Eric Mangini: “We try to give sameness and likeness every week.”

SANTA CLARA — This is the transcript of Eric Mangini’s Thursday press conference, courtesy of the 49ers’ P.R. department.

Opening comments:

“So, we are full-go on Green Bay. Obviously, another really, really good quarterback, another really, really good offense, very effective in running. What they do, and I’m sure you watched the game Monday night, he’s so effective with cadence, with his pre-snap reads in terms of evaluating what you’re in and getting them into a good play and his talent, not just to throw the ball, but his ability to create plays moving out of the pocket, pretty impressive too. So, got plenty of work to do.”


One of the teams that has played the Packers the best over the last few years is the 49ers. Do you go back and look at what you guys did in 2012, 2013 and take away anything from those games?

“Yeah, you look at those games and obviously, [49ers head coach] Jim [Tomsula] was here for those games. Talking to him and trying to go through it and it’s one of those things where you look at it from a scheme perspective and then you look at it from a personnel perspective and see where you can do the same things that were done before and where maybe it’s not going to work out quite the same way just because it’s different matchups. But, you do definitely try to draw on that and played Green Bay quite a few times over the course of time and then had [former NFL QB] Brett Favre with me in New York. So, had some feel for what they did there. Just to get his input on offense when he did come in.”


ME: You mentioned Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers’ pre-snap reads. Game planning against him, do you focus on disguises that confuse his pre-snap reads or pressure packages that stresses his protection?

“Well, you try to do both and we try to give sameness and likeness every week. [Former Baltimore Ravens head coach] Ted Marchibroda was a big believer in that when I worked with him in Baltimore. And, he was talking about it from an offensive perspective, the whole idea of the more things can look exactly like something else and guys have to make decisions after the snap, that’s the best-case scenario. When you get a quarterback that is as knowledgeable as he is, is as good at getting them into the right place as he is, it’s a problem if they know it early. And, we’ve always, I mean, I’ve always talked about it whether it’s [New England Patriots QB Tom] Brady or [Denver Broncos QB Peyton] Manning or [New Orleans Saints QB Drew] Brees, all the, the list goes on and on. But, those guys that have so much experience, if they know what you’re in, it’s going to the right place and every pass play has an answer to the different coverages. It’s your ability to make sure that he can’t get to that answer until he’s in his fifth step, then he’s got to see what it is.”


On the Cardinals, I think it was their last drive of the first quarter, there was two plays within a five-play sequence where Arizona Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald lined up in the slot, an outside linebacker was on him, gave him a bump and then kind of passed him off to maybe, no one was there. What happened, I mean, generally speaking on those plays,  and what was supposed to happen?

“Yeah, I don’t remember the one play and we were on base defense. So, Arizona does a lot of things early and I thought base had some good flexibility in terms of pressure package and coverage. But, there’s going to be some times, the one that stands out to me, is where Larry pushed in hard to the internal part of the coverage and then rolled back out. It’s a tough one, because you assume as a seam player, I don’t want to get into too much stuff, but as that outside player, when he pushes in like that you’re thinking he’s running across the field and then he bowed back out. I remember that one. The other one I don’t remember, but I think it was different coverages each time, so it wasn’t one specific thing. Sometimes it could have been cover-two, it could have been cover-four, split-safety stuff as opposed to post-safety stuff.”


Obviously, all defenses are complex, to learn some of this stuff on the fly. Is it safe to say there’s, at this, three games in there’s still a lot of thinking going on rather than just reacting?

“Well, there’s going to be thinking every week because the way that Arizona played was so different than the way that Pittsburgh played. More personnel groups, more personnel variation, different, so there’s always going to be that level. And then, Green Bay plays radically different than both Arizona and Pittsburgh plays. So, there’s going to always be the element of that. And, you’re trying to have enough in a package where you’ve got versatility, you can handle the problems that they create, you can attack the things that they do without getting too far across that line to where you’re reacting and adjusting. And, it’s a balancing act that you go through and this is really a learning process. I’ve said it before, you’re learning about the guys, guys are learning about me, guys getting in the system. It’s going to keep building.”


Did you evaluate the zone defense that you guys have been playing and what do you need to do to tighten that up?

“Well, it’s any zone, there’s multiple zones, so you go running down the line. Each one has different things that you have to do, and it’s everybody working together. It’s a function of not just the backend and the holes in the zone and the spots where you’re weak, but it’s the frontend too. Being able to generate enough pass rush, whether you bring four or five or three. And it’s those two things working together. And, getting back to the earlier point, it’s also not giving away which one you’re in because once they know, cover-three you’re going to throw certain things, cover-two you’re going to throw certain things. So, it’s post-snap and it’s the coordination of the front and the backend improving.”


Generally speaking, would you feel like your guys are getting beaten individually or do you think it’s more collective?

“Well, I don’t think it’s ever a function of one guy in any play. I mean, every now and then, a guy falls down or something like that. But, it’s collectively us getting better as a whole group, as opposed to, ‘OK, if we just fix this one thing we’re fine.’ And, you’re going to have variations. So, there’s different things that you’ve got to improve on in those different zones.”


ME: Your defense was in its base personnel package for more than 60-percent of the plays Week 3, according to Pro Football Focus. Was that the game plan going in? Why did you make that decision and looking back was that the right way to play it?

“Well, they really weren’t in much sub after the game got a little bit further along the road. So, I think that probably got skewed just because of the personnel group they were in. They were primarily in big people with an extra tight end or two extra tight ends, or 12-personnel with two tight ends. So, early in the game we had some base. Then we moved to more of a substituted package. But, that’s been varied each week.”


Is it really possible to disrupt an offense like Green Bay’s? Is it really possible to do that or do you have to take a different path?

“They’re very efficient. He’s very efficient. And, even, it’s one of those unique things because even when you disrupt Aaron Rodgers, the plays that he can make outside the pocket, it’s different than some other guys. So, when you do disrupt him, you need to disrupt him in a certain pattern to get the lowest probability of him then taking a broken play and turning it into a big play. And, what I really respect about him is, you saw it, where he catches you with 12 guys on the field or he quick counts you and then he comes back and he hard counts you. There’s an inherent discipline that has to go into whatever you play, because, looking through the list, I don’t know how many plus-20, plus-30, plus-40, plus-50 yard plays he has when guys jump offsides and he just gets a free play. He had a 52-yard pass interference. He had another touchdown to another. You get in those situations where you think the official is going to call it and he doesn’t. And, for us, eliminating self-inflicted wounds, that’s always going to be priority number one, whether it’s cadence, whether it’s missed tackles or any of those things that are under our control, that’s a starting point.”


