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.

 

The Purging of Trent Baalke Picks In Full Throttle

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The new ShanaLynch regime wasted little time in adding their kind of players to the Niner roster via Free Agency and the Draft to make-over the team. They have a definite strategy and long term plan to turn this franchise around for the better. With the hiring of Robert Selah as the Defensive Coordinator, the mission is to create and develop a defense similar to the very successful Seattle Seahawks. Fast, versatile, tough, and instinctive players will thrive under the Saleh defense. Shanahan will act as both Offensive Coordinator and Head Coach. He will look for players that allow him to pound the rock and run the ball with power and speed. His philosophy is that a successful running game will lead to an equally effective passing game. As he grew up in the Bill Walsh era and studied under his Dad, his philosophy is no surprise.

Let’s take a look at what ShanaLynch have already done.

In Free Agency:

DT Earl Mitchell
CB K’Waun Williams

CB Don Jones

LB Malcolm Smith

LB Brock Coyle
LB Dekoda Watson

LB Jayson DiManche

QB Brian Hoyer

QB Matt Barkley
FB Kyle Juszczyk

RB Tim Hightower

RB Kapri Bibbs (trade with Broncos)
WR DeAndre Carter

WR Pierre Garcon
WR Marquise Goodwin

WR Aldrick Robinson
TE Logan Paulsen

C Jeremy Zuttah (trade with the Ravens)

G Brandon Fusco (Visiting the Niners on 5/1 with expectations of signing)
K Robbie Gould

 

In the 2017 NFL Draft with how they fit into the ShanaLynch system:

 

DE Soloman Thomas – Tough, fast and versatile. Goal is to play like Michael Bennett of the Seahawks.

LB Reuben Foster – Tough, fast and versatile. Goal is to play like Patrick Willis or Booby Wagner of the Seahawks.

CB Ahkello Witherspoon – Tall, fast and athletic. Goal is to be like Richard Sherman of the Seahawks.

QB C.J. Beathard – Tough, smart, accurate passer and leader. Developmental QB with the goal is to be like Kirk Cousins.

RB Joe Williams – Tough runner. Carlos Hyde is entering last year of contract and has been injury prone.

TE George Kittle – Tough blocker, good hands, runs good routes and fast. Also can play fullback.

WR Trent Taylor – Tough, fast, runs great routes, and has great hands. Also can return punts. Goal is to be like Julian Edelman of the Patriots.

DT D.J. Jones – Stout run stopper and will rotate with Earl Mitchell and Quinton Dial.

DE/OLB Pita Taumeopenu – Fast edge rusher with not much bulk but has quick speed to get around the edge. I see him replacing Ahmad Brooks or Eli Harold.

DB Adrian Colbert – Not much experience so will be a developmental project. Big Ronnie Lott type hitter who could play both CB and Safety.

 

Counting both Free Agency and the Draft, ShanaLynch have brought in 13 Defensive players and 17 Offensive players for a total of 30. I expect most of these 30 players to make the 53 man roster which translates into a more than 50% turn-over in their first year. That is eye opening.

It is way too early to evaluate these signings and picks but I have a strong feeling that ShanaLynch have set a solid foundation. Their coaching staff will develop sound players and some can even become impact players.

My belief is that success in the NFL is dictated mostly by a sound and consistent system. Look at the Patriots. Most of their players are/were not highly rated draft prospects. But they are coached to know their roles and thus, they play their roles very effectively. If ShanaLynch can stay true to their philosophy and system, they can begin competing again with the goal of being like the Patriots.

 

Niners Pick Christian McCaffrey with 1st Pick

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I present the case for the Niners to pick Christian McCaffrey with their first pick regardless of whether it is at #2 overall or a lower 1st round pick if they are able to trade down. In my previous mocks, I had wanted them to pick the best available LB with Haason Reddick being my choice. After thinking about the Niners offense, what they have done during the off-season, and who they currently have, McCaffrey would be a perfect fit for Shanahan’s offense.

McCaffrey has special talents that nobody else in the draft has. His ability to run with speed, shiftiness, and power present unique problems for the defense. On top of that, he has great hands which will allow Shanahan to use him as a slot receiver. He’d be brilliant for screen passes out of the back field, also. Lastly, he is very skilled as a punt returner. I wouldn’t use him on kick-off returns as that is the most dangerous play in football. Thus, with his versatility, Shanahan can draw up plays that present matchup nightmares for the defense.

