No excuses this week for the 49ers — they must beat the Cardinals

San Francisco 49ers running back Matt Breida (22) runs behind offensive tackle Mike McGlinchey (69) during the first half of an NFL football game against the Kansas City Chiefs in Kansas City, Mo., Sunday, Sept. 23, 2018. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

No freaking excuses this Sunday.

No one cares how many injuries the 49ers have.

Must-win game.

They’re at home against the NFL’s only winless team, the Arizona Cardinals, who have a rookie quarterback, Josh Rosen, making his first career road start. A loss would shock and embarrass the 49ers. Just win.

Click here to read the rest of my column.

This article has 172 Comments

  1. The honeymoon is over for KS , 7-13 doesn’t cut it in the NFL, doesn’t matter if JG is there or not , CJB was his handpicked choice. If your offense is too complicated for guys to just go out and execute it than simplify it . Time to start winning

    1. I hafta disagree with you … NY …
      Look back to Bill Walsh’s second year at the helm … disaster ?..
      uh-h… perhaps .. but when Bill got The Joe … things changed
      pretty quick …
      Shanny .. on the other hand just …MAY… have
      landed his .. “Joe” .. in the form of Jimmy G … but
      finding out whether or not he did … we won’t know until
      at least next season …

      Patience … my young padawan …. patience

      1. Could have put this in your RGIII post, but when you mentioned Shanny landing his ‘Joe’, I thought this was a better place.
        .
        Maybe Shanny could land his ‘Joe’, as in Joe Callahan, a QB cut from the Eagles recently.

      2. There’s really little comparison with what Bill Walsh did to turn the team around; even though it’s nice to think in those terms.

        The game was a lot different then; and Walsh’s “variables” and advantages had a lot to do with alignment/assignment and using the players to the best advantage.

        John Frank pinning Lawrence Taylor to the ground after blocking his tail off was personnel related; but supported by a scheme wherein a TE, FB and light, fast OL could account for a stud linebacker. RB Elliot (Linvil, spell check) did prove that a playcaller could be less predictable, but that wouldn’t work as well these days with defenses designed to counter the now typical RPO. Rice/Taylor/Montana would shred an eight-man front back in those days, with “checkdowns” that were world class.

        Shanny is good, but closer to a common-day offense than what Walsh was to his day’s “common-day” offense.

    2. If you really believe coaches should be fired everytime the team (which is heavily devoid of premier talent) doesn’t have a winning season, you’re a problem

  2. These are the type of games that define the culture of a team. The 49ers should dominate and win. If they don’t it spells doom.. This is a statement game for the coaches and players.

  3. That was freaking good. I agree with every freaking one, especially #3. Come out in a split back with Breida and Mostert. Hit either one in the freaking flat, just like the ’84 Forty Freakin’ Niners….

    1. After reading Grant’s motivational piece, I’m so freaking fired up that I fear that I may just go hit something or somebody…

  4. Let’s take the buildup to the Arizona game as far over-the-top as possible!

    C’mon Sponge Freakin’ Bob!

    C’mon One Freakin’ Niner!

  5. Agree with the article except you forgot a couple of freakin musts Grant.

    One, the freakin Niners can’t let the freakin Cardinals “freaking SHAPE them”, whatever the freakin hell that means.
    Two, the freakin Niners need to “freakin POACH freakin intel from any freakin source possible, like that freaking matters.
    Three, freakin Kyle needs to freakin use his freaking football ACUMEN, both as a freaking head coach, and as a freaking offensive freaking coordinator, and win the freaking game against this freaking crummy team.

    1. No freakin way. Get your freakin 12 year old to ‘splain what shapin freakin means.
      .
      Niners need no freakin intel from a freakin winless team, unless it is telling what freakin NOT to do.
      .
      Freakin Kyle better get some freakin help, because his freakin football acumen is freakin lackin. A freakin 1-3 coach needs some freakin help, or he might be 1-freakin 4.

