2021 SF 49ers – Week 1 Win or Weak 1 Win

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I’ll take an ugly win over a pretty loss any day of the week. But, I have to admit that the win felt like a loss as our vaunted Defense simply didn’t show up. Almost blowing a 38-10 lead half way through the 3rd quarter is simply inexcusable. And after the game, we learned that our Shut-Down Corner, Jason Verrett, tore his ACL and will be lost for the remainder of the season. Additionally, our Mosterati, blew a piston and also will be shut down for the year. I feel soooo bad for both Jason and Raheem as they worked so hard to get ready for the season.

Looking at the positives, the Offense looked sharp and played like they are already in mid-season form. Jimmy G threw for 314 yards, Rookie Elijah Mitchell ran for 104 yards and Deebo had 189 receiving yards. Putting up these kinds of stats while scoring 41 points is something to look forward to in the coming games. As atrocious as the Defense performed, one cannot overlook the positives. Dee Ford and Nick Bosa played like 2019 and hopefully can remain healthy. Our 5th round pick, Deom Lenore had a rock solid 1st game playing the Corner opposite Verrett. He allowed only 3 yards for the entire game and played all 90 defensive snaps. Our 6th round pick, Elijah Mitchell ran for 104 yards on 19 carries after Raheem went down. And, Trey Lance came in for 4 plays and threw a TD to Trent Sherfield on his very first pass of his NFL career. The Offensive Line looked dominant. With the addition of Alex Mack at Center, there was no QB pressure up the middle. And Mike McGlinchey put on some muscle weight and looks solid at Right Tackle. Trent Williams is simply the best Left Tackle in the game. Jimmy G looked confident and had the most accurate deep passer rating in the entire league in week 1.

Nobody disputes that Kyle Shanahan is a play-calling genius. What is overlooked is how great he is as a motivator. He is giving both Brandon Aiyuk and Trey Sermon tough love as he expects more from them while they are being pushed by Trent Sherfield and Elijah Mitchell. Watch both Aiyuk and Sermon start having big games in the coming weeks. Shanahan has also learned from last year’s disastrous injury ridden season. He is being extra careful about making sure that guys like Ford, Bosa, and Javon Kinlaw are completely healthy before taking the field. Lastly, you can bet that Shanahan will sprinkle in more plays for Trey Lance in the coming games. Defensive Coordinators have to be shakin’ in their boots in trying to prepare for both Jimmy G and Trey.

John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan have been and continue to be in sync in building a solid roster. In this year’s draft, clearly the focus was on bringing in new players in positions where they have had a history of injuries. Trey Lance was drafted as Jimmy G was hurt more than he played in his tenure as a Niner. Of course, there was the other major reason as Kyle wanted a mobile QB threat as well. Raheem Mostert also has had a history of injuries so they drafted both Trey Sermon and Elijah Mitchell. And to solidify the Offensive Line, they drafted Aaron Banks and Jaylon Moore. There is no substitute for fielding a solid O-Line to protect your QB and create gaps for your RB’s.

We shall see how the Niners perform against the Eagles in Philly. Will it be a solid Week 2 or Weak 2 performance?

2021 SF Giants – First to Clinch Playoff Berth – Built for October Baby !!!

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Congratulations to the entire SF Giants Organization from Management, to Coaches, to Players, to all other supporting staff members, and to the diehard and loyal fans!!!

It is September 13 and the Giants just won their 94th game with 18 to go. A whopping 44 games above .500. They are the first team to clinch a playoff berth in the 2021 MLB Playoffs.

While watching and listening to the post-game interviews, three things rang loud and clear. 1) This is a happy moment for all Giants as this is what they have worked so hard to achieve. 2) This is a close knit family of friends who support each other, don’t get too high, don’t get too low, and have a lot of fun at work. 3) While getting into the Playoffs is a major achievement they still have a lot of work ahead of them.

The roster is made up of mostly veterans with the core still being Buster Posey, Brandon Crawford and the self-proclaimed Captain Brandon Belt. Other vets who have contributed mightily are Longo, Yaz, KB, Flores, and Casali. Then there are the unsung heroes (La Stella, Ruf, Estrada, Duggar, Slater, Wade Jr., Dickerson, and Solano). While the starting pitchers are solid, a new Ace has emerged, Logan Webb. In his last 12 starts, Logan has the best ERA in all of MLB. Gausman has had some issues after the All-Star game but seems to found his footing again. Same with DeSclafani. The wear and tear of the long season has caught up to Wood and Cueto so the Giants have played a number of “Reliever” games with Alvarez, Garcia, Jackson, Littell, Leone,  Quintana, Watson, Castro and Doval. Tyler Rodgers is the established 8th inning set-up guy and Jake McGee proved himself as the Closer.

