lucky for Smith.

    1. Pouring rain in first half. Team traveling to West Coast on Thursday after beating Seahawks. Yeah must be Alex’s fault.

      1. WhineC,
        The Raiders gave the Chiefs and Alex a gift of a muffed punt deep in their own territory. They settled for a field goal. In the 4th quarter with the score tied 17-17, Alex and the Chiefs settled for another field goal deep in Raider territory (inside the 10 again). So, yes Alex choked. He failed as we’ve seen too often.

  13. How come the rest of the league and retired coaches constantly talk about Roman’s intelligent and intricate schemes if he is such a dolt?

    If Harbaugh is such a simpleton how come he is so admired by so many people who are well connected with football (not journalists)?

    Too many drives are stopped by: penalties, sacks and drops. The consistency of inconstancy is befuddling. At some level it reflects coachin, but can anyone explain it?

    Simple explanations like running more Gore or Hyde, throwing more to Johnson or VD, bootlegs for Kap and the like don’t pass the smell test to me.

    1. Have you ever heard a coach talk about another coach and say they are a dolt? For example I never heard a coach talk about Jimmy Raye as a bad OC either. One coach that called their scheme simple was Pete Carrol, but you have to take what he says with a grain of salt.

      If this was an issue that only occurred this season, we could call it an anomally but after 3 seasons of poor red zone production, dont we have to think of this as trend?

    1. Giant fan – Welcome to the blog….Hope it’s SF Giants not NY……Pay the panda…..Sign Tori Hunter Sabean, don’t be cheap.

          1. Bochy is a wizard, but one of these years Torii Hunter is going to be done. This might be the year. If he’s willing to come on a medium low one year contract, ok, but much more than that and I’ll be crossing my fingers.

        1. Well Hello there Sourdough Sam. I haven’t seen you post here in a while, but you’re consistent. The last time you were extolling the virtues of Cliven Bundy!
          So an apparent insult from you (I guess that’s what that is) is like a compliment in the full scheme of things. I will say that I enjoy how riled up you are and that the people who would laugh the hardest at your bigoted attempt to slam me are the three guys I’ve known a long time who haven’t transcended racist attitudes and know full well its come between us.

          By the way Albert Einstein, most everybody here but you has figured out that I’m not a black guy, the screen name is otherwise derived. You’re just lashing out at indiscriminate targets. Go sit on your pickaxe

  14. Playing the NFC West ruins a lot of following games. I wonder how many teams have lost the game after playing our division teams from the 2012 season to now.

    It’s kind of nice that Seattle has to play Arizona and then come down here for a turkey dinner.

  15. Hmmmmmm, my wife wanted me to
    Low-key her involvement in my choice of “retarded”, but ya know what, hahahaha, eff-it.

    1. I saw a QB who was decisive, went through his progressions, and took some check downs.He didn’t need a big wind-up either.

          1. Underachieving QB who has more consecutive games with a TD pass than the almighty Joe Montana ever had, and he’s closing in on Young’s 22 game streak.

            Winning despite an under achieving OL, under achieving game plan and under performing WR and TE’s. Other than that, it’s all Kap’s fault.

            Stay classy 77.

  16. Whatever happened to that Latino Heat loser? Did he join HoferFan67 and DS on Chiefs blog…….HoferFan and DS must be on suicide watch tonight.

  17. Alex Smith has now gone 11 games this season without throwing a single touchdown pass to a wide receiver. I shudder to imagine how these blogs would look if Kaepernick were to have done that.

    Alex has a couple weeks to shake it off; I don’t much care what he does next week against Denver, but we need him to beat Arizona on December 7th at the same time we’re looking to avoid embarrassing ourselves against those same Raiders.

    1. The funny thing is the focus of this blog for the past week has been NOT throwing touchdown passes to receivers.

  18. This is why I’ll never buy into a game manager ran offense. Without a legendary defense it will never get done. Is it considered micro managing if you haven’t thrown 1 TD to a wr? Maybe Grant is thinking it’s on purpose and they’ll start in the playoffs.