You mentioned it being, the problems need to be solved collectively in the pass rush. What’s your stance on how the pass rush has played and what do you guys need to do to get Rodgers off his spot at a better rate than you have the last two weeks?

“I don’t think there’s one thing that you can do throughout the course of the game with Aaron to get him. Stuff in the first quarter is probably not going to be as effective in the second half after he’s seen it. So, you have to have a couple different pitches there. With the pass rush in general, it’s a balancing act. You’ve got four and you’re ability to get there with four. And then, if you want to bring five and zone blitz, or something like that. Then you do have some voids in the zone. And then, if you want to bring six and max pressure, you’ve got the pluses and minuses with that because if you miss a tackle or hit a screen, there’s some weakness there. So, I would say the pattern is still the same of it can’t always be four, can’t always be, it’s got to be those things mixed in. And, whatever you’re doing, you’ve got to do it better than you did it the week before.”


How would you evaluate what DL Arik Armstead’s done, particularly last week, and do you feel like his play has warranted a continued increased role?

“Yeah, I was excited for Arik getting his first sack and really [CB] Ken [Acker] getting his first interception. Those are big moments for guys in the NFL. In terms of Arik’s role increasing or decreasing, we’ve got him a fairly good volume of plays here for a young guy and we’ve got some depth in the defensive line, so you want to make sure all those guys can play and you’ve got freshness through the four quarters. But, his role each week could be a little bit different. It could be 20 this week and 30 next week or vice versa. Some of it depends on how much his, again, say in a substituted defense versus something else. Because, those guys have strengths that you play to and bigger groups versus smaller groups.”


During the game on Sunday, LB NaVorro Bowman looked pretty frustrated, a lot of kind of this. I don’t know if it’s frustration or a what’s going on here type of thing. Obviously, he’s very competitive. No one is thrilled about losing like that. But, have you talked to him and got a sense of kind of where he is?

“Well, he wasn’t alone in his frustration. Everybody was frustrated. When you get into a situation like that, nobody wants to be in that situation. Nobody works hard all week to be in that situation. Nobody expects to be in that situation. And, the frustration, the value in frustration is what you do with it. The value in frustration is how do you respond to it? How do you channel it? What do you do the next week to make sure the things that happened the previous week don’t happen again? And, that’s where the energy needs to go. So, whenever you get into that situation, I’ve talked to guys, not just Bo, but throughout my career and had those conversations. What do you do? What do you do about it? If you don’t like what’s happening, how do you, start with yourself. What things can you fix? And then, how do you become as positive an influence as you possibly can on the group. And, from leadership, what you’re always looking for is it’s easy to lead in those moments where everybody is high-fiving you and giving you lots of love. Leaders come, leaders are really revealed in those toughest moments, in the darkest moments when you’re not getting any of those things that you work so hard for. That’s where true leadership comes up. And, those are conversations that you have with guys, not just like Bo, but everybody because it applies to all of us. We’re tested in the dark times. It’s easy to do anything when things are going well.”


ME: CB Tramaine Brock seems a little slower than a couple years ago. Is he completely healthy?

“Yeah, Tramaine’s healthy. I mean, I don’t necessarily see that same thing and I haven’t timed him in the 40 but–.


ME: How would you evaluate how he’s played so far this year, Tramaine?

“I think he’s done some really good things. What I’ve liked about Tramaine is he’s worked in the slot, which is totally new for him and he’s done, I think he’s done well in there and he’s really worked it, at working in there as well. It’s not an easy, it’s like being a slot receiver. The world is totally different because of all the stuff that comes at you. So, I’ve enjoyed it. I’ve enjoyed working with him and I think he’ll keep getting better as we go as well.”

This article has 147 Comments

  1. I can’t see Mangini lasting the year if he keeps giving up 40 burgers. Vegas has the Pack favoured by 10. It’s only Thursday!

    1. Kap gave up 14 this time so only 26 on the defense this past game. Otherwise you’re correct on Mangini

    2. Would be stunned if we lost by less than 14

      But stranger things have happened! Just hope it’s respectable…can we be done with the CK experiment?

    1. DrawPlayDave is a close friend of mine and we watch football together at a bar here in Oregon every Sunday. He’s been sitting at a table of Niner fans for the last 4-5 years and believe it or not we all became friends during the 2011 NFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME and needless to say he is THE biggest Kyle Williams fan in the world. Anyway he hears weekly about our disgust with JED and he reads my weekly tweets to JED to gather material and just pure entertainment. The fact that JEDs intern or whoever reads his tweets hasn’t blocked me is astonishing. His comic is brilliant. DRAWPLAYDAVE.

      1. Love Dave’s work, first saw it on, and then discovered his website.
        I know he is a NYG fan, so I always wondered how/why he covered the Niners quite a bit….your comment explains it.
        The Mic Rula is epic.

  2. “Well, they really weren’t in much sub after the game got a little bit further along the road. So, I think that probably got skewed just because of the personnel group they were in. They were primarily in big people with an extra tight end or two extra tight ends, or 12-personnel with two tight ends. So, early in the game we had some base. Then we moved to more of a substituted package. But, that’s been varied each week.”
    I love this answer if for no other reason then it shows that he’s no dummy. His schemes might suck or maybe his players do but he’s a smart guy that does understand the game and is able to watch film and retain what he saw. The last part goes a long way in this league.

    I also want to point out that it’s clear that Eric is a reader of the board as it was I that suggested (half jokingly) that since the team appeared to get better pressure with it’s base unit that maybe they should use that on passing downs as well. Glad to see you’re a fan of my material Eric, Grant’s stealing it all the time too. However one must also point out, unfortunately not jokingly, that that idea was pure garbage in execution.

  3. “We try to give sameness and likeness every week.”
    Thanks, Eric, good to know.

    Defensive Passer Rating, 49ers
    2014 Season: 79.5

    Through three games this season: 111.6
    Rank 30.