    1. Sebbie … listen …. and don’t freak out .. but …
      If someone “steals” … your material … you can
      be sure ….. they’re NOT … laughing … WITH … you

      1. MW, I know that.
        .
        Grant is giving me a compliment. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
        .
        I hope that even you will admit that I have been advocating for a freakin mobile pocket for years.
        .
        When I call for swing passes and screens, I want CJB to throw to the freakin RBs.
        .
        When Kittle mentions that KS told CJB to look off the safety, my cup runneth over.

          1. Cassie, you are just freakin jealous.
            .
            Listen to the KNBR podcast with George Kittle. He mentions KS was telling CJB to look off the safety, so Kittle would be wide open.
            .
            Sure am freakin glad freakin KS is reading my freakin posts, and taking my freakin advice.

            1. Shanahan ain’t reading your freakin’ posts, nor is he taking your freakin’ advice.

              No cupcake for you…

              1. Looking off the safety….. Where have you read that before on this site?
                .
                Kittle said that, so maybe your beef is with him.

              2. Looking off the safety has been standard since the advent of three deep zone defenses back in the 1950s, but surely it was first iterated here by Seb ca. 1954. Everybody gets everything from him.
                If only we’d known about the Internet ( a series of tubes).

              3. Van, that is the whole problem. The Niners have not employed that tactic for years. The coaches were concentrating more on players executing plays and running correct routes.
                .
                They wanted Kaep to stand in the pocket and deliver the ball. They had no mention of looking off the safety. They wanted to shackle him in the pocket so he could not run. No wonder he stared down his receivers. The coaching was lacking.
                .
                Sure, that tactic has been around since the invention of the forward pass, but it sure has not been stressed or mentioned these last few years. Except on this blog.
                .
                Sure am glad that KS is finally coaching CJB to look off the safety.
                .
                Now, if they start treating time outs to be precious, and saved for legitimate challenges and the last 2 minutes of each half, I will also claim to have influenced their coaching, since they right now are wasting time outs like a drunken sailor.

  6. Can’t access the article due to a !@#$ing advertisement for the Press Democrat that keeps overtaking the page and offering no way to exist said ad.

  7. An agressive Rex Ryan defense won’t be a bad idea….

    The hire will have more to do with getting along with Kyle S ……

      1. Grant,

        I still don’t understand why we didn’t bring back Dumervil. Or draft a pass rusher?What are the coaches seeing in Marsh that we don’t? Rushing the passer will make things easier for the DB’s. That is our biggest weakness right now.

  8. Ok, all of us are under the assumption that the Niners should win. But what happens if they don’t? Does that mean Saleh is on the hot list to be fired? Will there be increased pressure on Shanahan to shake up things?

    Personally, I think that in the event a loss happens there may be increased criticism of the team and front office. I agree this is a must win game, and the Niners should prevail given the circumstances. If they don’t win, I believe that there will be increased pressure, or at least a reassessment of the Shanahan plan.

    Not sure if this will be of value, since the team really isn’t very good. It has been competitive but manages to lose games. I think that Shanahan should be given another year before people wanting to change direction.

    But I also think that Shanahan will not reassess his own approach, he may be incapable of that, but I hope that he is capable of modifying his approach. Small changes can do a lot to make the team better.

    1. If they don’t win, I believe that there will be increased pressure, or at least a reassessment of the Shanahan plan.

      Who’s going to reassess? John the Soulmate? Jed the Little Rich Kid? The former would likely be too connected/conflicted, and the latter would not have the interest (or perhaps the mental acuity) to do so.

    2. Disagree with the criticism of the front office. Nobody was picking playoffs for the niners except fans and about 15 percent of the experts. And no I don’t have numbers so don’t ask. And if there is no real expectations for a torn down rebuilding team in year 1 1/2 then there aren’t any consequences. As I said before, did it ever occur to you guys that the team you think you are watching, is not the team you are watching.

      1. I know full well the team I’m watching Steel. This team isn’t anywhere near the playoffs, nor did I think that at the beginning of the year. The very same people who proposed that the team was a dark horse playoff team may be the ones to turn (journalists) their criticism of the team if things don’t float their way.

