Reasonable Doubt

The pundits don’t seem to think the 49ers can beat the Steelers Monday night. Perhaps these fellows are right. Fortunately, they are just as apt to be wrong.

Wow. Some eye-popping upsets yesterday. Two games left in the 2011 NFL regular season. In each conference, four teams have made the playoffs and the two remaining qualifiers have yet to be decided.

In the NFC, the enterprises groveling to squeeze their useless teams into the final dance are Seattle, Arizona, the Giants, the Cowboys, and the Lions. Of these teams, the quirky Giants are the only team with a QB good enough to overcome the long odds of making an SB run.

In the AFC, playoff filler involves the AFC West survivor, the Jets, the Bengals, and Tennessee. Of these, only the Jets have the chutzpah necessary for an upset SB entry. A wimpy chutzpah, to be sure. About as viable as their HC’s ability to stare down a buffet and not inhale.

At one point, the 49ers had mesmerized the league into believing they might be capable of reaching the NFC title game and even upsetting the Packers to reach the SB, but that spell has been broken by losses in two of their last three games. It is now trending that they have gone as far as they can go with the talent they have, and it would take a convincing victory over Pittsburgh on Monday night to reverse this view.

The primary cause of slipping support is not the porous O-line or the vulnerable secondary, though these imperfections are duly noted. No, the primary cause is the almost complete disbelief that Alex Smith is a big time QB, one capable of surpassing the sum of the team’s parts to produce a threatening whole.

It’s hard to disagree with this assessment. The one factor mitigating the Smith-doubt this year has been Jim Harbaugh and his creative game plans. It is him, and his staff, that have raised the sum parts of the team to a greater whole, not Smith.

This is not to say Smith has not done his part. He has. And done it well. He’s an underrated QB who will continue to get better the longer he stays in Harbaugh’s system and the more his team improves around him. He makes very few mistakes and almost never costs his team a game. But he is also almost never the reason the team wins.

San Francisco is the seventh poorest team in protecting it’s QB. Over the past three games, they have been the worst. Indeed, the NFC West occupies four of the bottom seven spots in sacks given up. The other three NFC West teams, not surprisingly, have all lost their starting QBs to significant injury time this year. Smith is the only one still standing, a testimony to his toughness. He has not missed a game.

Ben Roesthlisberger and Aaron Rogers can overcome poor offensive line play, but Smith and most other QBs, including Tom Brady, cannot. For Smith to be a successful QB, he will need an O-line as good as the one that has played in front of Brady for the past ten years. A dangerous wide receiver would help, too.

Why did Matt Hasselbeck sign with Tennessee and not the 49ers this past offseason? The Titans have given up the second fewest sacks in the league. Even so, Hasselbeck has missed several games to injuries. If he’d signed with the 49ers, he’d probably be in a coma by now.

The current 49er O-line is very young, but very talented. They have a chance to be great. The lack of an offseason has clearly stunted their growth this year. They are not yet ready for Prime Time. And that is the main reason this 49er team will not be going to the SB this year. When the O-line finally gels, Smith will be one of the best QBs in the league. And fully capable of taking this franchise back to the ultimate glory.

Which is not to say the 49ers can’t beat the Steelers tonight. They can. And they will.

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90 comments on “Reasonable Doubt
  1. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    This team could be an ectype of the 1981 49ers. There are obvious differences but there are some similarities too.

  2. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    Skeebers- Alex was not the reason we lost 2 of the last three. The O-line did play poorly but the play calling has not been good either, especially in the red zone, which hurts the line play. But the biggest problem is the play of the WRs. If they catch some easy ones we win in Baltimore and Phoenix.

  3. SkeebersNo Gravatar says:

    Yeah, it seems like every team has fast WRs running free and making great catches. Then we have our guys who rarely make a great catch, drop a lot of easy ones, and never get any separation.

  4. SkeebersNo Gravatar says:

    That’s why we all are so high on Kyle Williams.

  5. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    Timing is everything sometimes. I just got off the phone with my 49er friend from NY. He told me he heard Troy Aikman say the problem with the 49ers is “they don’t have any receivers that scare you”.

  6. SkeebersNo Gravatar says:

    Braylon was supposed to scare people, but that has not happened.

