Rocky Road Ahead

Half the 49er season is already over. Sigh. If only the offseason moved this quickly.

At this time of the year, we’re normally finishing the autopsy and preparing a eulogy, so this is uncharted territory. A perfect half season. Zounds!

Unless the team completely falls apart in the second half, we’ll even get to extend the season into January. Three more wins (Cardinals, Falcons, Rams) gets the Niners to eleven wins – enough for a playoff ticket. But they might have to beat Seattle at least once to win the division.

It’s possible they’ll lose three in a row (Packers, Ravens, Saints) to put a big dent in their Super Bowl aspirations. But the fact that “Super Bowl” and “49ers” are mentioned in the same sentence at this time of year, and not in a sarcastic or joking manner, is miracle enough to savor, however briefly, before heading down the home stretch.

It’s doubtful anybody thinks the Niners will stay unbeaten. The 1972 Dolphins’ old timers were worried about the Patriots, but not so much the 49ers. In fact, how the team stacks up against the league’s traditional powers, like the threesome mentioned above, is the biggest curiosity about the season’s second half.

I’d say they need to beat at least one of the three to attain any gravitas. Beating two, would vault them into serious SB conversations. And beating all three would have all us fans slathering incoherent blabberings everywhere we went.

If nothing else, this season has mostly vindicated Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch. In year three of their rebuilding effort, they are drawing comparisons to Bill Walsh, not Norv Turner. That’s a giant leap forward for the franchise. They’ll need some SB wins to join the elites of the NFL, but at least they’ve put the Niners back into the mix near the top of the league.

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43 comments on “Rocky Road Ahead
  1. bullitNo Gravatar says:

    Niners are ahead of schedule. This was supposed to be a bridge year to a winning record and potential playoffs. A year where we could see Jimmy G get healthy and mature as a QB.

    We knew the Dline was going to be the strength of the team but they are now considered the best in the NFL.

    If any of us said we’d be 8-0 and the only undefeated team in the league in Sept that person would be labelled as a Kool-Aid drink and Jed York’s b*tch.

    Goals are to win the division and maintain home field advantage
    and also stay healthy.

    Oh yeah Phuck the Rams and the Seahags.

  2. Grumpy GuyNo Gravatar says:

    Kool-Aid, Hell. We’d be accused of being Rob!.

  3. bakkentomNo Gravatar says:

    great read!
    Nov 4, 2019 at 4:24 PM#7
    Hall of Fame
    Posts: 16,473
    Originally posted by goldensnake:
    I disagree with the run d part. Kenyan drake is a very good back and somebody I wanted on the niners. It was one fluke game that the defensive line will make sure to not happen again. This team is built on our defensive line and whether they can control the line of scrimmage. It will get corrected for hawks game.

    Game 1: Ronald Jones – 13 for 75 – 5.8 per carry
    Game 2: Joe Mixon – 11 for 17 – 1.5 per carry
    Game 3: James Conner – 13 for 43 – 3.3 per carry
    Game 4: Brown/Henderson – 17 for 89 – 4.6 per carry
    Game 5: Nick Chubb – 16 for 87 – 5.4 per carry
    Game 6: Adrian Peterson – 20 for 81 – 4.1 per carry
    Game 7: Christian McCafferey – 14 for 117 – 8.4 per carry
    Game 8: Kenyan Drake – 15 for 115 – 7.3 per carry

    Its been an issue most of the year. They are giving up 4.7 per carry and are the 14th ranked D against the run.

    Its an issue”

    Comments, SEA OG Iupati and Fluke maybe a little hurt but a power run game may be hard to defend. We are fast, not big, in the front 7.

  4. NJ49erNo Gravatar says:

    Seattles’ OL issues really aren’t much of a factor IMO, relative to Russ’s ability to ad-lib.
    Hemming him in has always been the challenge for us.
    Anxious to see what Saleh will attempt to do in that regard.
    I’m almost inclined to play dime and, hope to contain the running yards, in exchange for the over-the-top challenges Wilson typically manufactures with his scrambling abilities.
    He’ll be a good test platform for Lamar.
    Ward and/or Greenlaw will have to play contain I’m guessing.