Give a lot of credit to Farhan Zaidi who brought in LaMonte Wade, Jr., Tommy LaStella, and Kris Bryant (KB) and brought back Tony Watson. Lastly, we can’t forget the great job that Gabe Kapler has done. There have been 86 roster moves due to injuries this year and the Giants haven’t missed a beat. Just one example of many came last week when Wilmer Flores was resting his sore hamstring in SF but Kapler flew him out to Chicago for one game. Flores had a monster game getting 3 hits including a HR in a close 6-5 win allowing the Giants to sweep the Cubs and go 6-0 on the road trip. The hitting coaches Donnie Ecker and Justin Viele have done an absolute terrific job. The Giants have hit 217 HR’s this year and have 10 players with 10 or more. The Giants lead the league in pinch hit HR’s and hits due to Kapler’s timely decisions.

As good a season that the Giants have had, they remain focused as the Dodgers are right on their tails. They know that they still have a lot of work to do. The 2021 SF Giants are indeed “Resilient” and are truly Built for October.

2021 GS Warriors Great Off Season

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Many speculated that the Dubs will make monster trades this off-season after missing the playoffs in two consecutive years. Ben Simmons was talked about as a key acquisition. While Simmons is an OK defender, his offense and free throws are atrocious and getting worse year-over-year. The Sixer management thinks he is a top 10 player and have asked for Wiseman, Wiggins, Kuminga, Moody, and 3 1st round picks for Ben… What a laugh!!! Pascal Siakam was reported to be very high on the Dubs list. The Raptors would want at a minimum, James Wiseman and Wiggins for Siakam. In the meantime, the Dubs management are very smart and coy and would consider only one trade partner, the Wizards, for Bradley Beal. While Beal would be a wonderful addition, there are two major sticking points. One, Beal has yet to decide if he wants out of Washington. Two, the price that the Wizards are asking is way too high. They want Wiggins, Kuminga, Moody and three 1st round picks. Other trade rumors are just that… rumors that will never come to fruition.

Lacob and Myers know what they have and also know what is happening in the NBA landscape. They have seen both the Atlanta Hawks and Phoenix Suns climb high in the playoffs with the Hawks making the Eastern Confernce Finals while the Suns made the NBA Finals. What is interesting is that both of these teams for the most part are made up with home grown talent with some key vets brought in to bolster their rosters. Then take a look at the Nets and Lakers who spent their wods on a few top notched players but had to give up their young talent and draft picks and had little room to add any quality to their bench. Subsequently, both the Nets and Lakers failed to make to Finals. In the NBA, the bench matters!!!

Apparently, the Lakers didn’t get the message as they traded more of their young talent to get established players. They traded Kyle Kuzma, Montrezl Harrell, Kentavious-Pope and a host of draft picks for Russell Westbrook. They then signed Carmelo Anthony, Dwight Howard and Trevor Ariza. Actually, the Lakers initially talked to Kareem, Magic, and Shaq about making a come-back but all three said that they already have their rings so politely declined and told them to sign older players who have yet to win a ring.

With Klay coming back in the middle of the next season, the Dubs will have a top notched roster heading into the second half of the 2021-2022 season. They made some great acquisitions signing Otto Porter Jr. and Nemanja Bjelica. Porter was the 3rd overall pick in the 2013 draft. While he has had an injury plagued career, his talents are undeniable. He is a 6’8” Forward who shoots over 40% from the 3 and over 47% from within the 3. Bjelica is a 6’ 10” Power Forward who who shoots over 38% from the 3 and 46.5% from within the 3. I still remember Bjelica torching the Dubs while he was with Sacramento. Both shoot in the high 70’s% from the free throw line. To top things off, they are bringing Andre Iguodala back to play limited but high intesity minutes for the Dubs.