  7. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    I don’t believe in drafting WRs in the 1st round during rebuilding. I think we are mostly re-built. I’m all for a WR this year if he is a game changer. Maybe Sanu? But I hear he is going back to school. Having said that, I’m also all for a D-lineman. Take the best on the board in round one.

  8. bullitNo Gravatar says:

    Niners win tonight 24-20.
    Perhaps Vernon Davis should study some video on Jason Witten to see how a slow guy get’s open so often. Hell he should look at Brent Jones’ video. VD on a safety or a LB is a mismatch.
    Niners need to exploit it.

  9. bullitNo Gravatar says:

    Berger

    The Niners hsould sign Stevie Johnson as a FA. His talks with the Bills have stalled and he might be on the market. Just pay through your nose and he’s probably an improvement over BE who seems to be here for is million bucks and a cup of coffee.
    Desean Jackson is poison now and not worth the trouble.

  10. Del Mar DennisNo Gravatar says:

    I brought this up to Berger the other night. I guess I’m not the only one who thinks Peyton Manning would look good in the red and gold.
    http://tinyurl.com/boydqjz

  11. Del Mar DennisNo Gravatar says:

    “Seattle, Arizona, the Giants, the Cowboys, and the Lions. Of these teams, the quirky Giants are the only team with a QB good enough to overcome the long odds of making an SB run.”
     
    Yeah, that guy who scored four TDs in the first half Saturday night in Tampa isn’t any good.
     
    Romo hater.

  12. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    Too funny!

  13. Grumpy GuyNo Gravatar says:

    Romo can score a lot of points in a hurry. For either team on the field. 😉
     
    The trick for Dallas is to get Good Tony for three whole games while banishing Choker Tony. Historically, in January, that’s been tough to do.

  14. Grumpy GuyNo Gravatar says:

    Bullit, I would trade VD if we can after the season. Despite his ‘measurables’, his on-field performance does not match up to this gifts. He had a good run running deep through safeties, but teams have learned to take that away, and his awkwardness in short patterns and his propensity for mental lapses and drops limit his utility. I do not believe he will ever have another season like two years ago, and we should dangle him while he still has value.

  15. unca chuckNo Gravatar says:

    Romo hater = Homo raider

    How many playuoff wins does Tony Promo have, Den?

    I’d take DSJ over Stevie (blunder) Johnson in a new york minute, Bullitt

  16. unca chuckNo Gravatar says:

    Dennis, Tampa Bay is 4-10 for a reason.
    .
    Watch out for those Iggles, Dennis. They are gaining on you.

  17. unca chuckNo Gravatar says:

    Right Grump. VD does not do well in traffic. When he is free and clear, he’s fine. But that rarely happens anymore. If he runs a seam, he’s doubled.

  18. Del Mar DennisNo Gravatar says:

    Chuck, to answer your question as to how many playoff wins does Tony Romo have? That’s easy, one more than Alex Smith will ever have.
     
    But you’re right about those Iggles. They still have a Lloyd Christmas chance of winning the NFC East. Win their final two (DAL, WAS) and have the G-Men lose to the Jets next week then have those same Giants beat Romo and the ‘Boys in the final week.
     
    But I think Week 17 will become moot. Romo beats the Puppy Killer and Tom Coughlin gets closer to shuffling off to Buffalo as he and the G-Men lose to the short-haired Ryan brother, Rex. He of the foot-fetish toe sucking variety.

  19. barleyfreakNo Gravatar says:

    I have possession/security blanket/dependable hands TE envy. VD is not that. Neither is DW. We need some guy with hands and smarts (speed is not the first need)that can find open spots in zones and can make the catch in traffic. Look at Gronkowski, Hernandez, for the Patriots. Granted they have Brady throwing to them but they catch everything near them.

  20. unca chuckNo Gravatar says:

    Dennis, how many years did Romo have a better team and coaches, than Alex Smith? 6 years?
    .
    Romo sucks. You swallow . . .

  21. robNo Gravatar says:

    BERGER

    wassup ! you watchin out in sac town ?

  22. unca chuckNo Gravatar says:

    No wonder you like Tim Tebow. All hype no-production guys are your style apparently.

  23. robNo Gravatar says:

    thanks john york ! the lights just went out ! nice stadium ! embarass our franchise one more time you DICK !

