49ers’ retooled play-action game a winning bet


The best bet in Las Vegas right now is the 49ers. To understand this, you have to understand what play action is and why it’s so gorgeous. It’s the key to the Niners’ 2017 season.

Click here to read my Saturday column.

This article has 192 Comments

  1. Excellent stuff, Grant. Very interesting read and yes indeed that is why Hoyer and not the former silver-dollar eyed jackrabbit is the starting QB. Bet the Over for sure.

  2. Really good read Grant. The Falcons OL was a well oiled machine last year. They stayed healthy and acted as an unit instead of five seperate players.

    Take the over for sure. Shanny has his system QB and WR. The OL is better and deeper. More depth at RB and TE. More speed at WR position. A phenomenal FB. And the D will be much better.

  3. I’m only a few hours away from the Vegas Sports Book.

    Hope they don’t lower over after all of Santa Rosa shows up there.

    Thx Grant.

  4. Just placed my bet, and I enjoyed this article as opposed to the previous one. Play passes should only be used strategically when set up with the action pass, otherwise you’re just sailing into the wind and end up Chip wrecked….

    1. Colin Kaepernick jersey, shoes to get place in Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture


    2. Razoreater,

      Who do you place a bet through? I’d like to make that bet, but I’m not sure who to go through

    Ran Carthon talking pro personnel work, 2017 NFL draft with Daniel Jeremiah, Bucky Brooks
    It turns out Carthon is well connected in the scouting media world. When the 49ers announced the hiring, several media people had positive things to say:

    Ian Rapoport‏Verified account @RapSheet 4h4 hours ago
    Ian Rapoport Retweeted San Francisco 49ers
    #49ers add another respected scout & executive to their teamIan Rapoport added,

    Steve Wyche ✔ @wyche89
    Strong move

    Matt Miller ✔ @nfldraftscout
    That’s a good hire

    Daniel Jeremiah ✔ @MoveTheSticks

  6. Great read Grant. I like you much better when you’re writing
    these informative articles than playing paparazzi with three second videos trying to prove someone is 20 pounds over weight.

  7. Holy shmoly! I go on vacation for 3 wonderful weeks and come back and the blog world has changed! Everything is miniaturized!! OK! Haven’t dug into the whole format but I’m sure it’s the latest! Couple things. Grant, nice article. Play action and the WCO go hand in hand. I missed it dearly and can’t wait to see the team get back to Niner football the way it was when they were a dynasty back in the 80’s and early 90’s. A quick not to Seb. Back months ago I stated to you that the only team CK would sign with was Seattle, due to a couple of factors. One, they still run the read/option, and two, the state and city are fairly liberal and what would help ease the activism factor. You replied to me, NO, they already have a backup quarterback. He’ll sign with either Arizona, Denver, or another team or two you named which I can’t recall. I don’t know if he has yet, but I’ll give you a preemptive “I told you so”!! I win again. I beat you in the draft ( I picked the number 1 and you only got the, what? the number 5?) To quote Trump, “I’m getting tired of all this winning”!

    Grant, as far as your argument that CK is not being blackballed. Come on. It doesn’t hold water. Of course he is. Is there collusion between the owners? No. There doesn’t have to be. It’s an individual blackball being conducted by mega rich, ultra conservative team owners who individually will never sign him, period. Why? Because his mediocre talent doesn’t warrant having to put up with the negative backlash they would have to deal with from their fan base and the public in general, including some advertisers who are conservative and could pull their support. But the very fact that lousy quarterbacks have been signed before him (Gabbert, Sanchez, McNown) along with teams already staked with lousy backups have jobs and he doesn’t is proof beyond any argument that his lack of employment is based on his desire for too much money or his lack of talent. That is just hogwash. Most analyst’s, radio talking heads, and others I have listened to agree with my argument. Or I agree with them. Teams would rather deal with a lousy quarterback who is non controversial then a mediocre quarterback who brings all that baggage. The bottom line is he is being blackballed by owners individually (no collusion necessary) because of his previous sideline activism coupled with his mediocre talent. Period.

    1. Juan, glad you had a nice vacation, but bragging about it is poor form.

      Sure, we both chose one player that the Niners picked, but King Solomon was an odds on favorite. Pardon me if my last mock had Hooker. My reasoning was that I thought the Niners had a bigger need to find an Earl Thomas style player, especially if they were going to adopt the Seahawk style defense. King Solomon was duplicative, and I assumed the Bears would take him, not knowing their keen interest in Trubisky.
      I am not worried. Maybe Lynch will decide that he will want Kaep to play for him, instead of playing against him. Lynch is smart, and can easily out bid the Seahawks.
      I still think the Texans would have been the best landing spot for Kaep. they have good weapons on offense and the number one defense. All they lack is a decent QB. They were burned with Osweiler, and Watson will keep floating passes that will get picked off. Watson cannot keep lofting the ball and assume his WR will out jump the DBs. Then the Texans will be kicking themselves in the rear end for missing out on Kaep, who has the skills to take them to the SB.
      I also thought the Cards would be a good landing spot for Kaep, but Gabbert signed for a paltry amount. They, too will bitterly regret not signing Kaep, especially if Palmer goes down, and Gabbert is forced to play. I think in Gabbert’s last play, he was sacked for a safety.
      You are so wrong. The league will put up with women beaters because they want to win so badly.
      Trump- ‘I am getting tired of all this winning’. Hmmmm, Maybe you need to catch up with the news.