To add to the young group of talented youngsters, the Dubs drafted Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody in the 1st round of this years draft. Kuminga is compared to the Greek Freak when he first came into the league. Both Kuminga and Giannis have raw but high octane talent. Moody was thought to be a top 7 draft talent but he fell to the Dubs at 14. He and Kuminga can both be steals of the 2021 NBA Draft. With James Wiseman getting reps in his 2nd year he may have the same growth trajectory as  Deandre Ayton of the Western Conference Champion Suns. Justinian Jessup who was a 2nd round pick last year, played in the tough Australian league to develop his skills. His 3 point shooting is lights-out and he could very well spend some time with the Dubs this year while continuing to develop in Santa Cruz. Jordan Poole can be the surprise of the year as he seemingly turned the corner last year. And Gary Payton II looks just like his Dad and plays lights-out defense. Payton is the reason that the Dubs didn’t draft the kids from Baylor, Davion Mitchell.

With Draymond and Andre as teachers of this very talented group of youngsters, the future for the Dubs may be now without having to give up the farm for an establised star player.

2021 SF Giants – KB will do for the Giants what KD did for the Dubs !!!

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Kris Bryant (KB) was signed by Farhan Zaidi with 10 minutes remaining in the MLB trade deadline date of August 30. The former NL MVP and World Series Champion with the Cubs joined the Giants on September 1 and hit a HR in front of a delirious home crowd in his 2nd plate appearance.

Since KB joined the Giants, they have won 5 games and lost 2. He is batting .323 with 1 HR, 3 Doubles, 5 Walks and 3 RBI’s while playing 3rd base, Center Field and Left Field. He has the versatility to be able to play all 8 positions and play all of them very well.

While KB’s stats and outstanding defense have been remarkable, there is something else going on that can only be explained as baseball mojo or team chemistry that has carried the Giants all season long and has been enhanced with KB joining the team.

How else can anyone explain these recent wins:

  • LeMonte Wade Jr. invites his parents to the 7/31 home game vs the red hot cheating Astros. He hits a splash HR into McCovey Cove which sailed directly over his Mom’s head. Btw, they take 2 out of 3 vs the Cheaters.
  • On 8/5, the Diamondbacks’ Merrill Kelly was throwing a gem of a game giving up only 3 hits over 8 innings allowing only 2 Giants to reach 2nd base. He was leading 4-0 after 8 innings but the Diamondbacks’ Manager, Torey Lovullo, made a decision to take Kelly out of the game and let his relievers finish the game. With the Giants mojo in high gear, they scored 4 to tie the game in the 9th and scored again in the 10th in one of the more improbable wins of the year. KB showcased his value by starting the 9th inning with a Double and also starting the 10th inning with yet another Double. The rest of his teammates picked up his vibes and did their jobs to pull out this win.
  • On 8/7, the Brewers’ Brandon Woodruff pitched his usual lights out game and was leading 2-1 in the 9th inning. With 2 outs and 2 strikes against him, Tommy La Stella, drove a high and deep fly ball to right field, the Brewers’ Avisail Garcia got turned around, bumped up against the wall, and simply dropped the ball for a 3 base error which somehow was ruled a Triple and KB scored to tie the game (who else???). The Giants scored 3 times in the 10th from Buster Posey’s 2 run single and Brandon Crawford’s deep sacrifice fly. The Brewers promptly hit 2 HR’s in their bottom of the 10th to tie the game 5-5. In the 11th, LeMonte Wade had an RBI Single, Brandon Belt hit a 2 run HR, and KB hit a deep Double to drive in Posey. As astounding as the scoring from the Giants in the late innings of this game, equally unbelievable was the Giants’ Bullpen. This was the 3rd straight extra innings game and they had run out of pitchers. They didn’t want to use their Closer, Jake McGee, but he gutted it out and came in to close it out for another improbable Giants’ win. Another improbable stat was Brandon Belt coming back from a knee injury and “belting” 4 HR’s against the tough Brewers in 3 games.

Yes… the Giants were very good before acquiring KB. Since he has become a Giant, they became a great team which now sports the best record in the MLB at 71-41… a whopping 30 games over .500.

I can’t help but think that KB will do for the Giants what KD did for the Dubs!!! Need I say more?

2021 SF Giants – Who Are These Guys ???

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Is it 2010, 2012, or 2014? Are the Giants going to start a new trend by winning World Series in odd numbered years?

