2018 SF 49ers – Wouldn’t Dee Ford (KC Chiefs) Look Good in a Niner Uni in 2019 ?

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Dee Ford is an unrestricted Free Agent in 2019 and had a monster year in his contract year. He is the Edge Rusher that the Niners have been needing ever since Charles Haley left the Niners in 1991. Yes, it has been 27 long years since the Niners had an impact pass rusher.

How good was Ford’s 2018 season?

  • He had a league leading 11 QB pressures that directly resulted in turnovers. Putting it another way, the entire Niners defense totaled 7 turnovers and Dee had 11 by himself.
  • Ford’s strip sack of Andrew Luck in the 3rd quarter of yesterday’s playoff game took just 2.54 seconds, the fastest yet of this year’s playoff games.
  • When the Niners played the Chiefs this year, Ford had 7 QB pressures that resulted in 2 sacks and 5 hurries.
  • Dee finished the year with 13 sacks and 46 hurries along with his 11 forced turnovers.

That, my friends, is what is called a monster year in his contract year and he will be commanding a huge payday.

There is this thing called the “franchise tag” which the Chiefs will most likely use to prevent Ford from signing with any other team. So, although Dee Ford would look so good in a Niner uniform next year, the likelihood of this happening is slim to none.

There are other pass rushers who will become free agents this year:

  • Frank Clark (Seahawks)
  • Jadeveon Clowney (Texans)
  • Trey Flowers (Patriots)
  • DeMarcus Lawrence (Cowboys)

These players are all great options for the Niners as well. But, they are also “franchise tag” candidates along with Dee Ford. But, a lot can happen between now and the NFL draft so if any of these great edge rushers are not ‘tagged”, the Niners should pounce on the opportunity to get one of these players.

There are potentially 2 impact pass rushers in this year’s NFL draft, Nick Bosa (Ohio State) and Josh Allen (Tennessee). The Niners are drafting 2nd overall so will be guaranteed a shot at one of these two edge rushers. Again, a lot can happen between now and the NFL draft in late April. If the Niners are able to sign one of the five premium pass rushers mentioned above who have already proven themselves, Lynch/Shanahan may opt for the “best available” player in the NFL draft instead of focusing solely on Bosa/Allen.

This leads me to what I feel would be the dream scenario for the Niners in 2019.

  • Sign one the of five established edge rushers who will be free agents this year with Dee Ford at the top of my list.
  • Instead of drafting Nick Bosa or Josh Allen, draft Quinnen Williams (DT from Alabama). He may be the next Aaron Donald (LA Rams). With Williams, Buckner, Armstead, Thomas and one of the five edge rushing free agents, the Niners may just become one of the best defenses in the league. Teams won’t be able to double team any one of these players so the QB pressures will increase dramatically. The other added benefit is to the Niners defensive backfield. With QB pressures, their coverage time will be reduced and the chance for turnovers will increase.

Other free agents that the Niners should strongly consider are Earl Thomas (Safety from the Seahawks), Landon Collins (Safety from the Giants), Tyrann Mathieu (Safety from the Texans), C.J. Mosely (LB from the Ravens), Anthony Barr (LB from the Vikings), and Chris Conley (WR from the Chiefs).

After picking Quinnen Williams in the first round, their next priority is to pick the best available Corner Back in the second round.  The 2019 draft class is deep at the CB position:

  • Greedy Williams (LSU)
  • Deandre Baker (Georgia)
  • Byron Murphy (Washington)
  • Amani Oruwariye (Penn St)
  • Julian Love (Notre Dame)
  • Kris Boyd (Texas)
  • Trayvon Mullen (Clemson) (Defensive MVP in CFP Championship game)
  • Travon Diggs (Alabama)

As for Wide Receivers, every year, an impact WR emerges who was picked in the middle-to-late rounds in the draft. Lynch/Shanahan have to find that diamond in the rough. I do not recommend that the Niners trade for either Antonio Brown or Odell Beckham as the asking prices will be too high.

Although their record doesn’t show it, the team roster has improved dramatically since they took over. I expect that this trend will continue and the W’s will follow.

