Team Goes East, Season Goes South?

Today, the 49ers leave the Bay Area for a Sunday game in Carolina. Then on to London for a game a week later against Denver. Bon Voyage, boys! If you come back home with two wins to show for your trip, we’ll welcome you back with muted joy. If you come back with only one win — or worse no wins — don’t bother coming back. You will be dead to us.

And don’t blame me, red and gold troopers. I did my best this week. And it wasn’t easy. Getting a positive pulse from the blogosphere these days is about as tough as selling swim suits in the Yukon — in the winter!

I guess deep down a lot of fans really would prefer the team does not rally forth and sneak into the playoffs this year. That would probably mean Mike Singletary would be retained and so would Alex Smith. If there’s a hidden universe of fans out there that still want this duo around next year, it’s a more secret society than the Bilderbergers.

A playoff run from the hole the team is in now would probably cause a good portion of fans to change their minds somewhat from the current zero tolerance viewpoint. Winning cures a whole lot of ills. The deeper fear, though, is that the team will rally just enough to be impressive, but again fall one win short of the playoffs.

Under the almost-but-not-quite scenario, Jed York would definitely be on the hot seat come January. Although Smith’s fate would be more in the hands of whoever is the HC next year, Singletary’s fate is all on Jed’s lap. And the fans are not going to want Singletary back. His style of football sounded good in the beginning, but dull offenses, even effective ones, are never going to warm the hearts of Bay Area fans until and unless they result in a Super Bowl victory. And this particular offense has taken six games to just win one game.

Most fans do not believe the SB result will ever occur with Singletary, given the modern NFL world of QB driven franchises with dynamic offenses. For York, though, any change at the top would put him directly in the line of fire should that change not immediately advance the team to the postseason party. The change would have to be to an offensive minded coach, which would result in yet another new offensive system in San Francisco, and yet another period of “it’s a work in progress” football.

In the meantime, the team has to win game number two this weekend. It could take all the drama out of York’s January decision by simply losing to Carolina, a team that has not won a game yet this year.

And that concludes this week’s efforts to drum up some gung-ho baby for this Sunday’s game. Or at least install some morgue-like curiosity in the blogosphere for what probably will be one dull ass, low scoring game.

•   •   •   •   •  

NoFear’s Fotos

There were a couple of problems on this play that clearly fall outside the formation / play calling arena. Davis’ and Iupati’s play should improve as they gain valuable experience. I just hope we don’t run out of games first.

Even though Smith lines up in the shotgun here, where it’s believed he has a better command of the field, he doesn’t look past his first read and doesn’t seem to be aware of the blitzing corner and the receiver he leaves open by his blitz.

An easy first down there and possibly a big gainer. It would seem to me to be an easy pre-snap read as well since there was no effort to disguise it.

I think the Raiders took a risky gamble there and making teams pay for that will slow the blitz frequency.

Many fans will blame the o-line here, and they have a good point, but for those that say a Brady or a Manning couldn’t do better here, this is what the accomplished QBs do routinely to keep moving the ball down the field.

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26 comments on “Team Goes East, Season Goes South?
  1. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    No bias in that commenting.

  2. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    First of all, the CB is not telegraphing his blitz. No way. Second, people are saying he needs to throw down field, that is his first read and he looks for it with a back staying in to help block. So do yo want short passes or deeper throws? Make up your mind.

    I break this down differently. The pre snap hot read is the outside receiver because the defender is playing so far back. If that is his first read he just looks to see what coverage the two CBs scheme and throw to the hot one. In this case it would have been the inside receiver. I agree his pre snap read was off but even NoFear’s pre snap read was off with the benefit of hindsight.

    Alex and our offense scores about two thirds of the time we run run the spread. You must have been creaming your jeans when you found a mistake. I’m also guessing Tom Brady never throws an interception.

  3. SkeebersNo Gravatar says:

    Yeah, a lot more editorializing than analyzing from our Foto guy today.