  24. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    Two plays in and Delanie Walker has no drops yet!

  25. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    Four plays, no Delanie Walker drops yet!

  26. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    Five plays in, Gore drops one. Dropping passes is what the 49ers do.

  27. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    We’re at the 27, time for a Walker fumble.

  28. SkeebersNo Gravatar says:

    Sigh. Another 3.

  29. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    Williams has to sit in between the defenders. If Alex throws to where he was running that would have been an interception. We should just go 4 wide in the red zone, IMO.

  30. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    Look at that catch by Brown for a 1st down. Throw was behind him, he reaches back and catches it one handed. We don’t have one player who does that. Then he drops one. Maybe he could be a 49er?

  31. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    Nice pass by Roethlisberger to Goldson!

  32. SkeebersNo Gravatar says:

    Gore can’t catch anything lately. Smith blew that pass to Crabtree, too. Sigh. Another 3.

  33. Del Mar DennisNo Gravatar says:

    Chuck, Alex just missed a wide open Crabtree in the end zone. Better teams, better coaches? Tony Romo is just a better quarterback.
     
    Admit that first, and then you can swallow.

  34. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    Like I was saying a couple of days ago, Alex has a hard time with that deep sideline throw. He is still better than Romo.

  35. Del Mar DennisNo Gravatar says:

    Seriously. If any of you can say with a straight face that Alex Smith is a better QB than Tony Romo. Well, to paraphrase old V, “delusion, meet clown.”

  36. Del Mar DennisNo Gravatar says:

    I see that Bozo #1 has spoke…

  37. Del Mar DennisNo Gravatar says:

    “When the lights go out in the city…”

  38. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    We know Del loves to see Alex miss a throw, kind of like the one Romo missed to a wide open Miles Austin which cost his team the game vs the Giants. Admit it, Romo is a good fantasy QB and that is about it. He sucks.

  39. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    Alex is better than Romo. Go root for your Cowboys, we are 49er fans on this site.

  40. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    I see Romo’s homo #1 has spoke…

  41. Del Mar DennisNo Gravatar says:

    I gotta give Berger credit for backing his homeboy. His “homey” Alex Smith. He of the current 75.9 QBR and W-L record of 29-34. Nah. We wouldn’t want a 3 time Pro Bowler with a 96.8 QBR and 47-28 starting record. Let’s keep the mook from Utah.
     
    Berger, you didn’t tell me there was a mook convention in downtown Sacramento.

  42. Del Mar DennisNo Gravatar says:

    Vernon Davis SUCKS. He shoulda caught that ball. Alex put it right on the money. Safety good hit or not.
     
    And now he drops another one. Remember when forty9faithful and I had that schtick about trading VD? I think that deserves a comeback…
     
    Hey, “did we trade Vernon and his 15′ self-portrait yet?”

  43. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    We’re playing for a playoff seed and your head is in off season aquisitions. Tell me how Manning helps us win THIS game? Go root for your Cowboys.

  44. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    Yeehaw! Walker caught a pass!

  45. Del Mar DennisNo Gravatar says:

    Berger, my head is up my ass 99% of the time. You should know better. But, yeah. If my head needs to be in the position right now to lure Peyton Manning to the Niners next year…I’m bending over and sticking my head in…

  46. robNo Gravatar says:

    BERGER !

    call me . its halftime !

  47. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    Be careful, once you pull your head out you probably won’t be able to handle the light being on!

  48. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    Rob- I can’t call from Sac. My cell phone is for business use only.

  49. SkeebersNo Gravatar says:

    The O-line is holding up – so far.

  50. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    I don’t remember the last time I blogged during a game. This might be the only 49er game I ever watch from Sac.

  51. SkeebersNo Gravatar says:

    Where you watching it?

  52. robNo Gravatar says:

    wow ! great game ! we still win imo !

  53. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    On ESPN!

  54. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    Let’s see if we can stop the false starts.

  55. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    Let’s go Alex!

  56. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    Holding on Delanie Walker.

  57. SkeebersNo Gravatar says:

    Screen pass!

  58. SkeebersNo Gravatar says:

    That’s a TD.

  59. robNo Gravatar says:

    TD 49ers ! go vernon !

