49ers sticking with Nick Mullens as starting quarterback

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Nick Mullens (4) passes against the New York Giants during the second half of an NFL football game in Santa Clara, Calif., Monday, Nov. 12, 2018. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)

SANTA CLARA — The 49ers may have found their starting quarterback for the rest of the season.

Nick Mullens will start against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after the upcoming bye week and may start the 49ers’ following game as well. “Mullens is our starter until I say differently,” Kyle Shanahan announced Tuesday. “That’s how it will continue to be.”

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  1. Hmmm, I wonder why KS declared Mullens the starter. He should have kept quiet, so TB would have to game plan for both QBs.
    .
    Maybe he thought he would be fooling no one, so he did not try to get cute.
    .
    Of course, maybe he will say differently next week.

    1. Only one that thinks that is you. It was now or never has been his plan to “get cute” or try to “fool the other team”. Nick simply played better in his two starts than CJ has. Period, point blank. Just leave it at that

      1. Wrong. Then why did he not do that last week? Mullens threw 3 TDs and had a 151 QBR, and KS did not name him starter until much later.
        .
        KS did not have to say anything over the Bye week, but did.

        1. Because it was the ‘First game’ w/a new qb that’s why…KS wasn’t fooling anyone after the Raider game anyways trying to keep quite, thought it was a bit silly or like you say trying to be cute. But now after a good second game and praising him afterwords he isn’t going to pull the wool over anybody. He’s not now going to say ..Hey, we’ll see who the next starter is..LoL.

          1. I hate to tell you guys this Seb & Nick …. but you guys are both wrong.

            The reason Kyle waited until last Tuesday to name the starter has nothing to do with trying to fool the Giants or keep them guessing. And of course it had nothing to do with it being Nick’s first NFL start.

            It has everything to do with the NFL Collective Bargaining Agreement, which dictates when players are allowed to be at their teams facility, and when they aren’t.

            Thursday Night games are bad for players health, and they shouldn’t play these games. But since they make a lot of money, the NFL won’t stop scheduling them. In order to help make things a little better on the players, one thing they’ve done is given players a “mini bye-week”. According to the rules which were negotiated and put in place through the current CBA, players are actually required to stay away from the teams facility following a Thursday Night game, until the following Tuesday at the earliest. In fact players aren’t allowed to enter the facility, even on their own accord. It’s set up this way so that players won’t feel obligated to return to their respective teams facility, even if they aren’t required to do so. If the head coach told his players “hey, you guys are not required to show up until next Tuesday (even though us coaches will be here)”, then guys may feel singled out if they chose not to show up, while other guys do.

            And out of respect, Kyle wanted an opportunity to speak with his QB’s in person before making the announcement, and he also wanted the rest of his players to hear the decision from him, not through the press.

            This way everybody gets some quality time off after a Thursday Night game, and nobody feels singled out, or indirectly pressured into coming back early, simply because some of their fellow teammates have chosen to do so (and there are other required days off like this).

            1. BTW, I enjoyed this piece Grant. Good work.

              Mullens obviously made some mistakes Monday night, and even though it’s a team sport, and once again the defense failed to makes stops in the 4th QTR, those “rookie” mistakes may have ultimately cost the 49ers the game. Especially that first INT, deep in their own territory.

              Like you said though, these are the things you half expect to happen with an inexperienced QB making his 2nd career start, under the bright lights of prime-time MNF!

              That said … I think it’s also clear that Nick Mullens does a lot of things better than CJB. He has superior pocket presence and he’s more decisive, which is one reason he hasn’t been sacked through 2 NFL starts. I think Mullens seems to make better reads, and watching the eyes of both QB’s after the snap, it’s striking how much quicker Mullens appears to process what is happening in front of him, which allows him to get to his 3rd and sometimes 4th progression, giving him more chances and more options when it comes to finding the open receiver. And honestly, I am not sure I’ve ever seen Beathard get to his 4th progression … ever!
              And really, IMO these qualities are more important than size, athleticism and arm strength (although the ideal QB combines the intellect, with superior size, arm strength, and athleticism, but those are a VERY rare breed).

              Beathard is more of a quiet leader, while Mullens is more animated, but I think they both show good leadership.

              So I think Nick Mullens has the better makeup in terms of these qualities, and it seems clear to me that Kyle now realizes the same thing. He swung and missed with CJB, but it’s good as long as Mullens develops into a quality backup who you can call on to win some games, and I think he will!

            2. It still belies the point that KS declared Mullens the starter now, when he could have waited, or just declare that it would be dependent on CJB’s health.
              .
              If KS wanted to talk to Mullens before the press next week, why did he announce in the press that Mullens is the starter, essentially for the rest of the season.?
              .
              However, Mullens is superior to CJB, so I agree with KS’s decision.

    2. Don’t let Shanahan’s evil and duplicity consume you Sebbie! You are our Frodo! Rise above, for the sake of us all!

      Kyle is Sauron, only worse… You won’t be able to rid the 9er world of Shanahan by tossing a ring into a pool of lava. Instead, you must achieve and sustain a higher level of love–becoming a beacon of forgiveness and tenderness.

      All you need is love.

    3. Maybe Kyle has read and agreed with Grant. I did not expect this level of unequivocal support for Nick from Kyle this soon. He seemed undecided Monday and Sunday. I think it is the right call. I really like Nick’s determination and his work ethic. Great character guy and a leader as we have seen from the players. He just needs to be developed further. CJ is not going to make it in the NFL.

      1. “Maybe Kyle has read and agreed with Grant.”

        Yes, Kyle made this QB decision based on one of Grant’s columns. Kyle also started using Juice as the lone back because of (and only because of) Grant’s advice.

