Other Side of the Coin

The 49ers offense has been the bane of the team since 2005. The defense wasn’t very good for three of those years, but has been relatively decent the past three years. Most of the blame for the desultory offense has been assigned to Mike Nolan, Mike Singletary, and Alex Smith, with a poignant contribution from Jimmy Raye. Smith didn’t play in two of the six ugly years in question, but with or without him, the O was a boo maker. And the target of most of the blogosphere’s angst.

That could all be changing in 2011. The hiring of Jim Harbaugh has been viewed by most fans as an instant fix to the offense. Even though not a single game has been played, no new players have been added, and the team currently does not have a viable QB under contract. Amazing what perception can do to cure reality.

Of course, a year full of three and outs would change this notion in a hurry, but for now it is assumed In Harbaugh We Trust. It’s standing room only on the Niner bandwagon.

Until the team actually runs Frank Gore up the middle on the first play of the 2011 season, the focus in blogsville now seems to have shifted to the defensive side of the 49er coin. It’s a good defense. But it ain’t good enough to win a championship. Or any games against some of the eliter offenses in the league.

If the Niners played in the AFC North, like the Steelers do, their defense would probably be more than competitive. There are no offensive juggernauts in that division, and it’s debatable whether there ever has been. Maybe Sam Wyche’s 80’s Bengals, pre-realignment, would qualify, but I’m hard pressed to remember any others. Playing in that division, where nobody scores much, practically guarantees a top fifteen or top ten defense. Which makes me think those defenses are overrated year after year, but that’s a topic for another ill-conceived and poorly manipulated post.

Even if the 49er offense becomes respectable under Harbaugh, the team is not going anywhere without a better defense. We all saw what happened to Atlanta in the playoffs, and that is precisely what would happen to the Niners. Their defense would be torched. It may be a good enough defense to compete in the NFC West, but no further. The yearly whompings by Green Bay and Philadelphia are testimony to that.

Ergo sum etcetera, the new Defensive Coordinator, Vic Fangio, will be under the microscope early and often this coming year. For openers, we applaud his choice of “Vic” as his handle. “Victor” would just never, ever cut it. It shows he’s a no frills, no baloney guy. Look no further than Vic Morrow vs Victor Borge. I’m sure you see my point. Borge is pretty funny and a good piano player, but we’re talking DC here. I won’t mention Victor Mature, who probably taught Mike Singletary how to pose. Guys named Victor are always treacherous wimps who get killed in spy flicks.

[Apologies to any readers actually named Victor — just kidding. Hey, don’t go away mad! Come back! After all, I’m Skeebers. That’s no DC name, either. Guys named Skeebers are homeless drug addicts who get killed in an alley and tossed into a dumpster before the hero even appears in the movie!]

At any rate, Vic it is. Fangio’s good, too. One of the great race car drivers of all time. Had a lot of nerve and flair. I’m warming up to you, Vic. But we’ll need to see an improved pass rush and better secondary play if this date is going to continue.

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13 comments on “Other Side of the Coin
  1. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    So what you are saying is if your name is Vic you are a daedal, if you are Victor you probably have two left feet?
    You can blame Nolan and Singletary, and that is fair, but the ownership is now just starting to get a clue, we think. Allowing six coordinators is tough, sometimes it can’t be helped, but six different systems in six years is something that can never be allowed again. The thing about the six systems is none were even the same. I’m not sure how anybody can consider that a team can have winning record during a period like that. But a professional who is paid to make decisions should never have gone there in the first place. Hopefully the owners have learned from the incompetence of the two previous coaches, along with the incompetence of Donahue. Let us hope they never again, and I mean never, hire a coach that thinks the QB is not the most important player on the field.

  2. Unca ChuckNo Gravatar says:

    No Vic Damone? My babay loves to swing.
    The thing about the defense that has been a constant annoyance is the pass rush. Haralson, Lawson, and Balmer were all drafted to revive a moribund pass rush. Nolan could never quite figure out that a 3-4 DE needed to be bigger than Justin Smith, or Balmer. Soap has been OK, but unless Fangio wants to really change things, we need new OLBs. They are the weak link. LaBoy and Brooks had SOME impact, but they vanished for stretches. Haralson was even worse. They’ve either got to use the inside guys more, or scheme things differently if they expect a different result.

