Niners Sloppily Win Game 1

posted in: Football | 0

The Niners’ Supply Management team placed a large order of Rustoleum with Same-Day delivery as they played with a lot of rust showing while Jameis Winston won the game for the Niners by throwing 3 INT’s with 2 Pick 6’s.

While the Rustoleum will be used mostly by the Offense, the Defense has some rust chiseling to do also before they face a surprisingly tough Cincinnati Bengals team this Sunday.

While being critical of their performance, one can easily see that this is a much improved club and the improved talent hid many mistakes.

Let’s look at the good and the bad of the Defense as I believe that the success of the 2019-2020 Niners will depend on how this side of the ball keeps the opposition out of their End Zone.

The Good:

  • They had 3 INT’s with 2 of them directly scoring 14 points. Richard Sherman and Akhello Witherspoon both had Pick 6’s with Akhello’s being the game clincher. Last year’s Niner Defense registered a grand total of 2 INT’s the entire season!!!
  • They had 1 fumble recovery. Last year they had 5 the entire year.
  • They sacked Winston 3 times. The key additions of Dee Ford and Nick Bosa as Edge Rushers was prominently on display and hopefully will continue throughout the season.
  • They allowed the Bucs to score only once out of four times in the Red Zone.
  • When under pressure, the 49ers limited Winston to 4-12 passes for 37 yards and two INT’s for a passer rating of 3.1.
  • The much maligned Defensive Secondary broke up 6 key passes and Tarvarious Moore broke up a 4th down pass in the End Zone which very easily could have been another INT.

The Bad:

  • Although the Niner D gave up only rushing 121 yards, many of those yards came at critical times allowing the Bucs to keep their drives alive. Poor tackling is where they need to improve.
  • They gave up 194 passing yards so although the Secondary is much improved, they have much to work on to compete against more dominant teams.
  • They gave up a 1st down on a 3rd and 17 play. Salah had them line up 7 players 18 yards from the line of scrimmage. As we all know, a Prevent Defense simply prevents them from succeeding. I blame this directly on Salah, the Defensive Coordinator.

The Offense was mostly offensive but they displayed enough to hope that they can come together and generate more consistent drives resulting in more TD’s rather than Robbie Gould 3 pointers. Having said that, I’ll take “Good as Gould’s” 3’s all day long. The only other guy better at 3’s is Steph Curry….

The Bad:

  • The WR’s had only 7 catches with Deebo Samuel having 3. James, Bourne, Pettis, and Goodwin had only 1 catch each. If this doesn’t improve, then their opponents will focus only on shutting down George Kittle who had 8 catches.
  • The Run game was horrendous generating only 98 yards. The RB’s are better than average so the blame goes to the O-Line. They simply did not open holes. If this trend continues, it will be yet another long losing year.
  • Jimmy G had a decent game but made a terrible decision by staring down his receiver and threw a very bad Pick 6. He also made several other bad plays not throwing to wide open receivers.
  • They had 11 penalties for 87 yards with three of those penalties wiping out 3 TD’s. This is a Rustoleum in the brain issue.

The Good:

  • Jimmy G had decent stats with 18 completions out of 27 attempts with a Passer Rating of 80.2.
  • The O-Line allowed only 1 sack of Jimmy G.
  • Jimmy G threw a beautiful TD pass to Richie James.
  • It is clear that Jimmy G has developed chemistry with George Kittle.
  • Deebo Samuel looks like a rising star.
  • Although the running game stunk, Raheem Mostert showed much promise with 40 yards on 9 carries. With Tevin Coleman out for several weeks with a high ankle sprain, Raheem has a chance to shine.

While there are plenty of areas to improve upon, the Niners played hard in an “away” game under hot and humid conditions. An Ugly Win is better than a Pretty Loss no matter how you cut it. They have another “away” game in Cincinnati. If they clean up their mistakes and start with a 2-0 record before their first home game, this will set the direction for their entire season.

Introducing the 2019 SF 49ers Roster

posted in: Football | 0

In the third year of the Lynch/Shanahan era, the 49ers are ready to make some noise, open some eyes, turn some heads, and surprise NFL analysts who are ranking this team in the lower quadrant.

Shanahan and Lynch both have been clear and consistent about saying that the cut to the 53 man roster this year will be the toughest that they have faced. They are also saying that the decisions will be hard but this is a very good problem to have as this translates to the deepest roster that they have ever had.

This year, Shanahan has the luxury of saying that they will look at all options including making decisions on who they think will be on the field more than some better players who have a history of injuries.

Lynch is fielding calls from other NFL teams about the depth of their Defensive Line. They will be cutting D-Line players who could be potential starters on other teams.

Richard Sherman has stated that this year’s Defense compared to last year is like night and day.

During the off season, the Niners addressed their weaknesses in a very big way. Their lack of a pass rush was their achilles heel and the lack of impact wide receivers was also evident.

