Niners Anonymous

Third exhibition game coming up Saturday against the Broncos, and probably the only real glimpse we’ll get at what kind of team we have before the action begins for real. Not that we don’t already know what kind of team we have — a bottom feeder. But it’s always nicer to be more specific about what exactly makes us stink.

The only specific we know right now is the offensive line will be stinky poo poo this season. Which means all year long we’ll hear about how bad the play calling is. Unless that was just last year’s rant and a new simpleton chant will spring up this year. Signing LG Evan Mathis would have helped this bunch, but he signed with the Broncos instead, saying “The No. 1 priority in finding a new place to play was playing for a contender.” Clearly, the 49ers are no longer that type of destination.

It’s hard to keep up with who’s on the team and who’s leaving these days. A lot of new faces to get familiar with. NT Mike Purcell isn’t new, just plowing onto the scene after two years on the Practice Squad. His emergence puts Tony Jerod-Eddie‘s tenure here in jeopardy. And Jarryd Hayne‘s sensational preseason is threatening Kendall Hunter‘s roster spot.

The coaches can’t seem to decide who starts at RCB, RG, and Center. As the saying goes, when you’ve got two or more guys that could be the starter, you’ve got nobody who’s the starter. You’ve got backups. The team will start the season with backup quality players at those three spots, plus RT, where journeyman Erik Pears is the starter by default after Anthony Davis retired. That’s a lot of lesser talent at positions that have been talently filled the past few years.

The exhibition season had a certain excitement in previous years, gearing up for another SB run. But this year’s team is going nowhere except into the toilet, which makes the preseason pretty much a tedious bore leading to sixteen games that will make you want to switch the channel and watch something else. Definitely not an adrenaline generator.

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Dickhead Owners Game

The Cowboys come to town Sunday for exhibition game number two. This should provide an excellent opportunity for Jed York to get some tips from Jerry Jones on the fine art of ego-driven self-destruction.

The first string offense only played five downs against Houston, so there’s not enough data to pan them properly. Perhaps they’ll put in a quarter against the Cowboys and we can commence picking through the rubble.

The first string defense put in a bit more time, getting burned for a long TD, giving up a long drive to inside the five, then proved remarkably stout with a seven play goal line stand.

Backup QB Blaine Gabbert looked pretty good out there, leading the team on a 99 yard TD drive. If he keeps that up over the next three games, maybe we can add Quarterback Controversy to the list of dysfunctional elements of this year’s team. I can almost hear the cries now from a half empty stadium: “We want Gabby! We want Gabby!”

Former DC Vic Fangio‘s defenses rarely gave up big plays. That won’t be the case with Eric Mangini‘s defense. Big plays will be a staple of each game. We’ll get to see the backs of 49er DB jerseys chasing after WRs all year long.

The Cowboys have a terrific offensive line, which should have provided a decent test to the Niner D-line, but three of them are currently injured and will miss the game. I suppose you could look at it like a reverse kind of test. If the Niner D guys DON’T dominate the Cowboys’ backups, it will not be a good sign. For those of you looking for good signs, that is, groping forward with the faint hopes that this season won’t be a laughable disaster.

All around the league, players are dropping like flies and limping off the field and onto the IR lists, but we’re three weeks into Training Camp and the Niners have yet to incur a single meaningful injury. Amazing. It’s like the gods of football have decided to make this the healthiest year in 49er history — just to make sure there are no excuses for finishing dead last in the NFC West. Cruel.

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TC Week Two

The first exhibition game is this Saturday against Houston. Which means we’ll have 49er football games to entertain us each week until January 3rd, when the season ends for our red and gold, or black and atrocious, warriors.

Big year for owner Jed York. He’s screwed up the stadium grass, demolished the team, replaced good coaches with retreads, and presides over the most dysfunctional front office in the NFL. GM Trent Baalke isn’t far behind in the disaccomplishments. Most of his draft picks have either retired, quit, left for other teams, or flamed out.

Niner fans have a few days left to steel themselves for the year ahead. I can almost hear Cris Collinsworth now, leading off a Sunday night broadcast: “Whoa! The San Francisco 49ers. What is going on with these guys?” It might be a good year for the sensitive fans to leave the TV on “mute” while watching the games.

As usual, the starters and the QB are expected to only play the first quarter against Houston before taking the night off. It might be less than a quarter if J. J. Watt flattens Colin Kaepernick every time he drops back to pass. Probably a good time to work on the running game and save the passing attack for a later day.

Still no injuries through the second week of camp, although the release of Aldon Smith is probably at least as damaging as an ACL tear to a major player. More so, since Aldon will not recover in a year — or maybe ever. We’ll always have the memory of Aldon’s 3rd down sack dance, though. A true gem. Racing off the field and taking a seat on the bench. The anti-sack dance.

Meanwhile, ticket prices for the 49ers are down nearly thirty percent compared to the same time period as last year on They’ve analyzed more than 30,000 NFL ticket sales this year and the drop for the Niners is the league’s largest.

