Nighty-night to the Off Season

The long off season is nearly at an end (gasp, wheeze). Before we forget about it completely, except to scour blog archives for damning rebuttals to posters that peeve us, let’s trot through it for one last recap before training camp opens on Sunday afternoon.

In January, 49er fans again watched the playoffs from a distance, setting up an off season wrangle about the two victories the team let slip through its fingers, one at Minnesota and the other at Seattle — victories that would have gotten the team into the playoffs. Other topics that rose to the top of the bitch & moan list were:

  1. 1. Lack of speed in our secondary (Atlanta, Green Bay, and Philadelphia games)
  2. 2. Awful play calling by Jimmy Raye (led the league in 3 and outs)
  3. 3. Atrocious O-line play (David Baas & Adam Snyder allowed 17.5 sacks, and the line could not push anybody an inch on 3rd and 1)
  4. 4. Disastrous punt return team
  5. 5. Whether an 8-8 record was improvement or just treading water.

For the first time in several years, who our starting QB was, or should be, did not dominate the blog wars. Alex Smith was the man and those that didn’t like him either resigned themselves to the coming year or began to edge away from their previous nastiness towards him by throttling down from grenade launchers to pea shooters. Nor was the pass rush a dominant topic, since the 49ers finished fourth in the league in sacks last year.

The villain selected to represent topic number one was Nate Clements. The trouble with playing CB in the NFL is that when you screw up, it is disastrous, obvious, and replayed over and over in slow motion. It tends to burn an image in the casual fan’s mind. Clements has had two disastrous games in his three years with the 49ers. One came against Dallas in 2008 and the other against Atlanta in 2009.

Basically, we are talking about 3 plays in a three year span. Other than that, he has been our best CB, the best tackler, and was a tremendous boost to the secondary when he was signed as a FA in 2007, especially against division rival Arizona. Other CBs on the team have muffed the patooney more than once, without drawing lasting fan outrage, but Nate got paid $80 million to be a shutdown corner and Joe Blow gets kind of huffy when $80,000,000 does not buy perfection. It does buy Nate just about everything else he needs, however, so this stalwart player is probably not losing a whole lot of sleep over what Joe Blow thinks. Some fans rashly would like to see him cut, which would deprive the secondary of its first or second best CB. This is called “are you nuts?”

At any rate, the missing speed was addressed by drafting super fast Taylor Mays and bringing in Karl Paymah as a FA corner back. Neither will be starting, but both are expected to get into the mix as the season rumbles forward.

Point number two is a classic blog favorite. Unbeknownst to coaches and owners of NFL teams, guys-who-blog just happen to be incredibly astute play callers. They are almost never wrong when it comes to what plays should have been called when the ones that were called didn’t work. They are not nearly as astute when it comes to admiring plays called that did work, since these plays are hardly ever mentioned. Presumably, these expert blogocoaches would have called the same play themselves, especially on Monday morning when these fellows call all of their plays. At any rate, Jimmy Raye has been put on notice by the blogosphere to humm some baby this year or face the guillotine.

Points number three and four were resoundingly addressed in the draft and via the FA period trade with Miami. Posters are not used to getting what they scream for, so the reaction to these events was a bit muted — compared to the volume of sound that would have been generated had these needs not been addressed. Which makes me wonder, should the 49ers achieve success this year, will the blogs go quiet and wimpy?

The final point is a classic half-full, half-empty debate, and no doubt fitting as the team now prepares for the 2010 season and its date with destiny or doom. There can be no middle ground this year. That line in the glass has got to go up or the enthusiasm burning so brightly now in 49er land will fizzle out as quick as a politician’s promise the day after an election.

Go get ’em, Niners! This is your year!



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20 comments on “Nighty-night to the Off Season
  1. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    Just win baby!

  2. SkeebersNo Gravatar says:

    Here come the signings. A. Davis and Bowman just signed their contracts. Mays and Iupati are next.

  3. SkeebersNo Gravatar says:

    Mays just signed, too.

  4. SkeebersNo Gravatar says:

    Smith, Balmer, and Soap have all checked in early today.

  5. SkeebersNo Gravatar says:

    Iupati just signed. That’s a wrap, folks. Five year deals for both Iupati and Davis, 4 year deals for Bowman & Mays.

  6. delmardennisNo Gravatar says:

    Hey, a Rob sighting. Where the hell ya been? I was getting worried that you being the #1 fan in the Mike Nolan Fan Club jumped ship to the Fish. Good to see ya back. And let me say, your first post back was one of your best ever. 🙂

  7. unca_chuckNo Gravatar says:

    Oh, bite it Skeebs. The play calling was atrocious last year. Namely the Seattle game. The Niners were on their own 18 yard line, had a 2nd and 3 with 52 seconds left. So, what do they do? They take a page out of the Mike Martz playbook and try 2 20 yard outs, burn 6 seconds of clock, punt, and lose. Given that the defense is playing soft, they played right into Seattle’s coverage. In that situation, the D plays soft. Either take the underneath stuff and use YOUR timeouts, or take the underneath stuff and run out the clock. Or RUN the fucking ball.