        1. East coast I understand that completely. But it’s like you said, the journalists? There was never any real expectations from the owners, so I don’t think there will be any consequences of any kind. Especially now, with all these injuries.

          1. Well, ownership has proven fickle before and thee are a lot of empty seats!

            But, I hear you. I guess I was wondering if the honeymoon period might expire with a loss.

  9. So Grant… Are Press Democrat bean counters good with you informing us how to get past the freakin’ PD pay wall for free?

      1. Are you now contractually obligated to make us click to read with every article, and a follow up; how long before they catch on to incognito and deny access?

        1. Posting a comment would be 25 cents, with a charge of 1/10 of a cent per alphanumeric character. Sebbie Freakin’ Nynah would be broke in two days flat.

      2. Newspapers lean to much one way or the other when it comes to political bias, which is why I refuse to pay for any subscriptions.

      3. No kidding.

        I’m a subscriber, and don’t even care about the “freaking PD pay wall,” because i’d rather not bother to set up an account.

        I do appreciate you keeping this forum open to commenters that don’t have “official” accounts that would be needed to comment in “non-blog” sections of the “paper.” That’s big “bonus” for me. One other “local” does this too, the Chron’s SFGate site; and if you want to see professional trolls, just check out the early a.m. comments that are plastered before the west coasters have their first cup of coffee.

        So, Thanks for doing this Grant. It’s fun for those who want to know more about the Niners, or at least b***h about the team with other “fans.”

        P.S. In full transparency, I used to grouse about your father’s criticisms within the articles he wrote, but have to admit he was right a lot, and was unique in not being a fanboy. He wasn’t easy on Walsh at first, but came around when the Niners evolved and did a wonderful job describing Bill’s characteristics to the locals. Miss his boxing knowledge as well.

  10. They’re at home against the NFL’s only winless team, the Arizona Cardinals, who have a rookie quarterback, Josh Rosen, making his first career road start.

    It’s unclear whether there’s any real advantage to the Niners playing in Santa Clara. Their fans are about as present and passionate as those of the Chargers in L.A. (commenters in Grant’s blog notwithstanding). With the currently cheap flights from Phoenix — where fans continue to seem supportive of the Cardinals, come hell or high water — it’s just possible there could be as many of the latter in the stadium as the former. And they’re already used to hot weather, unlike the morning glories in the Bay Area, so whooping it up in Levis Stadium should not faze them in the least.

  11. Went to the Newman vs Ukiah game last night with a good friend who is also Paul’s (not Seb/Paul but rather Cronin/Paul) uncle. Now I would say that Cronin/Paul is probably among the best, if not the best High School coaches in the Bay Area. Seb/Paul? Not so much. Nevertheless, we met briefly after the game (45-14 Newman win) and I commented to Cronin/Paul that he did a good job of not letting Ukiah “SHAPE” them. He looked at me and said, “what”? I said, “oh nothing”. He replied, “you boys have a few beers before you came up”? Funny, the 12 year old grandson had the same reaction. “What”?

    1. Juan, you should have followed that remark with a question. You should have asked if he had ever read- The Art of War.
      .
      If he had said no, then you would realize why he had no clue.
      .
      I do not expect 12 year olds to have read The Art of War. He is probably at the Harry Potter stage. However, since you think he is a master tactician, his education is lacking.

      1. Ed Lloyd coached Paul Cronin as his QB at Piner High School when they went to the NCS championship game against De La Salle. Cronin and Piner gave a fairly good effort but were no match for De La Salle who had a receiver named Amani Toomer, who went on to play for some time for the NY Giants.

        1. Whine,
          That was a good game, with a little Sonoma County team showing up with attitude and skills.

          Brodie, Liking the Newman history. Percy Grogan was one of my favorite all-time Newman players to watch. Local kids wanted to play like him.

          Ed Conroy at Rancho Cotati had a great run too; and his former players are now outstanding coaches. Liked watching Scalarcio’s teams (he’s former Viking) at Sonoma State.