Trading for Dee Ford and drafting Nick Bosa as pass rushers along with an already strong D-Line will have a huge positive impact in this and future years. I wrote an article during the off season about “Wouldn’t it be nice to see Dee Ford in a Niner Uniform?” They didn’t stop there… They also added Kwon Alexander as our weak side LB and Jason Verrett as a potential starting CB. Alexander was the heart and soul of the Buccaneers defense. Verrett has had a history of injuries but when healthy, he was an All-Pro. The Niners drafted a LB out of Arkansas, Dre Greenlaw, who is an absolute heat seeker. He has shown very well in training camp and in the pre-season games. Kentavious Street (DL), whom the Niners drafted in 2018 but didn’t play last year due to an ACL, looks healthy and proving that the Niners made a good investment in him last year.

The Niners also improved their WR position by drafting Deebo Samuel and Jalen Hurd this year. Both look strong and versatile. Samuel is fast, strong and can play any of the WR positions and also can be used on special teams as a Punt or Kick-off returner. Hurd was a big running back who punished defenders and converted to a WR in his final year of college. So, Shanahan can use him in any number of ways. He, along with Kittle will create nightmare miss-matches for the opposing defense.

Shanahan loves players who are versatile as they give him weapons that the opposing team has a difficult time matching up with. Another impact player that he added to the team is Tevin Coleman at RB. Coleman played for Shanahan at Atlanta and had career numbers when Shanahan ran their Offense. He is fast, runs over defenders, and has soft hands so is a receiving weapon out of the backfield.

And, most importantly, Jimmy Garoppolo is back at QB after recovering from an ACL. He looked rusty in his first pre-season outing but looked like the old Jimmy G that we know in his last outing vs the KC Chiefs.

Below is the Niner depth chart as of August 20.  There are a few oddities about the chart and I’ll comment on my take on who may or may not make the team.

QB’s: Shanahan stated that he will keep 3 QB’s but his statement came after the shocking Andrew Luck retirement announcement. The Colts will be in the market for a QB so by keeping all three, the Niners have some trading leverage instead of releasing one and the Colts picking up that player for free. My belief is that they will start the season with two with the backup being Nick Mullens.

RB’s: It is odd that Jerrick McKinnon isn’t even listed so his return from last year’s ACL has not progressed well enough. The Niners made a very wise decision to bring in Tevin Coleman. Additionally, Jeff Wilson has looked remarkably strong as he added 15 pounds of muscle. Along with Matt Breida and Raheem Mostert, the Niners have the fastest set of RB’s in the league.

WR’s: Trent Taylor may start the year on IR but he will join the team when he gets healthy. Deebo Samuel and Jalen Hurd are locks but the other choices are very interesting. Kendrick Bourne can make spectacular catches but drop the easy ones. Many are saying that Marquise Goodwin is a lock but one can’t overlook Richie James making the team as he is more versatile than Goodwin in that he can return punts and kick-offs. Shanahan is giving Dante Pettis plenty of tough love as Pettis is not playing to his potential. He was a high second round draft pick last year and the Niners gave up a third round pick to move up to draft him so it will be highly unlikely that Shanahan will give up on him. But, Pettis is playing like he is a bubble player.

TE’s: George Kittle will have a monster year with Garoppolo throwing to him and Shanahan calling plays. Look for Ross Dwelley and Kaden Smith to make the team. They are have solid camps.

OL: With the loss of Shon Coleman for the entire 2019 season due to a badly fractured ankle, the Niners depth at Offense Tackle got significantly weaker. Daniel Brunskill, Sam Young and Justin Skule will have to step up and prove themselves to be worthy backups to Joe Staley and Mike McGlinchey. The guy on the bubble is Joshua Garnett, a former first round pick. Garnett has been injury prone and is one of those players that Shanahan was referring to when he made the comment that he may select a player who he trusts can be on the field more than others who have a history of injuries.

DL’s: Lynch said that he is fielding calls from other teams about his D-line personnel. My take is that Lynch should do whatever he can to deal Arik Armstead and/or Soloman Thomas. Armstead has never lived up to his first round pick potential. Although Soloman Thomas has been living a very difficult life since his sister committed suicide, the fact is that he has also played like a bubble player.

LB’s: I like this group very much. Fred Warner and Kwon Alexander may bring back memories of Patrick Willis and Navorro Bowman. The others that are playing really well are Dre Greenlaw, David Mayo and Azeez Al-Shaair. It may be time to move on from Malcolm Smith who also has a long history with injuries.

CB’s and NB’s: Richard Sherman is another year removed from his achilles injury and says he feels stronger than ever. At the other CB position, Ahkello Witherspoon, is a much improved player from last year. However, if Jason Verrett is healthy, look to see him as the other starting CB. At Nickel Back, K’Wuan Willimans will be the starter. There will be a battle for the backup with D.J. Reed and Emmanuel Moseley.

SS’s and FS’s: Jaquiski Tartt will start at SS and Jimmy Ward, who isn’t even listed below, will start at FS. Ward is returning from a broken collar bone. He is another good player with a history of injuries but he is a lock to make the team as he is versatile enough to play CB and NB as well as FS. Look to Tarvarious Moore and Marcell Harris to also make the team.

I am predicting that at the end of the year, the Niners will be in the Top 10 on both Offense and Defense. That is a loud cry from where they ended up the last three years.