  5. Charlie KruegerNo Gravatar says:

    We aren’t going dime. We would get run to death. As tams have shown, they can run on us at times. We don’t need to go dime. They are going to come out running.

    Seattle’s O line isn’t all that good, and we just need to get to Wilson quickly and limit the ad-libs. That means collapsing the pocket around him. If we get a solid rush with the base defense we can beat them. Their defense isn’t near what it once was, as evidenced by Ginger and Mayfield nearly beating Seattle. The Rams had them beat but for the missed FG,.

    We take care of the ball, we win.

  6. bakkentomNo Gravatar says:

    4-3 Under over wide-9 against power gap run teams like SEA. Greenlaw a bigger Will.

  7. bakkentomNo Gravatar says:

    Sorry, I had it wrong. Dre is small and similar speed to Alexander.

    In offseason may need to get FA to upgrade the LB unit.

  8. bullitNo Gravatar says:

    NFC Special teams Player of the Week, Mitch Wishnowsky.

    Wishnowsky landed five punts inside the 20-yard line, which was crucial in keeping the Cardinals at arm’s length.

  9. bakkentomNo Gravatar says:

    Tradeoffs for high collision positions.

    CB smallest position on field. Need to react and mirror fast receivers. Most injury prone.

    WR exposed on stretching for balls with hits from all directions.

    Small LB’s for pass coverage exposed in gnd game to OL and TE blocks.

    Our reliance on small LB’s for coverage and in space run D makes them more likely to get injured. Would not be surprised if the only high draft pick in 2020 goes to a Patrick Willis size/speed LB and we have to “manage” at OL and FS.

  10. bakkentomNo Gravatar says:

    What were we thinking?

    Kwon as Will is 6’1″ 227 lbs. A Will is most likely to lead the team in tackles. Most likely to make first contact on RB. With that size am not surprised with pec and shoulder injuries in his future.

    He is not a franchise player yet is paid franchise dollars. I believe we did a contract with a digestible hit if we dump him in the offseason.

    RB’s and LB’S if drafted well are plug and play. We have a solid D that a rookie could fit in next year. Dre is same size as him. He is auditioning for starter. 8 game trial.

  11. bullitNo Gravatar says:


    R U serious? You can always have Malcom Smith and save some money. Do you work for Jed and want to show him you can save money by being mediocre???

    Alexander has been making a ton of plays and now you say who needs him? He improved the LB corps and made a difference.

    You’ll never be a GM with some of the most off the wall moves you propose.

  12. bullitNo Gravatar says:

    “RB’s and LB’S if drafted well are plug and play”

    2016 49ers

    LBs Bowman (hurt), Gerald Hodges, Nick Bellore , Michael Wilhoite

    RBs Hyde (hurt), Shaun Draugns, Mike Davis and Dajuan Harris.

    With stellar players like this you finish 2-14.

    With your reasoning every draft pick has to be a home run.

  13. bullitNo Gravatar says:

    Funny that Patrick Willis was also 6’1″ weighing 235 lbs so the difference is 8 lbs. Guess he didn’t meet your “measurables”

    I know we’ve had this conversation before about your ideal measurables for each position.

    This is not a cookie cutter league.

    As you recall I believe its more important to have football instincts, football smarts and intangibles than measurables

  14. bakkentomNo Gravatar says:

    Alexander is injury prone, his history and being undersized as a Will LB.

    Armstead is over achieving with Ford/Bosa/DeFo and will cost too much to resign. That leaves Thomas and Kwon. Thomas stays until 4 yr rookie deal ends. We have to go to FA to upgrade.

    Without much 2020 draft capital FA is where we can improve the roster. We overspent on Kwon and Paraag gave us a 1 yr out in that deal.

  15. bakkentomNo Gravatar says:

    Willis was 241 lbs 6’2″

  16. bullitNo Gravatar says:

    “Thomas stays until 4 yr rookie deal ends. We have to go to FA to upgrade.”

    WE have Taylor, Street and Day on the Dline roster already.

    You are overthinking this and I would worry about the present and wait until Feb to worry about the future.

    Right now what’s done is done.

  17. bullitNo Gravatar says:

    One trait that Alexander shares with Willis and Bowman which I forgot to mention is he’s a team leader and a captain.
    Every team needs leaders and most losing teams are lacking.