  12. Lol! What chapter in “Football for Dummies” did you pull that one out of Seb? :p You know you own that book! Just admit it! ;-)

    1. Juan, shaping an opponent is from the timeless classic, The Art of War.
      .
      Football for Dummies is too basic to even mention that, but maybe you should read your copy again, to try and find it. I do own- The Art of War.
      .
      Bill Walsh mentioned shaping an opponent many times. Guess Cronin needs to brush up on his reading skills.
      .
      The Chargers managed to shape the Niners by getting Solomon Thomas to cover the tight end, and a LB to cover their speedy RB.

      1. Seb.. that had nothing to do with the chargers shaping anything. It was actually the defensive call for Solomon to be covering gates. Robert said so himself. So the only shape was salaeh losing his mind because he thought it was a good idea

        1. Steele, that is a classic definition of shaping an opponent. They made the Niners cover their receivers with the wrong players. Saleh was shaped, folded, spindled and mutilated.
          .
          The Chargers also shaped the Niners by stacking the box and forcing the Niners to beat them with the pass. KS obliged by making CJB throw 37 times. KS responded to the stacked box with bunched sets.
          .
          If KS does not defeat the stacked box with 4 receiver sets, then he deserves to lose.

          1. Sebbie… Colonel Obvious…

            Shaping. You love the feeling of self titillation that comes with poking others with your words–giggling that ‘you get it’ and others don’t. Shaping yourself Sebbie?

            1. The stench of Baalke forces you to haunt my posts.
              .
              Cassie, I wish you would not waste your time, but then again, you devolve into snark because your football knowledge seems limited to what your daddy would think.
              .
              Keep trying, some day, you will think of something intelligible.

              1. I don’t know, Sebber. The fact that a lizard can post anything legible is impressive in and of itself.

              2. Well, she sure does have a destructive mindset……
                .
                The main problem is that the stench permeates the site.
                .
                I was hoping we would get beyond Baalke. However, she keeps reminding us of the architect of the dismantling of a SB team and that 2-14 failure.

              3. Yeah, those short arms are a pain. Plus, having eyes on the side of my head makes it difficult to see and keep my claws on the proper keys. Danged keyboards.

              4. It’s like expecting my cat, Weasley to flush the toilet after taking care of his business even though he doesn’t have an opposing thumb….

              5. He is right on that, Sebs–iv’e known that for years. And you DO enjoy getting people to behave like a “moth to the flame”.

                I know what your up to and I get a hell of a kick out of watching you spin your little webs……….

                7&7 and Sebs ………….you’ll laugh yourself to sleep……………

  13. Lol! I figured you “poached” that saying from something other than actual experience! I win again! Keep the comedy coming though, it’s priceless Paul! Your the best! I pretty sure Hopmonk out your way has a stand-up night! You should bring your football material and give it a whirl! Guaranteed to get a laugh!

    1. Sorry Juan, you only win the booby prize.
      .
      Glad you are easily amused.
      .
      I would never go to HM with football knowledge, because it would go over their heads. They do have good music at times, however, and their beer is drinkable, although I prefer Lagunitas, Third Street and Fogbelt.

      1. Love the way you ‘name drop’ Sebbie–gently reminding everyone that you’re above most intellectually as well as artistically…perhaps a wanna-be Renaissance guy…

  14. So easy to get Sebs panties ruffled! Like a moth to a flame! Oops, I think I poached one of Sebs poached sayings! Is that poaching the poacher? OK, enough fun. On to golf. Gonna be tough. Very windy. Skins game today. Maybe I can “shape” my opponents into a few mistakes! ;p

    1. Juan, I enjoy our repartee’s. However, you seem to be delusional if you think you have ruffled any feathers.
      .
      Guess that booby prize comment got to you. Just trying to keep it light.
      .
      Maybe you did not realize that there is very little to shape when it comes to golf. However, in the Ryder Cup, the European captain Bjorn definitely shaped Furyk.

      1. Sebbie… Your use of repartee is in question–are you attempting to reflect a possessive condition, or plural? If plural, you have a boo boo.

        “The noun repartee can be countable or uncountable.