  4. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    This play is an example of coaching being too stodgy. I would like to see a bit more read routes by QB and receiver working together. Basically, a little more Mike Martz without actually bringing back Martz.
    The QB and receiver should be taught to see this and adjust their routes. I do not know if this happens much, but my guess is it does not because we don’t see our receivers running open in space much. Not enough read routes, just the route tree.
    Alex usually gets this play correct, why he didn’t on this play is a good question. It looks like the entire play was designed to go to Gore. Which is another bitch. Gore is a great back to have, but I believe we rely too much on him, and this play could possibly be a good example of that.

  5. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    BTW, this kind of looks like the play they came back to for a 19 yard gain to Ginn later on. I wonder if it was? Maybe they saw their own Fotos!

  6. SkeebersNo Gravatar says:

    The blitzer here couldn’t blitz fast enough to get anywhere near Smith. It was just Seymour straight past Iupati for a take down. Your basic 1.5 second sack.

  7. delmardennisNo Gravatar says:

    The blog Mensan conquers with NoFear. A “real” quarterback like Brady or Manning make that read and hit Crabtree in their pajamas. Alas, we don’t have a real quarterback, we have Alex Smith.
    Julie Peterson – Playboy Playmate of the Month, February 1987 and proud member of Mensa.

  8. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    So let us see the point here. We get two TD passes and no ints. The team wins and the Foto shoot is of a sack. There is your sign.

  9. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    Any chance of breaking down the 32 yard TD?

  10. SkeebersNo Gravatar says:

    Seymour wasn’t credited with any sacks in this game, so we’re missing the end of the play. Shaughnessy and Kelly got the only sacks, and I don’t see them here, so am guessing there was no sack, but either a throw away or incompletion. Confusing.

  11. delmardennisNo Gravatar says:

    Nothing confusing about it. NoFear is pointing out one of the many flaws that Alex Smith possesses. Why review one of Alex’s few and far between good plays? Nothing to dissect there. They can be summed up in one word–luck. Which reminds me. Did we draft Andrew Luck yet?
    Bobby Czyz – former two-time World Boxing Association Cruiserweight Champion and proud member of Mensa.

  12. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    Skeebs- Actually it was a hurry. Smith threw the ball to Gore, but as you see in the picture, Gore is not even looking yet. By the time he got his head around the QB was going down. Smith threw the ball into the ground toward Gore.
    After digesting this, it is fairly easy to see what happened here. The play call was for Gore to be the primary receiver all along. Alex locks on to the two receivers on the left to make sure the defenders go with them, and they are going deep. Gore is too good in blitz pick up to not identify Seymore, he was looking to go out the entire time. For this play to work, Iupati needs to hold his block or Gore needs to look sooner. One half more second of protection and this play is a first down. Possibly even a big play since Gore has only one defender to beat, a LB he can probably just run around. The pre snap read was thatr Gore was going tro be one on one with the MLB. Not a bad pre snap read, and you’ve set up a play for later. IMO, good job. I’ve always said this is a team game.
    This is not a bad play call, it would have worked with better blocking by Iupati. I’m wondering if the result of this play and the ensuing photos led to Ginn’s 19 yard pick up on a scoring drive? This play might have created a later success.
    There are times a QB sees something but doesn’t want to use it now. If you’ve got a good design, run it and come back to what you saw earlier when you need it. Bill Walsh was fantastic at this part of his play calling. To say Alex did not see this or made a mistake is nothing but hearsay since we are not on the inside of Johnson or Smith’s head. This play should have been a success with better blocking and then we still have an ace in our pocket for later. Because it didn’t work it is Alex’s fault, don’t we all know that by now?
    BTW, can somebody tell me if we won the game?

  13. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    Dennis, who won the game?