SF 49ers – Week 16 Loss – On a Down Year, Shanahan looks Up to 2019

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The Niners closed a disappointing 2018 season at 4-12 with a 48-32 loss to the LA Rams. In spite of an injury ridden year, the Niners saw the emergence of many young players with some even becoming impact players. I view George Kittle (TE), DeForest Buckner (DE), Richard Sherman (CB) and Fred Warner (LB) as having a tremendous impact year. The players who made great strides going into next year are Matt Breida (RB), Raheem Mostert (RB), Nick Mullens (QB), Dante Pettis (WR), Kendrick Bourne (WR), Elijah Lee (LB), and Mike McGlinchy (OT). And of course, the old reliable Joe Staley (OT), had his usual outstanding year. The young defensive backs who were pressed into action due to injuries who may be difference makers next year are D.J. Reed, Marcell Harris, and Tarvarious Moore. Lastly, the Niners will have a healthy Jimmy Garoppolo (QB) and Jerrick McKinnon (RB), who missed the entire season with torn ACL’s, back in action next year.

George Kittle set an NFL record with 88 catches for 1,377 yards beating Travis Kelce who had set the record a few hours earlier with 1,336 and Rob Gronkowski with 1,327 in 2011.

The Offensive Line had a solid year. Joe Staley (LT), Laken Tomlinson (LG), Weston Richburg (C), Mike Person (RG), and Mike McGlinchey (RT) have become a stable group. Tomlinson may have suffered a torn ACL in yesterday’s game. This will be a blow to this group. Richburg played almost the entire year with a bad knee. With a year to strengthen his knee, he should come back strong next year.

The Defensive Line has also come together and the Niners now have a solid base. Arik Armstead (DE), Ronald Blair (DE), Earl Mitchell (NT), DeForest Buckner (DE), Soloman Thomas (DT), Sheldon Day (DT), D.J. Jones (DT), and Julian Taylor (DT) give the Niners a solid rotational group. Soloman Thomas, who was miss-used as a DE, started to shine when moved to his position of strength (DT). He is much more effective on the inside due to his quickness and ability to get into the backfield to disrupt runs or passes.

The greatest need for improvement for next year are to find a pass rusher and a true #1 wide receiver. I trust that Lynch and Shanahan will fill these holes either through the draft or via free agency. Their reputation as being player’s coaches/executives have grown. Thus, impact players at these positions may be attracted to joining the Niners.

In addition to player improvements, Shanahan and his coaches must focus on improving these two glaring minuses….

  • They were 0-8 on the road.
  • They created the fewest take-away turnovers in NFL history (7 on 2 interceptions and 5 fumble recoveries). They lost the ball 32 times on 20 interceptions and 12 fumbles for a differential of minus 25. This is by far, the worst in the NFL.

The Niners coaching staff will coach the players in the Senior Bowl. Traditionally, the coaching staff with the worst NFL record are assigned to coach in the Senior Bowl. Arizona had the worst record, but, with the firing of coach Steve Wilkes, Kyle Shanahan is next in line. The last time the Niners coached in the Senior Bowl, coach Mike Singletary found a guy named Patrick Willis.

This-n-That:

  • At the conclusion of the season, there are 8 head coach vacancies. Green Bay, Cincinnati, NY Jets, Arizona, Tampa Bay, Miami, Denver, and Cleveland.
  • In the playoffs, watch out for the Indy Colts in the AFC. With Andrew Luck and perhaps the best Offensive Line in the NFL with the addition of Quentin Nelson, they are dominating and opening gaping holes for their RB’s. In the NFC, the Seahawks with the 4th quarter magician, Russell Wilson, will be a tough out.
  • The Pittsburgh Steelers remained on the field after their narrow victory rooting for their arch enemy Cleveland Browns to beat the Baltimore Ravens. This was their only hope for making the playoffs. Their balloon was burst when the Ravens intercepted Baker Mayfield to end the Steeler’s season. No tears were shed by this writer….

SF 49ers – Week 15 Loss – The Young Defense Holds Potent Bears to 14 Points

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I heaped praise on the young Niner defensive players in last week’s blog and they didn’t do anything to dispel my view of their play. They played great against a very good Chicago Bears team by holding them to 14 points. Yes, they got beat but only on great back-shoulder passes by Mitchell Trubisky. Not even the best corner backs in the leagues could have prevented those catches.

The offense was held in check only because they faced a Vic Fangio defense… one of the best in the NFL. Not only does Fangio have the best personnel in the league, he knows how to scheme his personnel. He has re-made the Monsters of the Midway with his crew. And, since Vic was not given the chance to coach the Niners by Baalke and York, he had a bit more incentive to unleash his Monsters.