    1. After they replaced Harbaugh with Tomsula, I speculated that the risk this season was that the defense would have a tough time repeating last year’s I also surmised that the offense could go nowhere but up. Boy, we have gotten hit with both barrels and, to be honest, I have stayed away from this blog because it’s painful to think about anything related to the Niners.

      1. George,
        I agree, it is painful right now…..whether one was in agreement with the Harbaugh parting or not, once the season starts, most fans hope for the best for the team.

        To be fair to Mangini, Tomsula, and the rest of the coaches on defense, it is still early in the season, and they could still turn things around.

        But, if the Niners want to be a ball control team, they better figure out soon how to defend the pass or opposing teams will score early and often…..we know this team is simply not built to compete in a shoot out on a weekly basis.

  4. This conference was a waste of time. Mangini should have just come out and said, “Even though my schemes have been absolutely decimated in the past two games, I plan on using those same schemes against the Aaron Rodgers and the Packers offense and hoping for the best”, and then walked away from the podium.

    1. He could have added the next game against the Giant without much chance that he wouldn’t do it again.

    1. GB will crowd the box and dare the Niners to throw, so the Niners should line up in 4 receiver sets to spread them out, then gash them up the middle.
      They should go wide, and have 1 receiver go in motion for a reverse, but sometimes fake the reverse when the defense reacts to the reverse.
      The receiver in motion could also set up a flea flicker, and maybe even have Hayne in there to do a lateral or receive a lateral.
      Niners should try a long pass on their first drive just to show that Kaep is not reticent to throw the ball downfield, and stretch the defense.

      1. They won’t do it Seb. Remember they’re not a drop back team right from JT’s mouth. This coaching staff and personnel grouping is designed to run the ball and control the clock. Opposing teams have figured out Kap’s kryptonite. Crowd the box and take away the run and throws to the center and give him throws to the outside.

        Until he starts making throws outside the numbers the defense has a lot of bravado or if GB can’t stop the run. I think teams are willing to go with this game plan and risk him beating them on the outside. Also going 4 wide doesn’t allow for an extra blocker to help our weak line.

        1. I am thinking bubble screens, quick slants and reverses to take advantage of the crowded box. If the Niners assume that they need extra blockers, they will have lost without running a play.
          I want the Niners to go all out. I want them to play Niner Football. They may lose this game, but if they fight hard, and really try hard, I can keep on cheering for them. If they give up, look frustrated and hang their heads, then wholesale changes need to be made.
          The Niners should read IF, by Rudyard Kipling, and act accordingly. They should never ever show that they are being rattled. They should keep cool, and stop wearing their emotions on their sleeves. Kaep should never let them see him sweat. He should channel Joe Montana to act like a champion.
          Coach Tomsula should study Bill Walsh and try to emulate his side line demeanor.

          1. Both bubble screens, reverses and quick slants with 8-9 in the box will have a lower success rate. Too many guys around the line of scrimmage to do much. Those all work better when you have the safeties out of the box.

            They do need to hit some passes downfield. I think they have to go to the center of the field and let players like Smith or one of the TE’s beat their man on a seam throw. If Kap’s best at throwing between the numbers let him do it. The last two games the play action hasn’t worked because the run game has been stifled. I think like I have been saying for a while reading and studying other books and coaches won’t help this group. They are over matched in every way as a coaching group. Players take their cues from their leaders and coaches. If the players are lost and confused, that’s on the coaches. Acting like a champion only works if you can play like one. I will root for them all season even if they lose every game. The coaching staff has to come up with some other looks or even a better job of exposing the other teams weaknesses.

            1. If they spread them wide with 4 receivers, it will hard to keep a crowded box, or some one will be open.
              I too am dismayed, but I love the Niners and will root for them. That said, I will also criticize them until they start playing better.
              GO NINERS !!!!!!

              1. I do hope they try some different looks. Even running from the spread. They have a formula that this team is built around and they don’t seem to know what to do since its not working. Unless Kap can play like he did the second half of the Steelers game its going to be tough sledding for us without legit passing threat.

  5. Its only 3 games, so who knows how his career will pan out, but even so this article touches on something I strongly agree with. Many young players are asked to start too early (in particular QBs), well before they are ready. And it can stunt their development, to the point they end up out of the league despite having talent to work with.

    1. Kaep could learn from him. TT wore a 3 piece suit when he could just have worn business casual. I would like Kaep to ditch the headphones and wear a nice outfit when standing to do his interviews, because he is the face of the franchise, and he should show that he wants to be a leader. True leaders act like leaders, and dressing nicely means he wants to give a good impression.

        1. Yeah, I suppose we all have an MO in our posts. Seb’s MO is if Kap would just study the greats, read the art of war and Kipling, dress like Taylor he’d be a better QB. Its the lipstick on a pig fix. A suit’s not going to change his inability to throw outside the numbers.

          Anyone think besides Fan77 that Kap will have two pick 6’s this week?

          1. I doubt it. But if he does, his career is basically over. See Schaub, Matt or Delhomme, Jake.

    2. It’s easier to let a young QB sit if he was picked in a later round or if you have a strong starter already in place. The problem is most teams picking QB’s in the first round don’t have any other alternative but to start the rookie. That’s why I don’t agree with the notion of dumping Kap just to turn the page and start over. Draft a young QB, let him compete, and if necessary sit for a year. Don’t force your hand by having to start him because you don’t have any other option.

      1. The biggest problem I see with your analysis is you think the problem is isolated to QB play. The scheme in SF is terrible. Joe Montana in his prime would struggle and you think sitting a rookie to watch the same bad scheme would be helpful?

      2. Yeah, but I often feel its a mistake to be throwing these young guys to the lions. Even if talent dictates they are the best on the roster, every young player has a learning curve, and being thrown in too early can be a serious detriment to their development. To me, any team that drafts a QB and starts them immediately is playing with fire, and hasn’t done a sufficient job finding a stop-gap solution.

        As the article says, its becoming more important as most college QBs are running vastly different offenses to what they are asked to do in the NFL.

        With Kaep, he was lucky that he got a year and a half behind Alex before starting, but you still have to wonder if he could have done with more time being groomed. It sure didn’t hurt Aaron Rodgers, who didn’t start until his fourth season.

        I agree that if they go the direction of looking for a new QB they shouldn’t necessarily dump Kaep. But my preferred option would be to make a clean break, and make sure they sign a QB that fill the starting role for a while as the rookie learns. I’ve suggested Mike Glennon might be a decent stop-gap previously.

