View From the Bottom

The 2017 NFL season is slipping by quickly and we’re down to our last six games. The 49ers have improved statistically from last year’s team, with the offense improving from somewhere near dead last to 23rd in the league. The defense is up one notch, from last to next to last.

Still, one victory in ten tries is nothing much to ho-ho-ho and a bottle of numb about.

The defense was supposed to be the strength of the team this year, but that has not been the case. The run defense is still dead last in the league, and the pass defense is 30th. There’s been almost no pass rush from the DEs or OLBs. Solomon Thomas has not been worth the 3rd pick in the Draft. He hasn’t been a game changer at all. ILB Reuben Foster looks like a star in the making, but he’s been injured most of the year. The secondary continues to be average at best.

On offense, the rushing attack ranks 17th and the passing attack is 23rd. The two guards are the most glaring weakness on the entire team. There still isn’t a #1 WR or a reliable third down option.

Seven members of the 2017 Draft class are or have contributed this year. Not with any particular distinction, but with just enough performance to sustain the hope they will get better.

The most significant development of the season was probably the trade for Jimmy Garappolo a few weeks back. If the Niners can sign him to a contract before the start of the 2018 Free Agency period, he’ll be the next in a long line of presumptive Franchise Quarterbacks the team has trotted out since Steve Young was put to sleep in Arizona in 1999.

If they don’t get Garappolo signed, they’ll have wasted a very high second round pick for a “pocketful of mumbles such are promises” and be back in the hunt for a QB next offseason.

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Posted in Vacant Observations

49ers 31, Giants 21

Rookie HC Kyle Shanahan finally got his first win Sunday, trouncing the hapless New York Giants. Rookie QB CJ Beathard also got his first win, while enjoying the rare treat of a clean pocket and a break from getting pounded each week.

With the win, the Niners dodged the bullet of an 0-16 whifferoo season and a shot at breaking the record for most consecutive losses, set at 13 last year by Chip Kelly‘s lifeless team.

The win effectively ended any remaining drama to the 2017 season. From here on out, the 49ers will just be a bad team playing out the string to yet another bleak year.

Many fans will be anxiously awaiting the debut of newly acquired QB, Jimmy Garappolo, which may occur after next Sunday’s BYE week. Beathard won’t be in that throng, but at least he put up one game’s worth of good tape for the 2018 season.

Joe Staley said after the game that the win felt as good as the NFC Title game. He failed to mention which of the three straight trips the team made to that event, presumably the one that led to a Super Bowl appearance. At any rate, it vividly demonstrated just how far the bar in SF has fallen and just how fast it got there.

Sorry, Joe. What a crock of shit.

The loss vaulted the Giants over the Niners and into the second spot in next year’s Draft. It’s unlikely those positions will change over the final six games of the season. The Browns, Giants, and 49ers are all firmly in the NFL caboose, with no other teams remotely close in awfulness.

At least the team will have two weeks to familiarize themselves with what winning a game feels like. It will quite likely be the high point of the season, so enjoy it boys. Seattle comes to town after the BYE, and the taste of defeat will no doubt resume its inexorable stench.

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Posted in Post Game Spread

Cardinals 20, 49ers 10

The Cardinals and 49ers met for the second time this season and the results were pretty much the same. A deadly boring contest which Arizona won. 49er fans were apparently expecting this sort of performance, as the stadium was only about 25% full. Charitably speaking. Empty is another word that comes to mind.

Each team had a different QB this time around, a career backup vs a rookie backup. The career backup spent the day keeping his jersey clean by handing the ball to Adrian Peterson, who racked up 159 yards on 37 carries. The rookie backup heaved it up there 51 times and completed 24, while being sacked five times and beaten to a pulp the rest of the time. Advantage: Arizona.

As is their habit, four or five Niner guys got injured during the game. Starting strong safety Jacquiski Tartt broke his arm and will head to IR and join his fellow safety Jimmie Ward, who broke his arm last week.

Newly acquired QB Jimmy Garappolo watched the game from the sidelines, no doubt dreaming of joining the Denver Broncos when he becomes a free agent this offseason. Dreaming of staying here in Santa Clara would be evidence of a mental disorder that would be grounds for getting him committed to an asylum.

0-9. Ohfernine. Kinda rolls off the tongue like a loogie dribbling down a chin.

The HC/GM duo of Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch has managed to out-underperform and out-screwup former GM Trent Baalke and the previous two HCs, Jim Tomsula and Chip Kelly. This is not an easy un-achievement.