  14. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    Dennis- I just got off the phone with Bobby Czyz and Julie Peterson. My fellow Mensa members told me they thought it was a great pre snap read because with better blocking the play works and we have a play to go back to later for when we need it.
    Bob and Jen said hi to everyone.

  15. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    Oops, Bob and Julie say hi! I hope my good Mensa buddy Julie doesn’t get mad.

  16. SkeebersNo Gravatar says:

    “…most folks refuse to see anything they don’t like.”
    Actually, NoFear, people can see quite well for themselves when there are photos to look at. Your previous efforts have described the plays. This effort interprets the plays. There’s a big difference. The following, for instance, is not a description of the play, nor is it accurate (as we can all see):
    “An easy first down there and possibly a big gainer. It would seem to me to be an easy pre-snap read as well since there was no effort to disguise it.”
    And the following, which introduces a comparison out of the blue that no one has yet made regarding the play, introduced solely by you to take your own shot at Smith:
    “Many fans will blame the o-line here, and they have a good point, but for those that say a Brady or a Manning couldn’t do better here, this is what the accomplished QBs do routinely to keep moving the ball down the field.”
    I think what people plainly see here is a simple failure by Iupati to make even a remotely decent block. As such, the entire sequence is of little value, other than a set up for you to indulge your own agenda, as you admit intending to do regarding Franklin and Maiocco. What most of us have enjoyed about your photos is discovering why a play worked or didn’t, not discovering what your opinion of a player is. That can be expressed here in the comment section.

  17. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    Why should I be sorry? He ran the play that was called because the pre-snap read showed a one on one with a LB. It looked like a good call if Iupati holds block for more than 2 seconds. Plus what I really liked is he was able to save an ace in the hole to use later, which he did on a 19 yard slant to Ginn during a scoring drive. I want to thank you for showing us we have a QB that makes good decisions.

  18. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    NoFear- This is good. We disagree but I like the discussion. Johnson/Smith came back to this play later. What is wrong with that. If Iupati blocks we get two succesful plays out of this instead of one, which happened later in the game. We win as a team.

  19. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    I know we completed a pass to Ginn for 19 yards at the end of the 3rd Q. It was during a scoring drive. I don’t know if it was the same formation but it was the same hot read as on this play.

  20. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    I definitely disagree that McClain would have stuffed that play before being a 1st down. This one had big play written all over it. Gore has one man to beat. If he was looking for the ball in the last Foto the ball would be delivered and first down, or more, would be the result. I always say it is a team game, just like you said when defending Franklin.

  21. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    Here’s a look inside the 49ers on third down in 2010:

    • With Raye, Smith had an overall quarterback rating of 66.2. His rating on third down was 31.6 (15 of 33, 154 yards, 1 TD, 3 INT).

    • With Johnson, Smith has an overall rating of 82.7. His rating on third down is 72.7 (18 of 32, 202 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT).

    • With Raye, nine of Smith’s 15 third-down completions (60 percent) did not result in a first down. With Johnson, four of Smith’s 18 third-down completions (22 percent) haven’t resulted in a first down. It’s very annoying when quarterbacks complete third-down passes short of a first down. Don’t you think?

    • It’s been said that the Niners have done a better job of putting themselves in “more manageable” third-down situations under Johnson. Kind of. Under Johnson, 17 of their 42 third downs (40 percent) have been in third-and-short (less than five yards). Under Raye, 14 of their 41 third downs (34 percent) were in third-and-short.

    • Average yards needed for first down under Raye: 7.66. Average yards needed for first down under Johnson: 6.95.

    • The Niners have made their biggest third-down improvement under Johnson when they have needed between 5 and 10 yards. In those situations, they have converted 8 of 17 third downs (47 percent). In those situations under Raye, they converted 2 of 19 third downs (11 percent).

    • With Raye … Third-and-short: 7 of 14. Third-and-long (11 yards or more): 1 of 8.

    • With Johnson … Third-and-short: 11 of 19. Third-and-long: 2 of 6.