    3. That’s a good article, Scooter. It reminds of this ESPN blog post from 4 years ago where Aaron Rodgers talked about the value of being able to sit behind Favre and not only learn the game and mature mentally, but also grow physically. He wished Luck would have the same luxury, but he didn’t.

      As the college game shifted to dual-threat QBs, conventional wisdom has been that the NFL would also adjust to accommodate these QBs and let them thrive. But that’s not been possible because more athletic front 7s of NFL defenses have restricted QB runs and forced them to remain in the pocket. However, these QBs have never had the time nor the necessary coaching in the league to substantially improve their pocket passing game.

      The solution may be to bring back the concept of developing a young QB for 3 years, especially coaching them up during the regular season, even if it means higher a dedicated coach for the backup QB.

      1. I hope that is something that happens more often, Mood. It takes patience from the front office, coaching staff and importantly the fan base. Sadly patience from all three groups is often in short supply.

        I should say that I think this extends beyond just QBs too. I think young guys at other positions would also often be better off being groomed for the position rather than being thrown right in. It is why I get frustrated when I see fan posts complaining about the lack of impact rookies are making. Ideal world they should be making next to no impact as they are allowed to learn the ropes. And if they do take a little time to develop, so be it.

        1. Ironically, it seems to me that the only position with the Niners where players have had some opportunity to develop players over a couple of years has been Tomsula’s defensive line. Tomsula no doubt is a good teacher.

          However, while teaching ability maybe the primary characteristic of a successful position coach, Tomsula may not posses the strategic and tactical (game planning and in-game) skills that are very important for a HC (along with the much-publicized lack of communication skills, at least with those outside the locker room).

          1. One could make the case that teaching is also one of the skills that a HC needs to possess to be successful in the NFL, examples of this being Belichick and Carroll.

            Tomsula may well be good at the strategy and tactics of game planning and game management, we just don’t know, yet.
            The issue with the Tomsula hire, at least for me, is that it was reported as far
            back as Feb 2014 that he would be the one to replace Harbaugh. Seemingly, Tomsula was simply being rewarded for his service to the organization.
            Also, it is one thing to follow a franchise builder and to keep the ship steered in the same direction, it is altogether a different matter to be one of the principals tasked with a rebuild.

  6. I just wanted to toss out this excerpt from re Alice Smith. I have read so posts saying wish Alex was back. Truth is, Alice is just as bad as Kaep, maybe worse:

    “The box score will show that Alex Smith connected with Jeremy Maclin for the Chiefs’ first touchdown by a wide receiver since Week 14 of the 2013 season, ending the most infamous drought in football. The final numbers betray Kansas City’s offensive ineptitude. With 10 days to prepare, Smith didn’t complete a pass to a wideout until late in the third quarter with his team already down 31-7. From halftime of Week 1 until that five-yard touchdown to Maclin, 22 of Smith’s previous 27 possessions had resulted in a punt, turnover or end of the half.

    Quarterbacks are ultimately judged by their performance on third downs and two-minute drills. Smith’s penchant for throwing short of the sticks in key situations has informed a new metric dubbed “ALEX” by Scott Kazmar of Football Outsiders. His unwillingness to attack downfield has contributed to the Chiefs’ incredible ignominy of 62 consecutive games without a two-minute drill touchdown, as the Monday Night Football crew highlighted.

    Kansas City’s offensive line shoulders its share of the blame for the Chiefs’ offensive struggles prior to garbage time, but Smith’s utter lack of aggressiveness and Andy Reid’s conservative play calling simply don’t add up to a winning formula in big game.”

  7. If the 2011 draft were to be “re-picked”, this article has CK selected #15 instead of his original draft slot of #36.


    1. If the 2011 draft were re-picked, both JJ Watt and Justin Houston would go higher than Aldon Smith … Baalke is no genius.

      1. In hindsight, you are right. Aldon Smith clearly benefited from J. Smith. As J Smith declined, so did Aldon’s numbers (and judgement). Right now, he appears no better than average for the Raiders. Keep in mind, he is playing at an average level with Khalil Mack on the other side forcing double teams.

        I have been saying for weeks, if you look at Baalke’s drafts since 2011, average to poor at best. Only two players have either had a major impact or made Pro Bowl, Aldon and Eric Reid (who appears to be declining year to year). If this season continues, Baalke, Tomsula and Kaepernick must go. We will be officially in re-building mode and need to start with young QB (Goff or Hackenberg). Goff could play day 1, Hackenberg will take time (inconsistent accuracy and decision making, but shows flashes of brilliance on some of his throws).

        1. The 49ers drafted DL, Armstead in Rd # 1. That demonstrated their mindset…Play tough defense, conservatively on offense (Remember Baalke at Tomsula’s presser: “We’re going to run the ball.”) Don’t turn the ball over

          Hoping to win game 20-6 with Mangenius that plan was derailed. Everyone knows the rest of the story, unfolding before us now.

          1. Baalke has no big picture view for building the team. He looks strictly at the value of every pick. You cannot do that and fill holes with the talent level required at each position. One of the 49ers most successful drafts was taking Davis and Iupati in top 20. Similar Dallas, they focused on a glaring weakness and made it a strength almost immediately. Were their players higher rated at different positions over one of those players. Almost definitely, but it was are most glaring weakness. In 4 years, he has effectively ignored the WR and CB positions, thinking we could strike gold in later rounds (like Seattle). That’s not realistic. Eventually, you have to get a blue chipper at the skill positions. What’s the point of having 13 picks when all you draft are average players, instead of targeting game-changers in the first round. It’s just so backward from what other teams do. Here are his 1st round picks: A Smith, Jenkins, Reid, Ward, Armstead. Two are gone, and all but maybe Armstead are considered average now. Terrible.

            1. I would love GC to do an article dissecting how bad our drafts have really been over the past 5 years. It’s not good.

      2. I’m not defending Baalke, but Aldon Smith didn’t really have any red flags on his character off the field coming out of Missouri.

        1. No he didn’t but he also has not been an elite player since 2012. Since then, he has had 8, 2 and 0 sacks (the last being so far this year). I know he has had the suspensions, but after his return, he’s done little. This year will truly define where he is as a player.

          1. ??? Tom Watt is still an elite player in the league with an outstanding reputation, not sure what your point is.