  19. Pretty funny article here Grant. I doubt any petty grudge against VD for holding out because no other TEs are being targeted in the red zone (Or much anywhere else on the field) either.

    They’re being pretty wide receiver oriented this year which is a departure from the past. The problem is that they’ve forgotten about their TEs as receivers also.

    1. JustDaReal– and except for Carrier the TE have forgotten they are receivers when the ball is hitting them in the hands as well.

  20. Regarding today’s “it took five minutes of my life with MS Word to write my way to a paycheck:”

    “Sarcasm is the weapon of the second-rate mind.” Buddha

    1. “The problem with quotes on the internet is that you can’t always be sure of their authenticity.”

      Abraham Lincoln

      1. Nice choice, Claude. Myself, I like the following quote for such circumstances:

        “Those who cannot differentiate between satire and sarcasm are doomed to post unprovable and unsourced platitudes in internet comment sections and try to bolster said platitudes via the informal logical fallacy known as ‘Appeal to Authority’.”

        Marcus Tullius Cicero

  21. GC – WE are all beating a dead horse at this point. If we do not make the playoffs, if we do not win a SB, WE can (once again) lay it at the feet of Greg Roman. In 3 years, our offense has not advanced, or shown a consistent rhythm. You cannot change your approach every week and expect consistency from players. All you need to look at are the Pats and Pack to see how a consistent approach eventually solves all problems. Both team were have issues early in season, but they kept with their scheme and it has now paid off in spades for each team. Kaepernick is plenty capable of becoming a consistent passer, but first, he needs a consistent offense philosophy.

    1. The offense seemed to employ a consistent approach in 2011-13, namely, a power running attack with play action passing.

      And if Grant hadn’t shuttered the comments section in the archives, I wouldn’t be surprised if we found comments from you complaining about that predictable approach and demanding that the offense throw the ball more often.

      1. Well, Balls, you wouldn’t have found anything. I remain consistent with my critique of Roman over the past two years. Last year, just as this year, we started the season primarily out of the spread/pistol formation and just like last year, we struggled. Roman wisely decided to move back to our more familiar “ground and pound” approach. That lasted a game or two and then we once again have gone back to a more Kaep-centric approach. Regardless of what direction you prefer, the pattern remains inconsistent. Few teams can sustain long-term success without consistency. Our talent-level has allowed us to succeed where other teams would have failed.

        1. Think about this. In two years we have gone from ground and pound play action, to pistol, to spread, to spread no huddle, to attack defenses with QB running, to QB not running at all and sitting in pocket back to ground and pound play action. Sometimes we involve the tight end, then we make him a decoy for half a season.

          Roman and Harbaugh are all over the place. Where is the continuity? Identity? System? This offense has more personalities than Cybil….

          1. And by Cybil do you mean DS/Mary/8-8…..?
            Thank God the seahaks lost. Her weekly disappearances have become nice. They will beat the cards this Sunday and that troll will be back. Maybe a turkey day beat down will keep her away for two weeks.

    2. Daniners
      While I agree that Gro will ultimately have to face the music if we don’t improve I have to disagree on the pats. As you may have noticed some guy named jonas gray ran 39 times for 204 yards and 4 TD this after the pats barely rushed the week before. Brady goes from throwing 56 times Wk 1 vs Mia to throwing 21 times wk 2 vs Min they are anything but consistent and (michael irvin cackiling voice)” the genious of Bill Bellichik” is the fact that he makes a game specific plan for every oponent he faces trying to exploit match-ups. The only constant is that its going to change based on the other teams weakness.

      1. BOS,
        that wasn’t planned. Jonas Grey was having success so they rode him. That is a no brainer especially for a great coach.

        On the other hand, I’ve seen Gore tear teams up and Roman will inexplicably go away from him. There is no flow, no rhyme or reason to our offense sometimes and THAT is all on Roman.

        V-Mac is 6-5″. Think we could involve him in the passing offense? Last I saw him he was wide open in the back of the end zone and Vernon knocked a would be TD away from him. And then Roman being Roman never went back to it. That stinks of laziness to me.