  8. So it’s common in the Houston area for high school football coaches to host a “Mom’s Football Clinic” at the beginning of every football season. It’s really a social thing for the mom’s to get to meet the coaches and have some fun together. The coaches actually do try to explain the game to Mom’s who might not have any idea how the game is played. In the Houston area, there are many Mom’s that know the game as well as or even better than some Dad’s but there are some Mom’s where you have to explain basic concepts. This article feels like it was written for those Mom’s who know nothing about the game. Not being critical – I like detailed explanations so I like being exact when it comes to the difference between going into pass pro or run blocking sets on a play action pass. Good job, Grant.

    1. I was thinking the same thing Houston but then it occurred to me that there are a few who frequent this place that probably need the detail Grant provided.

    2. Agreed. But I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that some need the play action concept explained to them.

      1. Even I have a hard time figuring out if they are playing in a 4-3 under, especially if the offense puts the TE in motion.

  9. Good read.
    Waiting for the dead horse to be dragged in so some can begin beating it a while longer…

  10. A 49er defender (Reid? Bowman? Buckner?) said they were regularly getting fooled by play action in a recent Shanahan lead practice.

    Its going to be a run season. A stable of promising running backs will help play action even more.

      1. Great sign for the play action game. Bad sign for Reid. Stay ready Jaquiski Tartt.

      2. Thanks. I’m a fan of play action. Also a good reason to get a TE like Kittle who can be a threat both blocking and pass catching.

      3. Reid gets fooled by a lot of things. How many blown assignments does he have because he bites on underneath routes?

        1. I’d agree with this statement Scooter, if it didn’t seem as if the entire 49ers defense hesn’t spent the last 2 seasons cluelessly chasing shadows, and seeing ghosts, while looking wholly unprepared against play action in particular.

          Reid had a strong rookie season under Fangio, and considering the state of the entire 49ers defense after Fangio left, I’m inclined to give Reid the benefit of the doubt. Plus, he’s changing position this season, so it’s fair to give him a clean slate going in, IMO!

          By the way, GREAT article Grant.

    1. Its going to be a “fun” season… though a “run” season also makes sense.

      1. I think the 49ers clearly got the better end of the deal, but it might have been a two way fleece.

        The Bears were conducting trade back talks with three teams while they hid their interest in Trubisky. In another interview they the trade back talks were to cover their Trubisky interest. They were in full deception mode. And those trade back talks gave the Bears a clear idea of what teams might offer the 49ers to move up.

        Had the Bears let their interest in Trubisky be known, 49ers might have had some interesting offers to trade farther back.

        As it stands, I like how it turned out. Thomas+Foster+Extra 2018 2nd and 2018 3rd. Outstanding.

      2. #80,

        Right now it looks like it’s in the Niners favor, but it may look differently in a few years if Trubisky turns into a franchise QB.

        1. Even if Trubisky pans out the Bears could have got him at 3. So it would be a great pick but an unnecessary trade.

          1. Can’t look at it that way imo. They didn’t know if there were other offers for the Niners pick from a team wanting to move up for Trubisky. If they get a franchise QB for a couple of 3rds and a 4th, it will have been a bargain for them.

            1. They both got the player they wanted. But we got extra picks and they gave up picks. It’s a fair point that they didn’t know if we had other offers though.

      3. Actually, the Bears did well, too. They got the QB they coveted, without giving up a first or second round pick. It was a win/win situation.

          1. If Trubisky starts, both teams will have improved greatly.

            Hope Foster can play, but if he needs to heal fully, I would not mind if he missed the first part of the season.

        1. It was a win/win situation.

          Nope, it was a lose/lose situation. Not only did they brake the Cardinal sin of Walsh by selecting a one year wonder in the top ten, but they paid for the right to do so. They in fact committed what Ozzy calls, the Ultimate Sin….

            1. Yup, especially if Arik Armstead is healthy and the Niners rotate in the D line to keep them fresh.

              1. 10 sacks is a ton for a rookie who will play on the interior on passing downs. If he plays the edge 10 is possible but 8 would be fine. If he plays the interior the 7 would be about the most I would expect.

              2. Aldon got 14 sacks his rookie season, even though he was only a third down pass rusher.

              3. Seb,
                Aldon was in a very different situation. He was playing on a stacked Defense next to Justin smith. And he was a natural edge rusher… it’s not known if Solomon can yet.

              4. Shoup, maybe I am assuming that Earl Mitchell will be a good NT, Armstead will be healthy, and Buckner will have grown from his rookie season. Bowman returns to his old self, Foster becomes the next Willis and Smith plays like he did in the SB.
                The absence of Bellore and Bethea will be huge, and maybe Ward can shine playing in the right position.
                With an attacking defense, a little more than one sack per 2 games seemed attainable.