    2. CK is judged by many as still a top 15 QB, but when you consider how inconsistent QB’s are outside of maybe top 7 or 8, being a top 15 QB isn’t saying much. College simply is not preparing QB’s to be successful at the next level. This is the main reason NFL is looking to put together a spring league (minor league system). Their product is suffering. When you look at the list of top 10 QB’s, almost all are at or well-above 30. Tom Brady should not be playing this well at 38. Same with Manning. Hell, half the kids coming to the NFL have never even broken a huddle. They are basically learning the position once they get to the NFL.

      This is the same issue for offensive linemen. They are starting in middle school learning a two point stance, which is more akin to playing basketball than football. Just nuts.

      1. Balke’s mindset is what he is…We’re all products of our environments…Baalke’s environment is Bemidgji, NDakiota State (I was a UC Davis D11 fan, and witnessed Baalke’s coaching during these matchups having lived in Sacramento, CA…Those ND State teams might pass 5 times per game…Then Baalke moved on to Bill Parcells NY Giants, another run first, play tough defense with good linebackers (Lawrence Taylor, Harry Carsons, Garry Reasons, and Pepper Johnson…The GM for those Giants had Phil Simms, a better QB than Kap…Baalke is more conservative here and it’s cost him.

        1. Wison,

          Watt was drafted #11, Smith at # 7 in ’11. Watt is universally recognized as the superior player to Smith.

          1. Yes I know both those things about Watt and posted them in my question to you, just not understanding how Watt not having any character issues relates with the thread. There were so many other choices like Quin, Watt, and Kerrigan in that draft that would still be on the team at this point and have really good to elite production. I don’t fault TB too much. Its easy for us now to look back and criticize. The choices of coach and talent selection will be very evident this season. It could take a while to fix this team.

            1. Wilson,

              I agree that it will take a long time to fix. And even longer if Jed gets improper advise…He needs to consult his uncle, ASAP,

              1. It feels to me like Jed isn’t taking any football advise outside his own staff. He has pointedly refused to bring in a top level football guy. I don’t think he wants to hear anything from his uncle either.

        2. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with run first teams or philosophies. I think in fact from a sustainable perspective run first teams with strong defenses do pretty well. Now on the other end of the spectrum teams that are pass first spend all their money on a QB, WR’s and some other high commodity positions. They do well but often fall short on the defensive side of the ball.

          In our current system our o line doesn’t seem to be capable of zone blocking effectively. Their even worse at pass blocking. Our new talent can’t crack the line up and our QB is inconsistent and can’t take the pressure of the run game. The scheme is fine, the talent and coaches are weak.

            1. Not sure I catch what you’re asking. I was thinking of teams like Manning’s or Luck’s Colts. The Falcons with Ryan. Detroit with Stafford. Cutler’s another great example. The Patriots seem to be able to win with what ever kind of talent they field. Belliceck seems to be able to scheme to put his teams in position to win at will.

              1. And the Patriots do it without a power run first offense, and without a dominating defense.

    1. That entry from LC pretty much sums it up. We have to let it play out but it doesn’t look too good right now.

      If anyone hasn’t read and watched the article by Jake Plummer on, I recommend doing so. He does a nice job of breaking down the mistakes made and most were simply Kap being lazy in his drop backs, while throwing off his back foot. A really poor game mechanically as well as mentally for him. We all knew this already obviously but it’s interesting to see it analyzed by another QB.

        1. Definitely some similarities Wilson, although Plummer was more advanced as a pro style QB coming out of College than Kap was.

          1. I browsed some of the archived forum posts on Plummer. Very similar to what’s going on here. They simplified his playbook, he had to try and measure up to HOF QB, he forced throws and INT’s, he didn’t see the field, he scrambled too early, held the ball and took sacks. All with flashes of brilliance that were enticing for the fan base. People hated him and loved him. Then they got Culter, Josh McDaniels, Marshall, traded Culter and Marshall. Picked up Orton and Tebow. Fired the FO staff, hired Elway. Pretty interesting to read.

          1. What really puzzles me is that the first 3 years of Harbaugh’s run here, the Niners finished 11th in points and increased their scoring every year. Then last year they plummeted to 25th and their points per game dropped from 25 to 19.

            The first 3 years they ran the ground and pound/playaction game, and last year started to run more multiple WR sets and went away from playaction. I don’t think that’s the only reason for the drop but it is a big factor I would think. The other problem is the Oline. Last year they played without Davis for most of the season and also lost Kilgore, and the pass protection suffered. This year we are seeing even worse pass protection and the passing game was a disaster last week. I don’t think there is any coincidence here. The Oline play has progressively gotten worse and the points scored have declined. That isn’t to say Kap doesn’t share in the blame with poor play like last week, but there really seems to be a steep drop that correlates with the Olines decline.

            The running game remained consistent and was top 5 the last 3 years, so it comes down to pass protection, scheme and poor QB play. I don’t think a run oriented offense with playaction is the problem. It worked very well for the first 3 years of Harbaugh’s time. The problems really began when they reduced playaction, went to multiple receiver sets and the pass protection didn’t hold up. This year the problem seems to be Kap is reacting even more to the pressure being given up by the Oline and is breaking down in his mechanics. It wasn’t too bad in the first two games, but against AZ he just seemed panicked and ultimately demoralized. I really think they need to go back and focus on what the formula was for the first 3 years of Harbaugh’s time here. I think that was their intention but they got away from it against AZ. Tomsula was right: this is not a drop back and throw it around the field passing game, but they can do more than they are and have to get back to what they do best. It would also help to get Kap some easy completions to try and get a rhythm going.

            1. All good points Rocket, I have nothing. Its mystifying. It could just be as simple as age and injury catching up to the team. The o line was the anchor as was the d line. Willis and Reid don’t look nearly as good without their pro bowl teammates on the field. Same goes for Kap and V Davis.

              If Kap’s percentages over the middle are 71% why not play a bunch of short and medium routes there. Certainly they should be able to get mismatches with Smith, Ellington, Boldin, Davis where he can make throws that he’s confident in.

              1. Hard to be a run-first team and have a defense completely fall apart in the first half like the last two games. Puts the offense in a rush mode to keep up, and with this offense, rushed isn’t going to work.