        Seriously, Grant and seb are delusional if they really think Kyle is doing things based on what they write. Please don’t encourage Grant’s delusions Allie. If you haven’t noticed, Grant’s delusions are starting to hurt his credibility.

  2. One reason the 49ers have been so bad in recent years is that since Joe Staley and Patrick Willis in 2007, only one 1st round draft pick has seen a 2nd contract with the 49ers. And that was Anthony Davis who extended his rookie deal but only saw out the five years his initial rookie deal would have gone for anyway. When Jimmie Ward leaves at the end of the year that will be the 7th of the the 8 1st round picks they drafted between 2008 and 2014 to leave without ever getting an extension. And Armstead is likely to do the same at the end of next year. Abysmal.

    1. Scooter I am trying to take my mind off other things and this will not come out right so I apologize with out the evidence but I do not think this team as a whole is drafting the wrong players, Thomas, Pettis, foster , Joe Williams, bethard, could of had Kamara, mamomes and so forth. I hear most of the same scouts were kept from the previous administrations, solution? Need more time? Just not sure anymore in so many things or ways!

      1. Well, I guess the positive is that the guy in charge of drafting many of those 1st round picks that are no longer on the team is gone. But yeah, much of the scouting team was retained. I’m not really a fan of going through all the players they could’ve had instead at those picks – if you go down that rabbit hole you’ll end up concluding that none of the teams draft well. But its clear the team has not used its 1st round picks wisely over the past decade. Too soon to tell for sure on the ShanaLynch era, but looks likely the only Baalke 1st round pick that will get to a 2nd contract is Buckner. And there has to be serious question marks at this stage whether the first two 1st rounders for ShanaLynch will see second contracts. McGlinchey thankfully already looks set as a long term player.

        All the 1st round misses is what has left a real vacuum of top end talent on the roster.

        1. I am going down too many different rabbit holes at this point, everything is hitting me at once, difficult to try and buy or rent a home in the Chico area, I worded my last post horribly, thank you scooter for pulling me out of one rabbit hole as you are right! Still the way this team keeps misfiring is disheartening when I want it too be a positive distraction in my life. Thanks for letting me ramble and putting up with me right now, did spend part of the day working in an evacuation center, most of the people warmed my heart.

    2. Good insight Scooter.
      This team doesn’t have much in the way of talent and certainly not where it maters most. Ranked in my opinion of order of importance.
      On offense this team has Good tackles, one good RB (who’s playing hurt) , one great TE, and the best of the remaining 4 fullbacks that play in the league. In terms of ranking every other group is either terrible or below average.
      On defense the team has very good DT’s, a crippled Richard Sherman, and maybe Warner and Foster could be considered average. Everyone else, is either terrible or below average.

        1. No, not after the injury.
          He is a small explosive back that relied heavily on his lateral mobility.
          ACL injuries take time to heal from, and the lateral mobility is the last thing players get back if they get it back at all.
          If I were the niners brass, I would proceed as if he was not going to on the roster next season.

              1. James Conner has shown why it isn’t worth paying huge dollars for Bell. Replaceable position. I understand the concern with Jet recovering, but I think a trio of Breida, Jet and Mostert should be fine. Spend the money at positions of greater need.

              2. Agreed, Scooter. I think RB is the last position we need to address, however I would continue to bring in more UFDA’s at the position to see if we can strike gold yet again….

              3. Bell is a game changer. Still young enough for a 5 years worth of big play capability.

                The 49ers for so many have tried to get by with good players butt to win in this league, you need playmakers. Guys that can change the game. Breida, Jet, Mostert are good, but not like Bell.

                Free agency isn’t what it use to be. So when a guy like Bell becomes available, and you have the cap space, you add him.

                Pitt got lucky with Conner. But Conner is good because he has Brown and Juju on the outside. Maybe Breida, Jet, Mostert could be as good if he had a game changer on the outside as well.

              4. Prime,
                Do we really know how good Bell is? Every running back that has run behind that oline in recent years has performed like a top 5 back, and Connor statistically has been better than Bell was.
                If he leaves Pitt are we looking at a case like Emmitt Smith’s where his YPC drops off by a yard or more?
                I’d sign him but I’m not backing up the brinks truck for him.

    3. In just looking at Lynch, his first round record looks a bit spotty:

      Solomon Thomas: Bust
      Reuben Foster: Incomplete
      Mike McGlinchey: Keeper

      The 49ers really can’t afford to miss on another 1st rounder if they want to take the next step. That is why I’m not sold on Nick Bosa. Great talent but I worry about the injuries and the decision to leave school. If the 49ers go defense in the 1st round I’d go with another edge rusher or the best Safety available. If they go Offense, I go for an o-lineman or the best WR available.

      1. Jonah Williams, OT Alabama.

        This next draft is loaded with edge rushers and cornerbacks. You can never miss on a good offensive linemen.

      2. We need playmakers, difference-makers. To that end, in regard to positions of need, that means either:

        Edge Clelin Ferrell
        CB “Greedy” Williams
        LB Devin White
        WR N’Keal Henry

        1. I’d be ecstatic if the 49ers got Ferrell or Williams. I really like White but I’m not sure he’s a top 10 pick. The guy is a great pass rusher but the way LSU uses him, I’m not sure about his overall value as a LB. Plus the 49ers have Warner and Foster so I don’t know they need White as much as they need Ferrell or Williams. I don’t know anything about Henry.

          1. I was thinking more along the lines of playmakers rather than need (though it helps 3 of them fit positions of need for the Niners). I would also argue that even with Warner and Foster, White would be valuable given the need to replace Malcolm Smith.

            Henry is the top receiver in the class. Watch his tape from the Utah and USC game, where he basically wills himself to touchdowns and yards despite constantly being double-covered, and even triple-covered.

      3. Biggest mistakes were the Beathard and Pettis trade ups. Could have traded down and got a safety, corner, guard, receiver, edge rusher etc
        Beathard and Pettis were terrible picks.