The Niners finally won the turnover battle 2 to 1 and had a chance to drive down the field at the end of the game after they forced a fumble. But, on 4th and 4 near mid-field, Nick Mullens rolled out to the right and had clear sailings to pick up the first down, but he got caught up in the moment and flung a long desperation pass down the field which fell way out of bounds. These are the mistakes that he and the Niners will learn from as they head into the last game of the year vs the high powered LA Rams.

This-n-That:

  • Chuckie Gruden traded the best linebacker in football, Khalil Mack, and a young impact wide receiver, Amari Cooper, and got GM Reggie McKenzie fired. The Raiders are now being sued by the city of Oakland for leaving Oakland for Vegas. Mark Davis’ Dad forced the City of Oakland to spend millions building Mt. Davis, a monstrosity upper deck which was never used by neither the Raiders nor the A’s. Al Davis made the building of Mt. Davis a condition for the Raiders to return to Oakland from LA. Mark Davis wasn’t satisfied with Mt. Davis so he demanded a brand new stadium. Vegas was stupid enough to fall for his trap so he is leaving Oakland once again strapping them with unpaid bills and lost revenue. As a topper to the Oakland saga, this week, Gruden signed QB Nathan Peterman who was released by the Buffalo Bills. He was released because in 8 games, he threw for 3 touchdowns but 12 interceptions (5 int’s in one half of one game) with a QB rating of 32.5. He had a perfect QB rating for the opposing team. Fits perfectly with Gruden’s offense.
  • The Washington Redskins released All Pro safety D.J. Swearinger after he bashed his coaching staff in public, something he has done before. But, this is the same Redskin staff who hired Reuben Foster one day after he was arrested for domestic violence (third arrest) and cut by the Niners. It’s this kind of management decisions that keep on getting in the way of the Redskins being able to win.

SF 49ers – Week 14 WIN – The Young and the Restless !!!

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Remember 1981 when the Niners drafted and started Ronnie Lott, Eric Wright, and Carlton Williamson? All three were instant starters and along with a skinny legged 3rd stringer named Joe Montana, the Niners shocked the football world by beating the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC Championship game (Dwight Clark’s “The Catch” Game) and went on to beat the Bengals in Super Bowl Sweet 16!!!… and the beginning of the Niner dynasty !!!

Fast forward to the 2018 draft class… The Niners drafted Tarvarius Moore, D.J. Reed, and Marcell Harris to improve their defensive backfield. In an injury plagued season, these three DB’s are getting their chance to play and Oh Boy, they are playing and playing well. The defensive play was a key in upsetting Denver and Seattle (both in the playoff hunt) in consecutive weeks. While I’m not saying that these guys can lead the Niners to the “promised land”, I am very much looking forward to next year to see the defense gel and become an important cog in the Niners success.

While we are on the topic of this year’s draft, let’s take a late season look at how they are doing…

  • Mike McGlinchy – Instant starter at Right Tackle and showing that he is one the best rookies at the Tackle position.
  • Dante Pettis – After battling through a knee injury, he is starting to showcase his Wide Receiver skills. He had 5 receptions for 83 yards vs Seattle.
  • Fred Warner – Instant starter at Linebacker and is calling the defensive plays as a rookie. He had 9 tackles (4 solo) vs Seattle.
  • Tarvarious Moore – See above. He had 7 tackles (5 solo) with 2 passes defensed vs Seattle.
  • Kentavious Street – Highly touted Defensive Lineman who tore is ACL prior to the draft but Lynch and Shanahan were so impressed with his talents, they drafted him anyway.
  • D.J. Reed – See above. He had 5 tackles (3 solo) vs Seattle.
  • Marcell Harris – See above. He had 6 tackles (6 solo) vs Seattle.
  • Jullian Taylor – Has earned a rotational spot on the Defensive Line and is playing well. He had 1 tackle vs Seattle.
  • Richie James – Quick Slot Receiver who returned a Kickoff 97 yards for a TD vs the Seahawks.

I would have to give Lynch and Shanahan high grades for these picks as all of them have made the team and are already making contributions. We’ll have to see how they grade out at the end of next year to give a true evaluation of this 2018 draft class.

Once again, undrafted QB Nick Mullens had a great game throwing for 275 yards on 20-29 with 1 TD. He did overthrow Gronk Kittle twice which could have lead to 2 additional TD’s, but those were the only two bad throws he made. And, undrafted Jeff Wilson overcame a fumble that killed a promising drive and a petty  unsportsman-like penalty that took away another potential TD by running excellently for the game winning field goal drive in OT.