Indeed it is way too early to project the Giants in the World Series. But after 72 games, they sport the best record in the MLB with 46 wins and 26 losses… 20 games over .500.

On paper, both the Dodgers and Padres have all-star rosters with many players making whopping salaries. The Giants, at the beginning of the year, didn’t have any players who could seriously be considered all-stars. Consistent winning tends to erase pre-season projections.

On offense, the Giants are hitting, hitting with power and getting hits at the right times. After 72 games, they have 107 HR’s, 13 Triples, 109 Doubles, and 341 Singles. The heroes of the 2010, 2012, 2014 World Series teams are still shining bright lights. Buster Posey is having an all-star year batting .329 with 12 Homers. Brandon Crawford is having his best year of his career batting .249 with an eye opening 16 Homers. Brandon Belt is also having a great year batting .253 with 11 Homers. Add Evan Longoria and Mike Yastremski with 9 Homers each. Additionally, Yaz has an astounding 19 Doubles after missing 17 games with injuries. Longo has missed 22 games and counting after a violent collision with Crawford. Darrin Ruf has missed 29 games, Tommy LaStella has missed 47 games, Donnie (Barrels) Solano has missed 28 games, Brandon Belt has missed 19 games, and Alex Dickerson has missed 21 games. The “next man up” theory is working in a big way for these Giants this year.

How about the June Swoon? This year, the Giants are 12-6 in June thus far.

I must confess that I was not a big fan of the Gabe Kapler hiring, but he is making the right moves as it relates to analytics. Using pinch hitting as a stat, he has used 147 pinch hitters through 72 games which have resulted in league leading 30 hits and league leading 8 Homers producing 24 RBI’s. Platooning players based on analytics have produced big-time for the Giants this year as they are hitting and hitting for power.

Starting pitching has been a bright spot for the Giants, also. Kevin Gausman is leading the charge with an amazing 1.51 ERA. Anthony DeSclafani (3.01 ERA), Johnny Cueto (4.05 ERA), Alex Wood (4.09 ERA), Logan Webb (3.86 ERA) and newly added Sammy Long (4.20 ERA) round out a solid starting crew. While the Relievers had a rough start to the season, they have come around. The overall ERA for all pitchers is a very respectable 3.32.

Fielding also had a shaky start but their defense lead by Posey and Crawford is now one of the best in baseball.

After 72 games, the Giants can’t be ignored. They will be dangerous in a good way and I am loving it!!!

2021 SF 49ers Schedule and Prediction

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Week 1: @ Lions

W (1-0) – Niners owned Goff as a Ram. They will destroy him as a Lion.

Week 2: @ Eagles

W (2-0) – Jalen Hurts will be hurting.

Week 3: Packers (Sunday Night)

W (3-0) – Aaron Rodgers maybe happy again with the Packers but will be sad again after the game.

Week 4: Seahawks

W (4-0) – Russell Wilson may be leading the league in sacks after this game.

Week 5: @ Cardinals

L (4-1) – Cardinals surrounded Kyler Murray with weapons.

Week 6: bye

Week 7: Colts

W (5-1) – Carson Wentz to the Colts but he should have wentz to the Packers, Seahawks or Texans cuz their QB’s are not happy.

Week 8: @ Bears

W (6-1) – With either Andy Dalton or Justin Fields, the Bears will already be in early hibernation.

Week 9: Cardinals

W (7-1) – Niners avenge their only loss with an unstoppable running game with Mostert-atti,  Wilson, Sermon, and Mitchell.

Week 10: Rams

W (8-1) – Shanahan has McVay’s number.

Week 11: @ Jaguars

W (9-1) – Urban Meyer still thinks he is coaching a college team.

Week 12: Vikings

W (10-1) – Kellon Mond may be their QB as Cousins went to visit his relatives.

Week 13: @ Seahawks (Sunday Night)

L (10-2) – Russell Wilson performs his magic getting out of multiple sack situations.

Week 14: @ Bengals

W (11-2) – Burrow has gotten better but not good enough. The Niner’s D will burrow him.

Week 15: Falcons

W (12-2) – Falcons got the best young Tight End (Kyle Pitts) but Fred Warner will show him who’s boss.

Week 16: @ Titans (Thursday Night)

W (13-2) – Trey Sermon will win GMFB’s Angry Run scepter instead of Derrick Henry this week.