2019 SF 49ers – Niners’ Monster Free Agency Catches

posted in: Football | 0

At the end of the 2018 season, I wrote a blog asking, “Wouldn’t Dee Ford look good in a Niner Uni?” After their free agency signings and before the NFL draft, I am now asking, “Wouldn’t an NFC Western Division title look good on the Levi Stadium wall?”

My optimism for this “worst-to-first” scenario is attributed to the following:

  • Dee Ford in a Niner Uni has become a reality. The Niners now have a legitimate Edge Rusher. One will never know, but his bonehead play in the AFC Championship game where he lined up off-sides with the Chiefs in the lead with less than a minute left in the game may have played a part in the Chiefs agreeing to trade Ford for a 2020 2nd round pick.
  • Kwon Alexander, the heart and soul of the Buccaneer’s defense, became a Niner and is simply a heat seeking beast that the Niners haven’t had since Patrick Willis. Paired with Fred Warner, the Niners just may have the fastest LB’s in the league. He did tear his ACL last season after achieving All Pro status, but his rehab is reportedly going great. Additionally, the Niner medical team performed a thorough exam on Kwon to make sure that he’ll recover fully.
  • Tevin Coleman is another speedy Running Back who Shanahan knows well as he coached him at Atlanta during their Super Bowl year. Tevin has great hands which is a Shanahan requirement along with his tough and speedy running skills. The Niners now have four RB’s (Jerick McKinnon, Matt Breida, Raheem Mostert, and Tevin Coleman) who have all run the 40 in 4.1 seconds or faster.
  • Jordan Matthews is the big and strong Red Zone WR that the Niners haven’t had in recent memory. Wouldn’t it be great if he could be nearly as good as John Taylor? It turns out that Jordan is Jerry Rice’s cousin and has been a lifetime Niner fan. He is 6’ 3” and 215 lbs. and has caught most of his passes in the Red Zone, a glaring weakness in the Niner offense for years. Niner fans wanted Lynch and Shanahan to trade for either Antonio Brown or O’Dell Beckham. Rightfully so, they never showed interest in Brown due to his character, age and high salary demands. The Niners did come close to trading for Beckham but were unwilling to give up their #2 draft pick in this year’s draft. I am in total agreement with Lynch and Shanahan. The Niners still have many holes to fill and their 3-5 year plan is to get younger and build mostly from within. Additionally, they are not a team built to throw the ball deep on a regular basis. They are a run-first team with a passing game designed to create miss-matches with TE’s (George Kittle) and the speedy RB’s that I’ve already mentioned above.
  • Jason Verrett is a CB that Richard Sherman thinks highly of. He was a 1st round pick in 2014 but has had multiple injuries including to his shoulder, ACL and Achilles. In his only healthy year (2015), he earned All Pro status. He passed the Niners physical prior to signing and very well could be the starting CB opposite Sherman. Ahkello Witherspoon had a poor 2nd year and must come into this training camp with plenty to improve upon. Tarvarious Moore, on the other hand, came on strong at the end of last year and may be the Niners future at CB.

The Niners did look at available free agent safeties and pursued Earl Thomas. With his age, injury and salary, the Niners made the wise decision to stick with Jimmie Ward and play him at Free Safety. The Strong Safety position will be either Jaquiski Tartt or Marcell Harris who also came on strong at the end of last year.

Heading into this year’s NFL draft, the Niners have already made positive noise in Free Agency. This gives Lynch and Shanahan some options.

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. Additionally, the Arizona Cardinals may very well use their #1 pick on QB Kyler Murray. If they do, then the Niners in essence will have their #1 pick at their fingertips.

If they stay at #2 and if Arizona does pick Murray, they can pick either Nick Bosa, the consensus #1 Edge Rusher or Quinnen Williams, the consensus #1 defensive end in this year’s draft.

Since they already signed Dee Ford, another option is to trade down with potentially the Raiders (#4), the Buccaneers (#5), or the Jaguars (#7) to gain an additional draft pick in either round 1 or 2.

If they do trade down, a player that I like very much is Devin White, LB from LSU. He is another heat seeking LB. Or, they can possibly get Montez Sweat or Rashan Gary as their Edge Rusher. After all, there isn’t too much separating Bosa, Allen, Sweat and Gary. With their additional pick, they can draft a highly rated WR (N’Keal Harry, Kelvin Harmon, Deebo Samuel, Parris Campbell, Hakeem Butler, or Riley Ridley) and use their own #2 pick on a highly rated OL (Cody Ford, Garret Bradbury, Dalton Risner, Elgton Jenkins, Erik McCoy, or Kaleb McGary).

The first two rounds of this year’s draft seem to be filled with talent so whatever decisions Lynch and Shanahan make, I am firmly on board.

Worst to First is the Niner theme for 2019 !!!

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

posted in: Football | 0

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

posted in: Football | 0

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

posted in: Football | 0

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 !!!

posted in: Football, Uncategorized | 0

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 !!!

posted in: Football, Uncategorized | 0

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

posted in: Football | 0

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

posted in: Football | 0

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…