Niners Get Their First WIN

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The Niners finally broke into the WIN column last weekend, albeit, against the hapless NY Giants. Yes, the same NY Giants who were 11-5 last year and made the playoffs. They have the same all-pro caliber roster on defense as last year but inexplixably have the same 1-9 record as the Niners this year. Conversely, the LA Rams had a 4-12 record last year but are on their way to the playoffs this year with an 8-2 record. This demonstrates how a team can swing from a loser to a winner and vice versa in a short period of time. In a previous post, I mentioned that the Niners are two years behind the Rams in their re-building process… and I continue to stand by that.

 

The Niners do have some nice young players to build upon. I am confident that Coach Shanahan will develop these players into winners.

 

Age 21

LB Elijah Lee
RB Jeremy McNichols (PS)
DL Solomon Thomas

Age 22

WR Victor Bolden, Jr.
WR Kendrick Bourne
RB Matt Breida
DT D.J. Jones
QB Nick Mullens (PS)
DL Noble Nwachukwu (PS)
CB Ahkello Witherspoon

Age 23

DT DeForest Buckner
WR Aaron Burbridge (IR)
ILB Reuben Foster
OG Joshua Garnett (IR)
LB Jimmie Gilbert (IR)
OLB Eli Harold
TE Cole Hikutini (IR)
Chanceller James (IR)
OL Andrew Lauderdale (PS)
CB Greg Mabin
OL Erik Magnuson
OT Pace Murphy (PS)
P Bradley Pinion
DB Tyvis Powell (PS)
LB Pita Taumoepenu
WR Trent Taylor
TE Cole Wick (PS)

 Age 24

DL Arik Armstead (IR)
QB C.J. Beathard
DT Ronald Blair
OT Trent Brown
WR DeAndre Carter (PS)
Adrian Colbert
OL JP Flynn (PS IR)
CB Prince Charles Iworah (IR)
TE George Kittle
DE Aaron Lynch
LB Donavin Newsom (IR)
OT Darrell Williams
RB Joe Williams (IR)

 

PS = Practice Squad   IR = Injured Reserve

 

However sweet the win was last Sunday, it was overshadowed by what happened to Marquis Goodwin and his wife, Morgan. During the night before the game, Morgan had complications with her pregnancy and ultimately lost her premature baby boy.

Marquis:

I just wanna thank those who’ve genuinely prayed for @morganakamomo & myself through out this pregnancy. Unfortunately we lost our baby boy due to some complications, and had to prematurely deliver him early this morning around 4am. Although we are hurt, I am grateful for the experience and grateful that God blessed me with a wife as courageous and resilient as Morgan. The pain (physically, mentally, & emotionally) that she has endured is unbelievable. Please Pray for the Goodwin family. 💙👣

Morgan:

This whole week has taken an emotional toll on my husband and I, Struggling to keep our healthy baby safe in my womb. However, God had other plans for us. Today, I had to deliver my precious baby boy early this morning due to preterm labor. Despite our loss, my hubby kept grinding, scored his son a touchdown & got our first “W” of the season. He had a wonderful game today. I appreciate everyone who kept us in their prayers and constantly checked in on us. This was truly and an amazing experience and it was also a tragic experience. But that’s okay because we won’t stop fighting and we won’t give up on what God has in store for us. It’s just important for us to remember that things happen for a reason, even though we may question ourselves “why us.” Our faith is strong. I just ask that you let us mourn in peace and ask that you not try and call/blow our phone up. 👼🏾 #RIPBabyGoodwin #PretermLabor #PregnancyLoss #StayingStrong

Through all this pain, Morgan convinced Marquis to play that same day. Marquis had a tremendous game catching an 83 yard touchdown pass and throwing a key block on Garrett Celek’s 47 yard touchdown. He played in 48 of the Niner’s 61 offensive snaps. After he scored on his long touchdown pass, he fell to his knees, prayed and broke down emotionally. He was then surrounded by his teammates who comforted him.

Marquis and Morgan are comforted in knowing that they truly have a second family in their lives, the Niner players and organization. Prayers to Marquis, Morgan and their family.

 

Jimmy Garoppolo: Niners get their QB

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With the 2018 season lost, Lynch and Shanahan are still doing a good job weeding out poor and marginal performers and keeping those players who give their maximum efforts regardless of the circumstances.

Yesterday, they made a great trade with the Patriots to acquire Jimmy Garoppolo who had been the back-up to Tom Brady since 2014. He did start 2 games in 2016 for the Patriots while Brady was serving his 4 game suspension. He was injured in the 2nd game, otherwise, he would have started all 4 games. The Niners gave up their higher 2nd round pick in 2018 to the Patriots for Garoppolo.