              5. The problem is that Lineup will seldom be on the field.
                I expect about 60 percent of the time the niners Dline will consist of
                DE, T, T, DE
                Lynch, Buckner, Thomas, Armstead.

                The problem is Buckner, Thomas and Armstead (based on their tape) are better interior rushers than edge rushers. And its easier to neutralize interior rushers because they can be chipped from either side. While edge rushers can keep the OT off balance as they can speed rush around the edge where there is no one to chip unless the RB helps out, he can bull rush, or come inside. Additionally they can run a twists which means a guard will have to pick them up.
                However for all of this to work they have to threaten the edge and this requires a good initial burst (Solomon has this) and the ability to bend (which is unknown). The ability to “bend” basically gives OT’s fits as its virtually impossible to get both hands on the defender and thus they cannot control them. If an OT is then scared of the edge this also leads to false starts, or over commitment to the edge rush which leads to open interior rushing lanes.
                Sorry for the lengthy explanation as to why I would be shocked if Solomon got 10 sacks. Perhaps it would have been better to simply state it simply by saying that, right now, Solomon is expected to be an interior rusher and last year not 1 interior rusher hit double digit sacks.

              6. Shoup, you make a good argument. It has convinced me to be less optimistic.
                Now I will predict King Solomon will get only 8 sacks.
                I hope the Niners use him like the Seahawks utilize Michael Bennett.

          1. We will have to see. If he beats out Glennon, and starts, it will be worth it. If not, they didn’t give up their first or second round picks, so they will be in the 2018 QB sweepstakes.
            While I think that the Niners would have been foolish to draft Trubisky, especially with their defensive needs and Cousins possibly falling in their lap, the Bears need a QB that can counter Aaron Rodgers. Trubisky does have skills. He is a mobile and elusive QB who can deliver the ball when given time. The only problem was that during the Bowl game, King Solomon ran past the O linemen like they were Devey. Trubisky may prove to be worth the number 2 pick, but the Niners leveraged him so they got future picks while still getting the player they coveted.

              1. Ok. Thought something like that. Might be the case. I am if the mind like Rocket though that if Trybuskiowicz ties out to be a franchise QB then the Bears will not have made a bad trade. I don’t think we will have made a bad move either despite the fact that I’m not in the Solomon Thomas camp. I think the pick up that extra draft capital was a great move and no one wanted to move further down so Thomas was the pick. I hope the young man is everything he was hyped to be and not what he is feared he might be (undersized and overwhelmed by big NFL linemen). We shall soon see.

              2. Can John Fox develop a one year wonder into a franchise quarterback? Most unlikely.

              3. All Trubisky has to do it out compete Glennon, that is not an insurmountable obstacle.

              4. I dunno, Seb. All he had to do was beat out Marquise Williams, and he couldn’t do it. Not exactly an

                insurmountable obstacle.

        2. The trade worked out beautifully for the 49ers. That seems pretty clear. The only question now is …. how well it turns out for the Bears. A win-win is no sure thing for the Bears at this point Seb. I think the best case scenario for Chicago is that the trade eventually looks like a win-win for both teams involved.

          The 49ers have a long term plan at QB, and that plan didn’t include selecting Trubisky at #2. We all knew this was going to be a tough pick to trade going into the draft if the 49ers didn’t play their cards perfectly. They certainly did just that!

          I have full confidence in ShannaLynch’s ability to execute this plan. In the meantime, Hoyer will work out fine as a bridge QB, and give the 49ers an opportunity to give their next starting “franchise” QB a better chance to succeed once they get him in uniform and on the field.

  11. Call me ignorant but I have no idea how Vegas betting works. So you just bet that the niners will win more than 4.5 games and you’ll get money if they win at least 5? Do you get more with the more games they win?

  12. Good article Grant but your Kelly to Shanahan comparison as far as their use of play action or play pass is lacking some key information. Play action doesn’t work in Kelly’s system because it’s strictly shotgun based with short drops and the QB never turning his back. Any fake to the RB in that offense is only meant to slow the rush for a split second which is why the OL is in pass protection and not carrying out a run fake. That’s the College game now which is one of the reasons why it’s so hard to get young QB’s ready early on.

    I thought Vegas had set the line at 5.5. 4.5 is definitely a good bet for the over. Good info thanks.

      1. True Grant.

        In fact Harbaugh and the doofus Greg Roman worked hard to implement the play action pass into their shotgun and pistol formations during their first offseason with Colin as the designated starter. They recognized a need to add this wrinkle, and weren’t afraid to make this adjustment. Chip Kelly, on the other hand, was too stubborn to make these kinds of fundamental changes to his offensive scheme.

        Kelly’s a brilliant offensive mind, but it’s his inability to make tangible scheme adjustments after entering the NFL is what eventually led to his his epic fall from grace, IMO. In fact, there are reports that, as part of the deal when Kelly was hired, Kelly made the commitment to the 49ers FO that he would make some fundamental adjustments to his scheme prior to his hire. I am not sure exactly what kind of adjustments were discussed, but I am pretty sure Chip Kelly’s ego, and determination to prove the naysayers wrong, was the driving force behind his stubbornness, and failure to make sensible adjustments. At least, that’s my best guess.