    You play for the tie on the road. They were nowhere near FG range. Get the 1st down, run a couple more plays, and run out the clock. As it was, Raye comepletely fucked that up and took their playoff chances with it.

  8. unca_chuckNo Gravatar says:

    Not to mention the Minn game. They faced the opposite dilemma there. If you have the LEAD on the road, you should keep the ball at all costs. They should have tried ONE pass at least to move the chains and keep the ball out of Favre’s hands. Blame the D for allowing Favre to get close enough to have the shot, but the Niners get a 1st down, Favre never sees the ball again.

    Oh well. This isn’t rocket science, Skeebs. I’m no OC, but those were egregious errors on Raye’s part. For a guy in the league this long, he should know better.

  9. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    unca- I have to agree except I am going to take the high road. It is possible Raye did not trust his personnel. I will not accept that excuse this year, especially since I didn’t accept it last year.

  10. unca_chuckNo Gravatar says:

    Well, early in the season when Hill was QBing, they were running into 9 in the box repeatedly, bubble screens, 2 yard WR routes, and the like. Hill won’t make anyone forget Dan Marino, but Jesus Christ, those games were frustrating as hell. I ssaid at the time that it looked like they were ready to make the change before the season started but they wanted justification by giving Hill shit plays to work with. I felt that way until Smith came in and they really didn’t change things all that much anyway. It got even weirder in the play calling department. Unbelieveable.

    I think the team is in place to make a run. I just have my druthers around Raye. He;s been around longer than any 10 coaches, so he should have a clue how to get this done.

  11. robNo Gravatar says:

    there’s no way i can let this go
    NOFEAR
    ” And since Singletary didn’t think twice about throwing Everest under the bus ”

    omg when we ran that reverse punt with those shakey return men who were struggling just to catch the ball cleanly at a critical time in the game and when we were just starting to sieze the momentum i could have died ! the first and only thing i could think of was that whoever decided to go with that call should be fired by MONDAY !!! in case you missed it singletary and everest discussed a reverse as a way of injecting some life into the return game ! sing did NOT call that reverse on that play and no one ever should have !when it happened i thought it at least cost us a chance to win the game maybe even costing us the win itself ! that btw would have put us at 9-7 and done a lot for our season end maybe even your opinion of this head coach ! the decision to replace everest was in every way the right one and the new guy imo is better !
    you like to call everyone out for favoring things and players just because singletary had a hand in them , but you are the worst offender by calling everything sing does into question and supporting vehemently every move or player you can link to nolan !
    to claim singletary “threw everest under the bus ” is a transparent attempt to compare a good head coach with your loser crush nolan ! do you bring home stary animals or what ??? nolan played his starting QB on a bad THROWING shoulder FOR CHRISSAKES and shamelessly violated his own “we are all one team we keep it in house ” crap by throwing first smith and then arnaz battle under the bus to both media and teammates ! any credability he didn’t lose after 07 with the team he lost after that !!!
    gawd nofear , as someone on the insider pointed out to you recently , your takes are really very good most of the time , can’t you stop trying to defend the indefensible ?

  12. robNo Gravatar says:

    oops i meant … stray !!!

  13. robNo Gravatar says:

    NOFEAR …
    my first point is …
    jimmy raye was hired after we looked at about 6 or 8 OC candidates ! most of them were nothing i would ever hire like christensen and loserhan etc and only two or three looked more promising than raye ! chudsinski and jagodzinski looked somewhat promising , but chud signed elswhere i think and jagoff got fired from lowly tampa bay even before the season started !
    two reasons for the weak slate of candidates were the cheap way the yorks pay their coaches and the bad reputation our franchise had earned itself over the york years !!!
    here’s one for you , can you name a good OC candidate out there now who would run the same system and be so much better than raye that it would be worth changing to him now ?

  14. robNo Gravatar says:

    NOFEAR
    my other argument would be this …
    in the case of the offensive coordinator singletary did want to run the ball and for our offense to look very much like it did last year !
    now in this case to want a particular kind of offense and turn around and fire raye for running it would be much closer to ” throwing his coaches under the bus ” than firing that spec teams coach !
    as long as i was watching games last year i was never so upset as when we called that moronic reverse punt ! i called on the insider for the responsible party to be fired monday ! i never wanted to throw a chair at the TV while watching the offense !
    just an fyi i thought the offensive coaching staff did an ok job last year considering the need to change QB’s and systems mid season ! that being said , if the offense doesn’t finish in the top half this year i would call for at least raye to be replaced ! maybe mike johnson or tom rathman could be promoted or someone else brought in if need be !