Week 17: Texans

W (14-2) – Trey Lance’s first start.

Week 18: @ Rams

W (15-2) – Jimmy G will torch the Ram’s D including Jalen Ramsey.

Niners head into the Playoffs with a dominant running game and a passing game which will be much better than the 2019 Super Bowl team. With Bosa back and as well as the CB’s (Jason Verrett, K’Waun Williams and  E-Man Moseley), the D will also be scary good. On Offense, Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk will become stars along with Kittle but watch out for Jalen Hurd who missed his first 2 seasons with injuries. At 6’ 5” 230 lbs., he will be the perfect Red Zone WR. Travis Benjamin as the slot receiver will surprise, also. On Defense, Nick Bosa, Fred Warner and Dre Greenlaw will be stand-outs but Javon Kinlaw will become a star. Both rookie CB’s  Ambry Thomas and Deommodore Lenoir will emerge as keepers and will get plenty of playing time. Rookie Safety Talanoa Hufanga will be a Special Teams star and will get plays on D on pass rushing downs. He will be the “steal” of the 2021 NFL draft.

How the Niners do in the Playoffs is a story for another day (as I say this smiling).

2021 NBA MVP – Steph Curry

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Steph Curry is Super-Human, Other-Worldly, the Human-Torch and the MVP for the 2021 NBA season. The Nuggets’ Nicola Jokic is also deserving of the MVP as he also is having a Great year. Therein lies the difference… Someone having an Other-Worldly season should be MVP vs someone having a Great season.

When NBA fans watch the Denver Nuggets play, they watch a very good team with very good players and a great player in Jokic. When they watch the Warriors play, they “stop what they’re doing and watch” the Human-Torch light it up to see what magic he can perform.

Steph means more to his team than any other player means to their respective team. Last year, he broke his wrist and played only 5 games in a pandemic shortened season. The Warriors’ went 15-50 and obviously did not qualify for the playoffs. This year, Steph has been relatively healthy but missed 8 games when he took a hard fall on his tail-bone. The Warriors are 36-26 when Steph plays and 1-7 when he was hurt. Nobody means more to a team then Steph means to Golden State. When Steph is on the floor, The Warriors score 16 points more per 100 possessions. This compares to the Nuggets scoring 4.7 points more per 100 possessions when Jokic is on the floor.

Steph, the Human-Torch has hit 10 or more 3’s in 7 games. This is more than every other NBA players combined. He leads the league in scoring (31.8 points per game). When he won the MVP in the 2014-15 season, he averaged 23.8 points and when he won MVP unanimously in the 2015-16 season he averaged 30.1 points. He leads the league in made 3’s with 328. And during an 11-game stretch last month, Curry became the first NBA player to average 40 points while shooting at least 50% from the field, 40% from 3-point range and 90% from the free-throw line.

What else has he done this year? Curry posted a career-high in points in one game (62). He surpassed Reggie Miller for second place on the NBA’s all-time 3-point list (2,822). And he replaced Wilt Chamberlain as the Warriors’ all-time leading scorer (18,367 points).

Just another season’s work for an Other-Worldly NBA player named Steph Curry.

Two Trey’s, a Honkin’ Big Road Grater, and More Great Picks

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As I predicted in my last post, the Niners did indeed pick Trey Lance as their future franchise QB.  He was the only choice that made sense as Lance can be an effective pocket passer and provide the other weapon for Shanahan’s offense, mobility with speed and power.

Speaking of power, the Niners then drafted a huge guard, Aaron Banks, 6’ 5” 330 pounds, who will play next to another Golden Domer, Mike McGlinchey. He is an absolute road grater and did not allow any QB sacks. Right Guard was the weakest position on the O-Line last year and with Banks in the fold, the Niners will field one of the best O-lines in the league (LT Trent Williams, LG Laken Tomlinson, C Alex Mack, RG Aaron Banks, and RT Mike McGlinchey). In a later round, they also drafted OG Jaylon Moore, 6’ 4” 311 pounds, who is versatile and can play either Guard or Tackle. He is highly graded and was a steal in the 5th round. Daniel Brunskill has re-signed and can play any O-line position including Center. With this group, the hope is that they can keep Jimmy Garoppolo upright and healthy all season while Lance learns Shanahan’s playbook.