        In more general, commonly used, contexts, the plural form will also be repartee.

        However, in more specific contexts, the plural form can also be repartees e.g. in reference to various types of repartees or a collection of repartees.”

    1. Not sure what gives Biderman that continuity will come when the usual suspects can’t stay on the field to begin with.

      1. Exactly Razor..football is very physical ,but man Ward and Tartt should just be followed around by a stretcher at all times.Thise dudes consistently go down

  15. Grant, have you ever coached a football team? It certainly sounds like you have a lot of knowledge about coaching a team and the right strategy to use at all times. Not being critical, just comparing your coaching knowledge to that of Kyle Shanahan.

  16. Nobody is making excuses. But the fact is that our top 2 offensive players are out for the season.

    And no matter how anybody wants to spin the “no excuse” theory, you can’t convince me that losing centerpiece players don’t effect the team both on the field and the locker room.

    Shanahan and Lynch’ legacy may well be carved out this year if they keep the team competitive throughout the season.
    And if they can get one more win this year than last year, I will consider it a huge accomplishment.

  17. Sure, this game is very winnable if the defense figures out a way to stop them… The offense has been putting up plenty of points lately – its up to the defense to do their freakin’ jobs.

  18. Some may say that they are expecting a victory from a very winnable game.
    .
    I say that this is a very ‘losable’ game.
    .
    Niners could keep beating themselves.
    .
    Cards are desperate for a win. They will want this game more than the Niners.
    .
    Cards have finally promoted Rosen, who is accurate. He was the most pro ready QB in the draft. He has Fitzgerald to throw to, and David Johnson to hand off to. Rosen played well against the Seahawks.
    .
    Cards have Rucker, Jones, Bucannon, Dansby, Peters, Peterson, Reddick, Baker and Mathieu on defense. Some would say their talent is superior to the Niners.
    .
    Niners have Saleh, who seems to play favorites, and players out of position.
    .
    KS may keep wasting time outs, and his game and clock management leaves much to be desired.
    .
    CJB had thrown 2 picks last game, and was bludgeoned 16 times, so he is not expected to dominate the opposition.
    .
    Sure hope the Niners get a freakin win, but they should not be taking the freakin Cards lightly.
    .
    Niners 24-23.

      1. Instead of Rucker, they have Robert Nkemdiche, instead of Dansby, they have Josh Bynes, and instead of Mathieu, they have Budda Baker, all upgrades.
        .
        Nkemdiche is a beast, and both Bynes and Baker have 32 tackles so far this season.
        .
        The Cards defense is still strong, and will provide stiff competition to the Niner offense. The problem with the Cards was their QB play, but Rosen may be the solution, once he gets acclimated to playing in the NFL.
        .
        Hope the Niner coaches have adequately prepared the team, are innovative, unpredictable, and can make the proper in game adjustments.

      1. It’s the pigeon thing….

        Sebbie does well for a few days, he flies into a window, and then thrashes about in the bushes. He’ll recover…

        1. Perhaps Seb is suffering a mental lightweight’s response due to his intellectual mediocrity!

          Careful Seb, your acumen is showing! Better cover up!!

  19. The description of the Cardinals offense, “two yards into the middle on first down; followed by dink and dunk the rest of the was is both funny and brings back bad memories.

    If only we could add a “predictable third-and-eight, slowly evolving, five yard, pass to the flat” we’d have Trestman.

    1. TrollD, you or another troll made up a catfish account to assign that post to me.
      .
      Sounds like your hatred is consuming you, but since you have fantasized about breaking into gun safes and creating nightmares, it is understandable.
      .
      Please seek help. You are one twisted sick puppy.

  20. Looks like Goodwin will be out, but Tartt, Colbert and Garnett probably playing. Bolden to the 53, Powell and Toran waived.

    Ryan Delaire also activated. Not sure if that is injury related or performance related. Probably performance as I don’t recall seeing any edge guys on the injury report.

    1. More than likely performance related considering the D rarely touches the opposing QB…. Perhaps the almighty Saleh will bring that hidden greatness out of Delaire the 5th time around where other coordinators failed….. Or perhaps not.