  15. robNo Gravatar says:

    NOFEAR
    ” I don’t see things as black and white as you do, Nolan bad, Singletary good ”

    i know that but … you really should !
    all jokes aside , i think you’re pretty much the only one i know of in the national or local or even the blog arena who doesn’t have a much higher opinion of sing as a head coach than they do for nolan !

    this is pretty much right on …
    ” Singletary needs a larger sample size of head coaching time before he can be judged fairly. And it looks OK so far but hardly without flaws and mistakes ”
    i can’t disagree much with your overall point of view on the whole subject ! i just don’t see it reflected in most of your posts ! ;D

  16. delmardennisNo Gravatar says:

    We never should have fired Mooch. Hell, I’d take him in a heartbeat to be our OC. Given the weapons we now have at our disposal, I guarangoddamntee we wouldn’t be running Gore up the gut all the time. 28+ pts./gm with him running this O. Bring back the Mooch!

  17. robNo Gravatar says:

    nofear , i don’t think the comparison between this and the slant the press , who overwhelmingly favor the dems , is a good one here .
    i think most of the sports reporters are just going by what they see and think . i usually base my opinions on my own observations and what the nfl analysts i consider the best are saying !
    as for
    ” If you, for example, judged Singletary as harshly as you did Nolan, I’d consider you a tough, demanding judge of head coaches. But when you assign blame for everything to Nolan and blame for nothing to Singletary ”
    i always try to go by the conclusions i draw based on the same factors . i don’t want to be ” a tough, demanding judge of head coaches.” but i do judge the head coach more strictly than the players etc , mostly because there’s only one of them , and if he’s not up to par , the whole team suffers ! if a certain player doesn’t live up to expectations you can always reduce his role and redo his contract or whatever , and still benefit from his contributions to the team ! the head coach however dooms the team to failure when he’s not cut out for it ! (i soured on nolan very early , and he did nothing to make me change my mind , and i think i was pretty much proven right !)
    so far you’re take on singletary from before is still a good one and valid , and a lot of questions will be answered this season as to whether or not sing is the long term answer for this team ! imho i think he’ll be a good one ! now we can just hope i’m right !!!

  18. unca_chuckNo Gravatar says:

    NoFear, NO ONE has called Singletary perfect, the best coach in the league, or anything similar. What they ARE saying is he’s doing a better job than Nolan. Base it on record, or whatever, but there is at least the sense of cohesion and overall vision. I think Singletary is the ONLY guy in the front office that has ANYTHING remotely developed as an overarching plan for the team as a whole. Offesnively AND defensively. Paraage? Jed? No. Hardly. Baalke? Yes, with help from Singletary.

    Raye may not be the most thrilling guy out there, but they were trying to stop the revolving door at the OC spot. Either due to ineptitude or better jobs, the Niners have gone through a bunch of OCs. The last thing they needed was a guy to do a one-year stop like McCarthy and Turner did. The thought being that he could groom the guy behind him (Johnson) to take over in a couple years, thus ensuring consistency.

  19. unca_chuckNo Gravatar says:

    Singletary took the fall after the game for not making it clear to take off the reverse. More than that, though, was the crappiness overall of the ST. Losing Rossum in itself wasn’t that big deal (he was wimping out and running for the sidelines more often than not), but the problem was not having a viable replacement.

    Still and all, coverage was bad, PRs were bad, KRs were bad, and kick coverage was terrible. It wasn’t that one play, or move, that got Everest canned. It was the body of work all season that doomed him.

2019 Schedule
9-8: W 49ers 31, Buccaneers 17
9-15: W 49ers 41,Bengals 17
9-22: vs. Pittsburgh Steelers, 1:25pm
9-29: BYE

10-7: vs. Cleveland Browns, 5:15pm
10-13: @ Los Angeles Rams, 1:05pm
10-20: @ Washington, 10am
10-27: vs. Carolina Panthers, 1:05pm
10-31: @ Arizona Cardinals, 5:20pm

11-11: vs. Seattle Seahawks, 5:15pm
11-17: vs. Arizona Cardinals, 1:05pm
11-24: vs. Green Bay Packers, 1:25pm

12-1: @ Baltimore Ravens, 10am
12-8: @ New Orleans Saints, 10am
12-15: vs. Atlanta Falcons, 1:25pm
12-21 or 12-22: vs. Los Angeles Rams
12-29: @ Seattle Seahawks, 1:25pm

2019 Draft Class
1. DE Nick Bosa, Ohio State
2. WR Deebo Samuel, South Carolina
3. WR Jalen Hurd, Baylor
4. P Mitch Wishnowsky, Utah
5. LB Dre Greenlaw, Arkansas
6. TE Kaden Smith, Stanford
6. OT Justin Skule, Vanderbilt
6. DB Tim Harris, Virginia
 
2019 Prognostications
Bakkentom: 10-6
Bullit: 10-6
Grumpy: 9-7
Mr Fletch: 7-9
NJ49er: 7-9
Skeebers: 8-8
Winder: 7-9

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