    4. agree. The lack of talent in recent years has really hurt. We need legitimate starting level WR’s, an edge rusher, another CB, better safeties, a better offensive center, etc. Weak drafts have really hurt as is the inability to attract top-level FA’s.

      1. Been some interesting studies on taxes for professional athletes. The disparity between the amount of money athletes pay in taxes between high tax states and low tax states is pretty staggering. California is by far the worst state for professional athletes where they can pay as much as 50% of their income in taxes. The federal tax cuts passed last year may also create even more of a disparity between high tax states and low tax states. Federal tax code now limits the amount of state and local taxes that individuals can deduct from federal income tax bill to $10k. For free agents, it can literally cost them in the millions in tax dollars to play in CA. Will be interesting to see if the new tax law impacts where free agents sign.

        1. This high tax thing gets trotted out every… all the time. That didn’t prevent the Rams from taking a boatload of FAs to the bank. And after the tax law was passed. Presumably these athletes millionaires have financial advisors who would have apprised them of the upcoming state and local cap.

          1. The high tax issue is real. I’m not saying players will stay out of CA although some could make that decision just because of taxes and high cost of living. Many factors play into players decisions on where to sign. California is a beautiful place to live with all kinds of benefits. I still consider CA my home state and most of my family still lives there so I love the place. I am saying however that FA’s could potentially be influenced by the amount they will pay in taxes. For example, If Aaron Donald plays out his entire contract with the Rams he will pay around $9,450,000 more in taxes than if he signed the same contract in Texas. That’s not an inconsequential sum of money. I am certain CA sports teams will have to pay a premium to sign players to offset the increase in tax burden. I am also 100% certain the Agents of these athletes are factoring in taxes when they negotiate deals with teams from high tax states. Here’s a pretty unbiased view of the issue:

            https://www.cbsnews.com/news/these-states-may-attract-athletes-after-tax-law-change/

            1. Houston, there’s a lot of “mays” and “coulds” in that article. But the same thing gets trotted out every free agent signing season and every season teams in high tax states go about getting their FAs. Have we ever heard a prized FA claim “I was going to sign with x but man that tax bite….”

  3. *note*
    This is not to give Kyle a break but rather to say perhaps we missing the forest through the trees when evaluating his faults.
    Kittle was a great pick… but right now last years draft looks like a major disappointment, in that only Kittle has played up to the level of his selection or higher.
    Additionally, some of these players looked promising last year but have regressed… which begs the question… Were these bad picks, or are the coaches not developing these players properly?

    1. I’ve heard the arguments for and against Saleh and don’t think expanding the subject would be worthwhile but, for my money, I would prefer to see someone with more DC experience with a competitive franchise, rather than someone who is learning as he goes. That said, I lean towards your second option – coaches not developing players properly and think that there must be some changes there. Yes there have been some questionable picks but too many players appear to have flatlined or regressed IMO.

      1. Would love to see Grant spend some energy on ‘evaluating’ (as only he can…) position coaches and other offensive/defensive/special teams assistants. Player development is in question, and it goes a bit beyond Shanahan and Saleh.

        1. True,
          Development is more in the realm of the position coaches. However, the head coach is the one responsible hiring those members of his staff.
          One of the most overlooked, but also smartest decisions ever made by Walsh was the hiring of Bobb McKittrick. He routinely made pro bowlers from late rounders and castoffs.
          Jim Thomsula while overwhelmed as a head coach, has gotten far more out of his Dlineman than most other Dline coaches. These staff members while oft forgotten are critical in developing and sustaining a talented roster that can contend for superbowls.
          Currently, only Bobby Turner has proven himself as a developer of talent.

  4. “Mullens has taken zero sacks during his first two starts, which is surprising. His predecessor, Beathard, had taken 18 sacks in five starts. And Beathard’s predecessor, Garoppolo, took 13 sacks in three starts this season. Pass protection seemed like a major issue before Mullens started playing. But he has improved the protection, because he gets rid of the ball quickly.”

    Pretty comical you would write this without mentioning the Raiders and the Giants have the 2 worst pass rushing defenses in the NFL by far. San Francisco has 25 sacks and we all complain about how terrible the pass rush is for the 49ers. Well the Raiders and Giants have 8 and 10 sacks respectively which is by far the lowest totals in the NFL. I guess it didn’t fit your narrative so you didn’t include that fact in your article which I totally respect. BUT, it is a relevant statistic. Mullens isn’t taking sacks because the only 2 games he’s played in are against the 2 worst pass rushes in the NFL.

      1. Cassie,
        I believe Thomas has some trade value maybe a 6th or 7th but are there any teams out there who will pick up his contract? Maybe a conditional 6th as long as he plays 75% of the defensive snaps.

        1. I agree there’s trade value for Thomas–if that’s how the 9ers want go forward. He’s still on his rookie contract so that isn’t a huge negative. If he finishes the season free of injury and performs adequately, I could see a 5th or 6th round pick. Who knows, given those conditions the 9ers may keep him for a third year.

          Did we ever determine if Solomon’s training camp weight kerfuffle turned out to be a monumental matter?

      2. The 49ers “traded” Trent Brown and essentially Ja’Whaun Bentley for Tarvarius Moore. Bentley and Brown are starters for the Pats. Maybe they can get a ham sandwich for Thomas, maybe not. Obviously people look at things differently. I’ve been called out for criticizing “trading” Trent Brown. I disagree that Brown was actually “traded”. He was released and that was stupid.

        1. Semantics I suppose.

          Per Wikipedia…

          “On April 27, 2018, Brown was traded along with the 143rd selection in the 2018 NFL Draft to the New England Patriots for the 95th selection.”