Today, they traded their starting corner back, Rashard Robinson to the Jets for their 5th round pick in 2018. They also cut corner back Will Redmond who Baalke drafted in the 3rd round (pick #68) in the 2016 draft knowing that he had a blown knee. He never recovered and never played a down for the Niners. Robinson is a good athlete but couldn’t cover deep passes. He was consistently beaten for long plays or was called for pass interference on deep passes. Two more bad Baalke picks who are no longer on the roster. They also cut Brian Hoyer as he wasn’t able to deliver at the QB position.

The Garoppolo acquisition is valuable to the Niner franchise for multiple reasons:

  • The Niners have many holes to plug on the roster but the QB position is the most glaring need. Lynch and Shanahan knew what they were getting into and made the most of a lacking roster by bringing in journeymen, Brian Hoyer and Matt Barkley. They also drafted C.J. Beathard this year knowing that he was a project. Through two starts, Beathard has shown some promise but he is far from ready to play at this level. Garoppolo comes from a winning program and has been under the tutelage of the Hall of Famers, Tom Brady and Bill Belichick, for 4 years. Additionally, when Shanahan was the offensive coordinator for the Cleveland Browns in 2014, he had Derek Carr and Garoppolo as his two top QB’s of the 2014 class. He couldn’t convince his GM nor the owner to draft Garoppolo so they instead drafted Johnny Manziel… and you know the rest of that story.
  • This trade also eliminates the need for the Niners to go after a much more expensive Kirk Cousins of the Redskins. Garoppolo will cost the Niner about $18k per year while Cousins will cost them much more than $30k per year.
  • This trade also takes the pressure off of Lynch and Shanahan in the 2018 draft to take a QB with their #1 draft pick. Since they have other needs, they can draft the best available athlete instead. Before the college season started, this year’s crop of QB’s appeared to be an outstanding class. After half a season, the college QB crop seems to be more of a crap shoot as inconsistent play abounds for all the QB’s that were highly touted. Garoppolo is a thousand percent safer bet than any QB coming out of college this year.
  • In the 2018 draft, they have 7 draft picks (see below). This trade affords them the option to trade down from their #1 pick and gain an additional pick or two to fill out their roster with their kind of players. Personally, I would love to see either Minkah Fitzpatrick (CB from Alabama) or Derwin James (SS from Florida State) in a Niner uniform next year.

 

The Niners have more than $50 mil in cap space in 2018. I’m sure than they will look at top free agents hitting the market in 2018. The players I like are:

  • Ezekiel Ansah, DE from Detroit. He is a fierce edge rusher.
  • Nate Solder, LT from New England. He has protected Brady… He can begin protecting Garoppolo.
  • Trumaine Johnson, CB from the LA Rams.
  • Thomas Davis, LB from Carolina.
  • Malcolm Jenkins, SS from Philadelphia
  • Xavier Rhodes, CB from Minnesota
  • Trai Turner, G from Carolina
  • DeAndre Hopkins, WR from Houston
  • Jarvis Landry, WR from Miami
  • Gabe Jackson, G from Oakland
  • Melvin Ingram, OLB from the LA Chargers. Another fierce edge rusher.
  • Weston Richburg, C from the NY Giants.

2018 Niner Draft Picks:

1st: Own pick
2nd: Own pick (Gave up this pick to the Patriots for the Jimmy Garoppolo trade)
2nd: Saints pick (49ers dealt 2016 3rd to land this + 2016 7th round picks)
3rd: Own pick
3rd: Bears pick (Acquired in Bears move up for Mitchell Trubisky)
4th: Steelers pick (Acquired in Vance McDonald trade)

5th: Jets pick (Acquired in Rashard Robinson trade)
6th: Own pick
7th: Own pick
7th: Chiefs pick (Acquired in Kenneth Acker trade)

 

The remainder of the 2017 season should be viewed to assess players who will be kept going forward. It should not be viewed as game-by-game failure as this team will continue to lose.

Keep the faith, Niner fans… I know that we’ve been saying this year after year. Lynch and Shanahan know what they are doing so give them two more years and we Niner fans will finally be rewarded.

SF 49er’s Week 6 Loss to the Redskins

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San Francisco and Cleveland have developed quite a rivalry, just like Golden State and Cleveland. The only difference is that one is vying for the #1 draft pick while the other for the #1 seed throughout the playoffs.