        1. MD
          You bet your sweet behind that it was planned. To wit: last year in the playoffs vs indy Blount ran 24 times for 166 and 4 td and Ridley added 14 carries for 52 yards and 2 td. Notice a trend? over 40 carries with big “pound the rock” backs vs a defense that is softer than cupcake filling. Most NE fans saw it coming a mile away and the local “fantasy geek” was telling anyone who would listen that Gray was a hot pickup that week
          As for GRo sucking, you are preaching to the choir. Im sure Hammer will come along and “educate” us as to how its about execution and not on GRo but the fact that a 6’5 TE or Stevie johnson (who has the most RZ td on our team i believe) isnt targeted more is criminal. Im sick of the QB roll out to the right and then throw it away when MC isnt open in the flats play. EVERYONE knows its coming.
          Lets hope that Tennessee continues to suck so we can hire Ken Wisenhunt once the titans clean house

  22. Davis is an overhyped, overpaid and underperforming scrub primadonna….

    most niner fans cannot wait for him to be gone…..what a GREEDY BABY

    way to show up this year Vernon, not…..drop another wide open pass why don’t ya

    Go Niners

  23. The way KC went down, they were probably overlooking the Raiders and looking ahead to the Broncos.

    I hope the 49ers don’t fall into the same trap. With a big game coming up against Seattle, I hope they don’t overlook Washington.

  24. “The Washington Indigenous Folks game could very well be, get ready, a TRAP!!!


    Mahatma Gandhi

  25. Grant, I usually shy away from the pseudo-personal attack columns, but this is one of your best. You’re exaggerating for humor, but I wouldn’t be one bit surprised if that’s actually how Roman is thinking. Or should I say, “thinking.” The guy is the Wile E. Coyote of offensive coordinators. He keeps trying to prove he is a super-genius while his plans keep exploding in his face.

    How about they look to Lloyd, if not Davis? Or Johnson, who keeps proving over and over he’s better than Crabs? How about when it’s 1st and goal, they run read-option? Or simply commit to going big and POUND THE BALL IN THERE? But no … that’s just what other teams would be expecting!

    Nice column, Grant.

      1. I enjoyed the column, Grant. I found it to be a nice piece of satire.

        I am, however, a bit concerned about your problematic advice above regarding intellectual property law (i.e. copyright does not adhere to particular words/phrases/expressions; trademark protection may when such are used in commerce but Time Warner already holds marks with respect to Wile E. Coyote; federal anti-dilution protection for famous marks may be applicable; etc.). SMH. What has the world come to when we cannot rely on sound legal analysis from a sports columnist.

          1. Acme was ahead of its time. It could market to and deliver to a mangy coyote somewhere near Monument Valley. Impressive given the time context. The phone and Internet connectivity suck to this day, but like Sears&Roebuck, Acme had it covered.

            1. Tuna,

              Indeed. It is unfortunate, however, that they seemed to use the poor coyote as a beta tester of some of their more dangerous products.

    1. “How about when it’s 1st and goal, they run read-option?”

      Tried that on Sunday. Lost 7 yards. Their read option game hasn’t been effective in that area.

  26. Alex is 7-4, with one more ugly win than
    Colin who is 6-4.
    The Niners must beat Seattle to stay afloat
    whereas the Chiefs must win at home against
    the San Diego Chargers.
    My money says KC finishes stronger than we do
    (aka they retain second place in their division)
    which means that statistically we may not make
    the playoffs. Yup.

  27. I’m not sure why anybody thinks VD would be a good option in the red zone. Seems like that would reduce the effectiveness of his speed, which is the only receiving skill which is above average. Certainly his hands aren’t very good (although they seemed to be last year). The people with great hands are Boldin, Crabtree, and Lloyd – and Boldin has that strong body and an ability, I believe, to find the crease in a zone. So Boldin would be my first option, all else being equal.

      1. LOL, MW. In addition to all the other things supposedly distracting Davis this season, we can add Bleacher Report ghostwriting to that list.