  60. SkeebersNo Gravatar says:

    Finally! A little razzle dazzle.

  61. Del Mar DennisNo Gravatar says:

    Alex to VD for a TD! Berger has both of them on his fantasy team in our semi-final playoff matchup. Now I’m only beating him by a 100 pts. 😀

  62. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    103 points!

  63. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    I’m going to have the 2nd most points this week and lose by the widest margin.

  64. SkeebersNo Gravatar says:

    Oh, Yeah!!!!

  65. robNo Gravatar says:

    anybody else here want to win big ?

  66. SkeebersNo Gravatar says:

    Oh, Yeah!!!

  67. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    Frankie baby!

  68. SkeebersNo Gravatar says:

    It’s officially past my bed time now. I’m suckin’ it up, though.

  69. SkeebersNo Gravatar says:

    Aldon again!

  70. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    All Don all the time!

  71. SkeebersNo Gravatar says:

    And again!!

  72. robNo Gravatar says:

    anybody here happy right about now !

  73. SkeebersNo Gravatar says:

    Oh, Yeah!

  74. SkeebersNo Gravatar says:

    That’s the easiest sack Brooks will ever get.

  75. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    All Brooks all the time!

  76. SkeebersNo Gravatar says:

    Lights out.

  77. TonyNo Gravatar says:

    GREAT PERFORMANCE!!

  78. robNo Gravatar says:

    ok , so our big , speedy , tall rangy passrusher bowled over an 0-lineman on one play !

    now he’s doing it AGAIN … and again !

    ooooh boy , and he’s doing it against a top 0-lineman (starks) !

    13 sacks for aldon !

  79. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    AllDon all the time!

  80. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    The Smiths kicked butt tonight. Alex, Justin and AllDon!

  81. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    Seattle will be tough next week. I say we use this formula, AllDon all the time!

  82. robNo Gravatar says:

    oh man !

    ok
    imho

    officialy

    we’re
    back !

  83. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    I’m very happy Denver took Von Miller and Arizona took Patrick Peterson. That left us with AllDon all the time! How about that Baalke? I’d say the nationwide search was excellent!

  84. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    AllDon has had at least two sacks taken away this year because of penalty.

  85. unca chuckNo Gravatar says:

    I said it on my blog. I was very underwhelmed with the Aldon Smith pick. I figured he’d be a work in progress and he could show something in a couple years.
    .
    Good, bad, or indifferent, Baalke gets a major furking gold star for picking Smith. He’s only going to get bigger, stronger, and faster.

  86. unca chuckNo Gravatar says:

    Due to his age that is . . .

  87. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    Alex Smith had another Bob Griese type game!

  88. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    unca- I had the O/U on AllDon All the Time sacks at 5.5. But that was before he was AllDon All the Time!

  89. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    What a difference it makes to have a defensive coordinator that promotes penetration by his D-line! Can you imagine Nolan teaching AllDon he should hold the point instead of getting too much penetration? I guarantee that would happen.

  90. SkeebersNo Gravatar says:

    New post is up.

2018 Schedule
9-9: @ Vikings, 10:00 am Sun.
9-16: vs. Lions, 1:25 pm, Sun.
9-23: @ Chiefs, 10:00 am, Sun.
9-30: @ Chargers, 1:25 pm, Sun.
10-7: vs. Cardinals, 1:25 pm, Sun.
10-15: @ Packers, 5:15 pm, Mon.
10-21: vs. Rams, 5:20 pm, Sun.
10-28: @ Cardinals, 1:25 pm, Sun.
11-1: vs. Raiders, 5:20 pm, Thur.
11-12: vs. Giants, 5:15 pm, Mon.
BYE
11-25: @ Tampa, 10:00 am, Sun.
12-2: @ Seattle, 5:20 pm, Sun.
12-9: vs. Broncos, 1:25 pm, Sun.
12-16: vs. Seattle, 1:25 pm, Sun.
12-23: vs. Bears, 1:05 pm, Sun.
12-30: @ Rams, 1:25 pm, Sun.
 
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
NJ49er: 6-10
Skeebers: 6-10
Bullit: 5-11
Mr Fletch: 5-11
RTFirefly: 5-11
Chuck: 9-7
Grumpy: 4-12
Rob: 9-7
Winder: 4-12

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