    From Matt Barrows: “I’m told it was an emotional scene in the locker room last week when Alexander got his diagnosis and learned he’d be knocked out of action for the second straight season. He is very well-liked by his teammates.”

  18. bakkentomNo Gravatar says:

    No upgrades coming for dline and wr. This offseason nailed dline and Eman Sanders put the final nail in WR unit. We do not have the luxury of extra value picks anymore.

    Upgrades would be at DB and IOL and Will from draft or FA. TMoore and Ward for FS needs DB staff to make sure they have position covered, no matter what.

    In same predicament SEA and NE have been in, perennially picking at bottom of rounds. Cap space must be preserved for a sustainable future at the top.

    Lucky for us we have Nick Bosa on rookie contract and franchise QB locked up without busting the cap.

  19. Grumpy GuyNo Gravatar says:

    Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch…

    Winning the Seattle Game would be huge. Not quite Clinch the Division huge, but close.

    Biggest Game of the Year so far.

  20. bakkentomNo Gravatar says:

    If SF beats SEA and GB wins, then Nov 24 SF vs GB has very good chance to be flexed into Sunday Night Football. Currently SEA is in night game.

  21. NJ49erNo Gravatar says:

    As I’m likely still the reigning ‘Zebra Cynic’ here, the recent jock-wedgie the Officials pulled on Detroit, to give the game (essentially) to GB, makes me especially concerned for how these top tier teams will be treated. Us most critically in the coming stretch.
    GB and Seattle have had what seems to be some pretty liberal leeway from the Zebras of late.

    Phantom hands to the face calls notwithstanding, I have no patience for the myriad flags coming in big spots this year, and of course the NOLA No Call last year.

    With all the cameras, and obvious evidence presented in UHD clarity, Park Ave still manages to insist they see things differently.

    Let’s see what comes….
    Let’m play.

  22. NJ49erNo Gravatar says:

    Bakkentom I see your analysis related to the lack of Draft capital next year as well.
    I’m already leaning toward the possible trade back scenario Belichick has so masterfully done for years at the bottom end of RDs.
    People dealing up can easily replenish the missing Picks for us.
    Chances are, the tail end of RD1 is hit or miss for an instant starter regardless of position anyway.
    Relative to your analysis of LBs, Kwon and Greenlaw are almost identical by measurables.
    Speed, agility, tackling numbers matter most to me.
    Willis and Bowman were sideline-to-sideline guys who rarely whiffed.
    Best friends for the LBs are big boys in front who keep them clean.

  23. NJ49erNo Gravatar says:

    Greenlaw 6’0″ / 227
    Kwon 6’1″ / 227
    Warner is the heavier guy of the group – 6’3″ / 236

    All 3 guys are tackling machines. That’s the key ingredient for me.

  24. NJ49erNo Gravatar says:

    Mark Nzeocha is a heftier type also – 6’3″ / 240
    Elijah Lee – 6’2″ / 229

    All within the ‘range’ most LBs fall IMO.
    Speed, agility, tackling numbers matter but, coverage is where most get exposed.
    Tracking down a RB is a challenge for most.

  25. NJ49erNo Gravatar says:

    I’m in favor of the ‘Tweener’ Safeties that are becoming popular in the pass happy NFL.
    Most are a tad slow to play CB, and often too small to play LB.
    They do have an advantage IMO of often being faster than LBs and, being good options in the Dime.

    Again, good angles, sure tacklers is all that matters.
    That’s the kind of guy I suspect will be handing around later in RD1 if we’re lucky, and/or interested.
    We’ll see…

  26. NJ49erNo Gravatar says:

    Forgot Al-Shaair @ 6’2″ / 228.
    There’s little size difference in the entire group.
    Comes down to production.
    I thought the price for Kwon was ridiculous, especially coming off an ACL.
    Can’t knock his contributions, however short.

  27. bullitNo Gravatar says:


    Where would the Niners be this year if Lynch had listened to you?

    First you were advocating Q Williams over Bosa. Williams has done nothing and Bosa is being considered for NFL defensive MVP at this mid season point.
    Then you have relentlessly found fault with the interior Oline and your analysis has proven to be very flawed as the interior has held up very well while the team has been playing with their 4th and 5th OTs.