As I said last week, I don’t expect the Niners to win any of the remaining 2 games, against playoff teams (the Bears, and Rams). But, I do expect these games to be competitive as the defense has come together and playing their best ball of the year. DeForest Buckner has become a monster. Against the Seahawks, he had 11 total tackles, 7 solo, 2 sacks (11 for the year), 4 tackles for losses, and 3 QB hits. These are Reggie White like numbers.  The O-line has been playing great all year and Nick Mullens’ quick decision making skills will allow the Niners to stay in these games.

This-n-That:

  • The mighty Patriots and Rams have looked like Patsy’s and Lambs over the last two weeks as both are on 2 game losing streaks.The Playoffs will be very interesting this year as I believe that any team in the tournament are capable of advancing. Additionally, no playoff team wants to face either the Colts or Titans if they get into the Playoffs.
  • After beating the Steelers last week, the Raiders lost to the Bengals with a QB named Jeff Driskel? Chuckie Gruden’s winning streak was short lived.
  • Alex Smith was finally released from the hospital after 4 weeks after a horrendous leg injury and infection. Wishing him all the best for a full recovery and hoping to see him in a Redskin uniform again next year. Alex is still one of my favorite players of all time because he is the ultimate team player who spends time teaching the QB trade even if it means that his student will take over his job.
  • Those Niner fans who are calling in to complain about their tremendous win vs the Seahawks and losing out for the #1 overall draft pick next year are losers and not real Niner fans. Lynch and Shanahan are instilling a winning culture and don’t ever want to be associated with the #1 pick ever again.

SF 49ers – Week 13 WIN – George Kittle is the new Gronk !!!

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In their best game of the year, the Niners beat the hot Denver Broncos who had won 3 games in a row and was in the hunt for a playoff spot. Before the game started, the Broncos knew that the Baltimore Ravens had lost, thus opening an opportunity for them to sneak into the playoffs. The Broncos had plenty to play for and had to be confident playing the Niners who had only two wins this entire season. As I said in last week’s post, there is plenty to be optimistic about this Niner team going forward. The young studs on both sides of the ball showcased their talents against a playoff caliber team.These guys are playing for their future as Shanahan told them that the remaining games are important to find out who will be part of the Niners success going forward.

Nick Mullens had a solid game throwing for 305 yards on 20-33 and 2 TD’s. 210 of those yards went to George Kittle which included an exciting 85 yard catch-n-run TD, all in the first half. Kittle is now being mentioned as being in the same class as Gronkowski and Kelce. Mullens also threw a game clinching TD to Dante Pettis. Jeff Wilson had a career high 90 yards in his first NFL start.

Thus, an undrafted QB (Nick Mullens) and an undrafted RB (Jeff Wilson) took apart a very good Bronco defense. But, it was the unsung heroes who won the game for the Niners. The Offensive Line controlled the line of scrimmage against Von Miller and Bradley Chubb, two of the best sack artists in the league. Also, the Defensive Line held Phillip Lindsey to 30 yards on 14 carries. Last week, Lindsey had 157 yards and 2 TD’s against the Bengals. Witherspoon and Sherman had good games at the Cornerback position but it was D.J. Reed and Marcell Harris, both Rookies, who had absolutely monster games playing the Safety positions.

With Jimmy Garoppolo, Jerick McKinnon and Raheem Mostert returning next year from injuries and the Niners committed to finding a Pass Rusher and an impact Wide Receiver, they are pointing in the right direction.

I don’t expect the Niners to win any of the remaining 3 games, all against playoff teams (the Seahawks, Bears, and Rams). But, I do expect these games to be competitive as the young players are now strutting their stuff.

This-n-That:

