Tag: 49ers

Kaep is Struggling alright, but it’s not his alone

Everyone seems to be calling for Colin Kaepernick’s head these days. The 49ers QB is having a pretty terrible season. Whenever that happens and the team isn’t playing well, he’s usually the first guy people look to chop.

But as much as I’m no big fan of the Kaeped Krusader, I’m not ready to see him cut yet. Besides, does anyone thing Blaine Gabbert would be even a marginally adequate replacement?

Didn’t think so.

The main problem with the 49ers is and will continue to be “head coach” Jim Tomsula. The guy’s just not ready for the job he’s been thrust into. The defense is playing nearly as badly as the offense and Kaep has nothing to do with that.

Case in point on Tomsula is Jared Hyde, the Aussie rugby player who has been essentially exiled because of a couple of dropped punts. OK, three. Still, if you benched everyone on the team who’s made multiple mistakes, the Niners couldn’t field a bowling team.

As long as Tomsula has the reins, the Niners will meander all over the place. If CK is the problem, then let’s find a replacement, get him ready and then do the swap. But to make an abrupt change now would only demoralize the core of the team which sees Kaep as the main point of stability and one of the primary sources of hope for a team that has been cut adrift by stupid owners.

 

Gase, Fangio in Complicated Dance for Niners Top Job

Back when Jim Harbaugh was fired as the head coach of the Niners, I offered my top three choices for his replacement. Heading the list was current DC Vic Fangio. In second place was Denver OC Adam Gase. Now it appears the Niners want to offer Gase the job but if they do, they may lose Fangio. On top of that, Denver is rumored to be interested in keeping Gase in their newly created head coaching job.

Read details over on my all-sports blog today.

 

Two Views on the Niners’ Horrible Season and Jim Harbaugh’s Future

Today I abandoned my 49ers news blackout and posted two new pieces, both of which are basically about the head coaching situation.

The first is my take on the end of the Niners abysmal season and the soon-to-be-sealed fate of Jim Harbaugh, whom I believe will land at University of Michigan.

The second is my pining for a coach cut from the cloth of the Detroit Lions Jim Caldwell.

You can read about both of them at my all-sport blog.

 

Niners Must Win Sunday; I’m Not Sure They Can

I’ve been reading this week that the San Francisco 49ers are “nearing must-win territory” after their dismal performance last week against the mediocre St. Louis Rams.

Bull puckey.

49ers logoThis is must-win territory, fellow fans. Just check out the rest of the schedule; the second half is going to be tougher than the first half in which the Niners managed an almost embarrassing 4-4 record. As I look at the remaining games, I see at least three pretty sure defeats, a likelihood of a fourth, and only a couple of what should be easy wins. Except that in this season of injuries, terrible clock and field management, sieve-like O-line performance and horrendous penalties, there practically is no such thing as a gimme.

Take Sunday’s game at New Orleans. The Saints are 11-0 at home going back to the beginning of 2013. Sure, they’re only 4-4, like the 49ers, but they lead the “highly competitive” (aka lousy) NFC South by a full game, they are 39 points better than the Niners in the points margin category (+39 to -10), and they’re coming off two straight wins while San Francisco has lost two in a row (can you say “momentum”?).

Their offense is more productive (by almost 60 points, which is a TD per game), second in yards per game at 436.5 vs 345.6 and 18th, and have been the fifth least-penalized team in the NFL, where the Niners rank #9.

About the only place the two teams are relatively even is at the QB spot where both Drew Brees (97.1) and Colin Kaepernick (94.8) are slightly better than mediocre.

My prediction is that the Niners will lose a squeaker Sunday, find themselves at 4-5, and facing just seven remaining games, three of which are pretty sure defeats. Unless my math is off, that means a likely 8-8 finish. If they got hot — which has been known to happen — they’ll end up at maybe 9-7; 10-6 would be nearly miraculous. Those are not going to be Wild Card numbers.

My next prediction: the Niners will look a lot different, personnel-wise, in 2015, probably with a new head coach, maybe with a new QB.

Officiating Was Horrible But Kaepernick Was Worse

My San Francisco 49ers lost their home opener in their new stadium in Santa Clara last night on Sunday Night Football to the mediocre Chicago Bears by the score of 28-20.

There were two primary factors in the defeat.

