49ers 17, Cowboys 9

18 for 216 yards.

Not bad, if you’re a QB. But we’re not talking about yards gained. No, those were yards  lost – to penalties.

Yes, the 49ers were in midseason form Saturday night, gaining 339 forwardly and 216 backwardly. Undisciplined play has been a dubious distinction of the wee hours of the Kyle Shanahan Era.

Good thing most of the players involved won’t be around in four weeks. Neither will WR Trent Taylor (busted toe) or swing tackle Shon Coleman (busted leg and ankle).

The new hi-tech training staff is off to a roaring start in curbing the Niners’ endless injury situation.

Both Nick Mullens (11-17, 105 yards, 2 int.) and CJ Beathard (13-17, 141 yards, 1 int.) looked ordinary. Either because they were or their WRs didn’t give them much to work with. Take your pick. Or select both.

On the  bright side, none of our WRs have frozen feet or a frozen brain. For that deadly combo of highly weird shit, you need to navigate over to a Raiders’ blog.

The defense was reasonably effective, holding the Cowboys to 239 tiny yards, with no TDs and only 3 FGs. They pitched a shutout in the second half.

These exhibition games seem more and more pointless with each passing year, with teams using them mainly to evaluate the bottom end of the roster. Which they could do easily in practice without subjecting fans to the self-loathing experience of actually watching them while hoping nobody is noticing.

This reporter dutifully watched the first quarter live, then the next morning watched the final three quarters using the terrific Game Pass condensed feature that skips over all commercials and any action between actual plays. You can see a whole game in forty minutes or so. Managed pain.

Next week we’ll see at least one drive with the starters playing. But the real fun will be seeing former 49er DC Vic Fangio while he negotiates his first ever HC gig for the Broncos. It will be hard not to root for him in this game, but not hard at all in the regular season. One of the few straight shooters in the NFL.

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Posted in Post Game Spread

The Expendables Game

The 49ers kick off their exhibition season this Saturday night against the Cowboys, who, I might mention, have not been to a Super Bowl in 24 years. Not one Title Game, either. Loooooooooozzzzers!!!

So, just when you think the world would be entirely better off without Jerry Jones in it, let’s remember he’s almost single-handedly brought an arrogant, overrated franchise to its worthless knees. Amen, brother! Looooooooooozzzzzers!!!

Each team has 37 players who won’t be on the team in four weeks,  so this Scrub Bowl game is probably the most important game of the year for these 74 wannabes. And their families. And relatives. And guys who knew them in grade school. And cops who busted them for pot. And girl friends who are thinking twice about dumping them in high school.

That’s a lot of people who care about this game. None of them are us, however. No, we’re all steely-eyed experts who don’t bother with vanishing acts. If these characters are still on the roster come September, we’ll try to remember their jersey numbers on special teams plays. Maybe.

One thing that will hold some interest during this game will be the backup QB competition between Nick Mullens and CJ BeathardKyle Shanahan says the two are even, but everyone else knows that Mullens is the better QB. It’s probably not too much of a stretch to wonder whether Mullens is actually better than Jimmy Garoppolo.

But Shanahan used a third round draft pick on Beathard, and there’s a suspicion he’s biased a bit by this factoid to the detriment of Mullens. Which would also be to the detriment of the team and its fans.

Nothing like a little palace intrigue to spice up a meaningless exhibition game.

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Posted in Training Camp

Time for Some Ws

The long offseason is finally, mercifully concluded. The lads have put on the pads and now get down to the business of impressing a skeptical fan base.

To do that, for starters, they’ll need to clean up their act in the NFC West. They finished 1-5 last year and 1-5 the year before that. At the very least, they need to go 4-2. A sweep of the Cardinals and a split with the Rams and Seahawks. Then they need at least a 6-4 mark against the rest of the league.

Easy peasy. And the 49ers will have returned to the upper level of the NFL and the warm recesses of our thumping fanly hearts.

But, if the 49ers fail to accomplish both tasks, they will have to be considered a disappointment. The “faith” will not have returned to the “faithful.” And the hot seat will be placed under Kyle Shanahan come January.

If they accomplish one of the tasks, they’ll be seen by the dreaded faint praise as a team “making progress.”

Which of the tasks would be more progressful than the other? It would have to be 4-2 in the division. You can’t get anywhere in this league if you can’t control your own division.

Any way you look at it, the days of gaining sustenance from hard fought losses and scrappy defeats are long past their due date. It’s time for Shanahan and the team to prove their worth on the field.

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Posted in Training Camp

Junky Alert

The third season  of the Kyle Shanahan Show will begin airing next week.

As usual, the first four episodes will be meaningless drivel whose only purpose will be to familiarize us fans with the new cast of characters who will be appearing this year. Mainly the eight member rookie class and a couple of free agents.

The first two years of this much-hyped ensemble production flopped rather spectacularly. 6-10, followed by 4-12. Not exactly an audience sustaining effort. This year’s expectations are nevertheless sky high, with the addition of two passing rushing DEs and the hopeful return to health of a few other important players.

So, the first order of business will be giving the players physicals and determining who goes on the Physically Unable to Perform list. Unlike most teams, this is a hold your breath moment for the 49ers, who keep signing guys who are hurt.

The most prominent candidates are QB Jimmy Garoppolo (10 mos. ACL), CB Jimmie Ward (3 mos. busted shoulder), LB Kwon Alexander (9 mos. ACL), RB Jerick McKinnon (11 mos. ACL), RB Matt Breida (walking wounded habitually), and the all star ding champ CB Jason Verrette (four years broken, busted, strained, ripped, torn, fractured, you-name-it-he-done-it).

Stay tuned for developments next week and get ready for the annual fix to a nation of football craving addicts. And the 49ers embark on their 25th consecutive attempt to bring home Lombardi number six.

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Posted in Training Camp

Almost There

Training Camps will be opening across the NFL in the next couple of weeks and another season will drag out of bed and face the dawn.

Patriot fans can book their playoff reservations immediately for yet another free ride to the postseason by virtue of playing in the weakest division in the history of the NFL. Only twice in the past twenty years or so has this division provided anything remotely close to a competitive schedule. Rex Ryan‘s two year run with the Jets in 2008 and 2009. That’s it.

No such luck for the rest of the NFL. They have to earn their way into the playoffs.

One team that won’t be making the playoffs is the Oakland Raiders. Here’s hoping this  long running dumpster fire finishes last in the AFC West and slinks out of town and out of the state, never to return. Knowing their dimwit fans as we do, they would probably welcome them back yet again even after being  dumped twice. If ever a franchise gave the finger to its fan base as pointedly and repeatedly as the Raiders have theirs, I certainly don’t know about it.

The 49ers will have a good offense this year. Kyle Shanahan has all the players in place that he needs. But it will all come down to Red Zone scoring, which has been awful in his two years here as Head Coach. The team will get there a lot this year, but if they keep settling for FGs, it will be a tough road to get to January and still be playing.

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Posted in FOS Speculation
2019 Schedule
9-8: @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 1:25pm
9-15: @ Cincinnati Bengals, 10am
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
2018 Prognostications
Closest to the Pin:
  Mr Fletch: 7-9

Bakkentom: 8-8
Grumpy: 8-8
Winder: 8-8
Bullit: 9-7
NJ49er: 9-7
Skeebers: 10-6
Spitblood: 0-16
Rob!!!: 16-0