Keeping with the power playbook, the Niners drafted one of the best running backs in the draft, Trey Sermon. He runs with “quick” power and fits nicely into Shanahan’s run scheme. They weren’t finished with improving the running game as they also drafted RB Elijah Mitchell, another powerful and shifty runner who analysts call an absolute steal in the 6th round. The Niners are now stacked with great RB’s in Raheem Mostert, Jeff Wilson, Trey Sermon, Elijah Mitchell and Wayne Gallman who played for the NY Giants last year. Along with Juice at FB, the Niners now sport one of the best backfields in the league.

The Niners draft strategy was clear… get their future QB, then protect their QB’s, and get back to the power run game that sent them to the Super Bowl in 2019.

To round out this year’s draft, the Niners finally addressed their Defensive Backfield by drafting CB Ambrey Thomas in the 3rd round and S Talanoa Huganga in the 5th round. Thomas opted out in 2020 but had a very productive 2019 with 54 tackles, 4 INT’s and 5 fumble recoveries. He runs a blazing 4.37 40 yard dash and has good size, 5’ 11” 191 pounds and plays stronger than he looks. Huganga may be the steal of the entire draft. He was the Player of the Year in the Pac-12. Talanoa had 62 tackles (5.5 for losses), 4 INT’s and 3 QB sacks. His goal in his first year is to make the All Pro team on Special Teams. He is an absolute missile and hits like a ton of bricks. Looking at his highlights, he looks like other famous USC Safeties, Troy Polamalu and Ronnie Lott. You can bet that both Troy and Ronnie will give him valuable NFL tips. With the possibility that Richard Sherman may re-sign, he will be the on-field coach in developing the skills of both Thomas and Huganga.

Lynch and Shanahan learned from last year from all of the injuries the team suffered. In filling out this year’s roster through free agency and the draft, they made sure that they stocked up on players in key positions where injuries hit them especially hard. And, in doing so, they also set themselves up for a grueling 17 game season. I can’t think of any other NFL team that planned for a 17 game season like Lynch and Shanahan did in the 2021 NFL Draft.

As all drafts, we won’t really know how these picks will turn out but if some Lombardi Trophies can be raised in SF in the next few years, we can then properly grade them.

With the 3rd Pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, the SF Niners Select…

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Trey Lance !!!

  1. Lance has all the physical tools:
    1. 6’ 4” 226 pounds.
    2. 4.55 seconds in the 40 yard dash with 1.99 seconds in the last 20 yards. In a live football game, he ran for a 44 yard TD and was clocked at 21.54 mph, fastest of all QB’s and faster than many WR’s and CB’s. This ranks as the 12th fastest RB in the NFL.
    3. He possesses the strongest arm strength in this year’s QB class.
    4. He is only 20 years old and has the highest ceiling in this year’s QB class.
    5. He is a bigger and younger version of Russell Wilson and Kyler Murray.
  2. Lance is a winner:
    1. N. Dakota State was 17-0 with Trey at QB.
    2. Completion percentage: 66.9 % (192 completions on 287 pass attempts) for 2,786 yards.
    3. Pass yards per attempt: 9.7.
    4. Pass TDs: 28 with zero interceptions.
    5. NFL passer rating: 130.8.
    6. Rushing attempts: 169 for 1,100 yards (6.5 yards per rush) for 14 TDs.
  3. Lance fits Shanahan’s Offense:
    1. He ran an NFL West Coast Offense with a FB and RB, taking snaps under Center and running Play Action plays.
    2. He is already very well refined with his back to the defense and either handing off to the RB/FB or executing pass plays.
    3. He has already shown the ability to distribute the ball to various receivers within the context of the offensive play.
    4. He certainly has the ability to run planned bootlegs or scramble to either run or pass on off-schedule plays where the pass rush disrupts the planned play.
  4. Knocks on Lance:
    1. He played only 17 games. Interestingly enough, Mac Jones played only 17 games, too. As a matter of fact, Jones was the 3rd string QB at Alabama behind two mobile QB’s, Tua Tagovailoa and Jalen Hurts.
    2. He played at N. Dakota State where top notched competition was lacking. Josh Allen, Buffalo’s star QB, played at Wyoming and Carson Wentz, Colt’s new QB, also played at N. Dakota State.
    3. He has poor footwork. Jimmy Garoppolo had bad footwork but under Shanahan, corrected it and lead the Niners to the Super Bowl in his only healthy season.