Kidding aside, the Niners have now lost their last 5 games by a combined total of 13 points. A break here and a break there could have found the Niners record at 5-1 instead of 0-6. They should have beaten the  Seahawks in Seattle, the Rams at home and the Cardinals in Arizona and be sitting atop the Western Division. Having said that, good teams find a way to win while bad teams find a way to lose. The Niners are clearly still a bad team with much rebuilding still left to be done. They are two years behind the Rams and hopefully become as good as the Rams in 2019.

A few of the signs attributed to young and bad teams are that they have too many penalties, drop too many passes, and give up too many 1st downs on 3rd down plays. The Niners are near the top in each of these categories. Some of these issues are on the coaching staff but the reality is that players need to be smart and make plays. These issues will be fixed over time.

Also, bad teams don’t get any breaks from referee calls. In yesterday’s game, they had a legitimate chance to win as they were on the Redskin’s 40 yard line with 0:28 seconds left in the game (and behind by 2 points). At that point, Pierre Garcon was called for an offensive pass interference when the defensive player ran into him. So instead of a potentially game winning field goal, they suffered their 6th loss. A similar call was made in the last minute of the Niners/Rams game that resulted in a loss instead of a win.

In this first year for Lynch and Shanhan, W’s serve no purpose. They are determining which players they want to keep and build with. The fact that they have 30 new players and kept only 23 from the Baalke disaster regime tells me that Lynch and Shanahan had eye opening experiences to see how bad this roster really was. They released NoVarro Bowman because as good as he was in his hey-day, he was no longer an impact player and sadly no longer even a good player. In the coming weeks, you will see them trading or releasing Aaron Lynch and Eric Reid. Lynch is still over-weight and looks very slow. They will promote Pita Taumoepenu (this year’s 6th round draft pick) to take Lynch’ spot. Jaquiski Tartt is much faster than an injury-prone Reid. A possible trade partner for Reid are the Cowboys. They were set to draft Reid when Baalke moved above them via a trade and stole Reid from Jerry Jones in 2013. Another possible trade bait is Carlos Hyde as he is in his contract year. It would be wise to trade him now while his value is high. He will not be on the roster next year as the Niners will not offer him a new contract.

In the 2nd quarter of yesterday’s game with the Redskins, Shanahan made the tough decision to replace Hoyer with C.J. Beathard (this year’s 3rd round draft pick). He came into the game behind 17-0 and brought new life to the team and lifted them to a 17-17 tie with a potentially game winning drive at the end of the game. Beathard will play for the remainder of the year to allow Shanahan to see if he can become their QB of the future. Whether he shines or not, the Niners should draft a QB with their first pick next year.

Another change that Shanahan made yesterday was to activate and play Ahkello Witherspoon at Corner Back (this year’s 3rd round draft pick). He played soft and didn’t show any toughness. Witherspoon appears to be the only bad pick from this year’s draft.

While this year appears to be lost from a wins/losses perspective, there are many good things going on rebuilding this team. Reuben Foster will be a star, Soloman Thomas appears to be getting better each game along with the rest of the defensive line (Buckner, Armstead, etc.), Tartt and Jimmy Ward are starting to play better, and the offensive line is starting to gel (although they need to replace their interior line next year and begin thinking about replacing Joe Staley). LB Malcom Smith will be back next year after suffering a season ending pectoral injury during training camp. Smith was the Super Bowl MVP when the Seahawks won it all in 2014. He along with Foster will hopefully remind us of Patrick Willis and NoVarro Bowman. As painful as this year appears on the surface, Lynch and Shanahan will turn this ship around.

The National Anthem Controversy and Sports

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The intent of my sports site was to send the message that all sports should be fun, entertaining and relaxing… To escape for a few hours a week from the many evils that take place in our world on a daily basis… Since this has become a national issue, I now feel obligated to speak out and convey my thoughts.

In our free country and the best country in the world, everyone should express their views on the social injustices that continue to exist.  Common sense dictates that these issues seriously need to be addressed. Both Democratic and Republican platforms make these social injustices a priority during their campaigns. But, once elected, nothing (or very little) ever gets done. Sad to say, but the politicians simply use the segments of our society who are impoverished or victims of social injustices to gain their votes during election years. Once elected, they move on with their own agendas and move away from their false promises to close the gap on existing social injustices. Since our government has become more about “buying” votes instead of truly addressing real issues, I feel that these problems must be addressed by grass root efforts such as the NFL and all sports in general.

The NFL owners along with selected players will meet and discuss this topic in the near future. Wouldn’t it be nice if both the owners and the players association agree to begin a fund to be used exclusively to address social injustice issues? Wouldn’t it be great if the MLB, the NBA, and the NHL also join in on this grass roots effort? After all, sports has a huge impact on our society as these athletes are our “heroes” and represent role models for a large part of our population. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if corporate sponsors of sports begin participating? Wouldn’t it be nice if other entertainment businesses (movies, TV shows, etc.) begin participating? Lastly, wouldn’t it be amazing if our government finally sees what need to be addressed and begin providing funding to address these issues?