  13. Sorry if this is old or repeated news, but Wayne Walker passed away. His cool, smooth TV newscasts were a big part of my enjoying the 80’s 49ers. One would never know by his easygoing manner he was a crunching Detroit Lion linebacker.

    1. Just heard of that. He was my fave local sportscaster of all time.
      Classy and down-to-earth at the same time, a charming all American blend. He never took himself too seriously, but he had some major credentials.
      A great player. A great sportscaster. Seemingly, a great guy. Much respect.
      Perhaps Lowell can give us perspective on WW as a guest editorial writer…..

  14. Thanks Tommy. Nice to be back. I can only take so much golf, beach, great food, and relaxing by the pool or in the pool at the bar! It was rough!

  15. What is everyone’s biggest concern this season. On offense, Hoyer will be decent, The running game should be top 10 if not top 5. Our WRs will get schemed open. Same with the TEs and Juszczyk.

    On D, the line has potential to get to the QB and they will be better against the run with the additions of Thomas and Mitchell. The LB position has be improved with Bowman and Foster and they have more depth with Armstrong and Smith.

    That leaves the secondary. Robinson should be better, but is Witherspoon ready? Can Ward play single high S? Witherspoon will be ready at some point. I think Ward will be decent.

    Reid is my biggest concern. An arm tackling box S. Yikes!

    1. My biggest concerns are:
      – How well will the draft picks of the past regime fit in the new schemes (O and D)? Could be a lot of wasted draft capital if guys like Ward, Armstead, Buckner, Garnett, etc don’t end up suiting the schemes.
      – Will the edge defenders be able to generate pressure?
      – Will the young CB group be able to handle being left 1 on 1 often?
      – Will the lack of size in the WR unit become a problem?
      – How long will it take for the O and D to gel and become comfortable in the new schemes?

      1. I think the edge defenders are key because if they cannot generate pressure or hold the edge the corners are left all alone and they will get eviscirared. Additionally, time to gel and get the unit cohesive is not a small undertaking.

      2. Those sound eerily similar to the same concerns from last year.

        1. CfC that is very true. To add to the concer we have an unproven coach. Last year we had a coach who had failed already. This year we do not have that. The staff seems to have a better grasp, the personnel groupings are stronger, the GM has a better vision and has been able to execute a stronger strategy at the FA level and at the draft level. Additionally, if we can fight the injury bug and the extracurricular dumb poop bug that has plagued the team perhaps fortune’s wheel can turn favorably for us (not that I believe in such claptrap). Course I only believe we can improve so much 4-5 wins.

    2. + 1 #80. The secondary and pass rush are my two biggest question marks at this point. Who’s going to be our best option in the “LEO” role? Exactly how “versatile” is Solomon Thomas? Will Rueben Foster be healthy in time for training camp? Who’s going to start opposite Robinson, and who’s going to be our best slot corner now that Ward has moved to FS?

      I’ll add one more. How long will it take to get these players up to speed on these new schemes. I am concerned that, with such a young roster as well as a lot of roster turnover, that’s it’s going to take a little longer than one would hope.

      It’s been a crazy offseason so far. I’m stunned at just how quickly the new regime has been able to upgrade such a large chunk of their roster. But we’re still in “phase 1”, so I’m keeping my expectations for the upcoming season reasonable. However, I wouldn’t be shocked to see the 49ers improve at a faster rate than many felt was possible.

  16. For many years play action has often been bread and butter of the NFL. Very similar to the change up in baseball- there is never a bad count to throw a changeup. Unlike a decade of basic and/or ineffective offenses, I look forward to this years offense it may show long-term promise…

  17. Great question #80. My concerns for this year are both lines. On defense, can they put significant, consistent pressure on the QB with 4-5 man rushes? That’s what Seattle does with success, and it makes everyone else in the defensive backfield much better. On offense, my main concern is the ability to pass block. I think they’ll run the ball well but Hoyer will need time to be effective and that aspect of the offensive line play is the toughest to perfect. They’ve been horrible the last few years. If they can improve in just those two critical areas they will be successful.

    1. I’m more confidant in the O line’s ability to pass block for 5 reasons.

      1. Shanny’s offense requires the QB to throw the ball quickly.
      2. Hoyer gets the ball out quicker than Kap and he doesn’t have a long windup.
      3. Garnett will be a full participant in camp this year.
      4. Zuttah is better than Kilgore.
      5. Better depth at T,G, and C.

    1. MWNiner He was a big part of being a Niner fan. The team was ascending, and so was the news coverage. He was sorely missed when he was gone from channel five.

      Wayne was “sleeper tough”, easy going but also violent linebacker. In a way, that’s what the Niners were about.

    2. Montana said athletes often become guarded around certain reporters because the athletes believe the reporters ask questions to fit their preconceived notion of the story.

      Yeah. Writers determine a narrative then selectively find/ twist the fact to support the narrative. It’s been that since the Press was invented and it’s rare to find one who tries to do it the way they teach you in elementary school — who, what, when, where, how & why.