          Fun fact (247sports)…

          “The heaviest human being in the NFL is none other than Brown, checking in at an even 380 pounds. The former seventh-round pick was acquired by the Patriots in the offseason. “

          1. I don’t disagree that it was technically a trade but I think what they got in return was not near what they gave up. IOW they would have been in the same position if they just released him.

    1. Claude, Clowney will never make it to free agency. Texans, if they are smart, will retain him. Nice idea, though.
      .
      Earl Thomas is talented, but his leg is brittle.
      .
      Levitre cannot play with one arm.
      .
      Bosa may be gone by the time the Niners draft.
      .
      Solomon Thomas is not a bust. He is helping the run defense, and if they give him opportunities, he can rush the passer.

    1. Follow NFL football long enough and we hear about ‘THE TE‘ who has changed/or is changing the position…

      Recall the days of Raymond Chester with the Raiders (his first stint). Media and football wonks anointed him as the new prototypical TE. There was John Mackey before him at Baltimore and Dave Casper after, then Kellen Winslow (Sr), Tony Gonzales, and more.

      Don’t get me wrong, Kittle is great. I just think back to all those TEs in the past who reshaped the position and changed the standards.

      A few years from now there’ll be another revolutionary player changing the TE game.

      1. Cassie Freakin’Baalke

        On a Monday nite game a long time ago, I watched John Mackey completely take over a game…His YAC had to be phenominal He dragged tacklers for at least 5 yards every time he touched the ball…in my mind he was the greatest TE…BUT my favorite was Dave “the Ghost” Casper…Who could believe that you could find a 280 lb OT and retrain him to be as good a TE as anyone has ever seen. That is what I’m hoping we can find to bookend with Kittle. I thought Wick was the one, but he dropped ONE pass..We need a Casper…a real meat-eater…

  5. Given the state of the franchise, what are the markers going forward of progress.

    Id have to think that having a good FA period and draft would be paramount. But what kinda Nd of markers this year would indicate that the team is turning a corner in your view?

  6. The worst thing a team can do during a rebuild – other than select the wrong players – is change coaches. I keep seeing calls for Saleh to be fired and it puzzles me. Everyone seems to acknowledge the lack of pass rush off the edge and needing more talent in the secondary but want to fire the guy for not making chicken salad out of chicken sh*t.

    Everytime you change Coaches you essentially start over. The players have to learn how to play the way the new coach wants them to and it adds times to the process. It’s not a quick fix to rebuild a football team. There has to be patience and a willingness to accept the reaity of the situation. If they can add a couple of edge rushers and a FS it will make this defense look a lot different.

    1. What do you suppose Rocket the chances of a coach being let go are? And while I generally agree with your view, I do think that this team could benefit from veteran coaching leadership, especially along the the unit coaches.

        1. Tough question if you want to run the same scheme. Give Saleh his edge rushers and FS. If we still have the same issues after next year; tossed Saleh….

    2. Rocket,
      I agree with you there is little Saleh can do about the lack of pass rush and the dearth of man to man coverage talent in the secondary. My issues with him and his staff are #1 tackling and #2 constant confusion in coverage. Its Saleh’s 2nd season and sometimes it looks like he introduced a new defense yesterday. I would like to see a experienced DC in his place and by letting him go right after the season ends it gives the team the opportunity to be the first to hire. imho

    3. Ive been calling for the 49ers to fire Saleh because the players are thinking too much. They are not understanding where to be, blown assignments, and major frustration being shown. Meaning the scheme has not been coached and taught properly. My point is if the scheme is too complicated, scale it down or teach it in a way that its played thought free.

      Saleh, last game was also unable to get the right personnel on the field on the OBJ 2nd TD. I mean its week 9. You’ve had 10 days to prepare for this game. That’s inexcusable.

      Overall, the defense has blown 4th quarter leads now in 3 games. I also have not seen the defense being able to make the necessary adjustments late in games. Sure injuries are part of it but I see it more as a coaching problem because the players are not getting better.

      1. “Saleh, last game was also unable to get the right personnel on the field on the OBJ 2nd TD.”

        The starting NCB is Williams, he was hurt. The backup NCB is Reed. He was covering OBJ in the slot.

        This is the personnel that Lynch/Shanahan have given Saleh to work with. You keep preaching that it’s a rebuild when Shanahan is criticized but don’t seem to see the double standard.

        1. Move people around. Put Witherspoon in the slot. He’s bigger and was a better matchup on Sterling. Or what about Ward? Reed is small, short, better suited for the SS position. Not the slot.

          He’s made zero adjustments in games especially after half.

          3 games now he has blown leads because he cant figure out who should go where. Players running around having zero clue. That has zero to do with a rebuild and everything to do with coaching.

          1. Witherspoon can’t play in the slot. He had a hard enough time covering with the help of the boundary.

            You move Ward to the slot and now who plays FS?

            Yes Reed is best suited for SS, but he’s also been the backup NCB all season.

            Blame Saleh all you want. As rocket stated at the start of this thread and I stated yesterday, he’s trying to make chicken salad with chicken sh!t.

            1. Shanny has had no trouble making chicken salad out of chicken sh!t but you cant seem to get off his a$$ because of it, but you give Saleh a break?

              “Witherspoon can’t play in the slot. He had a hard enough time covering with the help of the boundary.
              You move Ward to the slot and now who plays FS?
              Yes Reed is best suited for SS, but he’s also been the backup NCB all season.

              Play zone then! Send the house on a blitz, do something different! Hes been making all the wrong calls in the red zone and late in games.

              Has he shown the ability in 2 years to get players to play better?NO

              Has anyone shown great improvement since his arrival? NO

              Everyone says he is playing people out of position on every telecast. Thomas, Armstead, Marsh, Ward. That might have something to do with player running around lost in space.