While I vehemently support what the NFL athletes are doing to express their views on social injustices, expressing these views during our National Anthem is the wrong forum. When the Anthem is played, it is time to live those words. Expressing social injustices should be done after the games.  Perhaps it was initially the right forum to use to catch the attention of politicians. Now that it has caught national attention, it is now time to move on to the next phase and start programs to begin addressing problems in our society. Get as many entertainment businesses and their sponsors involved, start grass roots programs in our inner cities, show some successes, and lobby Congress to provide funding for these efforts.

A good start is to allocate much more funding to our poor and lacking education system. Improve the schooling systems in the inner cities and have “name athletes” come and speak to these students to honestly tell them what it takes to become successful and contributing citizens. The goal is to give them hope for success. The main challenge to this plan is that public education is a service and not a money generator, thus, this important service cannot “buy” any votes for the politicians so they will continue to play the status quo card.

John Lennon got it back in 1971 when he wrote “Imagine”. Great words to live by and not simply listen to….

My plan for a grass roots effort lead by the sporting industry may be just a dream, but some dreams actually do come true.

SF 49er’s Week’s 4 & 5 OT Losses

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Evaluating the Niner’s five losses, they were soundly beaten in week 1 by a very good Carolina Panthers team. In their last 4 games, they were in the game until the very last possession and have lost those games by a total combined 11 points. Their last two losses at the Cardinals and at the Colts came in OT.

The take-away for me is that this team is still bad but twice as good as the 2016 team. This year’s team is competitive and plays hard entertaining games. They are heading in the right direction but still have plenty of gaps to fill before they turn those close losses into W’s. On offense, it is clear that need a franchise QB, a remake of their interior O-line, and one or two impact WR’s. On defense, they need a total remake of their LB’s with the exception of Reuben Foster. Sad, but true that NaVorro Bowman no longer can play like he did prior to his knee and achilles injuries. They also need two new CB’s.

This is the state of the roster that Trent Baalke left behind. After the Colts’ win over the Niners last week, Frank Gore said it best when he was quoted, “Trent messed up this team.” Baalke must have drafted at least 10 CB’s in his last three years and none of them have turned into impact players and most of them are no longer on the team or on any other roster. Half of the CB’s that he drafted had known knee injuries but he still drafted them. But the most egregious error that he made was a political one where he and Jed York ran a proven winning coach, Jim Harbaugh, out of town. This is what Gore’s message really meant.

In this league, the gap between a bad team and a good team is not that wide. Losing 4 games by a total of 14 points is proof of that. But the consistence by which a bad team like the Niners lose is glaring and the gaps in the offense and defense that I define above have to be addressed if they are to turn this franchise around. I still have plenty of confidence in Lynch and Shanahan.

Here is my definition of a good team. In last week’s Packer’s vs Cowboy’s game, when Dak Prescott scored the go-ahead TD for the Cowboys with 1:13 left in  the game, my first reaction was that they left too much time on the clock for Aaron Rodgers. And, you know the rest of the story as Rodgers lead another amazing come-from-behind win.

And here is my definition of a bad team. In both of the Niner’s OT losses, when the Niners had the ball, all my thoughts were on “how the offense will screw up”. And on defense, more often than not, on third down and short or long, they will either allow the other team to get a first down or be called for a defensive penalty. Bad teams will somehow find a way to lose close games.

I expect to see these kinds of losses on a consistent basis for the remainder of the year. I’m sure that Lynch has his scouts busy looking for impact players who will either be free agents next year or good college draft prospects.

SF 49er’s Week 3 Entertainment

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Thursday night’s 41-39 Niner loss was entertaining, fun, and frustrating.

I must say that this was by far the most entertaining game played at Levi Stadium since the Niners moved there. I found myself jumping out of my seat and throwing fist pumps on many occasions.

Such a change of pace from the bland brand of football that we have been suffering through for the last three years. There is still a lot of re-building to be done, but as long as the ShanaLynch team can make the games exciting, it’ll be a fun process.

The first thing to mention is that I was very impressed with the LA Rams. Sean McVay, the youngest coach in the NFL at age 31 and his coaches and their front office has done a remarkable job in their re-building process. They have surrounded QB Jared Goff with a quality offensive line and secured great WR’s in Cooper Kupp, Robert Woods, Tavon Austin, and Sammy Watkins who had a monster game last night. Along with Todd Gurley, who is no longer “girly”, they have a fairly potent offense for years to come.