With the signing of bruising FB Kyle Zuszczyk and our own RB Carlos Hyde, we may have something very special on offense. The signing of WR Pierre Garcon and WR Marquise Goodwin were much needed in a weak receiving core that one can argue may have been the worst in the NFL last year.

If the Niners aren’t able to trade down and they still pick McCaffrey at #2 overall, the “experts” will say that it is not a good “value” pick. By definition, value means how valuable can a player be for the team throughout the season and career with that team. If McCaffrey can make a positive impact on the Niners, does it really matter when he was picked in the draft?

Additionally, I think that Lynch/Shanahan are doing a very smart thing by letting teams know of their interests in QB Michell Trubisky and RB Leonard Fournette. They may indeed have real interests in these talented players, but they may also be using them as a smoke-screen to entice teams to move up to the Niners overall #2 pick. I think the overall success of this year’s draft class for the Niners will be dependent upon being able to trade down and get additional picks. The draft is fairly deep in LB’s, CB’s, Safeties, and WR’s… all positions of need for the Niners. In term of the QB, the Niners should go with Brian Hoyer this year, then acquire Kirk Cousins in free agency next year. Additionally, they will have plenty of draft picks next year so I’d like to see them package picks and/or players to go after USC QB Sam Darnold to be their future.

Thus, let’s pick McCaffrey and begin a new special era for the Niners.

2017 Niners Draft – Blockbuster Trade

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I would like to see the Niners trade down from the #2 overall pick. Since Cleveland wants both Myles Garrett and Michell Trubisky, we should package a block-buster trade with them. Trade with the Cleveland Browns who want Trubisky at #2 for their #12 pick, their second round #33 pick, their fourth round #108 pick. And, as a bonus, ask for two 2018 second round picks or their 2018 first round pick.

With the #12 pick, I’d like to see the Niners draft LB Haason Reddick from Temple. If he is off the board, then Zach Cunningham from Vanderbilt.The Niners couldn’t stop anyone’s running game last year and Haason or Zach will be a great compliment to NaVorro.

In the 2nd round, pick #33 (from Cleveland), if WR Corey Davis is available, he should be the pick. If not, then Guard Forrest Lamp from Western Kentucky, Tackle Garrett Bolles from Utah, or Tackle Cam Robinson from Alabama depending on who is available.

Then with their own pick #34, FS Budda Baker from Washington. He plays like Earl Thomas of the Seahawks. The Niner’s Defensive Coordinator Robert Saleh coached both the Seahawks and Falcons and wants to shape the Niner’s defense in the same mode.

In the 3rd round, pick #66, if LB Tim Williams from Alabama is available, he should be the pick. If not, then either CB Teez Tabor from Florida or CB Ahkello Witherspoon from Colorado.

In the 4th round, pick #108 (from Cleveland), WR Zay Jones from Eastern Carolina. If he is off the board, then Chad Hansen from California.

Then with their own pick #109, OLB Anzalone from Florida, Jayon Brown from UCLA, or Vince Biegel from Wisconsin, whomever is available.

Then with their compensatory pick #143, TE Adam Shaheen from Ashland. He is a monster 6-6 278 lb kid who could be a sleeper.

In the 5th round, pick #146, CB Sidney Jones from Washington. He was a Round 1 talent who tore his Achilles during his Pro Day.

Then with their pick #161, QB Johua Dobbs from Tennessee. If Dobbs is off the boards, then Brad Kaaya from Miami. If both are off the board, then the best available QB. I’m hoping that Dobbs is available as he may be this year’s Dak Prescott.

In the 6th round, pick #186, WR Amara Darboh from Michigan. If he is off the boards, then WR Chad Williams from Grambling.

Then with their pick #202, OT JJ Dielman from Utah.

Finally, in the 7th round, pick #219, whoever is available amongst the LB’s Kendall Beckwith from LSU, Connor Harris from Lindenwood, Blair Brown from Ohio, Ben Gedeon from Michigan, or Tanner Vallejo from Boise State.

In term of the QB, the Niners should go with Brian Hoyer this year, then acquire Kirk Cousins in free agency next year. Additionally, they will have plenty of draft picks next year so I’d like to see them package picks and/or players to go after USC QB Sam Darnold to be their future.

The Niners need help in a lot of areas so I can only hope that Lynch/Shanahan can pull off this block-buster trade with the Browns. It all depends on how much the Browns like Trubisky and how paranoid they are that he’ll be gone by their #12 pick.