Justin Fields has many similar traits as Trey Lance and I would be just as happy if the selection is Fields. The key to both of these QB’s is that they have big and accurate arms and are MOBILE. I can’t stress enough how important mobility has become in the NFL. Every NFL team have good to great pass rushers who will disrupt planned plays so having a mobile QB has become a necessity.

The Mac Jones selection possibility is a smoke-screen. While Jones also had a perfect 17-0 record, he was playing behind an NFL-like Offense line and throwing to NFL-like WR’s. Jones is a quick thinker and is very good at reading defenses and going to his 2nd or 3rd WR’s if his primary WR is covered. These are traits that Shanahan treasures. The only knock that I have on Jones is that he is not mobile. Shanahan transformed Matt Ryan into an All-Pro QB and took the Falcons to the Super Bowl only to lose a big lead to Tom Brady. Under Shanahan, Garoppolo was good enough to take the Niners to the Super Bowl only to lose to a very mobile QB in Patrick Mahomes. While Tom Brady is the GOAT, he threw 3 INT’s in the NFC Championship game vs the Packers under pass rush duress. The Packers lost only because their CB, Kevin King, had the worst game of his career and unforgivably gave up 2 key TD’s to the Bucs.

The Lance choice makes a lot of sense for another reason based on decisions made by Lynch and Shanahan leading up to the big trade to move up to the 3rd pick. They seem committed to keep Garoppolo as their starting QB in 2021. They also signed Nate Sudfeld who is a 6 year vet, albeit a career backup. This signals that Lance (or Fields) will have a year to learn Shanahan’s Offense. This can, of course, change if Garoppolo gets hurt again or Lance develops much quicker than expected. If this happens, then trading Garoppolo becomes a possibility. The Niners have to pay Fred Warner and Nick Bosa big bucks soon so Jimmy’s days are surely numbered.

John Lynch has stated publicly that he regrets passing on drafting Patrick Mahomes. If they pass on Trey Lance or Justin Fields this year and both become stars for other teams, it will end the Lynch/Shanahan era in San Francisco. So, just like the Rocket Mortgage commercial, they not only have to be “pretty sure” but “certain” that their pick will lead the Niners to the promised land.

Last year, when the Niners signed LT Trent Williams, the LA Rams coach, Sean McVay, stated that he’s gonna drink a lot of beers. If the Niners draft Lance or Fields, McVay will have to order many more kegs of beer.

2021 Niners – Worst to First !!!

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After the Free Agency dust settled, the Niners accomplished the impossible and re-signed all of their key Free Agents. And, they signed key players from other teams in positions of need… Center Alex Mack from the Falcons and Edge Rusher Samson Ekuban from the Rams. Recalling Shanahan’s quote after the last game of last season, “I’m glad that the season is over… I just want all my players back next year!!!”. Mission accomplished !!! The Niners will go from worst to first this season and will certainly be in the hunt for the Lombardi.

And to top things off, they made a monster trade with the Dolphins to move up to the 3rd overall pick in this year’s draft. They have found their back-up QB for 2021 and their franchise QB going forward beginning 2022. The price they paid was high but not exorbitant.  They gave up only their 1st round pick this year and kept the rest of their 9 remaining picks to bring in new young blood. They also gave up their 1st and 3rd round picks in 2022 and a 1st round pick in 2023. As the Niners will be a top tier team, their future picks will surely be at the back end of the draft, so no big deal.

Re-capping the Free Agent re-signings and reviewing my MUST KEEP players in my 12/27/2020 blog, here is how things worked out:

Must Keep…

Trent Williams (LT) – $138.06 million over 6 years. The remarkable thing about this contract is that it is actually 2 separate deals, each of 3 year duration. The Niners can get out of the overall contract after 3 years. This is huge!!! Despite Patrick Mahomes’ best effort to recruit Trent to KC, the Niners got the job done to keep the best LT in the NFL for the rest of his career.

Kyle Juszczyk (FB) – $27 million over 5 years. The best FB in the business.

K’Waun Williams (CB) – $2.24 million for 1 year. Great value for a key piece to the Niner Defensive Backfield.

Ronald Blair (DE) – Blair was released most likely due to his severe knee injury. I was wrong in my prediction as a must keep player.