  • After the Raiders beat the high flying Steelers, they fired their GM, Reggie McKenzie. No doubt, there was a power struggle between Chuckie Gruden and McKenzie. With Chuckie beating the Steelers, this presented a perfect time to tell owner Mark Davis that he was in control. With Gruden trading the best LB in the league, Khalil Mack, and also trading an impact WR, Amari Cooper, he is being very Baalke-like in his determination to make this his own team. With only 3 wins this year, time will tell if Gruden can make this team a winner.
  • There is some truth to some team match-up dynamics that simply do not change regardless of whether one team is dominant and the other team just average. One of these cases is between the New England Patriots and Miami Dolphins. No matter how good the Patriots are and how bad the Dolphins are, the Dolphins have the Patriots number. Yesterday was no different as the Dolphins pulled off a major upset with an implausible game winning 69 yard TD with a hook-n-ladder miracle on the last play of the game (34-33).
  • The Golden State Warriors were named Sport Illustrated Sportsperson of the year. They become only the 4th team ever to win this award. The 1980 US Men’s Olympic Hockey team, the 1999 US Women’s Olympic Soccer team, and the 2004 World Series Boston Red Sox team are the only other teams to win this otherwise individual performance award.
    “This is an incredible honor and one that certainly signifies our Strength in Numbers philosophy as a team and organization,” Warriors President of Basketball Operations/General Manager Bob Myers told The Associated Press. “Our success is due to the contributions of every single player, coach and staff member in our organization; for Sports Illustrated to recognize this unique dynamic is truly special.”

SF 49ers – Week 12 Loss – Losing Streak Remains Intact

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The Niners lost to the Seattle Seahawks big (43-16) to extend their losing streak and remain with the worst won/loss record in the NFL. Having said that, their effort against a good Seahawk team was the best since beating the hapless Raiders back on November 1. Saying that this was their “best effort in a while” can be taken in one of two ways… either they are so bad, that a 43-16 whipping is as good as they can be… or, they are on the right path in becoming a respectable team for the remainder of this year and upcoming years. My view is that they will show effort for the remaining games this year but will continue to lose. But they will gain valuable experience in becoming a respectable team next year.

Following are my reasons for optimism for the Niners:

  • The offense is above average. The Offensive line is solid and consistent. Mike McGlinchy, the Niners 1st round draft pick has turned out to be a great pick. Although very injury ridden at running back (Jerick McKinnon out with an ACL, Raheem Mostert out with a broken arm, and Matt Breida playing through ankle issues all year), the Niners have the 4th best running game in the NFL. Undrafted rookie, Jeff Wilson had his best NFL game on Sunday (61 yards on 15 carries) and will be a valuable rotational back next year. Kyle Juszczyk is the best Fullback in the league. They are set at QB with Jimmy Garoppolo coming back next year and both Nick Mullins and C.J. Beathard getting valuable playing experience this year. Mullins threw for 414 yards and 2 touchdowns on 30/48 passes against a good Seahawk defense. The Wide Receiver position is lacking an impact pass catcher. Dante Pettis had his best game in his young career this week (5 catches for 129 yards with 2 touchdowns with one being a beautiful 75 yard catch-n-run). Kendrick Bourne, Marquis Goodwin, Richie James and Trent Taylor are good but not impact receivers. George Kittle has quickly developed into a Gronk-like Tight End and continues to shine every week.
  • The defense needs an overhaul. Their Front Four is solid with good rotational players (Earl Mitchell, Arik Armstead, Ronald Blair, DeForest Buckner, Cassius Marsh, Solomon Thomas, Sheldon Day, DJ Jones, and Julian Taylor.) The big missing piece is an impact pass rusher. This is key to their success as the back seven simply isn’t good enough to cover receivers for more than 3 seconds. At corner back, Ahkello Witherspoon is developing but very inconsistent. Richard Sherman is still good but at his age, he may have at most 1-2 more years left in his legs. Jaquiski Tartt is a good but not a great Safety. The younger “back seven” players are worth developing as we don’t yet have a gauge on how good they are or can be because of the lack of a pass rush. DJ Reed, Adrian Colbert, Marcell Harris, and Tarvarious Moore are young and worth keeping. Guys like Jimmie Ward, K’Waun Williams, and Antone Exum have had their chances so their tenure with the Niners should end. As for Linebackers, Fred Warner is the only keeper going forward. The linebacking group needs revamping. They need an impact Safety like Derwin James of the LA Chargers and an impact linebacker like Leighton Vander Esch of the Dallas Cowboys. Lynch and Shanahan almost drafted James but decided to go with McGlinchey which was the right choice. Now that the Niners do have a solid Offense, their focus on improvement will be on Defense.