  18. Grant,

    Play Passes work on a tactical level on the line. When defensive linemen read pass protection they initiate a pass rush. That means either turning their shoulders perpendicular to the line of scrimmage “to go small” when pass rushing which puts them in a position and leverage disadvantage to be blocked out of the gap and opens up running lanes. Or if the D-lineman bull rushes; he’s not looking to fill a gap and gets caught up and blocked by the O-linemen. That’s how it’s supposed to work.

    If I recall there were specific tells in Kelly’s offense based on down and distance and formation that gave defenses a good idea that a type of play was coming.

    And the most basic explanation is that none of the Niner’s opponents respected the Niner’s passing game so they pretty much key on the run in all but obvious passing situations.

    1. i left out that often times the QB is supposed to read the blocking to determine if he’s supposed to hand it off or pass it. It’s a two way play.

      1. It’s not a two way play. The linemen wouldn’t have a clue how to block if they didn’t know if it was a run or pass. Additionally the qb turns his back to the defense if he’s coming from under center which is typical in a Shanahan offense. This makes it next to impossible for him to make a read based on the defense’s reaction.
        I believe you were referring to some of the zone read concepts in the Chip Kelly offense. In which case the qb had a quick pass or a handoff option.

  19. Just heard. Wayne Walker passed away due to Parkinsons,
    I really enjoyed his broadcasts. May he rest in peace.

    1. Damn. He was my all-time favorite TV Sports Anchor and 49ers color broadcaster.

  20. Yes, play action can be effective, but they need to establish the run game before it becomes truly dangerous.
    Seahawks would stack the box and dare them to pass.
    Too bad the other teams would admit they knew what play was going to be run just by looking at the formation.
    Niners would run into the teeth of the defense, so they were dunderingly predictable.
    Hopefully, KS will devise schemes that are deceptive. The Read Option would be perfect, especially if their QB is fas……Never mind.

      1. Seb says he’s moved on, then again Seb talks out of his arse a lot too!

        1. Prime, quit parroting me, it is embarrassing.
          Please try to think of an original thought, but do not keep getting brain cramps.

      2. Cassie, the stench of Baalke still lingers, especially on this site.
        Binkie? You should stop obsessing about sucking.

          1. No, I threw out all my kids binkies years ago. Sounds like you just took yours out of your mouth.

              1. Definitely Cassie
                But remember, Seb is the most abused commenter in history, so no wonder he lashes out at nutcases.

              2. Oh boo hoo. Seems like you want to dish it out, but sure cant take it.
                Grow up.

              3. And yet the first to acuse others of homophobic slants even when he insinuates it himself. Nice. Classy Seb. You are a stand up guy.

              4. East, quit leading with your chin. Disparaging me my saying I suck my thumb is an insult, but I did not say exactly what you imply. Maybe I meant that you suck something else, like a lollipop.
                It was your own imagination that went there, so stop being so sensitive and flying off the handle.
                Classy? Is that what you think you are doing? I will say it again, you sure like to dish it out, but sure cant take it.

            1. You know exactly what you implied. Please stop being coy or pretending. Your snide veiled was transparent to everyone.

              I certainly will say I have said you are delusional and act like a three year old. I haven’t resorted to disparagement of the sort or implications that you resorted to. Additionally I have never wished nor wanted bodily harm to you nor encouraged it. Quite the contrary.

              You think opposition gives you license to behave boorishly. So be it. That defines you my friend. This will be my last exchange with you as you can’t follow decency even in opposition.

              1. Whenever I call you friend
                I begin to think I understand
                All that you are…

                Seb is my blog buddy!

    1. I believe Walsh established the short passing game to open up running room too.

      1. In Cincinnati he had Virgil Carter as a QB and looked to put him in a position to succeed, so he emphasized short passes to accommodate the guy’s limited arm strength. Carter had good feet, so BW leveraged that. When Walsh got his hands on Ken Anderson who was athletic and had an excellent, accurate arm, his QB and system thrived.
        When BW got passed over and then sabotaged by Paul Brown in his application to HC the Rams, he went to San Diego as OC and in one year turned Fouts from a dork into a winning QB. He also proved to himself that his system would work through multiple personnel, although in SD he blended his approach with Air Coryell. That in turn gave Coryell the confidence to experiment with bold approaches in subsequent OCs like Joe Gibbs and Ray Perkins.
        As HC at Stanford he further developed the scripted play list, often in a sequence regardless of down and distance; quite unheard of.
        In his early days some coaches, GMs, and sportscasters pooh-poohed his “gimmicky” approach. John Madden became one of his early admirers as did John Robinson who got the Rams job he’d sought, and faced him twice a year.
        Some Bay Area sports writers thought they were smarter than Walsh. One, Glenn Dickey, famously called for Walsh to be sacked early in the 1981 season. Oh yeah, that 1981 Super Bowl winning season. Yup, that one. Genius, eh? Our contemporary equivalent to the egomaniacal G.Dickey would be Kawakami. Pompous know-it-all who doesn’t.