If they can’t pull off this trade, Lynch/Shanahan should be open for trade business with any team 6 through 11 with similar draft compensations.

But, of course, if the Browns do the unthinkable and pick Trubisky at #1, then the Niners will keep their #2 pick and select Myles Garrett.

Lastly, I want to address if the Niners’ #2 overall pick for Cleveland’s #12, #33, #108 and extra 2018 draft picks is a fair value.

According to the NFL Draft Value Chart,

#2 = 2,600 points

#12 = 1,200 points

#33 = 580 points

#108 = 78 points

Adding 1,200 + 580 + 78 = 1,858 points. So Cleveland would still owe the Niners 742 points which would be the negotiations point for their 2018 picks. So, this is very achievable if Cleveland or any of the teams 6-11 want to trade for the Niners Overall #2 pick.

 

Fan Priority – MVP or Title

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Let’s get real… Fans want an MVP player on their team… But they go nuts when their team wins a title.

Bay area fans have been blissed with many great individual performances resulting in MVP awards:

1954 & 1965 Willie Mays (NY Giants & SF Giants)

1969 Willie McCovey (Giants)

1970 John Brodie (Niners)

1971 Vida Blue (A’s)

1973 Reggie Jackson (A’s)

1974 Kenny Stabler (Raiders)

1988 Jose Canseco (A’s)

1989 Kevin Mitchell (Giants)

1989 & 1990 Joe Montana (Niners)

1990 Ricky Henderson (A’s)

1992 Dennis Eckersley (A’s)

1993, 2001, 2002, 2003 & 2004 Barry Bonds (Giants)

1992 & 1993 Steve Young (Niners)

2000 Jason Giambi (A’s)

2000 Jeff Kent (Giants)

2002 Rich Gannon (Raiders)

2002 Miguel Tejeda (A’s)

2006 Joe Thornton (Sharks)

2012 Buster Posey (Giants)

2012 Chris Wondolowski (Quakes)

2015 & 2016 Stephen Curry (Warriors)

These awards are all very deserving and I truly appreciated each and every one of these fabulous performances. Totally proud to have witnessed history for these remarkable athletes (except for the 1954 MVP award for Willie Mays).

Having said that, nothing got my blood flowing and my heart thumping more than during the championship title runs of all of our Bay Area teams.

It is a totally euphoric sensation and the culmination of what we fans have envisioned for our team(s) to be able to stand atop Mt. Everest at the end of the season.

My top moments that I still recall vividly are:

  • 1981 – The Joe Montana to Dwight Clark “Catch” which started the Niner dynasty. I was with my brother and we both went bananas…
  • 1989 – The Joe Montana to John Taylor “Catch” to win SB XXIII. My son and I jumped so high, we almost hit the ceiling…
  • 2010, 2012 & 2014 – While the Giants were on their title runs, what I still recall are the Halloween nights where I was constantly interrupted by Trick-or-Treaters and had to run to the door to greet them and quickly run back to the TV so I wouldn’t miss anything. In the final game of the 2014 series, MadBum the STUD, came into the game in the 5th inning and shut out the Royals for the remainder of the game. Of course, I almost had a heart attack when Alex Gordon hit a ball that Gregor Blanco badly misplayed which resulted in a triple. All turned out well when Salvador Perez popped out to Pablo Sandoval and the celebration started throughout the Bay Area…
  • 2015 – The GS Warriors season was a total blast topped by Steph Curry’s remarkable leadership and play. The season was culminated by the recommendation of a Warrior staffer, Nick U’Ren, to start Andre Iguodala and go small & fast against the Cavs. It worked so well, Andre was named the Finals MVP and the Warriors won their first title in 40 years. What I recall was in Game 7, we had a comfortable lead but JR Smith started hitting insane bombs and it got uncomfortably close. My son and I “chest bumped” and “high fived” as the clock ran out…

The bottom line is that fans are fans of their team. They are also fans of great individual performers while they play for their team. OKC fans loved Kevin Durant while he was there but hated him when he left for another career opportunity. Their favorite now is Russ Westbrook as he is having an MVP season. If Westbrook choses to leave OKC next year, they will hate him, too. It’s natural for fans to react this way as their first priority is their team.

MVP’s are nice but Championship Titles are everything!!!