This-n-That:

  • Another revealing piece of news related to Kareem Hunt, the running back for the KC Chiefs released due to a domestic violence incident. Both the Chiefs and the NFL knew about the incident back in February. They were “unable” to get ahold of the video and they did NOT interview either Kareem or the abused woman. Yes, indeed, the NFL did everything possible to do a thorough investigation… NOT !!!
  • Urban Meyer, the Ohio State coach, who hid the fact that his assistant coach was abusing his wife for years, announced his retirement. Most likely because his Buckeyes weren’t selected to the Final 4 NCAA Football Championships.
  • On Friday, Nov 23, Tiger Woods and Phil Nicholson participated in a $9 million winner take all match in Las Vegas. It probably made sense 10 years ago, but not now… Heard it was a boring match which I call the Battle of the Cheaters. One cheats on the course while the other cheats off the course. Of course, the “on course cheater” won…

SF 49ers – Week 10 Loss – Niners Host Paradise Football Team

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The Niners lost to an equally bad NY Giants team but the big story was the Niners generosity in inviting and hosting the Paradise Football team at Levi Stadium in support of all the families who lost their lives and homes in the horrific fires which destroyed the entire community.

“What that town, what that community has gone through, it’s just heart-wrenching, gut-wrenching for all of us,” 49ers general manager John Lynch said. “So, you just look for anything you can do. I think when you can take people’s minds off something for a short time, of course we’d do anything possible. I think it’s just a show of solidarity of our community, we’ve got to all stand together and reach out and help each other during a time like this.”

The Niners also will donate all proceeds from Monday night’s 50/50 drawing to the North Valley Community Foundation to help those affected by the fires in Butte County.

In addition, San Francisco tight end George Kittle, quarterback Nick Mullens, defensive tackle DeForest Buckner, fullback Kyle Juszczyk, left tackle Joe Staley and running back Matt Breida are signing and donating their game-worn jerseys from Monday night to be auctioned off, with all money going to relief efforts.

 

Shane Wallen, the 49ers’ assistant strength and conditioning coach, grew up in Paradise and is a native of Chico. He has started a GoFundMe page in efforts to offer support for his hometown. The fire destroyed Wallen’s father’s home in Magalia, California.

With the help of multiple Niners players making donations and posting on their social media platforms, Wallen had already raised more than $19,000 of the $50,000 goal as of early Monday evening. Wallen stopped and greeted each Paradise player on Monday night.

During the national anthem, the Paradise team stood in front of the 49ers on the sideline and received loud cheers from the fans at Levi’s Stadium. As the anthem began, Niners players put their arms around the Paradise players in solidarity.

Aaron Rodgers who grew up in Chico donate $1 million to the Paradise fund. One of the great players and great guys in the league !!!

Additionally, the GS Warriors also hosted the boys and girls Paradise basketball teams to their Tuesday night game. Of the 31 players invited, 29 lost their homes. They are also running fund raisers to help the community.

Sports is a wonderful way to provide relief to those impacted by disasters and also a great forum to raise funds to help rebuild the community…

 

News around Bay Area Sports:

  • Congratulations to the Oakland A’s for an outstanding year. Richly deserved awards went to Bob Melvin for being named the AL Manager of the Year. Matt Chapman and Matt Olson both won Gold Gloves and Khris Davis won the best Designated Hitter award.
  • Congratulations to the SF Giants for hiring Farhan Zaidi as the head of baseball operations. Although only 41, he has already helped build both the Oakland A’s and LA Dodgers in becoming solid winners.
  • The GS Warriors are on a 4 game skid. While the media is blaming the heated argument between Draymond Green and Kevin Durant for the losses, the real reason are injuries to Steph Curry, Draymond Green and Alfonso McKinnie. Once they recover from their injuries and get DeMarcus Cousins in playing shape, they’ll get back to their winning ways. Ask Kyle Shanahan for injury woes…

SF 49ers – Week 9 WIN – Niners Crush Turdy Raiders

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The Niners totally dominated the Raiders on prime time Thursday Night Football to the tune of 34-3. The real question is if the Niners actually found their stride or are the Raiders indeed the worst team in the NFL thus masking the Niner effort? They play an equally bad team next Monday night when they host Eli Manning and the NY Giants. If the Niners win that game, then a bit more will be learned but not much more. After all, the only two wins that a bad Arizona Cardinal team has this year are against the Niners.

This is a lost year much like last year was so it was refreshing to see Shanahan turn to an untested Nick Mullens at QB. He had a brilliant first game with 3 TD’s, zero turnovers, 16-22 passes completed for 262 yards earning him a whopping 151.9 QB rating. This ranks as one of the top four performances in NFL history for a QB in his first starting role. Nick received a call from Brett Favre during the post-game interview as Mullens and Favre both went to Southern Miss. Turns out that Mullens shattered all of Favre’s passing records there.