              2. I think you forget that the reason the defense was in the hole was the two pick 6s to start the game. The first pass was on a 3rd and 10. You’re going to have to pass at some point in this league. People who think Gabbert isn’t the answer. He probably isn’t, but if Kaep doesn’t improve in the Packers game, at least he can give us a break for remedial QB play.

              3. “If Kap’s percentages over the middle are 71% why not play a bunch of short and medium routes there.”
                This is the part I too don’t understand. Maybe some of the smart football folks here may want to comment.

              4. And yet Mood, following along the lines of the other thread about giving guys time to sit and learn, I wonder if being given the time to be the back-up will have a positive impact on Gabbert’s career?

                Of course it could be his time with the Jags has permanently ruined him. In fact that is what often happens with young QBs that fail after being thrown in early – too much mental scarring. But Alex Smith went through something similar and came out the other side as a serviceable (if unspectacular) starting QB.

                There is also the high probability that Gabbert starting behind the 49ers porous OL would instantly undo any benefits his time as the back-up has had to his confidence and decision-making and have him reverting to Jags Gabbert lickity-split.

              5. Scooter,
                Your point on Gabbert is well taken. Maybe he’s now seeing things at NFL speed which clearly he didn’t do in his first years at Jacksonville. Maybe he may yet develop into an Alex Smith. However, he’s not sat behind a HoF like Favre or even a Flacco (a la Tyrod), and I’m not sure he’s had sufficiently good QB coaching of late.

    2. This LC article is pretty bogus — just a generic Kawakamish pile on.

      If Jed is to be skewered for Singletary and Tomsula, he should also be credited for bringing in Harbaugh in the first place. And the way it ended for Harbaugh and York is how things have ended with Harbaugh and his previous 2-3 employers — “mutual parting”. For all his faults, Jed will also get the credit for get the stadium built with minimal public funding.

      The problem is Jed has been arrogant, and that arrogance has led to poor decisions — e.g., giving excessive powers of football decision to Baalke by not having other football minds around Baalke that questions and complements his decisions, especially on offense. It seems to me that Baalke has not grown in his football vision much beyond Parcells, and seems to have no clear offensive philosophy that recognizes the importance of the passing game in a league that has tweaked the rules to aid passing.

      The only thing that I agree with LC is that this thing will have to play itself out — and LC is one of a dozen other columnists who have made that same observation.

      1. What do you think is bogus? He did hire Harbaugh and should get credit for that. He also ran JH out of town and should get credit for that too. He hired incompetents before and after JH. He said it himself, “hold me accountable.” He could have hired a more competent coach with the ability to work with Kap rather than trust all his development to outside sources. Yeah the new stadium is nice, but the team sucks.

        1. That Harbaugh hiring looks like a fluke at this point. Jed doesn’t understand that what he needs is exactly what he doesn’t want. A head coach with a strong philosophy, that can be the face of his franchise.

        2. It’s bogus because he unequivocally blames York for every negative event to happen to the 49ers since (I suppose) the NFCCG at Seattle. He blames Aldon Smith’s problems and Anthony Davis’ problems on Jed via Baalke (bottom of first page).

          1. The last sentence should read: “He even blames Aldon Smith’s problems and Anthony Davis’ retirement on Jed via Baalke (bottom of first page).”

      2. Mood,

        I have to disagree with you on some points here:

        Jed promoted Baalke to GM and said at the time he was the one who would hire the HC. While Jed was involved I would imagine, it was ultimately Baalke who made the decision to hire Harbaugh. In contrast, Singletary was his call. He made the decision at the end of the season when Singletary had taken over from Nolan, and he made it in the locker room after the final game. Big difference in how the two HC’s were hired here.

        I also disagree that how it ended with Harbaugh here is the same as it was in his previous stops. When he left Stanford and before that the U of SD, it was his decision and he left for a better job. Neither school wanted him to leave. There were rumors that he was upsetting some of the admin at Stanford, but they tried to keep him when he was mulling over moving on to the NFL. That differs greatly to the Niner situation where he was fired by Jed because Jed had grown tired of dealing with him and didn’t agree with his Coaching philosophy. There was no mutual parting in any of these instances. The first two were Harbaugh’s choice and the last was Jed’s.

        I agree that Baalke could be a big part of the problem, but ultimately it starts with Jed because he’s the one who gave Baalke the position and power and he personally orchestrated Harbaugh’s removal as HC and ultimately helped destroy a season in the process.

        1. “While Jed was involved I would imagine, it was ultimately Baalke who made the decision to hire Harbaugh.”
          That’s absolutely correct. Baalke courted Harbaugh for over a year. My point was if LC is going to blame York for every negative event that that happened to the Niners, he should also get credit for things that went right because of decisions of people working for him.
          Of course the Singletary hire was a mistake which York, I believe, admitted at some point in an interview. With Tomsula he seems to have made a second mistake.

      3. “… how things have ended with Harbaugh and his previous 2-3 employers …”

        Mood, my impression of you is better than that bogus thoughtless scapegoat comment about Jim Harbaugh’s previous employers.

        As a player his career spanned the 1987 season through the 2001 season.

        During his final eight seasons in the NFL (1994–2001), Harbaugh was an NCAA-certified unpaid assistant coach under his father Jack Harbaugh at Western Kentucky University (WKU).

        Harbaugh was quarterback coach for the Oakland Raiders in 2002 and 2003 under Bill Callahan.[4] During his tenure with the Raiders, Harbaugh coached starting quarterback Rich Gannon.

        Prior to the 2004 season, Harbaugh was named head football coach at the University of San Diego. In his first year, he directed the Toreros to an overall mark of 7–4, including 5 straight wins to end the season. The following year, the team improved to 11–1 and won the 2005 Pioneer Football League championship. In 2006, USD again went 11–1 winning their second consecutive Pioneer League title in the process. Harbaugh is widely considered the greatest coach in the history of the University. The University of San Diego is a non athletic scholarship school, and they never expected Harbaugh to stay there lone. Their only negative comments that I’ve read involve Harbaugh constantly lobbying for more resources for his football program.

        Stanford University (2007–2010) where he probably ruffled some fearful alumni feathers for claiming that Carroll was on his way out at USC. Of course that’s also the year that Stanford pulled off the greatest upset in football by defeating the 41 point favorites USC on their home field. Again Harbaugh constantly lobbyed for more resources for his program. Stanford offered him more money to stay, but he came to the 49ers.