        1. Actually, I remember clearly that Dickey was Walsh’s strongest proponent to get the Niners’ HC job. I think he said something to the effect that Walsh was the only one the Niners should consider. None of those early articles from the Sporting Green seem to be available online, but this should shed some light on Dickey’s erstwhile respect for Walsh: http://www.glenndickey.com/_gd.php?view_one=yes&which=612.

      2. I, too, love the Mighty Quinn……….someday, somehow I shall find him at Reds Recovery Room and pay him the money i owe him…………

    2. Seb-skov….

      You aint ever leaving Kap…..he is YOUR Jim Jones………..

      1. Apologies all… Seb in Gordon Lightfoot’s Carefree Highway…
        Pickin’ up the pieces of Seb’s sweet shattered dream
        Seb wonders how Tomsula is tonight
        His name was Kaep and Seb fell fast for Kaep’s deer-like runs
        He left Seb not knowin’ what to do
        Carefree highway, let Seb slip away on you
        Carefree highway, you’ve seen better days
        The mornin’ after blues from Seb’s head down to his shoes
        Carefree highway, let Seb slip away
        Slip away on you

        Turnin’ back the pages to the times Seb loves best
        Kaep takin’ the Super Bowl by storm (almost)
        Now the thing that Seb calls livin’ is just posting crazily
        With knowin’ he can blame ev’ry one
        Carefree highway, got to see it his old flame
        Carefree highway, you seen better days
        The mornin’ after blues from Seb’s head down to his shoes
        Carefree highway, let Seb slip away
        Slip away on you

  21. Yeah, Hyde took a beating when teams knew what we were running. He still had 988 YDs with 4.6 YPC.

  22. I agree 80 that CK made the O line look worse than it was with his indecisiveness and his tendency to drop his eyes, panic and run. Having said that, he was also under tremendous pressure almost immediately. The O line was leaky to say the least. It was a bad combination.

    1. True, they did struggle at times. The Falcons entire OL started all 16 games together last season. In our case, we had the Anthony Davis distraction, Garnett didn’t play right away and we had injuries.

      Shanahan will identify his starting 5 and keep them fresh with the improved depth.

    2. That’s not true at all. You’re not running a timer against the snap. You’re just getting fan-upset and lashing out at the line. You run a timer and you find that the 49ers line was just plain old average in its pass-pro issues. Which means, yet again, the sack/pressure problems go back to a slow-to-throw QB.

      Take 2014 for example: Kaepernick had 2.96 seconds average time to pressure — #3 in the NFL. Yet he was sacked 52 times. That was because he was slow and when pressure got there, he panicked and tried to run, which translated into being sacked nearly 24% of the time he got into pressure (only Blake Bortles (a rookie at the time) had a worse sack-rate under pressure).

      What you’re doing is continuing the narrative fallacy of why Kaepernick gets sacked. Why he can’t get the ball out. It’s not the line and it’s not reasonable to blame that part of the team for a critical failure in a different position.

      And there are other QBs who have the same issue. Russell Wilson, Aaron Rodgers, Tyrod Taylor. Of those, only Rodgers excels at avoiding sacks and creating positive plays. Wilson and Taylor make positive plays, but take a lot of sacks.

      In fact, if you want to see the when-and-why to intelligently hold-the-ball with exceptional pocket-presence, watch Aaron Rodgers. He’s got a fantastic pocket-awareness and knows the when and where to drift/roll-out to avoid pressure. So because he doesn’t wait until it’s too late to move like Wilson, Kaepernick & Taylor, he’s avoided the extra sacks they generate because they don’t have that feel.

      1. True I rewatched portions of some last year’s games and this is borne out in plays. Either Kap ticks and runs too soon abandoning a play before it develops or he holds on to the ball too long. Additionally he starts dancing in the pocket making protection highly ineffective.

        If you watch the break down of third down plays and sacks one can see a QB who is not very effective in the pocket.

      2. No, I do not beg to differ, I vehemently disagree. Blaming Kaep solely for the sacks is wrong, because the Niner O line has been horrendous. Many times, he would step back, and have a rusher in his face. It was commendable how he could avoid even more sacks, but with an O line rated 28th and even 32nd at times, even Gabbert did not do well.
        Kaep also avoided the sack and used his legs to convert many third downs. His scrambling ability made the Niner rush offense 4th in the league. maybe another reason why he held onto the ball was the simple fact that his WRs were just as bad as his O line. I saw many times when he would look for his first read, see he was covered, look for his second read, and find no separation, then finally had to take off because the blocking was ineffectual. Maybe you and I are watching different games, but with the magic of replay, I would play back the game and watch how all facets of the game were operating. No, he did not have all day to throw, and the receivers were never wide open. Maybe they were at times , across the field away from the action, but they keyed on where he was looking. Of course, I have been advocating for years that he should be facing one way while looking in another direction, but the coaches probably had never heard of that concept, and certainly never had them practice that.