      2. Different Wilson here but I will hate this game if both QB’s throw three picks. If He doesn’t throw pick in his first 2 series he won’t throw one. No way Davis goes for 200 and 2td’s. When did bold become fallaciosuly entertaining?

        I enjoyed JH winning both challenges but no chance of that.

      3. Wow, what a silly article. At least it says these are bold predictions. I’d say they’re more like completely silly. I suppose anything is possible, but I truly hope this wasn’t a serious attempt to predict things that will actually happen Sunday. It’s like the author just identified various trends and predicted the exact opposite would happen.

        But so far as Davis goes, last year against Washington he had 4 catches for 70 yards and a touchdown. The TD catch was a 1-yarder. Going to Davis in the red zone! How very on topic!

        Wouldn’t be shocked to see Davis more involved, but unlike this BR author, I’m not predicting he’ll have a career day.

  28. So now A Davis looks to be sittin out again. Die to concussion issues.
    I’m sorry but every since the nfl went soft these players have too. Now before some get their panties in a bunch. I’ve had concussions before. I use to kickbox. And I know gettin thumped upside your head hurts, and can have you dazed for a couple
    Of days. But a week? With a helmet on? C’mon. Man up and get on the field. And no I don’t trust this protocol they go through. It’s like having a union and pulling your back out. If you don’t feel like working that’s all you have to say. Rub some dirt on it and get in there. If you love the game no concussion is going to stop you a week later. IJS

    1. Yeah, those pesky doctors and researchers with their stupid “science” showing the lingering effects of severe concussion. Clearly all a fabrication just to give football players an excuse to miss a week…

    2. Ninermd
      Dude, guys like you and me are living proof that there weren’t proper protocols for concussions back in the day; we’re dinged up! ; >)

      1. BT…..
        My head is fine. My opinion on players now a days might be different. But hey that’s what opinions are for right?
        Claude.. Yeah thanks for not taking this “bait” I supposedly laid out. It’s my outlook dude. You obviously don’t look at this injury the same as I do. We grew up with players that shook something like this off and went out the next week and played. A huge majority of them retired in good health.
        Take it easy guys. I’m just old school.

    3. I believe I deserve kudos for not taking the bait set out in Ninermd’s comment. Such restraint deserves commendation.

      1. Claude,

        Which post are you referring to? I’m assuming you want your trophy to correctly identify exactly what it’s for, don’t you?

    4. I remember telling you that I’m happy not being in your head. Maybe those untreated concussions are roosting there now.

      “Rub some dirt on it and man up.” … Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee

      1. Hey you half a** it through life and call in because of a hangnail. That’s your life. Not every man is cut from the same cloth. You can live this new pansy NFL all you’d like. I like the old school players. Tough, dumb, and crazy.
        Money and hear from a small minority of players whining because they didn’t retire smartly is the reason why this league is a joke now. Stats show a huge majority of retired football players are fine in health. But I guess you live in the world of “if it happens once it must be stopped”

    5. And how did I know some would take it like a pansy would. Get over it. Some are just tougher than others. A damn concussion. And to whoever brought up the “pesky dr” comment… Yep they aren’t known for cheating the system. Players never take drugs they’re not suppose too. Hmmm wonder why the Feds are investigating their “protocol”.
      How on earth did the old school players make it. Pfffft!
      Yeah rub some dirt on it.

      1. Yep, them pesky doctors are looking to cheat the system by not passing Anthony Davis fit to play. Good catch.

        1. Who said they are cheating the system for him to play?
          I’m saying this “system” isn’t made for fraudulent injuries a player might want to use not to play. And nowhere did I say A Davis is using that excuse.
          My take is these players aren’t as tough as they use to be. So don’t put your own spin on things an try to devert my opinion.

          1. Just messing with you Ninermd.

            I get where you are coming from, I agree it can be frustrating seeing these players missing time knowing that in days gone by they would be out there come hell or high water. But I strongly believe the protocols that are in place are in the best interests of the players – effectively there to protect them from themselves, and hopefully avoid serious neural issues in later life for some of these guys.

