Onward Ho (or onward hoes) . . .

Another week, another DV arrest. Ho hum. Anyhow, back to the institutional and condoned mayhem. . .

Our wounded warriors (VD, VMcD, and AD) didn’t get on the practice field, and their statii remains a <strong>?</strong> for the trip to the desert. A trip fraught with implications. I’ve said for a while now that this team is teetering on the edge of catastrophe, and the recent Chicago game merely fanned the flames. Or maybe not. Was that a mere blip in the grand scheme? A hiccup by the star-in-waiting QB, or a harbinger of things to come?

Is looking off the safety something Kappy can’t master, or is the pass pro too shitty to give Kaepernick time to properly read a defense? I saw both in the Chicago game. I also saw Kappy make good reads at times. I also saw the play calling take a decisive turn toward passing in these two games. For a team that has been 60/40 run/pass, the team sits at 50/50. This strikes me as odd as the team has jumped out to big early leads, and you’d think we would burn clock by running. But we seem to be entering some sort of Mad Mike scenario where we’ve gone decidedly pass heavy.

Not that I didn’t want a change of play calling, but still and all, I didn’t think we’d shift this far the other way. Gore and Hyde look to be a strong combo at RB this year, and there are scenarios where you run more than I think we have. And then there’s the red zone . . .

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The Bird is the Word

Well, here we are coming up on our first divisional game, and it does carry a bit more  importance to it. What should have been a matchup of 2-0 teams, isn’t. The Niners gagged away the Chicago game (for myriad reasons), and travel to beef jerky town. The land that sunscreen forgot. The land where people wear sweaters when it’s 90º out. Arizona. The Big Weirdie. Where assault weapons are a fashion accessory.

Anyhow, if there’s anything that Jin Harbaugh does well, it is come back pretty strong after losses. Maybe it’s a product of benign scheduling, but the 49ers usually bounce back after losses. Although they did have two 2-game losing streaks last year.

The problem is, though, the 49ers suddenly have some big concerns, as far as I’m concerned. The blocking has been middling to atrocious. The O line wore down last Sunday, and the Niners did little to help Kappy out despite a constant 5-man rush in the 2nd half. The Bears on the other hand were left to play pitch and catch as we geared to stop the run game that wasn’t materializing. Curious that the Niner brain trust seemed to go with their pregame plan, and not adjust to the game as it unfolded.

So, now we face Bruce Arians. Another of the more cerebral type coaches. Granted, he doesn’t have the QB he’d love to have, but so far both Carson Palmer and Drew Stanton have delivered victories. They squeaked one out vs SanDawg, as the ‘Dawgs let yet another 10+ point lead evaporate in the 4th quarter. The Giants just flat stink, and it took a late fumble to seal that game. They have a nice shifty RB in Bruce Ellington’s older brother Andre, and of course Larry Fitzgerald.

Since we don’t seem to have much of a pass rush anymore, it galls me to see Fangio run his base defense and not dial up blitzes. It worked against Romo, but that pressure was from base. It didn’t work last week, yet we let Cutler off the hook by not pressuring him. Palmer is the same thing. Let him throw cleanly and he’ll find his mark. Pressure him and he gets rattled.

To me, this coaching staff is on notice. They failed miserably in adjusting to the Chicago game as it wore on. They did little to pressure Cutler, and they didn’t do anything to stop the pressure getting in on Kaepernick. The game is all about adjusting if things change, and they didn’t.

Here’s some early work from the Spitmen.

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The Perfect Shitstorm

Wow. Just wow. I’ve heard of a Cleveland Steamer, but this game was a Chicago spewage-fest all of its own. The perfect shitstorm of penalties, turnovers, and shitty coaching. The 49ers, after stumbling and bumbling  their way to a 17-0 first half lead that could have easily been 27 points, saw their lead get cut to 10 with the help of 3 penalties and a great catch by Brandon Marshall to close the 1st half.

I was a little uneasy about that late score until we took the 2nd half kickoff and marched down the field to the Bear 5 after controlling the ball for 10 minutes. The offense was clicking all the way. Kappy connected with VMcD, and Crabs, and Stevie Wonder had a nice 20 yard catch and run. We were poised to take a 17 point lead. So what does Harbaugh do? Completely pussy out. He turtled up and kicked the field goal, thinking his defense would save the day and he could turtle his way to victory. The problem? 24-7 is a 3 score lead. 20-7 isn’t. Things happen way too fast in the NFL to sit on a 13 point lead to open the 2nd half. And it bit Harbaugh squarely in the ass.