        Maybe you should look at the stats that show how effective the O line was in their pass blocking. The defense would get pressure so many times, it was amazing that he was not sacked even more. However, he was fast and elusive, and probably avoided as many sacks as he took. He avoided sacks 76% of the time he got pressure, but he got pressure way too many times.
        Sure, Wilson and Taylor struggled, too, but the Cowboys showed how important a decent O line is in any offense. With a poor O line, no QB will excel, and the whole offense will sputter.
        Aaron Rodgers? Yes, he can make plays, and it just burns me up to think the Niners could have drafted him. Maybe the Niners could have won a couple more rings if they had drafted him. He also had good O line play in front of him, which allowed for him to be able to move around in the pocket to buy time. He also had the luxury to be able to sit, and study for a few years, learning from a HOFer.
        Even with the past poor play and poor results, I have become more hopeful. While I think Hoyer will not play good enough and may be supplanted by Barkley, I think the Niners will be playing better, just because Baalke is gone. Lynch is like a breath of fresh air, and KS can make the offense function. Do not know about Saleh, but anyone is better than former Cleveland Browns’ DCs. With a better rush defense, the Niners can become competitive. Those 20 FAs have helped rebuild the team, and the draft was amazing. I had surmised they might win 6 games, but after that draft, I am thinking they might avoid a losing record.

        1. Seb….
          As an NFL QB, just what IS Kap responsible for………..? Anything? Anything at all? Or was it the O-line that MADE him not work on his mechanics, his fundamentals?
          He plays just like he did in College…………..no growth.

          1. Saw, please name me another QB who made it to the Super Bowl after starting 10 games.

  23. RIP Wayne Walker. Great guy! He sat in the seat in front of me at the 1989 World Series along with Mark Sanchez and his girl friend at the time, Marks that is, Leslie Griffith. We we’re sitting there (Sec. 1, Upper Reserve) when the quake hit! Oh the memories!!

    1. Loma Prieta quake… I had left a conference near the San Francisco airport that afternoon and decided at the last minute to head home by way of the San Mateo Bridge vs. the SF/Oakland Bay Bridge. By my rough calculations I would have been about mid-span when the quake hit. What a day.

  24. Hmmm, looks like Grant is going to get a 1-800 number for his stone cold LOCKS. ;p

  25. Loved Wayne Walker sports casts, 49 previews and sports challenges.
    RIP Wayne

    Deserves acknowledgment at a Niners game this season.

    1. Maybe try Rugby rules football for a season or two like Haynes did? Will he get kicked off a trolley?

  26. Quinn likes Ska

    You’re correct…Grant didn’t learn it from his mother “If you don’t have something nice to say about someone, Don’t say anything at all”….because I’d bet even money that he didn’t learn it from his father….

    Chip is not a very bad coach….

  27. 9 games…i like it. I already bet bovada last week not to mention the non zero chance cousins lands this year with a qb and draft pick closer to July 15th. But it’s a bit more complicated than just saying play action shanahan and hoyer. It comes to injuries and depth and a whole lot more. Still concerned but happy with my bet.

  28. The most important factor to sell play action is not all this technique stuff. That should be bonehead minimum , and any decent coaching with NFL caliber players , all of them will get it.

    But to make it work you gotta have a legit running game that is established , both in the game being played and on the tape opponents saw in prep for the game. Then, you have to be in the game. You can’t be in blow out, down 24 early situations. No technique in the world sells play action on even 1st and 10 if down big in say 3rd quarter. Which was 9ers all year last year.

    For example, have you ever seen play action in Hail Mary situation? Actually, Chip would be the one guy that might do this. Out of box thinking from that crazy mad scientist Chip.

    1. I think Grant is assuming Joe Williams will provide that threat. He might make the defense cheat up to the line to stop the run, and put their DBs on an island.

  29. I loved watching the old time QB’s making play action fakes they were like magicians. Brodie was great but Unitas stood above all others even today. As to the 9ers using action pass fakes this year, you better hope the O line is full of guys with great feet. When your first step is towards the line of scrimmage it makes it tough to then get back into pass protection. I believe Staley is made for action pass but the rest of the line I’m not so sure. If they can get the D lineman on there heels maybe but if its a 50/50 proposition after the first step I think Brown and Garrett could be in trouble.

  30. Grant,
    Nice read. Play action is a great wrinkle. If the communication/timing between QB and RB is right this will enable the offense to be more creative in the passing game which has been a sore area for a few years.

    Not sure if you’ve seen this, but a reporter for PFF recently said that the best rookie on the field for the 49ers has been RB Matt Breida. Can you confirm?

    1. The media was invited to just one day of rookie minicamp. Breida was decent. Let’s see how he does with live hitting. He weighs 190 lbs.

      1. I try to remind myself to always under-react to practice reports and preseason games.

        1. There are Underwear Olympics Outliers, Draft Crushes and Sleepers and Steals, UDFA Wowzers, MiniCampMarvels (Supermen in shorts), and Summer Camp Sensations and PreSeason Phenoms.
          Stay tuned. There’s lots of heavy lifting still to be done. We’ll see who steps up.

  31. That was from a comment from one of the coaches which doesn’t really mean much. Just throwing shade and motivational material for the others. Of course we fans hungry and thirsty little sharks that we are (and the press corps) go nuts and feed off this little comment like it means much. The coaches use it to motivate the real players to step up their game without their realizing that they are being motivated. Happens all the time.