              1. “Shanny has had no trouble making chicken salad out of chicken sh!t but you cant seem to get off his a$$ because of it, but you give Saleh a break?”

                I’m not calling for him to be fired like you and others are with Saleh, and the turnovers by Shanahan’s offense has a lot to do with the number of points allowed this season.

                “Play zone then! Send the house on a blitz, do something different! Hes been making all the wrong calls in the red zone and late in games.”

                They did both at different times. The first TD was against zone, the last TD was against a blitz.

              2. They did both at different times. The first TD was against zone, the last TD was against a blitz.

                That’s my point Hammer. He’s not getting it right and he’s getting out coached. On both scoring plays Shurmur out “chessed” him.
                All those last quarter blown leads is on him and his inability to win the chess match.
                Sure a legit pass rusher and lock down corner helps but my main concern is in 2 years, no player on defense has grown and gotten better.
                Do you disagree?

              3. Yeah I disagree.

                There are a number of areas in which the defense has shown improvement from last year. Problem is they have been stung by being second to last in starting field position because of offensive turnovers/poor kick coverage, which also goes along with having a lot of possessions start in their own territory.

              4. Who has gotten better under Robert Saleh?

                Problem is they have been stung by being second to last in starting field position because of offensive turnovers/poor kick coverage, which also goes along with having a lot of possessions start in their own territory.

                What’s a defenses job? There are circumstances for everything but what is the job of the defense?
                Bend don’t break and they have broken many times. That means they’re not getting their job done.

              5. “Who has gotten better under Robert Saleh?”

                The defense as a whole is better this year.

                “Bend don’t break”

                And that’s what the defense has done on a number of occasions this year. It’s part of why they’ve gone from 20th last year in punts forced per drive to 5th this year.

                Over the last 6 games the defense has allowed 14 touchdowns. On 7 of those the opponent has started on their own 45 or in, and 5 of those were on the SF 27 or in. This is only looking at TD’s, not situations in which they’ve held opponents to FG’s in similar scenarios or forced punts.

              6. Never mind the stats! Tell me who individually has gotten better under Robert Saleh?

                If this indeed as you’ve agreed is a rebuild, who is he developing?

                Names and faces please!

              7. “Tell me who individually has gotten better under Robert Saleh?”

                Ronald Blair. Elijah Lee who should be starting over Smith but doesn’t have the big contract, Arik Armstead, and the entire unit as a whole.

                “If this indeed as you’ve agreed is a rebuild”

                Uh, yeah I don’t agree with that and have brought that up only because so many are using it to ease the fact that the organization is 2-16 in games started by someone other than Jimmy Garoppolo.

                You can’t use it as an out for Shanahan, and then not apply the same to Saleh. It’s a double standard shown by you and a number of others.

              8. 2 guys? That’s it? 2 guys that don’t even play and I agree should play but Saleh keeps rolling out the same guys with not very good results. Lee had his chance to start and play and lets be honest, he is a career special teamer. Blair, on the other hand, is legit. But Saleh keeps him on the bench. Dumb!

                The fact you could only name 2 guys tells it all. He is clueless!

                As for Shanny yes they are not winning but at least guys are getting better each year under him.

                George Kittle, McLinchey, Richburg’s been better, Tomlinson, Breida, Mostert, Bourne, Goodwin when healthy has been better. Celek when given snaps, produces.

                There is no double standard. Saleh has a ton of guys that were drafted high but they have not gotten better under his scheme and coaching. Sure that might be the drafting maybe, but you would think at least one or two, maybe three guys could emerge. Julian Taylor, was great in pre-season and hasn’t gotten a snap. He is regressing guys instead progressing them.

              9. “Lee had his chance to start”

                Elijah Lee – 1 start, 12 combined tackles

                Malcom Smith – 3 starts, 12 combined tackles

              10. You’ve accused me of having a double standard towards Shanny and Saleh.
                I’ve presented that Shanny is doing more for this team and you’ve said Saleh gets the unwarranted blame.
                The stats show otherwise. The player development shows otherwise. The late game blown leads show otherwise.

                “You believe Shanahan is far better, yet his offense doesn’t score in the 4th quarter. It’s 31st.

                Jack, a defense is suppose to hold the lead the offense has provided. That’s the job of the defense. That’s football. The offense scores points and the defense prevents points.
                Shannys offense is doing its job, Saleh’s defense is not and it’s putting undue blame on the offense.

                The offense has given the team leads going into the 4th. It’s up to Saleh’s defense to hold that lead. Otherwise what’s the point of a defense?

              11. You can certainly blame the defense for having a bad turnover ratio but it is also the job of the offense not to caugh up the ball so that it puts the defense on its heels.

                Too often this team cannot close out games. It is both a defensive and offensive problem. Blaming Saleh is only seeing part of the story and scapegoating.

              12. I don’t disagree with you that the defense is supposed to hold a lead or a tie. Not arguing that.

                Wouldn’t it be helpful though if the offense was able to keep scoring though too instead of getting shut down?

                We all knew going into this season that there were some holes in the defense and that the offense was going to need to score points for this team to win games, no?

                They’ve improved slightly on that end, but the turnovers have really killed them and negated that 2.3 point per game increase.

            2. You are right Hammer I should not be discounting Lee. He looks small but hasn’t been given the chance. Again, that’s on Saleh. Playing favorites
              maybe from his Seattle days?

              Regardless, rolling out the same guys, those guys not getting better and the results are the same. Most glaring, guys not knowing what to do.
              It’s like he is trying to fit the scheme to the personnel but the personnel is just not getting it. He has not adapted or changed much.

              As for the in game adjustments, good for 3 quarters but thats it. Now you can blame Shanny all you want for the turnovers and field position but how do you blame Shanny for putting certain guys late in games against against the others teams best players?
              Fitzgerald, Parker and Beckham all covered by someone other than Sherm who is their best cover guy.
              Result lost the game.