Regarding the Niners offense, one can easily make a case that the game was lost on the very first play of the game when Brian Hoyer threw a horrendous interception giving the Rams a quick and easy 7 points. Since the Niners lost by only 2 points, one can deduce that that one play was the difference. However, there were so many ebbs and flows in regards to turnovers, key 3rd down conversions and misses, and horrible referee calls, that one play was only one of many game changers.

Game changing plays:

  • The Hoyer interception on the first play of the game.
  • The bad pass interference call on Dontae Johnson on the Rams first drive on 3rd down when Goff was sacked. Instead of the Niners getting the ball back, the Rams got a first down that lead to another touchdown.
  • The pass interference that was not called on the Garrett Celek on a 3rd down play in the end zone where the Rams defensive back had an arm bar on Celek’s left arm for a good 10 yards as Celek was running directly at the referee. I don’t know what the referee was looking at. Ultimately, the Niners did score on a 4th down play but it never should have gotten to 4th
  • The Rams 3rd down and 12 yards to go play in the late 3rd quarter where linebackers Ray Ray Armstrong and Novarro Bowman chased covered receivers toward separate sidelines and left the middle wide open for a big 1st down gain for Gurley. I know it’s blasphemous to say, but Novarro showed both his age and the slowdown in his speed from his knee and achilles injuries.
  • Lastly, the phantom offensive pass interference penalty on Trent Taylor on a 3rd down play after the Niners recovered an on-side kick-off and started a potentially game winning drive. Instead of a 1st down at the Ram’s 40 yard line with 2 minutes go to in the game and down by only 2 points, the Niners were faced with a 3rd and 20 on their 40 yard line. The way that the Niners offense was moving the ball, they had a great chance to get another 1st down putting themselves in great position for a game winning field goal. This was the biggest game changer.
  • Although not game changers, the Niners had to challenge two great completed sideline catches by Pierre Garcon and Marquis Goodwin. The Niners won both challenges but the mere fact that the referees initially called the catches incomplete gives you an idea of how atrocious the officiating was in this game.

There were some great “You Got Moss’ed” catches in this game:

  • Pierre Garcon’s great sideline catch where the ball was thrown a good three yards out of bounds but he stretched full length to grab the ball while acrobatically keeping both feet in-bounds.
  • Garcon’s wonderful 50 yard catch down the right sidelines fully stretched over pro-bowl corner back, Trumaine Johnson.
  • Marquis Goodwin’s sideline catch on the Rams’ 3 yrd line which was a mirror image of Garcon’s sideline catch mentioned above.
  • Sammy Watkins’ amazing catch of a downfield bomb thrown by Goff.

To be sure, the Niners are further behind the Rams in their re-building processes. Next year, the Niners must address the QB position foremost followed by the interior offensive line. For the O-line, they should look at proven free agents as O-linemen in the draft are a crap-shoot. For the QB, if there is any chance for the Niners to draft Sam Darnold (USC) or Josh Rosen (UCLA), they should do whatever they can to get one of them. QB draft picks are also crap-shoots but these two seem to be the real deal even though they do have flaws. In addition to drafting a QB, if there is a chance that the KC Chiefs move on to Patrick Mahomes and make Alex Smith available, they must get him. On the defensive side, even with Reuben Foster coming back in a few weeks, the next biggest priority is re-building the line backing core and getting an impact edge rusher. By plugging those defensive holes, I believe that our D-line, CB’s and Safeties are good enough to be successful in this league.

I’ll end this post by saying that Carlos Hyde is having a monster year and last night, he fought through a hip injury and still produced in a big way. I also must say that the entire team gave it their all and put in a gutty performance. Win or lose, that is all a true fan can ask for….

 

SF 49er’s Week 2 Results

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Over the last 3-4 years, the Seahawks physically dominated the Niners and the games were lost before they started. Last Sunday, the game was a dog fight and the Niners equaled the Hawks in the trenches. On defense, the CB’s and Safeties had their best game in years. They held the Seahawks to 12 points and actually held the lead (9-6) in the 4th quarter.

The difference in the game was that the Seahawks have Russell Wilson and the Niners have Brian Hoyer. Wilson took over as he usually does when the game matters and converted 3 key 3rd downs to keep the drive alive allowing them to take and maintain the lead for a 12-6 victory.

The Niners defense showed up and played one hell of a game. But, they were on the field for way too many snaps due to the Niner offense being ineffective. They were worn out allowing the Seahawks to run out the clock at the end of the game. The offense continued to struggle although they did upgrade their left guard position as Laken Tomlinson held his own against the vaunted Seahawks front seven. They also improved their run game as Carlos Hyde had a terrific game with 124 yards on 15 carries.