    1. I’m sure they will be eager to welcome him to the NFL. Plus he has to break into the lineup too first. I remember something Fangio used to say about rookies….

      1. Fangio did, which is why I was so surprised that Jimmy Ward was seen as the presumptive starter after he was drafted. Even Fangio agreed with that.

  32. Rib
    Remember Old SNL routine with Akroyd and Curtin mocking 60 Minutes’ Point / Counterpoint?
    : -)
    “Jane you ignorant *^#% “

  33. I’m Heading Out To The Highway for St. Charles, IL to catch the legend, Yngwie Malmsteen. Catch you guys on the flip side!;>)

  34. Sebbraggaadocio,


    You’re the last one in the world who should give bragging lessons.

    I came to this site with my hat in my hand. I didn’t need any lessons in humility.
    Meeting you on one of my first posts a few years ago demonstrated to me a new brand of self love.

    It’s the kind that made the superpower, Rome, a pranoid-neurotic state, needing to lash out and conquer all surrounding sovereignties to satisfy their own lust for unrestrained dominance.

    You are Rome on this site, and will be taken down by your own ambition.

    “know thyself, Seb.”

    sebnynah says:
    May 20, 2017 at 9:43 am
    Juan, glad you had a nice vacation, but bragging about it is poor form.

  35. http://www.49erswebzone.com/articles/106267-lance-zierlein-george-kittle-jones-likely-exceed-expectations/

    Kittle shares some similar traits with Owen Daniels when he was coming out of Wisconsin in 2006 and I doubt that is lost upon new head coach Kyle Shanahan, who was on the Texans’ staff when Daniels was thriving. In fact, with Shanahan as a play-caller in 2009, Daniels was on pace for a 1,000-yard, 10-TD season before tearing his ACL after eight games. Kittle is a quality zone-scheme, in-line blocker with the athleticism to race off the line and uncover as a pass-receiving threat. Kittle could be an early contributor and should become a quality starter in Kyle Shanahan’s offense.

  36. Lance Zierlein: George Kittle and D.J. Jones likely to exceed expectations in 2017
    May 21, 2017 at 1:26 PM • 0 comments

    The critics loved the San Francisco 49ers’ most recent draft – the first by general manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan. Not only did they like the draft class itself, but they also liked the moves that the 49ers made last month to acquire those rookies and the picks that they gained along the way. Lynch looked like anything but a rookie general manager, who with the help of his experienced staff, wheeled and dealt through the three-day selection process with what looked like expertise.

    NFL Media draft analyst Lance Zierlein named five late-round draft picks who are likely to exceed expectations in 2017. Two of the five players named were from the 49ers’ most recent draft class.

    1. TE–George Kittle 2. DJ Jones, Tackle–U of Mississippi

    1. So how did two Monte Kiffin understudies end up running an even front defense with odd front principles? It goes back to Carroll’s time in the 90s on George Seifert’s 49ers staff. As Carroll explained to Jerry Brewer of the Seattle Times:
      “We mixed the concepts of one-gap football and two-gap football in a very unique way in San Francisco,” Carroll said. “And we played great defense. To me, that was the ultimate package, and we’ve been able to get back to it now. It’s taken us three years, really, to get to the point where we can incorporate the ideas. So, we’re doing all of the things that we liked there. I thought it was the most comprehensive package of defense that I’ve been around

      *Based on the above, here’s my 3rd down defensive subpackage featuring DT–DJ Jones:

      DE–Armstead; DT–DJ Jones; DT–Earl Mitchell; DE–Buckner; Leo–Solomon Thomas


      1. The problem is on third down the niners will be in a nickle defense.
        We also need to get away from being concerned with the base defense. In todays NFL teams are in their nickle and dime packages a little more than 60 percent of the time. So these are now really the base defensive packages.

  37. Grant:
    The 9ers list OTA off season dates: May 22, 23, 25, 30 ,31. June 2, 5, 6, 8 and 9th! Which dates will be open to the the press and dates you’ll be covering? Thank you for all your 9er info.

  38. **Based on the above Seifert invention article, here’s another 3rd down defensive subpackage featuring DT–DJ Jones and Aaron Lynch:

    DE–Armstead; DT–DJ Jones; DT–Solomon Thomas; DE–Buckner; LEO–Aaron Lynch

  39. **Based on above Seifert LEO and 4-3 under article, here’s another 3rd and 8 defensive rotation:

    DE–Armstead; DT–BJ Johnson; DT–Solomon Thomas; DE–Buckner; LEO–Aaron Lynch

    1. *Apologies for the 2BL post. A delay occurred and my original never posted until I posted again.

      1. CassieBaalke,

        Thx for starting my day by spitting out my coffee with laughter after spotting your Sebby’s Highway melody.

        Did I miss your ‘Seb’s so vain’ song you promised 1 month ago. Did I miss it ?

  40. Excellent article mate. Lots of information to back up your arguments. I love reading your articles when you write this way. Keep it up.

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