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Posted in Training Camp

TC Week One

Training Camp is underway and everyone is happier, everyone is faster, and everyone is better. Ah, TC bliss. There’s a lot of hyperbole emanating from camp now as the once mighty men try to psyche themselves up for the tenuous year ahead.

The team practiced in pads for the first time on Tuesday, and the offensive line got trampled to the tune of nine sacks and a stuffed running game. Conclusion: it must be bad play calling.

The 49ers signed Erik Pears in the offseason to essentially replace Jonathan Martin as the backup swing tackle. Then Anthony Davis retired. Now Pears is the starting right tackle. We saw what happened last year with Martin filling in at RT for nine games. Mostly, bad stuff. Expect a similar result this year.

Which makes it look like the team will be distinctly left oriented this coming year, both in the running game and pass protection. The right side of the O-line is inadequate and will be a season long jail break.

On the plus side, it looks like the D-line is off to a powerful start. We’ll have to reserve judgment until they face a varsity O-line, though.

New DC Eric Mangini likes to blitz linebackers and safeties, which should please some folks. Good QBs tend to feast on this sort of approach, but luckily the team only faces about twelve of them this year.

Colin Kaepernick will be allowed to call some/all/a few of his own plays this coming year. This is a clever maneuver designed to make it difficult for blog experts to assign blame on any particular failed play. Who says Jim Tomsula is just another meathead D-line coach?

On the injury front, after five days of practice, none worth mentioning. If you’re looking for the Niners to rip off six or seven wins this year, this is good news. For those hoping the year is so bad that Jed York is embarrassed to go out in public — there’s five more weeks of danger ahead until opening day, when the carnage begins for real — health or no health.

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Training Camp 2015

The 2014 offseason will close up shop this weekend, taking its rightful place among the darkest chapters in 49er history. A truly ghastly effort by the dirtbag young owner and an insult to 49er fans everywhere.

Next up, two weeks of Training Camp leading into the 2015 preseason games. I’d expect the team to look decent in these four fake games, as they face vanilla defenses and offenses. Jim Tomsula and his staff will try hard to convince fans that they know what they’re doing, and they will want the team to experience the feeling of being winners.

For some fans, the 2015 regular season will be about coming to grips with reality. We’ll have trauma teams available to help these poor souls in their journey back toward sanity.

For the rest of us, this year will not be about playoffs or postseason or Super Bowls. All that went out the window last January. No, 2015 will give us a definitive look at the work of GM Trent Baalke, whose 2013 – 2015 drafts will be on full display.

From the 2013 class, only FS Eric Reid has been a starter. His first year was good and his second year so-so. He’s also had concussion issues and Baalke spent a second round pick in 2015 for another FS Jaquiski Tartt. The other 2013 members — Tank Carradine, Vance McDonald, Quinton Patton, Quinton Dial — have played mostly minor roles up to now, but all of them need to contribute this year. We’ll see if they do. Dial and Carradine are penciled in as starters. If they can’t cut it, the D-line falls apart.

From the 2014 class, Jimmie Ward, Carlos Hyde, Marcus Martin, Bruce Ellington, Dontae Johnson, & Aaron Lynch all played minor roles last year. This year they must play major roles. G Brandon Thomas might also need to step in as a starter after a year on IR.

If all these guys turn out to be good players, and some of the 2015 draftees eventually join them, then Baalke will have laid the groundwork of a solid team down the road. If they don’t, Baalke will have failed and the 49ers will have mediocrity as their future.

No matter how good the players are, though, they’ll never become champions without a stable front office and a good HC and staff. The current HC and staff are a league wide joke. That situation falls almost entirely on the owner who forced it to happen. Until it’s rectified, the team will not be a contender.

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Posted in Training Camp
2015 Schedule
1. 9/14 vs MIN
2. 9-20 @ PIT
3. 9/27 @ ARI
4. 10-4 vs GB
5. 10/11 @ NYG
6. 10/18 vs BAL
7. 10/22 vs SEA
8. 11/1 @ STL
9. 11/8 vs ATL
10. 11/15 BYE
11. 11/22 @ SEA
12. 11/29 vs ARI
13. 12/6 @ CHI
14. 12/13 @ CLE
15. 12/20 vs CIN
16. 12/27 @ DET
17. 1/3 vs STL
The Harbaugh Scoreboard
49ers: 0-0
  [Not Harbaugh]
Michigan: 0-0
  [Harbaugh, Drevno]
Bears: 0-0
  [Fangio, Donatell]
Bills: 0-0
Cardinals: 0-0
Chiefs: 0-0
Colts: 0-0
Redskins: 0-0
Raiders: 0-0
  [Crabtree, Seely]
Titans: 0-0
  [Walker, Cox]
2015 Draft Class
1 Arik Amstead, DE
2 Jaquiski Tartt, S
3 Eli Harold, OLB
4 Blake Bell, TE
4 Mike Davis, RB
4 DeAndre Smelter, WR
5 Bradley Pinion, P
6 Ian Silberman, OG
7 Trenton Brown, OT
7 Rory Anderson, TE