On the Niners best drive of the day, Marquis Goodwin dropped yet another key first down pass inside the Seahawks 10 yard line. It wiped out the possibility of the Niners going up by 7 points instead of by 3 in the 4th quarter. Although the Niner WR’s are much improved over last year, Garcon is their #1 receiver while Goodwin is #2. In looking around the league and comparing WR’s, Garcon to me is a #2 receiver. The Niners do not have a bona fide #1 WR. To improve this group, they really do need an impact WR with Garcon being the #2 receiver. An effective passing game is what separates great teams from also-ran teams in the NFL. While the Niners search for their QB of the future and an impact WR, it would be wise for Shanahan to give Trent Taylor, Aldrick Robinson, Victor Bolden, and Kendrick Bourne more snaps to develop their skills in game situations.

There are no moral victories in football. The Niners lost and dropped to 0-2.

The big question in front of them lie in their next three games (Rams at home, Cardinals at AZ, and the Colts at Indy). I am fully expecting the Niners record to be 3-2 after week 5. Winning 2 of 3 will also be acceptable. Going worse than that will mean that the Niners have not improved their roster much and Niner fans are in for another disastrous season.

Shanahan must step up his game.

 

Around the league:

  • Did Zeke Elliott start serving his suspension? He didn’t show up against the Broncos.
  • The LA Charger’s field goal kicker (Younghoe Koo) missed a short game winning field goal against the Dolphins. He also missed a game tieing field goal against the Broncos in week 1. Koo is not cool.
  • The LA Chargers and LA Rams combined had less fan attendance than the USC Trojans vs Texas game. LA is a college football town (USC and UCLA), not an NFL town… Great job Goodell.
  • The LA Chargers stadium  has a max attendance of 27,000. Maybe the 49ers should play their home games at San Jose State’s stadium. They can then almost sell out games.
  • Why isn’t Kaepernick playing instead of Flake Fortles (Jags), Jacoby Brissett (Dolts), Deshaun Watson (Texans), Mike Glennon (Bears), Andy Dalton (Bengals), Case Keenum (Vikings), or Josh McCown (Jets)? I’m not a Kaep fan but he is better than these guys.
  • Speaking of Mike Glennon, why did the Bears pay a back-up QB for Tampa Bay so much money, then draft Mitch Trubisky at #2? When will they replace Glennon with Trubisky? Glennon knows the Tampa Bay defense so well as he practiced against them every day for 2 years, he threw 2 interceptions and lost 1 fumble against them. I guess it was a thank you gesture.
  • Matthew Stafford and the Lions showed “Eli’s Goin'” (no longer “Comin'”) and Slow-dell Beckham how the game should be played. Did Slow-dell and Brandon Marshall go down to Miami for another boat trip during Irma to practice catching balls in windy conditions? If they did, it didn’t work, again… Problem was they played in perfectly windless conditions so they dropped balls. Slow-dell said that he should be the highest paid player in the league. I agree… in the Canadian Football league or Arena league… You are more show than production… As good as you make yourself to be, I’m glad you’re not on the Niner’s roster. ShanaLynch is changing the culture and building Team Chemistry. At least there is no “I” on the Niner’s “TEAM”…C’mon Man !!!
  • Next year, if Andy Reid screws Alex Smith by starting Patrick Mahomes (like Jim Harbaugh screwed him by replacing him with Kaep), wouldn’t it be nice to see Alex back with the Niners? I’m convinced that the Niners would have had their 6th SB trophy if Alex was the QB against the Ravens.

SF 49er’s Weak 1 Results

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During the National Anthem, I was awaiting a fly-over but the skies remained hot and clear with no jets in sight. Bad omen…

The Niners finally put up the Ring of Honor but did so with only the Numbers of the Honorees without their names. I was trying to figure out who some of the numbers belonged to…

After the National Anthem, I was expecting the throngs of Faithful fans to take their seats across the way on the HOT sun side of the field. The seats remained 70% empty for the entire game.

During half-time, the Niners inducted Tom Rathman into the Niners Hall Of Fame. I was expecting that most fans would stay in their seats and watch the induction ceremonies. Rathman accepted the honor by talking to empty seats.

Finally, the game starts and the Niners are off to a great start. They hold the Panthers, receive the punt, then start driving. Shanahan’s offense is in high gear and then Hoyer throws his first long pass of the year down the right side. But, Marquis Goodwin drops the ball at the 3 yard line. The game for the Niners goes downhill from that point.