              1. “putting certain guys late in games against against the others teams best players? Fitzgerald, Parker and Beckham all covered by someone other than Sherm”

                Maybe you forgot Fitzgerald beating Sherm for a 37 yard completion late in that game. Or perhaps you’ve forgotten that the 3rd string SS was forced into that game and gave up both of the late TD’s.

                Or maybe you forgot late against Green Bay when Sherman shifted in to cover Adams who’d been killing them so Rodgers then hit St Brown to get into FG range.

                Yes, Sherman is their best cover guy but that doesn’t mean much when the corner opposite him can get bet like a drum regularly whether playing man or zone.

                On Monday they have a double team called on Barkley and the ILB (Smith) overplays the out and loses inside leverage. Big gain.

                Now if this mistake was made on the offensive side it would be wiped away as poor execution, on the defensive side it’s on Saleh and he should be fired.

                In both cases it’s absolutely on the coach.

              2. If we are comparing the Niners offense to their defense, I think it’s pretty clear which one has continued to it’s job while the other has not.
                Shanny alone has shown ingenuity with his offense, exceptional play calling and is making players better. That alone gets him to keep his job.

                Saleh on the other hand is getting out coached late in games, his players are confused and no one is getting better.

                This isn’t about a double standard for one coach versus the other. Shanny lost 2 of the most important players in his offense and he’s still getting the most out of his players.
                Saleh has had primarily and injury free roster in which to work with and he is not getting the most out of his players.

                Yes coaches are measured by wins and losses but they are also measured on how well their players are adapting to the scheme and how well they’re developing in the scheme and getting results in games. I see the defense not being able to hold the lead.

              3. “Shanny alone has shown ingenuity with his offense, exceptional play calling and is making players better. That alone gets him to keep his job.

                Saleh on the other hand is getting out coached late in games, his players are confused and no one is getting better.”

                You do know that the 49ers rank 31st in points scored in the 4th quarter right? Only the Bills score less.

              4. You do know the 49ers offense is ranked 13th in total points, and 9th in total yards?

                And the 49ers defense is ranked 22nd in yards allowed and 29th points allowed?

              5. “You do know the 49ers offense is ranked 13th in total points, and 9th in total yards?

                And the 49ers defense is ranked 22nd in yards allowed and 29th points allowed?”

                No. Not all teams have played the same number of games.

                On offense they rank 19th in yards per game, and 18th in points per game.

                They are ranked 10th in yards allowed per game and 27th in points allowed per game.

                They’re also 5th in punts forced per drive.

                They’ve been killed by being stuck in terrible field position as a result of turnovers by the offense and poor coverage by special teams.

              6. Overall 49ers offense is ranked 19th.
                Overall 49ers defense is 23rd.

                One is playing better than the other.

              7. “Overall 49ers offense is ranked 19th.
                Overall 49ers defense is 23rd.”

                No.

                Overall 49ers offense is ranked 19th in yards per game and the 49ers defense is ranked 10th in yards per game allowed.

              8. So you believe that Tampa Bay has the #1 offense in the and the Raiders have the #6 defense in the league?

              9. Nope but what I do believe is that the statistics confirm that without his starting QB and RB Shanny is still producing an effective offense whereas, Saleh with more, still cannot produce an effective defense in which to hold a lead. Thus, the 23rd ranked defense in the NFL.

                You brought up the stat card, not me.

              10. “You brought up the stat card, not me.”

                I did. And clearly one of us understands that there is no rhyme or reason to the way the teams are lined up on the NFL Team Stat page.

                But if you truly believe there is any way that the Raiders D ranks 6th in the NFL well, https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=R3eN6WvERaM

              11. I’m not sure why you bring up the Raiders and Tampa.
                The original argument is who is coaching better and what coach is doing more for this team.
                It’s pretty clear Shanny is producing a better rate of return with less and Saleh is not.
                Now you brought up the stats and the stats show this.
                Shanny is developing the limited talent he has and Saleh is not. You confirmed this by saying 2 players on a defense loaded with high picks is getting better. 2! That’s it.

              12. “I’m not sure why you bring up the Raiders and Tampa.”

                Because you are misinterpreting the stats.

                “The original argument is who is coaching better and what coach is doing more for this team.”

                And I’ve provided my argument that the defense as a whole has shown improvement, but it doesn’t show up because they’re being stuck deep in their own territory quite a bit due to turnovers and poor special teams coverage which along with points given up by the offense on picks and fumbles is distorting the points per game they’re allowing.

                I haven’t said that one is better than the other.

                You believe Shanahan is far better, yet his offense doesn’t score in the 4th quarter. It’s 31st.

                You say Saleh is far worse, yet his defense is a tad better, allowing 7.3 points per game in the 4th. 23rd.

                I think both guys have some weaknesses that show up in the play of the team on a weekly basis.

          1. Yeah, rewatching it you can see Exum pointing at Ward telling him to get back in a two deep safety shell. Explains why Engram was double covered – Ward was meant to be back deep.

            What I don’t understand though is:
            – (a) the guy with the dot responsible for relaying the plays was standing right next to Ward – why didn’t he tell him he was lined up wrong?
            – (b) this was an obvious pre-snap misalignment. How come the coaching staff didn’t burn a time out? If it happened on offense I guarantee Shanny would use a TO there.

            1. Even though Spoon thought he had help, why did he stop running and not track the ball?
              You cant always rely on the guy next to you so keep playing football, try to make a play, track the ball.

    4. Rocket – You use the term “coaches”. Changing an OC or DC generally, but not always means changing how they want the players to play. But position coaches??? That’s a new one on me. The HC sets the way the players are supposed to play in a well run system, the rest of the coaches implement the HC’s system. If that’s not the case then the tail is wagging the dog.