The big question that will dominate this week’s Niner media coverage is whether Shanahan will stick with Mullens for the NY Giants game even if Beathard’s wrist is healed and he is cleared to play. It is a mini QB controversy as we all know that Jimmy Garopollo will be back to start next year. Having said that, it will be telling to Niner fans on what direction Shanahan will take for the remainder of this year. The overwhelming fan sentiment will be that Mullens should continue to start due to his stellar performance. Beathard has a history of turnovers and being sacked as he hangs onto the ball way too long waiting for receivers to get open. Mullens showed last night that he can make quick decisions and get the ball out accurately before the receivers make their final break. So, will Shanahan stick with the hot hand or be loyal to Beathard? My recommendation is for Shanahan to have this discussion with Steve Kerr and get his thoughts on this topic.

Last night was really fun for a change. Let’s find out if Nick Mullens can finish out the remainder of this season much like Garopollo finished last year with five consecutive wins.

Game This-n-Thats:

  • Before the start of last night’s game there was Breaking News… The Niners traded their Len Eshmont candidate to the Raiders as a salary dump (pun intended). Yes, Toi Lett Bowle the Turd (III), is now a Raider so he can be united with his twin brother, Turd. The Raiders now have exclusive rights to all Turds.
  • The leading candidate to win the Len Eshmont award now belongs to George “Gronk” Kittle. He had 4 receptions last night on 4 targets for 108 yards with a 71 yard 1-handed catch and run that must be seen to be believed… WOW !!!
  • The Niner defense came alive last night and sacked Derek Carr 8 times. They did this with the following starters out with injuries: Reuben Foster, Adrian Colbert, Jaquiski Tartt, and Antone Exum.
  • The Kittle catch was the play of the night but the next best play was Raheem Mostert’s 52 yard TD run. Raheem’s speed to the sideline was impressive but the guy who made the play special was rookie 1st round Tackle, Mike McGlinchy, who was a 1-man convoy leading Mostert all the way into the End Zone. Yes, a 6’8” 315 lb mountain of a man was the lead blocker 50 yards from the line of scrimmage… AMAZING !!!
  • On a down note, Mostert broke his arm late in the game and will be lost for the remainder of the year.

SF 49ers – Week 8 Loss – Niners Lose But Find Their Player of the Year

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The Niner player of the year and a lock to win the Len Eshmont award is Toi Lett Bowle the Turd (III). Unquestionably, he is a fan favorite of:

  • Those who are so pi$$ed at the Niners play that they want to pee in their pants. But Toi is there to provide relief.
  • Those who are so appalled at the Niners $hitty play that they want to drop their load on the spot. But Toi gives them the best seats in the house (Levi stadium lavatories).
  • Those who are so drunk, they want to puke at every bad Niner play which means they are barfing on almost every play. But, Toi is always there to help prevent a messy situation.

Next Thursday night, both Niner and Raider fans get a chance of a lifetime to watch the Super Toilet Bowl of 2018. Toi’s twin brother, Turd Bowle the Turd.5 (III.5), plays for the Raiders is clearly their best player. This Thursday night match-up is shaping up to be the $hittie$t game of the year with no clear favorite and an over/under of 1. Vegas is taking bets on a 0-0 tie at the end of Overtime. Also, the over/under on turnovers is 31. Vegas isn’t clear which team will have 16 turnovers vs 15. The turf between the 40’s will be all worn out while both End Zones and Red Zones will be danced on only by the Gold Rush and Raiderettes. Lastly, Jed York has hired 1,000 Roto-rooter trucks for Thursday at Levi as the lavatories will sure to be backed-up. Toi is good but he ain’t Superman.

Around the League in all Sports:

  • In MLB, the World Series is over. The LA Fodgers are Ducked !!! They have to deal with these clowns:
    • Clayton Kershaw’s legacy will be as the worst highly paid MLB pitcher in World Series history.
    • Manny Machado hasn’t washed his uniform ever since he joined the Fodgers, thus becoming the dirtiest player in MLB history.
    • Yasiel Puig has a lock on the MLB all-time Punk Award.
  • In the NBA, the Houston Rockets are 1-4 after not re-signing their two best defensive players from last year and adding Carmelo Anthony who hasn’t found the word “defense” in the dictionary because he doesn’t know how to spell it. They also added a player named Uri Knoll. He doesn’t care if guys pi$$ on him but watch out if someone spits on him. He’ll lose total control.