      1. Glad to see JL actively trying to upgrade the roster.
        .
        Wonder if Christian Dilauro OL will get a promotion, too. However, Shon Coleman may give better tackle depth, which might be needed with Staley and McGlinchey having injury issues.

    1. I read .. somewhere .. that the Cards have six
      ex-Niners … Among them … the kickers ..
      Phil Dawson and Andy Lee …

      imagine that ..

      ( hope we get to see more of Lee and less of Dawson )

        1. Considering they have a 7 game win streak against the Niners, that could be a big reason why Arians and the new coaches picked up former Niners.

    1. A story well told. Good to have a peek into someone’s core character–and a fundamentally good character it’s found to be.

      Hope those well endowed with football acumen–and flaunt it regularly–are savvy enough to separate play at the QB position from the man as a human being.

      Yup… CJ Freakin’ Beathard.

  21. Lol
    “since 2016, Eli’s passer rating on throws traveling over 20 yards in the air ranks 38th in the NFL”

  22. Thanks Mid. Very inspirational story. Keeps things in perspective as we spend time today with family or friends and watch football or other do other things. TY

  23. True test for both Mahomes and Reid today. Suspect we’ll see at least one or more more interceptions from the rookie unless they go a bit more conservative.

    1. Andy got rid of all the conservatism with the departure of Smith, and the addition of Mahomes. Really doubt we ever see it again except in the appropriate situations….

  24. No Goodwin today ,maybe a break out game for Bourne with all the chemistry he’s probably had with CJ on the second team…
    And can we please get Breida the damn ball and not keep pulling him off the field right when he starts to get hot!
    I keep thinking the same thing Coffee…then every week he keeps balling out figure Mahomes has to come back down to earth sometime

  25. I think Reid will continue to let Mahomes be himself. Good test for him today. I disagree with Seb that Rosen was the most NFL ready quarterback coming out of college. I said it then and I’ll continue to believe that Mahomes was, regardless of what kind of offense he played in, was THE most NFL ready by a country mile. He could have played in a triple wing and it would have been obvious that he was the best of the crop. He’s proving that every Sunday so far. The so called “experts” had that one wrong.

  26. Thanks Steele! My bad! I stand corrected. Then Mahomes was more NFL ready when he came out as opposed to Rosen when he came out. IMHO
    Let’s see what Rosen does today against a crappy defense. We saw what Mahomes did. Should be interesting.

    1. Of course they are. I needed to sit the Jags defense for obvious reasons and the Packers was the best available in my league. SOB!!

      1. Just a a theoretical question. Would Mahomes play well in a pro-style offense like KS’ or is he really more of a shotgun QB?

        1. He can make all the throws so it doesn’t matter what offense he plays in. Superior arm talent but talks like Kermit the frog!

        2. He’s showing many of the skills that are needed for a NFL QB to succeed in any scheme: ability to scan the field and process information fast, calmness in the pocket, great arm and good throw accuracy, knowing when to get out of the pocket and use his legs, etc. With experience, he will be able to do pre- and post-snap reads of the D better, and will have better understanding with his receivers. Of course, he won’t all of these Pro Bowl supporting cast around him when he gets paid, and the DC’s will pick at his weaknesses….. but he appears to be the best QB in the 2017 draft..

  27. After looking around at the teams we’ve played I’m starting to think the Niners are not as bad as they seem..They’ve played some tough games

    1. If you’re counting the short passes to the backs out of the backfield as “rushing attempts”, then by all means 30+ seems very plausible….

      1. That’s not what he meant.

        He feels they need to attack the edges of the Cards defense, particularly at Chandler Jones, with powers and sweeps to open up the inside and slow down the pass rush.

    1. To your question on whether or not Breida was inactive; he’s up!

      WR Marquise Godwin
      WR Dante Pettis
      OL Shon Coleman
      G Josh Garnett
      DL Jullian Taylor
      DL D.J. Jones
      CB Jimmie Ward

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