    5. Yes, I agree rocket. I understand being upset with how the D has failed to close games and how many breakdowns they continue to have. Yes, Saleh deserves some of the crticism for that. But he’s also been dealt a bad hand, yet despite that the D has also performed pretty well in some areas and for stretches of games. I would like to see how the D performs with roster upgrades at some key spots. If it still keeps having the same issues then sure, move on.

      As Lowell Cohn has been tweeting, firing Saleh is not the magic bullet that will fix everything.

      1. Interestingly enough our defense is ranked 10th in yards allowed….not sure what that means at this point, probably not much. Could be the string of terrible offenses we’ve faced, but that has to count for something right?

    6. I take this to be similar to what Ray Ratto noted on 95.7 The Game: Saleh is one of the lesser issues; it is more about talent and the fact the defense stinks. The secondary has been a bane of our existence for the last few years, but we refuse to invest in a free agent or TOP draft pick (other than Sherman). The line has Buckner and…[crickets]. And Foster can’t stay on the field.

      Talent is the biggest problem.

    1. I like the idea of giving Mullens opportunity to shine in the second half of the season, and then trading him to the Giants or some other team for a second round pick.

      1. I’m gonna disagree with you on this one, Mood. This team is extremely dependent upon good QB play. We need a capable backup and Mullens appears to be better than Beathard. If Jimmy G goes down again next year, for whatever reason, the attitude of “well, we can kiss this season goodbye” again just doesn’t work for me [I’m not gettin’ any younger]. Further this year’s draft class is quite light on capable QBs, so who will replace Mullens if he leaves? Frankly, I think CJB has hit his ceiling; he just doesn’t have a fast enough processor.

        Also, it takes a while for a new QB to come up to speed with Shanny’s offense. Mullens has worked very hard to learn the offense and I think KS even said that the only one who knows the offense better than Mullens is KS himself.

        1. Yep, no way I’m trading Mullens. Not until there’s a better viable option. It’ll be an interesting competition for the backup qb next year….

        2. Not only is he a credible backup, but he is a CHEAP credible backup. You just don’t give those away. Additionally, I don’t think he has shown enough to warrant a 2nd round pick offer. He still has weak arm issues.

        3. Cubus,
          Anytime a franchise QB goes down, the season is essentially over — Philly with Foles was an exception that does not disprove my point.
          Both Beathard and Mullens show the potential of being decent backups, i.e., coming in for a few weeks and winning a couple of games. I really like Mullens and his work ethic and spirit, but I’m pretty sure the more he plays the more his weaknesses will be exposed. Maybe he can fix some of his issues, and even increase his ball velocity in the off season. I also think that Beathard will improve over another off season of work. he has already shown some improvement since last season. Better pre-snap reads should mean less chances of taking that many sacks.
          I personally think the best situations of for these two to compete for the backup job and then trade the loser just before the final cuts since I expect them to carry only two QBs. Currently neither has much trade value, but the FA and draft QB crop next off season is not very good. So the market for trading either may improve.

  7. I second your post Prime, about Saleh. There was also a 3rd down play where Barkley was stopped at the goal line and essentially no one was covering OBJ in the left slot. A couple of weeks ago there was that play where they had trips and we had only 2 guys covering. Plus, and it’s a huge minus actually, there are sooooo many missed assignments in the secondary. Like OldCoach pointed out, that is the real problem with this DC, not just the lack of an edge rush or single high safety.

    1. Exactly and because the Giants are a bad team they missed that matchup. Saleh has proven he cannot make the necessary adjustments and players are playing tentative.

      Look, this entire team has been dealt a bad hand but at least Shanny has his offense playing hard and somewhat competitive. The defense has had too many lapses and I don’t see players getting better.

  8. While Shanahan’s comments yesterday about guys auditioning for 2019 and beyond strikes the right chord with many, you need to remember that guys like Colbert and Witherspoon performed well under a similar situation last season.

    1. Yes, and it was a good thing. They let themselves down this year, but that doesn’t take away from stepping up when given the opportunity last year. They well deserved another shot at a role this season.

      It only becomes a problem if the coaching staff believes good play at the end of the season automatically translates to high end play the next season.

      1. “It only becomes a problem if the coaching staff believes good play at the end of the season automatically translates to high end play the next season.”

        If they didn’t think that way why go into the season with those guys as starters?

        Those guys were handed jobs based on those performances.

          1. Too bad Jim didn’t give the ball to his favorite player down on the goalline instead of throwing fade routes to Crabtree in the SB.

            1. Yeah … Razor …
              I remember a pic of the intercepted throw .. and Frank
              was standing near the goal-line .. with no one around ..
              seemingly anticipating a walk-in TD …and thinking … WTF …?

        1. I should have been clearer. The problem this year was the coaches let the performances at the back end of last year convince them the players were high end starters. If they do that again this offseason it will be a problem again, unless they get very lucky.

          But players performing well over the next six weeks is a good thing.

          1. Yes it is a good thing, but if it happens again that will seriously call into question the coaching staff’s ability to evaluate personnel.

            1. “Yes it is a good thing, but if it happens again that will seriously call into question the coaching staff’s ability to evaluate personnel.”

              If they play well it will show that they are good at evaluating talent. But not so good at getting the best out of that talent year round, especially early on in the season. I agree with Scooter that our staff should have made FS and CB a competition in TC instead of just crowning Colbert and Witherspoon. A little competition may have had them playing better and with more urgency in September.

          1. For some reason my replies were showing up at the end of the thread. Also, I noticed that Scooter clarified his earlier statement.

    1. They shouldn’t and probably won’t, but if they do sign him it’s because they don’t have confidence in Jet’s recovery and/or durability. Same goes for Breida’s durability.

      Bell fits the scheme and Niners can afford him.