    I just wonder where this team would be if Lynch was thinking like you were and taking your suggestions.

  28. NJ49erNo Gravatar says:

    It’s a fan thing Bullit – Chill down, we’re all guilty at times.
    Who’s a bigger GM wannabe than me? 😀

    I favored Quinnen as well, simply from a production narrative in College. I was thinking about inside pressure, in the event Arik was moved.
    Quinnen isn’t in a good place here in NYJ-ville either.
    Bosa has an extremely good supporting cast to make him the terror he is.

    Bosa has been a pleasant, if not spectacular surprise.
    Durability concerns were top of my list coming out.
    So far, so good in that regard.

    Hoping to see him continue his current streak, which would likely earn him DROY honors at this pace.
    All about winning, and that seems to motivate him.

    We’re fans, we’re fickle, we’re opinionated.
    It’s all good, 😀

  29. bakkentomNo Gravatar says:

    QWilliams seemed to be Aaron Donald 2.0, with an extra 10 to 15 lbs. Quickest way to passer is up the gut, collapsing the IOL.

    Turned out Bosa very sharp football IQ, technique after contact solid and relentless.

    Bosa defensive MVP, at least for our D if not the league.

  30. bakkentomNo Gravatar says:

    IOL allowing pressure up the gut. Jimmy’s quick release winning out for now, but in danger of injury.

  31. NJ49erNo Gravatar says:

    I’ve been impressed with Jimmy’s lack of fear following the ACL repair.
    Caught him blocking on the edge last week and, it’s good to see he isn’t having mental reflex issues with it.
    Looking forward to the MNF venue. Good time to see what we’ve got.

  32. bullitNo Gravatar says:

    I still believe signing Kwon Alexander was a difference maker and this team wouldn’t be where they are without his contributions.
    What pisses me off is the suggestion that Niners should jettison him next year and find a cheaper alternative.
    This coming from the mindset that Lynch signed Alexander to coverup his mistake of drafting Ruben Foster.
    My contention is that if you want elite talent in free agency you have to overpay sometimes or you’ll be shopping in the leftover bargain bin lane and forever be mediocre.

    Alexander was hardly a bandaid and has exceeded expectations.
    The only way Niners were getting better was by making some bold moves which Lynch has done. So far the results are there . Like I said right now Niners have a chance at present. Next year’s draft and salary cap are things that can’t be worried about now.
    The front office will find a way when we get there.

  33. bakkentomNo Gravatar says:

    14 mil for a LB, a Will is an overpay. The contract has both side agreeing this can be a 1 yr deal with breakup money coming Kwon’s way.

    If he is good, he gets another well paying gig along with parting dollars from Jed.

    Fred Warner a starter in 1st year, plug and play. Get quality rookies at ILB and RB. That is how you build a sustainable playoff caliber roster.

    Lynch may not like the price and quality of FA’s next offseason and go with AA and Kwon. Eman and Ford cost us big in draft capital. Tradeoffs.

  34. NJ49ERNo Gravatar says:

    And we signed a K today.
    I’d say it’s serious.

  35. NJ49ERNo Gravatar says:

    Let’s hope we dont need a FG for this one..

  36. NJ49ERNo Gravatar says:

    Chase McLaughlin…?
    Dont ask me……..
    He’s a K.

  37. bullitNo Gravatar says:


    If it was up to you we’d get rid of Jimmy G and have Blaine Gabbert as QB and cut Kwon Alexander and bring back Ray Ray Armstrong.

    The FO office is willing to spend money on top notch players and you’re penny pinching and acting like John York.

  38. bullitNo Gravatar says:

    Just remember the time when no free agents wanted to become 49ers and John York wanted to pay minimum wage.
    The end result is a shit team.

    Fast forward today where Jed York has opened up his vault and will pay top dollar to improve the team.

    Lynch/Shanahan are smartly avoiding the prima donna divas like OBJ, Antonio Brown and Jalen Ramsey who will ruin team chemistry with their salary demands and antics.

  39. winderNo Gravatar says:

    Can’t remember exactly where I saw it but at the time Kwon went down he was the #1 linebacker in the whole league. Might have been PFF. He has to be a keeper and the FO is just gonna have to be creative concerning the cap

  40. SkeebersNo Gravatar says:

    New post is up.

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