Ben Garland (C) – Garland was released as the Niners signed All-Pro Center Alex Mack, a Free Agent from the Falcons who played under Shanahan when he was the OC at Atlanta.

Kerry Hyder (DE) – Hyder signed with the Seahawks after the Niners signed Samson Ekuban, a rising Edge Rushing star from the Rams who couldn’t afford to keep him due to their salary cap situation.

Jason Verrett (CB) – $5.5 million for 1 year. Another great value as he is playing at an All Pro level. If he does become an All Pro, he makes another $1 million. Both Verrett and K’Waun are playing for a bigger pay day next year as it is assumed the salary cap will go up.

Ross Dwelley (TE) – $1 million for 1 year. Another great value as he has played very well as Kittle’s backup.

Taybor Pepper (LS) – $2 million over 2 years. Consistent Long Snappers are actually hard to find so they re-signed Pepper.

Jeff Wilson (RB) – $2.1 million for 1 year. A definite keeper as he has earned a hefty salary bump. I still recall when the Niners signed both Wilson and Dwelley as undrafted players 3 years ago. So happy that both of them have worked out.

Josh Rosen (QB) – $850 thousand for 1 year. After the Niners draft their future franchise QB, Rosen will become their 3rd string QB and could very easily be replaced.

Emmanuel Mosely (CB) – $10 million over 2 years. A wise decision to all but assure that E-Man will be the starting CB opposite Verrett.

Daniel Brunskill (T) – $850 thousand. A great re-signing as Brunskill is a very versatile player who can play T, G, or C.

D. J. Jones (DL) – $3.47 million for 1 year. A great re-signing as he is a stout nose tackle that frees up Bosa and Ekuban to get to the QB.

Marcel Harris (S) – $1 million for 1 year. Marcell is young and has plenty of room to grow.

Kevin Givens (DL) – $780 thousand for 1 year. He is a solid rotational player but is facing an assault charge in Baltimore so his future is cloudy at best.

Other Free Agents that the Niners re-signed that were pleasant surprises:

Jordan Willis (DE) – $1 million for 1 year. D-Line coach Kris Kocurek is the best in the business and sniffs out valuable players. He likes Willis.

Jaquiski Tartt (FS) – $1 million for 1 year. With Tarvarius Moore and Marcell Harris being both younger and having lower salaries, Tartt accepted a lower contract to stay with the team.

Robbie Gould (K) – $2.75 million over 2 years. Great for both sides, Robbie accepted a cap friendly contract and will continue to be “Good as Gould”.

How were the Niners able to find the funds to re-sign all of the key players and remain under the cap? Two major contract re-structures were a main reason.

  • Dee Ford (DE) – Restructured his contract to $24 million over 2 years saving $9.45 million in 2021.
  • Weston Richburg (C) – Restructured his contract to save $6.88 million in 2021. Richburg will most likely retire.

Onto the question of which QB will be selected by the Niners with the #3 pick in this year’s draft…

It is all but guaranteed that the Jags will select Trevor Lawrence with the #1 pick. The big question is what will the Jets do with their #2 pick…. They can stick with Sam Darnold as their QB and draft the best LT in the draft. If they do that, the Niners will have the pick of the rest of the best (Zach Wilson, Justin Fields, Trey Lance or Mac Jones). The Jets can also stay at #2 and select one of the these QB’s, most likely Zack Wilson. Or, the Jets can trade down. The team that trades up will draft a QB. Regardless, the Niners are assured of getting one of the top 3 QB’s on the board. If Shanahan is dead set on one of these QB’s, the Niners can try to move up from #3 to #2 if the Jets are willing to bite. There isn’t much separating Wilson and Fields and Lance. Thus, I would be thrilled to have any of the three. Although some experts like Mac Jones as a Niner fit, my view of Jones is that he is a lot like Garoppolo. So why would they move all the way up to #3 to draft another Jimmy G.? They could of in all probability stay put and be able to draft Mac Jones at the #12 pick. Just recall that Shanahan did say that he is open to coaching a mobile QB. He has been facing Kyler Murray and Russell Wilson twice a year and lost to Mahomes in the SB. I’m sure that adding another dimension to his QB scheme is appealing to him.

Niner Faithfuls have every right to be excited to see their team in the coming years. Should be filled with a lot of excitement!!!