      1. They better get Sherman and put the full court press on Earl Thomas, and if either Lawrence, Clowney, Clark or Ford is available; they should sign one….

      1. I’m trying to understand how they get those numbers. The answer isn’t just C.J. Beathard either.

        We saw an offense on Monday night that performed at about the same level as it had with him at QB, all the way down to an interception deep in SF territory.

        1. You asked if anyone could explain it in layman’s terms.

          Sure CJ isn’t the only reason, but I think he the main reason.

          “The difference is turnovers. Underscores what you have been saying for some time.”

          Yes, and CJ had a lot of those turnovers.

      1. So it takes into account the starting field position for the defense? I think Grant said this to me earlier in the year, but I’m not familiar enough with how it is done.

        1. It accounts for down and distance and I believe field position. So if the offense has decent field position and isn’t able to do anything with it then it is a strike against (red zone too).

          1. That’s my read too. But I have no idea how they crunch the numbers or what metrics they use (weight wise).

            It does make sense when you look at some of the rankings for this team in terms of rankings for Yards O:22 D: 14, INT O:28 D:31, Rushing TDs O:24 D:12, TO O:27 D:32.

            What I take away is that the defense is pretty good at minimal yardage and making teams one dimensional. However, they cannot stop the pass nor create turnovers. That puts them at a severe disadvantage, especially late in the game. The offense creates too many turnovers exacerbating the D’s shortcomings.

            When you take into account Average drive yards O:22 D:10 and starting field position O: 25 D:31 you can see why the team struggles to get over the hump.

  9. Something to consider is that our point differential puts us somewhere between the 1977 team and the 2009. Not very good at all! Not as bad as Tomsula or Kelly but not tremendously better either.

    1. An edit it is slightly above the 2010 Singletary/Tomsula team and right below Harbaugh’s last year. That is where the team is. Near a more respectable outcome but still looking from the outside in.

  10. Round 1, Pick #2 *Trade* Denver trades #8, #40, 2019 Round 1 pick.

    #8)Jachai Polite, Edge, Florida
    #34)Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU
    #40)Oshane Ximines, Edge, Old Dominion
    #66) Anthony Ratliff-Williams, WR, UNC

          1. I think Prime was being facetious. Drafting two and adding another vet in F/A should give Saleh what he needs to create a successful pass rush. Do the full court press with Sherm to get Thomas, and there will no longer be any excuses on the defensive side of the field….

            1. If and only if the pick and sign the right ones. Dropping hints that they went hard after someone may not cut it this FA period. They need results.

              Remember what they said about Marsh. Doesn’t exactly give convincing evidence that they are good at selecting personnel.

    1. I would think at 8 Clelin Ferrell would still be around. Are you advocating for Polite over Ferrell? Will need to take more of a look at him.

    2. Using such a trade, I would do:

      #8. Clellin Ferrell, DE Clemson
      #34. Anthony Johnson, WR Buffalo
      #40. Amani Oruwariye, CB Penn State
      #66. Brian Burns, DE Florida State (though he has been moving up draft boards)

    3. Looks good to me. If they sign a decent edge guy in FA I would probably use the two 2nd rounders on a WR and CB, and get Sutton Smith later just as a pure nickel pass rush specialist, with potential to play some SAM in base.

  11. https://www.nbcsports.com/bayarea/49ers/why-49ers-biggest-disappointment-their-second-year-defensive-players

    Foster I get, he didn’t have a training camp and he’s been battling injuries.
    Maybe the coaches, cough cough, Robert Saleh and LB’s coach could develop this guy, get him to play a less reckless game and show him how technique is important instead of running around trying to hit anything that moves.

    Witherspoon showed he can play at this level but has regressed. Benching him didn’t help his confidence and he looks confused in this scheme.
    Maybe Saleh should move him around more from the slot to the far inside to the outside so he learn this defense cause inside out, cause whatever they are doing with him, he’s regressed. Bad coaching.

    I was one of the first to say Solo Thomas was a bust but in retrospect I agree with a lot of football people on the broadcasts who say he is playing out of position.
    I would ride him the whole game at his natural position and see what he can do. Don’t substitute him unless his legs fall off. Let’s truly see what he can do at his natural position an entire game.

    1. On Foster you’re basically asking them to get him to no longer do the things that got him to the NFL in the first place.

      Witherspoon isn’t confused. He just isn’t very good at his job, and at times has also been hurt by the safeties not taking care of their responsibilities, are opening play of first Arizona game or second touchdown to Beckham on Monday night.

      1. Witherspoon has all the tools. He just needs to mature and understand what his assignment is in every call.
        I don’t think he knows this defenses intracies.
        As soon as someone teaches it to him right and he figures it out, I think he’ll be okay.

        Foster is just dumb. His game is erratic so whatever he’s doing now he’s got to change because it’s not working. Can’t be a Band-Aid.
        He needs to turn into a workout freak. Get his body right.

    2. One other thing people need to keep in mind in regards to Thomas is that his sister took her own due to depression. Losing an important person of your life can have varying levels of effect on your life, even your ability to work.

      1. Seeing that right now with people I work with and in the community of butte county with the tragedy of the camp fire words can wound so I appreciate you writing that MidWestDyansty.. I was one of the first persons on this blog to call him a bust. We trully think of these machines or footballs and it does not matter what we call them all the negativity and hate pointed his way can not be helping. I have had to be positive especially in my personal life this last week when I did not want to at times but meant everything to my coworkers and family. Must be positive in my sporting life. Hard to do with the York’s owing the team but once again that organization did so much for the Paradise High School Varsity Team. My nephew is still on cloud nine. Also for that guy that thought paradise high sufferedno damage, 600 wing burned down and the football field suffered significant damage. But I must react in a positive way boy am I a hypocrite at times!

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