Take the Points

In 2017, the 49ers defense ranked 22nd against the pass, 22nd against the run, but 24th in points allowed.  The offense was 12th in yards, 9th in passing yards, 21st in rushing yards, but only 20th in points.

In 2018, the 49ers defense ranked 11th against the pass and 14th against the run, but 28th in points. The offense was 16th in yards, 15th in passing yards and 13th in rushing yards, but 21st in points.

Ergo sum diarrhea, we can see that the rushing improved last year while the offense as a whole regressed. And the defense improved against the pass and the run, while regressing as a whole in points allowed.

Lifting the lid for a closer look at the statistical excrement, we know that Jimmy Garoppolo‘s 5-0 run at the end of 2017 no doubt skewed the stats favorably for the offense and it reverted to form when he was MIA in 2018. The defense improved against the pass and run, but still gave up more points than the previous year.

Somewhere along the line, we’re going to need to see the offense and defense get out of the bottom 12 teams and get upward towards the top 12. Without resting in the eight middle slots reserved for perennial 8-8 type teams. The nice, but no cigar division.

This points for and against issue has been a persistent problem for HC Kyle Shanahan and DC Robert Saleh. Even when they are better, they’re worse. The points for and against are worse than the yardage for and against. With Jim Harbaugh‘s teams, it was just the opposite: the points were always better than the yardage. And that made all the difference.

 

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Posted in Orgainized Team Activities

Man on the Street

The 49ers are back at OTAs this week. Not that anyone really cares, but, there it is. In depth reporting at its finest.

While strolling down the boulevard last week, a guy noticed my 49ers cap and immediately came over to get in my face and ask me how I thought the team would do this year.

Normally, I don’t appreciate strangers impeding my progress and usually just stab them in the guts and mosey on my way. But this guy looked like George Foreman, minus two hundred pounds, with the same blank happy-idiot face Foreman has come to be known for, so I allowed the transgression.

I said I didn’t know how they would do. That’s all he needed to monologue off on a rant about the secondary and how they just never get any decent corners and would never succeed until they did. It was a lot more long winded dissertation than I’m relating here, but you get the point.

When the average non-blogging fan is able to clearly discern a situation, it’s not only a problem, but a long running problem. Most fans are either happy, happy or disinterested. But neither of these types tend to have specific issues or detailed criticism.

The secondary only received a couple of bandaids again this year, and is essentially the same group that produced the worst turnover record in NFL history last season. This year, the coaches are attempting to remedy the failure not by getting better players, but by adopting a schematic change.

According to Maiocco: “The 49ers have made major schematic changes at every level of their defense this season in hopes of generating more takeaways. The biggest change is at safety, where the spots are now interchangeable.”

They’ve also switched to a Wide 9 alignment along the defensive line. Not sure where the name comes from, but it essentially means the DEs will play wider than last year.

I doubt if my guy on the street will be appeased. And it’s  entirely possible none of us will, either.

Posted in Orgainized Team Activities

Howdy Doodle Time

Last year at this time, the Rams were favored to win the NFC West, and they did precisely that.

The 49ers were favored to provide a spirited chase, which might possibly land them a playoff berth. They did precisely not that.

The Seahawks seemed to be a team ready to slide downward in the division. Instead, they were the team that provided a spirited chase and landed a playoff berth.

The Cardinals were picked to finish last and they dutifully complied, despite sweeping the Niners.

This year looks about the same as last year, although fewer people are bullish about the 49ers and fewer people are skeptical about the resiliency of the Seahawks.

It’s hard not to admit that Seattle is doing a far better job of rebuilding on the fly than the Niners have. Seattle hasn’t missed a beat; the 49ers have gone through three coaching staffs and haven’t sniffed .500 in four years of trying.

Still, the 49ers did manage to finally beat the Seahawks last year, ending a double digit loss streak spanning five years. A hopeful glimpse ahead or just a fluke? We shall see.

To tell you the truth, though, this team is kind of boring. There’s no troublemakers, alcoholics, PED offenders, or even anyone who could be accused of having a personality. Joe Staley excepted. That’s all fine if you’re talking about the kind of folks you prefer in your neighborhood, but when guys are supposed to be Persons Of Interest, they kind of have to be interesting.

Maybe someone will emerge this year. Or they could start winning some games and be interesting as a whole, as contenders.

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Posted in Mindless Drivel

ACLs R Us

The 49ers will be holding their month long offseason practices in a week or so.

Matt Maiocco will provide spotty coverage that portrays everything in a positive light. Grant Cohn will provide the same coverage, portraying everything in a negative light.

In between these two bits of manufactured horseshit lies the truth: none of it matters a hill of beans. It’s just practice. And poor bastard sports writers grinding out a paycheck.

A player could get injured, of course. That would matter. And injuries have become a constant in the Niner corner of the NFL.

I don’t want to jinx anybody, but the top FA signing in each of the past two years has never made it to the regular season. Malcolm Smith, then Jerick McKinnon. This year’s top FA was Kwon Alexander, but he tore his ACL last year and might be immune to the curse. Dee Ford was the top offseason acquisition, but he came in a trade. Still, if I was him, I’d keep up with my prayer cycle heading into Training Camp.

Still, the year seems to come down to Jimmy  Garoppolo. Who are we going to see? The guy injured after three starts in New England and after three starts last year? Or the guy who rang up five straight wins to close out the 2017 season?

Garoppolo and Nick Mullens have almost identical stats after eight games, except in one critical category. Mullens record is 3-5 and Garoppolo’s is 6-2.

It shouldn’t take long to find out what we have. The team starts with two trips to the Eastern Time Zone, where the Niners have not won a game in many a moon. Those trips are then followed by a home game against the Steelers. We could win all three or lose all three.

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Posted in FOS Speculation

Urgent Expectations

We’re halfway through the offseason but still three months to go before Training Camp opens and year five of the post-Harbaugh era begins.

The past four years have not been kind to the 49ers, but they haven’t been great for Harbaugh, either. He made Michigan an instant contender, but has not been able to beat Ohio State. It’s a critical year for both him and the Niners.

“Urgency” has been deemed the operative word by GM John Lynch to describe the upcoming season. “This is a production-based business and we have to start winning games.”

No shit, Sherlock.

A six win season, followed by a four win season might make one think an eight win season this year would be a good sign. It worked for Mike Singletary. We all thought that 8-8 2009 season, the first non-losing season in seven years, was a sign the team was turning the corner. Next year it was 6-10 and bye-bye Mike.

In light of the roaring optimism that accompanied the hiring of Kyle Shanahan, an eight win season in his third year would not be considered anything but a disappointment. I’d say we need at least ten wins in 2019. Time to escape the single digit wins territory where the NFL losers reside.

Still, no matter what the Niners’ record is this year, neither Lynch nor Shanahan will be fired. They could definitely enter the dreaded sweaty pressers zone, though. Watching Singletary’s arrogance dissolve into a puddle of befuddlement was a gruesome spectacle. The post game pressers were more entertaining than the game on the field.

But if injuries again derail this season, we’ll see those types of pressers and they’ll have nobody to blame but themselves. They’ve invested in a lot of players who are either rehabbing major injuries or have a history of getting hurt.

If it’s better to be lucky than good, you could say the 49ers have had neither so far. Maybe this year, they’ll get at least one of them.

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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

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