SF 49ers – Week 7 Loss – Niners Lose – Same Tune, Same Song

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The Niners came out to play against the Rams… for half of the first quarter. Then they played their same familiar song over and over again to the tune of 4 turnovers on 2 interceptions and 2 fumbles and 7 QB sacks in a 39-10 loss.

Not much to talk to about as the best team in the NFL clearly dominated the Niners in every category. It will take a minimum of 2 years after Garoppolo comes back that the Niners can think about competing with the Rams.

Following are some of my rambling thoughts:

I can say this about a lot of QB’s in this league, but Niner QB’s MUST learn to throw the ball away when their receivers are covered instead of taking a drive killing sack. This applies equally to both Garoppolo and Beathard.

Since this season is lost, why not try switching Soloman Thomas to the inside and move DeForest Buckner to the outside? At Stanford, Thomas was very effective as a defensive Tackle because of his quickness. Buckner just may be the pass rusher that the Niners are missing.

The Rams defensive game plan was fairly easy. Since the Niners have only one deep threat, Marquis Goodwin, they double covered him every play. He had only 2 receptions for 24 yards. Trent Taylor and Pierre Garcon were the only other wide receivers to have a reception, 1 each for a total of 11 yards.

The Niners defensive front four actually had a good game as they held the league’s best rusher, Todd Gurley, to 63 yards on 15 carries.

Arik Armstead finally showed up and had a good game with 5 solo tackles, 1 sack, 1 tackle for a loss, and 3 QB hits.

Sad to say, but other than Richard Sherman, the rest of the Niners CB’s and Safeties are poor to average players at best.

Niners need to rest Matt Breida for a full month until he heals his high ankle sprain. Last year, Bryce Love courageously played every week for Stanford with a similar ankle injury. This year, Love is not the same player. The Niners need a healthy Breida for the future.

George Kittle is becoming a premier Tight End. Every week, he puts up good numbers with some exciting runs after catches. Yesterday, Kittle had 5 catches on 8 targets for 98 yards and the Niners only TD. He should make Good Morning Football’s Angry Run list this week on his 23 yard reception that was a 3 yard pass and a very impressive 20 yard run that including a stiff arm on one defender, Marcus Peters, while dragging Troy Hill for another 5 yards.

The highlight of the day was the unveiling of the new Dwight Clark and Joe Montana statues at Levi Stadium. It brought back fond memories of “The Catch” that launched the Niners Glory Days. More importantly, it honored Dwight both as a football player and as a beloved and courageous human being. Sadly, he lost his battle to ALS on June 4, 2018.

Around the League:

  • The Cowboys vs Redskins game came down to the final play, a 47 yards field goal attempt by the Cowboys to tie the game. Illegal motion by the Cowboys moved the ball back 5 yards and their field goal attempt hit the cross bar, game over.
  • The Saints vs Ravens game came down to the final play. The Ravens scored with 24 seconds left and needed only an extra point kick to tie the game by the league’s best kicker, Justin Tucker. He had made 221 consecutive extra points, never missing. So, what happened? He missed and the Ravens lost.
  • The Patriots vs Bears game was a barn burner and that game also came down to the final play. The Bears needed 55 yards on the final play of the game to tie. So, Mitchell Trubisky threw a “Hail Mary” which was caught by Kevin White. Unfortunately for the Bears, they got 54 yards. Bears lose. Trubisky needs some lessons from Aaron Rodgers to put at least 1 more yard of umpf into his throw.
  • The Browns vs Bucs game went into OT. The Browns lost 26-23 on a 59 yard field goal. The Browns are no longer bad, but they still have bad luck.
  • The Oakland Raiders traded Amari Cooper to the Dallas Cowboys who gave up their 2019 #1 draft pick for Cooper. This trade says a lot for both teams. The Cowboys are still disillusioned to think that they are still in the playoff hunt. Giving up a #1 draft pick for an average receiver is an act of desperation by the Cowboys. It will turn out to be a bad trade for them. It is now clear that Chucky Gruden signed up to coach the Vegas Raiders, not the Oakland Raiders. He has traded the best pass rusher in the game (Khalil Mack) for the Bears #1 pick and now Cooper to the Cowboys for their #1 pick. Thus, with their own #1 pick which just may be the first overall pick in the draft, the Raiders now have 3 1st round picks next year… or more #1 picks next year than wins this year. It’s a gamble but, this is why they are moving to Vegas. Sadly, the losers in all of this are the Oakland Raider fans.