First and foremost, QB Colin Kaepernick flat stunk up the joint. He turned the ball over four times to a suspect defense that played over its head a bit but which Colin consistently misread. Three picks and an ugly, ugly fumble later and the game was over.

niners-bears-refsSecond — and only of slightly less importance — was one of the most zealously over-officiated games of a season that already promises to be one of the most intrusively officiated seasons¬†in the history of the NFL. As Bleacher Report put it, “There were 26 penalties called on a nationally televised game. Some of those were the right calls, but that doesn’t change the fact that this game was diluted thanks to a severe case of over-officiating.”

It wasn’t so much that the calls were bad or that too many went against the Niners or that those that did were more costly (though all of those were facts in my admittedly prejudiced view). It was the fact that the officials didn’t let the teams play. And when a well-oiled machine of an offense like that of the 49ers gets constantly interrupted and disrupted by yellow hankies (on more than one occasion there were three or four on the field on a single play!), its rhythm gets thrown off. Its performance suffers. And the fans experience a less enjoyable game, regardless of outcome.

Back in the day (you can tell I’m really old, right?), when I was officiating all three major sports year-around and/or¬†writing about them, we had one thing drilled into our heads over and over again: if the officials are visible, they aren’t doing their jobs. The role of the official is to play unobtrusive and objective observer and rule-keeper. The League had better get this epidemic of yellow flags under control quickly or the season is going to deteriorate badly.

Now, back to Mr. Kaepernick.

He appears this year to be caught up in an inability to deal with adversity. In short, he panics. Two of his three interceptions were clearly in high-pressure situations. (One of them was a brilliant case of route-jumping for which he was only partly responsible.) The fumble took place on a run where he should have gone down sliding sooner, though how anyone smashes the ball out from under that huge bicep of his is beyond me. On several other occasions when he didn’t throw an INT, he did panic and do dumb stuff. He also lost focus twice and cost the Niners a delay of game and two unnecessary timeouts.

The good news is, these are all things that can be fixed.

The bad news, is we lost to the freaking Bears. Yeesh.

 

49ers Make Playoffs! But if Defense Wins Championships…

The San Francisco 49ers defeated the Atlanta Falcons yesterday, 34-24, in a game that was closer than it sounds and shouldn’t have been.

49ers-FalconsThe lowly Falcons shouldn’t have posed any real challenge for the Niners. Atlanta starts more rookies than any team in NFL history that wasn’t an expansion team in its first season. Seven rooks on the defensive side of the ball a good part of the day? QB Matt Ryan is at best a slightly above average player. The Falcons were 4-10 and out of reasons to play other than maybe morale. The Niners were playing to clinch a playoff birth (which they did) and keep slim hopes of a division title alive.

And yet Ryan and his low-octane offense scorched the Niners time after time after time. They ended up the evening with 402 yards of total offense, 341 of it through the air. And a good bit of that yardage came on long passes that seemed to find the pores in the Niners’ passing D. When the Falcons tried a desperation on-side kick with just over 2:00 left in the game — and freaking recovered it! — I really thought it was game over for the Niners. A tie seemed all but inevitable and the way Ryan had the team working, a winning TD wouldn’t have come as a shock.

Then a fluke INT plopped into NaVorro Bowman’s hands and he returned it 89 yards for a TD and the game was over. Finally.

I must say the Falcons acquitted themselves very nicely. They have demonstrated to their fans that they can play with the league’s elite even if that comes too late to salvage a disappointing season.

So the Niners are in the playoffs. Depending on how they do in the final game this week at St. Louis. But you have to be a little worried about that defense. Over the past three or four games they’ve had lapses that have seemed incomprehensible. And they’ve yielded their share of penalties while contributing very few turnaround or scoring plays or opportunities. Sure, they’re still stingy as hell on scoring and that’s huge, but in the playoffs it doesn’t take too many lapses before you find yourself playing catch-up.

And Coach Jim Harbaugh and his staff have to reduce the number of dumb play calls and poor clock management incidents or they’re going to cost us a crucial close game.

On the up side, the offense has been clicking a bit more smoothly and efficiently of late. Kaep got some of his wheels back yesterday and looked really good a couple of times. He’s still making too many bad decisions on passes, sailed a couple too high and ate the ball once too often. But given that he’s only a bit more experienced than a true rookie, I guess we have to cut him some slack.