        49ers (2011-2013) where he was effectively fired in February 2014 for failing to deliver a Superbowl win in three tries.

        49ers (2014) Lame Duck season while Jed lined up his rumor mill to lay the ground for a mutual parting.

        1. “Mutual parting” was a wrong choice of phrase on my part. I wrote in a hurry when I meant to say something to the effect that after he left both USD and Stanford, the two universities were grateful for his work but did not miss him after he left (I’m paraphrasing reports I read).

          I am huge fan of Harbaugh and have followed him closely for 8 years. I don’t need to be reminded of all the great things he did for the Stanford program. I wish he had stayed at Stanford. But that would not happen — he increasingly alienated people around him. It’s OK to alienate players in college since they move on after 4-5 years — Doug Baldwin and Sherman pretty much hated him by the time they graduated from Stanford. But it’s more difficult when one slights co-workers and alum on a steady basis. But that’s just Harbaugh being Harbaugh. Shaw, as yet, is not even half the coach that Harbaugh was, but he might be able to keep the program going at a top-20 level for a couple of decades.

          Again, Harbaugh is a great coach — but with shelf life. It p*ssed me off to no end that he and York could not patch it up and make it work. However, only when he spends a decade or more building an sustaining a NFL franchise will I put 100% blame on York for the rupture.

          Once I see him

          1. Do you remember the state Bill Walsh was in after coaching for Jed’s uncle for ten years?

            Doug Baldwin and Sherman came away from Stanford believing that Jim Harbaugh denigrated them to NFL scouts. Baalke has no record worth speaking about of picking people who played for Harbaugh at Stanford. It’s possible that they blamed the wrong guy. In any case, I blame the “great talent finder” Baalke for not drafting either one of them.

            1. There are many SuperBowl winning coaches in the modern era who have been coaching for almost a decade or more with the same team such as Coughlin, Tomlin, McCarthy, Bellichick, Payton — not to mention non-Lombardi winners like Lewis and Fisher. I think one important reason Walsh got burnt out was holding both GM and HC positions, not to mention keeping up the ego battle with Eddie. Lucky for Niners that there was McVay.

              Baldwin and Sherman have had problems with Harbaugh much earlier than the draft. The stuff I have heard is all hearsay from people with connections within the program who commented on fan boards, and so I cannot vouch for their veracity. However, Sherman had attention problems and got into Harbaugh’s doghouse as a receiver and almost gave up football. He called his HS coach at Compton who encouraged him to hang in there. In his junior year, the Cardinal were short of corners and he jumped at the chance to play defense which meant less interaction with Harbaugh. Baldwin, too, felt that Harbaugh played favorites with receivers and that he was being snubbed, and his growth as a player was stunted.

              1. Mood:

                Baldwin and Sherman are on record saying they “survived ” Harbaugh. Sherman is on record for saying his low draft pick was due to Harbaugh. Harbaugh tried to make Sherm a WR but as we all know that wasn’t his forte. But one of the reasons he’s such an outstanding CB is b/c he knows the route tree.

                Harbaugh took over the 49ers in 2011 and wanted Luck as his QB. Whether he would have fallen in the draft, I don’t know. Luck was eligible to enter the draft that year but chose to stay at Stanford another year to get his degree in architectural design. Smart guy — will he ever be an architect — doubtful and avoiding conflict with Harbaugh is sometimes better for your health. Point is did he want to come to the 49ers and be with Harbaugh indefinitely, no!

                I read later that Luck and Kaepernick were both attending someone’s passing camp (maybe Peyton’s) and Harbaugh asked Luck to check Kaepernick out. I think they roomed together. Luck simply said he seemed like a nice guy and knew what he was doing.

  8. Well that’s perfectly stated. Its also a little depressing since we’re not sure Jed can right the ship and get himself out of the way.

      1. Dr, York wants nothing to do with Eddy, which means it could take longer for Jed to get advice that could repair the team quicker

        1. You should try to put your responses in more appropriate places Tom. Your reply here is a complete non sequitur.

        2. The only way to repair this team is through knowledge. Knowledge of the NFL is power.

          Mike Shannahan’s son is OC for Atlanta; John Gruden’s son, Jay, is OC for Washington. Andy Reid is Head Coach for KC….
          The point is, the above are West Coast Offense guys. This offense still works.
          Hire M. Shannahan and M Holmgren as consultants/Gm to the team owner…They can evaluate the 49ers for the year before next year’s draft, hire a bright young offensive minded head coach, and in general, use their NFL connections to hire others.

              1. TomD,

                Son, how old did you think John Gruden when he and his wife “had” their “son” Jay? Three? You really are too much. You just refuse to let facts stand in the way of a half baked idea, don’t you?

    1. I saw that Grimey and it’s ridiculous. These guys have to be pass rushers to be effective and Brooks should never be in a situation where he’s having to cover a WR. Just a really poor scheme fit right now.

      1. It’s so obvious too. I don’t know how they actually thought this scheme would ever work.

        Keep it Simple Stupid.

      2. Latest Niners Nation podcast went deep into that.

        They also noted Mangini’s pre-snap shifting might have fooled Terry Bradshaw, but wasn’t fooling any (good) modern day quarterbacks. They said Fangio’s post snap changes in coverage were far more effective.

        1. Yeah, the pattern match zone Fangio ran is a pretty interesting concept, that achieves the “likeness or sameness” that Mangini is looking for, without risks inherent in Mangini’s system.

          1. Yes, “Pattern Match Zone” was what they talked about.

            I also think if they showed some under fronts vs first and ten, Dial would cause more pocket disruption if they play turned out to be a pass.

            I admit I’m armchair coaching, but the last time the 49ers gave up so many points in back-to-back games was 1980. Remember the open tryouts for defensive backs?

            This defense we have now has to have better talent.

    2. It explains a ton on why we are getting beat on certain throws and why there are so few sacks.

            1. As Grant Cohn starts his question about quarterbacks, Tomsula rips one that would’ve caused the late Rodney Dangerfield to ask if somebody stepped on a duck.

  9. Jim Tomsula looks like the mechanic you take your car to, and you have to keep going back because he’s found more problems.