            1. MD,

              I have to strongly disagree with you. Look at Junior Seau, Dave Duerson, Jim McMahon, and on and on. Do you think their families are glad they “just rubbed some dirt on it” or do you think they wish the concussion protocols were in place in the day their loved ones played?

              Letting players play after “getting their bell rung” puts players at risk, period.

    6. md, you should get down on your knees and genuflect in the direction of the football gods for giving us the concussion protocol. That led directly to Alex exiting the team.

      1. Rib…. And didn’t he say he regretted sitting? I believe he wanted back in. You better bet there are players every game playing with concussion syptoms.

        Ex…. Yes you’ve named a few. If I had a list of the 1000’s who played concussed it would seem like peanuts. Of course there are going to be a few that don’t make it out healthy. But that’s far and few. I’m just making the point that these players now a days aren’t as tough as the older players. Then again the older ones weren’t juiced up and able to flip a truck. I don’t want anyone to be ruined after retirement. I’m just speaking from someone who knows what it’s like getting your head thumped. And believe me NO blow to the head from football is like a kick or punch to the head.

      1. Lol No roll his body out there and stand him up. He’d probably still block better than Kwame Harris though.

        1. My five year old (who believes our quarterback’s name is Captain Nick) could block better than Kwame Harris.

  29. Anybody going to watch a football life Lyle alzado?
    I’m a raider hater but nothing says football meathead like a juiced up maniac go ballistic and trying to tear linemans heads off. Wonder if he would have sat out even a minute of the game with a concussion.

    1. MD,

      I’m sure you’re right, Lyle Alzado probably wouldn’t have ever missed a game due a concussion. But that might only be because he didn’t know any better. Now the players do know better and thank god for that. Reread Alzado’s own quote: “…I have trouble remembering things. My last wish? That no one else ever dies this way.” Do you think if he could’ve done it over, he would played after a concussion?

      1. Steroids… Is what he was talking about. The dude was a junky. Way overdoing it with the PED’s. I never knew how much he did until I watched that program. Scary. I’m suprised he lived that long and didn’t die of heart failure on the field. Sad story.

  30. “I started taking anabolic steroids in 1969 and never stopped. It was addicting, mentally addicting. Now I’m sick, and I’m scared. Ninety percent of the athletes I know are on the stuff. We’re not born to be 300 lb (140 kg) or jump 30 ft (9.1 m). But all the time I was taking steroids, I knew they were making me play better. I became very violent on the field and off it. I did things only crazy people do. Once a guy sideswiped my car and I beat the hell out of him. Now look at me. My hair’s gone, I wobble when I walk and have to hold on to someone for support, and I have trouble remembering things. My last wish? That no one else ever dies this way.” … Lyle Alzado

    Fun. Lots of fun.


    1. Who would enjoy a life like that? Until i watched the story I never knew how much he used them. He never drank or smoked or did narcotics. His drug was steroids and way to much of them. I don’t know who you’re telling to enjoy that, but if it’s a backhand at me. It’s an idiotic statement. You can take my opinion on today’s players anyway you want. You can press your lifestyle and way of life all you want. But don’t sit there and act like I think it’s cool that someone went way overboard on steroids and destroyed his and his families life due to it. In fact you cheer a bunch of players on some kind of PED. And of you think because they haven’t been caught so they don’t do them I’ll try and lift that rock you live under for you. Put your holier than thou finger back in its holster. Debate football an opinions on football. Don’t come in here and act like you’re better than the next man because you play it safe in life. You don’t know me, you’re no better than me, and you damn sure aren’t going to change me. Are we straight?

      1. This is all I know.

        “Anybody going to watch a football life Lyle alzado?
        I’m a raider hater but nothing says football meathead like a juiced up maniac go ballistic and trying to tear linemans heads off. Wonder if he would have sat out even a minute of the game with a concussion.” … Ninermd


        1. So? Everyone have to think like you? You got some kind of chip on that shoulder. Get your lunch money taken or something?

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