On the next Panthers series, Reuben Foster goes down with an apparent serious season ending leg injury. He is carted off the field and I’m feeling like “New coach, same results”. Thankfully, it was not a season ending injury but Foster will be out 4-6 weeks. After 11 plays in the first game of the season, Reuben Foster is clearly the best player on defense. That’s all you need to know about Trent Baalke’s draft picking skills.

The only other Niner highlight for the game was Jaquiski Tartt’s amazing one-handed interception which was the #1 ESPN “You’ve been Moss’ed”  highlight of the week.

The areas that I was most disappointed in were:

  • The offensive interior line play was expected to be a weak point and it clearly showed. Hoyer was sacked 4 times and had very little time to throw all day long. Zane Beadles was beaten all day and his weak blocking lead to 3 sacks and 1 lost fumble.
  • I had high hopes for our defensive front four and line-backing core this year and expected much less from our CB’s and Safeties. The defensive back-field actually had a decent game with the exception of a blown coverage by Tartt which resulted in the Panthers first touchdown. The most disappointing aspect of the team play was the Niner defensive front four. Cam Newton’s jersey was as clean at the end of the game as it was when he started the game. Absolutely zero pressure and Newton had all day to pick his receiver. That is another reason that I say that the DB’s had a decent game. The Niners spent their #1 draft pick in each of the last three seasons (Arik Armstead, DeForest Buckner, and Soloman Thomas) on the defensive front four. None of them showed up. Lastly, Shanahan made a decision before the game to inactivate a healthy Aaron Lynch, the Niners best pass rusher. I do have to give credit to the D-line for containing the Panther’s running game including McCaffery. They were stout in the running game.
  • Shanahan’s decisions to go for it on 4th downs were not good decisions. In this league, field position is vital. He gave up 6 unnecessary points before half time so instead of a 7-0 deficit, he was looking at 13-0 with the Niners receiving the ball to start the 3rd quarter. Also, on those 4th down plays and some 3rd down plays, he called plays that took too much time thus resulted in bad plays. He knew Hoyer was under pressure but still called those slow developing plays.

I am still confident that this team will begin to play much better. Zane Beadles will be replaced with Laken Tomlinson whom they acquired from the Detroit Lions a few weeks ago. Until we see how well he plays, the jury is still out, but he has to be an improvement over Beadles. Shanahan’s play calls were good except for those 3rd and 4th down calls. Hoyer just didn’t have time. I saw the WR routes and they were much improved over last year. Completions are on the way. And, Robert Saleh will somehow get the defense to start putting pressure on the opposing QB’s.

We will be suffering another loss in Seattle next week. Having said that, I will be looking for improved play on both our offensive and defensive lines. The Seahawks offensive line is nothing to write home about so I’m looking for the Niners to put pressure on Wilson. The Niners won’t score too many points on the superior Seahawks defense but I’m hoping that Hoyer will have more time to have a decent passing game. The Niner running game will be very limited due to the Seahawk front 7 strength.

It will take time to turn this franchise around so Shanahan will learn how to get the best out of what he has and get some unexpected wins this year. I’m not giving up on this regime. We do have a special GM in Lynch and a good coach in Shanahan. They will attract the talent but it will take 2-3 years before they become consistent winners again.

2017 SF Forty Niners 53 Man Roster – Final

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Note: Names in Bold are new players to the team.

QB (2): Starter: Brian Hoyer,  Backup: C.J. Beathard
RB (3): Starter: Carlos Hyde, Backups: Raheem MostertMatt Breida
FB (1): Starter: Kyle Juszczyk
WR (6): Starters: Pierre GarçonMarquise Goodwin, Backups: Victor BoldenAldrick Robinson, Trent Taylor, Kendrick Bourne
TE (3): Starter: George Kittle, Backups: Logan Paulsen, Garrett Celek
OT (4): Starters: Joe Staley, Trent Brown, Backups: Garry Gilliam, John Theus
OG (3): Starters: Zane Beadles, Brandon Fusco, Backup: Laken Tomlinson
C (2): Starter: Daniel Kilgore, Backup: Erik Magnuson

DT (4): Starters: DeForest Buckner, Earl Mitchell, Backups: D.J. Jones, Tank Carradine
DE (6)
: Starters: Arik Armstead, Solomon Thomas, Backups: Elvis Dumervil, Aaron Lynch, Pita Taumoepenu, Ronald Blair
OLB (2): Starter: Eli Harold, Backup: Dekoda Watson
MLB (4): Starters: NaVorro Bowman, Reuben Foster, Backups: Ray Ray Armstrong Brock Coyle
CB (5): Starters: Rashard Robinson, Dontae Johnson Backups: Keith Reaser, Ahkello Witherspoon, K’Waun Williams
S (5): Jimmie Ward, Eric Reid, Jaquiski Tartt, Lorenzo Jerome, Adrian Colbert