    • With Raye, the Niners handed the ball to Moran Norris on third-and-2. That did not result in a first down. Norris has not touched the ball on third down under Johnson’s watch.

    • Frank Gore has converted 6 of 8 third-down runs under Johnson. Gore has rushed for first downs twice on third-and-5 and once on third-and-11. Gore converted one of three third-down carries under Raye.

    • The Niners have converted 7 of 8 third downs when needing two yards or fewer under Johnson. Play selection: 4 runs, 4 passes.

    • The Niners converted 4 of 8 third downs when needing two yards or fewer under Raye: Play selection: 5 runs, 3 passes.

    • Both Johnson and Raye have dialed up long passes to a tight end on third-and-1 situations this season and both resulted in long pass interference calls. Vernon Davis drew a 29-yard flag against the Saints and Delanie Walker drew a 44-yard penalty against the Falcons.

    • When teams get a first down via pass interference it doesn’t count as a successful third-down conversion. What kind of country are we living in?

    • The Niners’ longest third-down conversion this season came on third-and-21 at their own 7 against the Eagles. Smith sprinted right on a designed rollout and fired a 31-yard strike to Davis on the run. Do you remember this? It might have been the best looking play of the season.

    • With Johnson, Crabtree has been Smith’s favorite target on third down. Smith has completed 6 of 10 third-down passes to Crabtree for 59 yards, with each completion gaining a first down. In the first three games, three of his six third-down passes to Crabtree were intercepted.

    • Smith targeted Davis on third down seven times under Raye. He’s targeted him four times under Johnson. He’s 7 of 11 for 91 yards (five first downs) throwing to Davis on third down this season.

  22. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    That last tidbit was from the PD. Like I’ve been saying, the play calling is betterr. It just isn’t great. Under Johnson it has been getting better each game, so who knows, maybe at some point it will actually be good? I’ve stopped hoping for that because it just sets me up for a fall.
    Still, you can see a drastic differnce between Johnson and Raye just by the statistics.

  23. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    One other thig that probably has to have some effect is the O-line is constantly getting more experience.

  24. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    NoFear- I like it here on this site because we can disagree and disseminate without yelling at each other in extremes, like other sites. Still a couple jabs here and there are fun between friends. NoFear Fotos are a really good feature.
    We know you do not like Smith, I am undecided but leaning toward liking him if we run a more aggressive offense. I believe he is not the QB you would want in a conservative offense. I could go either way right now depending on the offense we run. But I like aggressive offense so putting 2 and 2 together should tell you why I lean toward liking Smith.
    I actually lean toward firing the coach. The only hope I have in this area is that Tony Dungy and Bill Belichick learned to open up the offense on their 2nd stints. Can Sing learn before he has to do it on his 2nd chance? I doubt it, he probably needs to fired to learn, if he even learns, ever. Maybe Mike Johnson can talk some sense into him, it is our only hope, IMO.
    Your Foto’s brought out a decent confab from both sides today. Good job.

  25. robNo Gravatar says:

    imo smith misses too many open chances and never really seems to have his ‘head in the game ‘ like you would want to see from your starting QB ! the overthrow to gore was a real head-scratcher ! imho
    ok , so if there’s nothing there , throw it out of the endzone like every other QB does !
    how about trying to prompt gore towards the endzone there (by putting it in front of him )?
    i mean at least try something !
    smith still had time when he threw that so why not at least take another look into the endzone before you throw it away ! the only thing that makes any sense at all here is if smith was so ticked off by the idiotic grounding call that he wanted to leave no doubt there !
    hey nofear , how about a double treat and you put that 3rd and goal “pass” to gore up here !
    i’m not sure how skeebs would ‘like it’ , but what the hay !

  26. Grumpy GuyNo Gravatar says:

    Well those were three painful hours of my life I’ll never get back.

    I’d say the Kool-Aid has officially gone sour.

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