  3. delmardennisNo Gravatar says:

    Latka Gravas (Andy Kaufman) on “Taxi” transforming into his alter ego of Vic Ferrari. The smooth-talking womanizer with all the great lines.
    “What’s your name?” “Vic Ferrari.”
    “Vic, huh?” “Not Vic huh. Vic Ferrari.”

  4. RTFireflyNo Gravatar says:

    I can’t often watch defensive alignments on TV (or more accurately, Internet streams) for the incredibly annoying reason that the networks don’t show them.
    I’m just thinking of some of the more interesting formations I was able to see, and wondering how the talent level will affect the Niners ability to use similar formations.
    1) Bears earlier in the season played 1 safety very, very deep middle (25 yds.) on every play in one game while the other safety played more conventionally. In the playoffs, I did not see this once.
    2) Steelers and Packers both had formations where their LBs were bouncing all over the place pre-snap. I’m sure that’s common in the 3-4.
    3) Packers – I can’t remember if this was the Bears game or the SB – had both safeties and an LB playing 5 yds off the line bunched in the middle on 2nd and 6. Their corners were about 5 yds off, the other 6 players were within 2 yds of the line. On 3rd and 6, they shifted into a deep zone. I saw this 6-3-2 again this game; I don’t remember how much.
    I don’t pay too much attention to defense. I’m an offensive minded couch potato. But do the Niners have the coverage ability/pass rush ability to run any creative schemes like these? I’d appreciate any info from you defensive guys.
    “Oh, Viktor! Viktor! It’s too dangerous!” – Sorry, couldn’t resist Casablanca.

  5. RTFireflyNo Gravatar says:

    Wow, I didn’t realize how long that post was when it was just musings. Sorry.

  6. FranchiseNo Gravatar says:

    For all you Blake Edwards fans, there’s Victor Victoria. Let’s hope there are no surprises from our Victor as DC.

  7. delmardennisNo Gravatar says:

    Fellow fans of Mel Brooks should recognize this quote about a certain Victor from “Young Frankenstein.”
    Dr. Frederick Frankenstein: Then you and Victor were…
    Frau Blücher: YES. YES. Say it. He vas my… BOYFRIEND.

  8. delmardennisNo Gravatar says:

    Little known fact: Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables was not an early 19th century novel about the trials and tribulations of some French characters. It was indeed the sad story and plight of the Alex Smith years in San Francisco.

  9. Unca ChuckNo Gravatar says:


  10. Unca ChuckNo Gravatar says:

    I’m sure you knew ‘blucher’ in German means ‘glue’.

  11. FranchiseNo Gravatar says:

    I knew I’ve camped out at the right blog. Shared loyalty for our franchise and great films. 


    Hello Handsome! 


  12. FranchiseNo Gravatar says:

    This just in – Our former beloved 3rd string quarterback and clipboard coach, Dilfer, is not just burping on the Camelot koolaid – he’s beer bonging it. 


    I quote “…his butt – was impressive.” 


    Well that just changes every team’s draft order now, doesn’t it? 


  13. Del Mar DennisNo Gravatar says:


2021 Schedules
09/12: W 49ers 41, Lions 33
09/19: W 49ers 17, Eagles 11
09/26: L Packers 30, 49ers 28
10/03: L Seahawks 28, 49ers 21
10/10: L Cardinals 17, 49ers 10
10/17 BYE
10/24: L Colts 30, 49ers 18
10/31: W 49ers 33, Bears 22
11/07: L Cardinals 31, 49ers 17
11/15: W 49ers 31, Rams 10L
11/21: W 49ers 30, Jaguars 10
11/28: W 49ers 34, Vikings 26
12/05: L Seahawks 30, 49ers 23 12/12 · 10:00 AMCIN
12/19 · 1:05 PM v ATL
12/23 · 5:20 PM v TEN
01/02 · 1:05 PM v HOU
01/09 · 1:25 PM @ LAR

2021 Draft Class
1. QB Trey Lance, North Dakota State
2. OG Aaron Banks, Notre Dame
3. RB Trey Sermon, Ohio State
3. CB Ambry Thomas, Michigan
5. OG/OT Jaylon Moore, Western Michigan
5. CB Deommodore Lenoir, Oregon
5. S Talanoa Hufanga, USC
6. RB Elijah Mitchell, Louisiana
2021 Prognostications
Bullit: 12-5
Grumpy: 13-4
NJ49er: 11-6
Skeebers: 14-3
Winder: 12-5
Rob: 17-0
Spitblood: 0-17