    1. Actually Tomsula would rebuild a clutch but use some of the old parts even though new ones would be cheaper in the not very long run. Of course Tomsula would then need to rebuild the clutch again, maybe on his own dime. That’s from personal experience, only the mechanic was German not Italian, and I stopped going to him after I caught on. In Tomsula’s case, his two customers are happy with his approach.

  10. Did you see this? We’re so bad people won’t even take the historical stats on us.

    I think the Packers win, and likely cover the 8.5-point spread. History has actually favored heavy home underdogs, with home dogs of 7+ points 154-94 against the spread since 1999. I think this 49ers team has enough problems that I am inclined to throw out historical stats. The offensive line has struggled the last two weeks, the pass rush has been inconsistent, and the scheme for defending the pass has been off. Just those latter two would put the team in a bad position heading into a game with Aaron Rodgers.

    1. Wilson: You will lose to GB. It would take an act of god to change your destiny. Look @ your league stats: rushing is all you are doing well.

      But these are my real concerns about the 49ers as the year progresses and I haven’t even heard or read about this. You will have match-ups with the Seahawks, Bengals, Baltimore and Rams. The 49ers are not prepared to play these teams. Serious injuries will result.

      1. The Seawhawks troll says “But these are my real concerns about the 49ers

        Why would a Seahawks fan have concerns about a rival team?

    1. Isn’t a few wins great — and losses not-so-great? Baalke was in top-10 GM list on various sites on the internet just a year ago. Now he’s responsible for setting back the Niners. Reggie McKenzie was on his way out after multiple dud drafts and FA muffs. Now after striking gold with Cooper and Carr, McKenzie will look like a genius!

  11. P.S.: How does a successful organization like the 49ers manage to self-destruct in a few short years. It’s like watching a train derail in slow motion. You feel guilty for watching but you can’t look away.

    Watching the Steeler’s game last night I was reminded by seeing Jim Harbarbaugh’s almost twin brother that it was only 2012 when the 49ers competed for the superbowl . I know nothing about the mismanagement of an organization but someone should be held accountaintable.

    1. Remember that question after this year and the same happens to Seattle. I know you fans started watching in 2012. But you’ll learn.
      You craphawks fans think you’re some historic franchise. It’s the first time ever you have been relevant. Soon you will be forgotten again like you were for decades before. Wait and see!

  12. Big Difference: You didn’t win a SB in 2012 Did you ? Better be careful, you know what negative thoughs can cause –Limp D****Syndrome.

      1. Mary,

        I would like to add that while your posts are always par excellance, we have
        Baalke spoonfeeding the gullible and arrogant York.

        The Seahawks have well respected GM, John Schneider

        Before Baalke came to town, nobody knew who he was and as many football insiders of note have stated, Baalke inherited the majority of his good players during his SuperBowl run from Scot McCloughan

        1. Like many of York’s hires that nobody offered a job to, coming from obscure and undeserving ranks, you have Tomsula, Chryst (who coached 15 years ago, but the gang never points out that the game has passed him by)

          1. Baalke falls into the above category of undeserving ranks. York went to Bill Parcells who recommended him.
            Parcells was a niner enemy for years and it’s coming back at us like a redirected scud missile.
            Kap visiting the once, arch rival Rams is also blowing up on us…We kicked ass on these franchises for 20 years and now their so called “help” is sinking us…Just another reminder that the York’s would rather go to the enemy, than the Walsh coaching tree, who would be glad to help us.

        2. Ted:

          I know all about Scot McCloughan — he worked for the Seahawks on two separate occasions and when they parted ways he lived in Ferndale, WA for a year working for clients and then got the job with the Redskins as GM. John Schneider comes from the same background as he does in the midwest. There’s alway been talk that when Tommy Thomas, GM of Green Bay retires that JS would take the job. I, of course, hope he and Pete Carroll sign an extension with the Seahawks.

          1. Peter Carroll is not getting an extension. His window is closing. The rah rah approach has a certain shelf life. Like Harbaugh, Parcells, Cowher, Gruden, these guys get tuned out within 4-5 years!

          2. Also Mary,

            Pete Caroll is part of the Bill Walsh coaching tree and currently employs his defensive line rotations as Walsh’s teams of the 80’s did.
            I lobbied to the Niners for Carroll, but they ignored me.

            1. Every ex-49er coach I have asked the Niner’s to hire, the York’s have ignored me on. I’ve sent them mail, emails, used other means…nothing.

              Then I read several well-respected bay area writers, specifically, Tim Kawakami write that the 49ers were shutting out ex-49er, coaches and want to build a new dynasty their way.

          3. Who in the hell is Tommy Thomas? You didn’t get either name right, it’s Ted Thompson.

            1. To Whomever It May Concern or Whatever Your Name Is This Week:

              I knew the initials were TT but didn’t care enough to look it up. I guess you are good for something. You are related to Seahawk fans and I smile every time I think about that. Just like Cubus lives on a blue block in Seattle.

      2. Lol ask her man about limp **** syndrome. I’m sure living with that *#%%{. It hasn’t stood up in years. Yuck!
        And while we are on history since that’s what that one Super Bowl is…
        I’ve witnessed FIVE!
        To bad you bandwagon fans won’t see another!

  13. See that’s is the 49er mentality. Throw out the baby with the bathwater. You do this every year — what in the hell is wrong with you people. So glad no one in the NFL hires any of you.

    As El Hombre says “so long, losers.” Until next nex time. P.S. I hear Marshawn might be out with an injury — run with one.

    1. Not to be unkind MD, that was 20+ years ago. Even you must see the irony. Seattle has more championships in the last decade — perhaps not SBs, but championships.

      Nevertheless, what will be remembered by all in the NFL world is that the 49er organization took a very competitive team in a really competitive market and systematically destroyed it from top to bottom in a few short years by poor management. And, you will close out the year with one of your worst W-L records and host SB 50 where undoubtedly you will all be exposed to thousands of thousands of 12s (they do travel!!) of which I am not one. Not to date myself, but I am a pinch older.

      It sucks — but that is your reality!

  14. If the game situation forces the 49ers to put the ball in the air, it’s not likely to go well. Green Bay boasts the sixth-best pass defense through three weeks on the shoulders of a pass rush that ranks fourth in adjusted sack rate.

    1. In my opinion, GB will stick to their plan and the 49ers will shoot themselves in the foot. The handwriting is on the wall, their confidence is destroyed.

Comments are closed.