It might make one recall that last offseason, other than Shanahan, there was another young wunderkind offensive guru looking for an HC gig. His name is Sean McVay and his Rams team is currently 6-2 and in first place in the NFC West. Did our dimwit owner choose unwisely? Is it even possible for him to choose wisely, unless it’s an accident?

Like draft picks, it might take another year or two to properly assess the worth of the new regime. There’s still a chance that it will not be yet another disaster. And that’s your 49er highlight for today.

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Posted in Post Game Spread

It’s a Mad World

So, in with Jimmy Garappolo, out with Kirk Cousins. And, for his 0-6 efforts, Brian Hoyer goes from worst to first. Reminds me of David Baas, the O-line guy who did squat here for five years, then went to the Giants and won a Super Bowl ring.

Have to hand it to John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan, they’re keeping it interesting at least. We’ll see if Garappolo is worth all the hoopla or becomes another in a list of guys who backed up Tom Brady and went on to splat elsewhere.

Meanwhile, CJ Beathard has at least two more games as starter to flounder his stuff. And the schedule is handing him a chance to be the first, and maybe only, QB to bring home a win this year.

Arizona comes to town next Sunday, freefalling toward the basement currently owned by the 49ers. The Cardinals barely beat the Niners in Arizona last October 1, and have since lost their QB, Carson Palmer, for the rest of the year.

Garappolo will be a free agent at the end of the season, so the Niners are basically risking a very high second round pick to have the first crack at signing him this offseason. They can also franchise him. The price tag for that would be some $25+ million, which puts Garappolo in the enviable position of getting paid elite QB money with only three starts to his NFL career. It would also give him a higher salary than Brady, making his three starts worth more than five rings!

And that’s your economics class for today.

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Posted in Game Previews

Eagles 33, 49ers 10

What can I say? Another fun day in 49erville, as the boys ran their record to a clean 0-8, doggedly keeping pace with the Cleveland Browns in the empty barrel division.

The 49ers are getting better and better at getting worse and worse.

They’re also getting pretty good at getting injured. During the course of this game, which began with RT Trent Brown out with a concussion, the team lost Brown’s replacement Garry Gilliam (knee dinger), FS Jimmie Ward (broken arm), DE Solomon Thomas (sprained knee), and LT Joe Staley (fractured orbital).

Still, our gimpy lads fought the good fight right up to the two minute warning in the first half. In the next thirty seconds, the Eagles turned a 3-0 lead into a 17-0 lead by scoring two TDs, one after an end zone PI by Dontae Johnson and another on a third down CJ Beathard pick six. The air hissed out of the balloon at that point and the second half was a mere formality.

Beathard’s promising debut against Washington has now turned into back to back ten point efforts and two nasty whippings. From this point on, he’s auditioning for next year’s backup QB role, rather than next year’s starter. Or maybe even next year’s third string QB. Brian Hoyer seems like a keeper as a backup.

Despite the final score, DC Robert Saleh is doing a fairly decent job on his side of the ball. Better than HC Kyle Shanahan is doing. Some of the shine is wearing off for our boy genius. Maybe he just needs a decent O-line and a couple of WRs like Julio Jones. Then again, doesn’t everybody!

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Posted in Post Game Spread
2017 Schedule
Sept. 10: vs Carolina: L 3-23
Sept. 17: at Seattle: 9-12
Sept. 21: vs. L.A. Rams: L 39-41
Oct. 1: at Arizona: L 15-18
Oct. 8: at Indianapolis: L 23-26
Oct. 15: at Washington: L 24-26
Oct. 22: vs. Dallas: L 10-40
Oct. 29: at Philadelphia: L 10-33
Nov. 5: vs. Arizona: L 10-20
Nov. 12: vs. N.Y. Giants: W 31-21
Week 11 — Bye
Nov. 26: vs. Seattle, 1:05 p.m.
Dec. 3: at Chicago, 10 a.m.
Dec. 10: at Houston, 10 a.m.
Dec. 17: vs. Tennessee, 1:25 p.m.
Dec. 24: vs. Jacksonville, 1:05 p.m.
Dec. 31: at L.A. Rams, 1:25 p.m.
2017 Draft Class
1. DE Solomon Thomas
1. ILB Reuben Foster
3. CB Ahkello Witherspoon
3. QB C.J. Beathard
4. RB Joe Williams
5. TE George Kittle
5. WR Trent Taylor
6. DT D.J. Jones
6. LB Pita Taumoepenu
7. CB Adrian Colbert
2017 Prognostications
Bullit: 5-11
Chuck: 9-7
Grumpy: 4-12
Mr Fletch: 5-11
NJ49er: 6-10
Rob: 9-7
RTFirefly: 5-11
Skeebers: 6-10
Winder: 4-12