K (1)Robbie Gould
P (1): Bradley Pinion
LS (1): Kyle Nelson

 

Injured reserve: LB Malcolm Smith, S Chanceller James, LB Jimmie Gilbert, WR BJ Johnson III, LB Donavin Newsom, RB Joe Williams, S Don Jones, Aaron Burbridge, OG Joshua Garnett, DT Chris Jones

Analysis:

  • 30 new players for 2017, keeping 23 players from a 2016 2-14 team. (57% new players)
  • Of the offensive skill positions (QB, WR, RB, TE), 13 of the 15 players are new (87%)
  • Every single draft pick this year made the team with the exception of Joe Williams who was placed on IR. So, technically, he made the team
  • Niners got young with a good mixture of veteran leaders on both sides of the ball. This is absolutely a move in the right direction
  • Positions of weakness are LB, CB, FS and OG so look for ShanaLynch to replace some players in these positions with players cut by other teams. Would love to see them pick up T.J. Ward who was cut by the Broncos

2017 SF Forty Niners 53 Man Roster Projections

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Note: Names in Bold are new players to the team.

QB (2): Starter: Brian Hoyer,  Backup: C.J. Beathard (Cut Matt Barkley)
RB (4): Starter: Carlos Hyde, Backups: Raheem Mostert, Joe Williams, Matt Breida (Cut Tim Hightower… Mostert is not only a better RB, he is also valuable on the Special Teams).
FB (1): Starter: Kyle Juszczyk
WR (6): Starters: Pierre GarçonMarquise Goodwin, Backups: Victor BoldenAldrick Robinson, Trent Taylor, Kendrick Bourne (Trade Jeremy Kerley for a Corner Back or draft pick… possibly to the Patriots who lost Edelman… Bolden is better at returning punts/kickoffs)
TE (3): Starter: George Kittle, Backups: Logan Paulsen, Garrett Celek (Trade Vance McDonald for a Guard or draft pick… If no trade, keep him and cut Celek).
OT (4): Starters: Joe Staley, Trent Brown, Backup: Garry Gilliam, John Theus
OG (4): Starters: Zane Beadles, Brandon Fusco, Backups: Joshua Garnett, Erik Magnuson
C (2): Starter: Daniel Kilgore, Backup: Tim Barnes

DT (5): Starters: DeForest Buckner, Earl Mitchell, Backups: D.J. JonesChris Jones, Quinton Dial (Trade Quinton Dial for a Guard or draft pick… If no trade, keep him).
DE (4)
: Starters: Arik Armstead, Solomon Thomas, Backups: Elvis Dumervil, Aaron Lynch (Trade Tank Carradine for a draft pick or cut him).
OLB (2): Starter: Eli Harold, Backup: Dekoda Watson
MLB (4): Starters: NaVorro Bowman, Reuben Foster, Backups: Ray Ray Armstrong Brock Coyle
CB (5): Starters: Rashard Robinson, Dontae Johnson Backups: Keith Reaser, Ahkello Witherspoon, K’Waun Williams (Disappointed with Witherspoon. If Niners can trade for a CB, then move Witherspoon to the practice squad).
S (4): Starters: Jaquiski Tartt, Eric Reid, Backups: Jimmy Ward, Lorenzo Jerome

K (1)Robbie Gould
P (1): Bradley Pinion
LS (1): Kyle Nelson

Project 30 new players for 2017, keeping 23 players from a 2016 2-14 team.

Also project a 6-10 season… moving in the right direction.

 

Commentary:

  • QB is much improved from last year. Hoyer is very Alex Smith-like which is not necessarily a bad thing. It is still not a position of strength but still better than last year.
  • RB’s are very much improved from last year.
  • WR’s are now a position of strength. From worst to a top 15 group.
  • OT’s are a position of strength.
  • OG’s are a weakness that must be improved in the next 2 years.
  • C is average and should be improved in next 2 years.
  • D-line is a bit better than average and much improved from last year.
  • LB’s are better than average and way better than last year.
  • CB’s are weak and must be improved in the next 2 years. Baalke invested so many damaged goods at this position over his administration, it’ll take a complete make-over.
  • Eric Reid at Strong safety seems to be thriving under Robert Saleh’s defensive scheme. Jaquiski Tartt may develop as Free Safety but too early to tell. Jimmy Ward is always hurt… another Baalke damaged good pick.