2007 NFL Draft Re-Visited

posted in: Football | 10

It’s always fun to look back at previous drafts and have “what if” conversations. Since I am a 49er fan, the first round of the 2007 NFL draft was a bonanza. The Niners selected Patrick Willis with pick #11 and Joe Staley with pick #28. Until Willis retired in 2015, the Niners were a powerhouse and Staley continues to play at a high level.

A great “what if” question is, what if the Houston Texans drafted Willis ahead of the Niners and he didn’t suffer the career ending toe/foot injuries? The Texans would then have Watt, Mercilus, Clowney, Cushing and Willis. That defense has been dominant w/o Willis. Think of the possibilities with him…

And, if that happened, “what if” the Niners selected Marshawn Lynch (Beast Mode)?

What I really want to focus on are the QB’s drafted in 2007:

#1 Jamarcus Russell

#22 Brady Quinn

#36 Kevin Kolb

#40 John Beck

#42 Drew Stanton

The top 5 QB’s drafted that year had 2 “can’t miss” players (Russell and Quinn). The results (or the lack of) speak for themselves. This year, there are no “can’t miss” QB’s. The point is that picking any of the top 2017 QB prospects in the first round can be very risky.

As a Niner fan, since Myles Garrett will be selected #1 by the Browns, I recommend that the Niners trade down to get an additional draft pick either this year or next. They can then pick the best available linebacker (Reuben Foster, Haason Reddick or Zack Cunningham). Then select the best available wide receiver as their top two picks. This year’s draft is filled with quality receivers. They should then fill out the linebacking core through round 4. The Niners were not able to stop anyone’s running game last year. With NaVarro Bowman coming back and paired with new hungry LB’s, we should have an improved defense.

As far as QB’s, the Niners should go with Brian Hoyer this year, then sign Kirk Cousins as a free agent next year. Additionally, if the Niners have a bunch of draft picks next year, they should go all in and try to draft Sam Darnold, the USC QB, as their future.

I feel fairly confident that the Lynch/Shanahan team will do the right things to get this team back on track.

Colin Kaepernick – A Man Without a Job and a Country

posted in: Football | 10

Within one year, Colin Kaepernick has become a man without a job and a country. Let’s first talk about his loss of job. Colin’s performance as a NFL QB has declined in his last 3 years since his rise in 2012 when Jim Harbaugh replaced Alex Smith with him due to a concussion. Alex never regained his starting job. Colin had a superb year and took the team to a Super Bowl and came up 5 yards short of a victory. He had another solid year in 2013 taking the 49ers to the NFC championship game losing to the Seahawks on an ill advised pass to Michael Crabtree who was well covered by Richard Sherman. If you review the play, on the right side of the end zone, Anquan Bouldin was WIDE OPEN for the possible winning touchdown. And, therein lies the fundamental problem with Colin’s game. He cannot survey the field and can only look at his primary receiver. If he is covered, the play most likely will fail. Although Jim Harbaugh was fired for purely political reasons, that in itself was not the main reason for Colin’s decline. Defenses figured him out and his lack of being able to survey the field was the main reason. I’ll illustrate his decline with QBR ratings on three QB’s:

2013 2014 2015 2016
Colin Kaepernick 68 67 46 55
Alex Smith 50 56 61 63
Tom Brady 65 79 75 83

 

Alex Smith had a QBR of 68 in 2012 as a 49er before he was replaced with Colin. As a Kansas City Chief, his rating dropped initially but improved every year as he became accustomed to their system. Conversely, Colin’s QBR took a drastic downturn in 2015 and he was actually benched to start the 2016 season behind Blaine Gabbert. I showed Tom Brady’s stats as a guideline on what all other QB’s goals should be.

Thus, based solely on performance and the fact that NFL coaches know that he can’t survey the field effectively, other teams are reluctant to hire him, especially as a starting QB. His salary is another issue that requires downward negotiations.

Now, I’ll discuss his political stance that he took before the 2016 season by refusing to stand for the national anthem. While I respect his stance, my belief is that he should have expressed his position about race, police targeting and brutality, and free speech in a forum outside of the game of football. Perhaps by holding press conferences with Harry Edwards, a well known race activist, who has consulted with the 49ers for decades. Sending his message in a constructive manner with the help of Dr. Edwards would have garnered support without offending Americans who have and are currently serving this country with their lives. This applies to both armed forces personnel and their families as well as the police force who enforce this country’s laws and protect our communities. By disrespecting the American flag, he has by default lost the heart of this country.

Sports is an entertainment outlet and should not be used for political messages.