Chicago’s next drive was once again helped immensely on two drive-extending 3rd down penalties. So, what do we do? Throw. 1st play after Chicago’s TD is a pick.  I do like opening things up, but really, Buffalo put 200 on this defense on the ground. We didn’t really try. So, Chicago scores 2 TDs and the Niners are down by 1. Score that TD to open the 2nd half, and the Niners are still up by 3. But yeah, you get that. So, still throwing, we get picked again. It takes Chicago all of 3 plays to score again. Down by 8. Time to go no-huddle and try to score quickly? Well, that ain’t in the play book. Harbaugh’s MO is to play for the one score to tie and leave no time on the clock.

Instead of possibly tieing the game, we suffer the same fate as the Super Bowl, and last year’s NFC Championship game. A closely contested pass to Michael Crabtree that falls incomplete. Crabs himself said he blew it by taking the route toward the end zone instead of staying on his crossing route. I believe him, but I also think Chicago got a huge boost by holding the Niners to a FG and thus keeping the score at 13 points.

As bad as the game was, with all the penalties and turnovers, I put this loss squarely on the coaches. Harbaugh and Fangio both went the conservative route, and let Chicago hang around. Chicago had no business getting back into this game, yet the coaches left Cutler unscathed, Fangio never dialed up the pressure, and he picked us apart. Even with Marshall and Jeffries hobbled. You had to know they’d start feeling better if they started making plays. Which they did.

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Da Bearssss da Bearssss da Bearssss . . .

Here we are at the muchly anticipated home opener at the house that Satan built, if you believe the Candlestick 49er fans that didn’t quite get the temp difference between east SF and the South Bay. Can you say 30 degrees? Thankfully, this game is in the evening so the heat (!) factor will be minimized somewhat.

Anyhow, on the the game. On paper, the Bears appear to have a pretty potent offense, what with Brandon Marshall and young phenom Alshon Jeffries to go along with their bruiser at RB in  Matt Forte. They of course are led (?) by the always entertaining Jay Cutler. A guy fairly similar to Tony Romo in that they can play very good football for small to medium stretches, and then lay some big steamers when you need a win.

Thing is, what they do does present a challenge defensively for the Forty Niners. They run well behind Forte, and they have quick-strike ability with their WRs. Their weakness, like Dallas last week, is their defense. I mean really. Giving up 200 yards on the ground to Buffalo is not good at all. Which is why I think the Niners play keep-away. We aren’t going to see that first 8 plays be passes. We are going to run. Hopefully out of our 2-3 WR sets like last week. No jumbo, please.

Beyond that, it’s the opening of the new stadium. I’d love to predict a blow out, but Jimbo doesn’t seem to have that bone in his body.

I’m thinking 28-20 in another game not as close as the score makes it seem.

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OK, Back to Football . . . Alice in Not-So-Wonderland

Enough about the seamy underbelly of the game we love so much. Pay no attention to the owner in the bathroom taking selfies of a BJ . . .

Anyhow, game one of the 2014 season was a rousing success. The Niners came out and scored on the 2nd play of the game when Dan Stuka stripped DeMarco Murray and Chris Culliver ran it in untouched for a TD. The first running play, a 20 yard scamper by Gore, came after 5 straight passes scored 2 TDs. The Niners scoring came to an end right before the end of the 2nd quarter on a nice 10 play drive culminated in a couple really nice runs by Carlos Hyde. The rest of the game seemed to be an exercise in the refs trying to get Dallas back into it.

Sure, it was the Alice Cowboys. But for all their shitty defense, they did manage to run up the gut seemingly at will on the Niner front 7. De Marco Murray had 118 yards, even though Dallas went away from the pass in the 2nd half. Tony Romo however, seemed hell-bent on throwing into traffic, and he had 3 picks in the 1st half. The pressure was uneven, and Dallas was able to rack up 408 total yards to the Niners 328. But the game was won on turnovers. Dallas’ 4 to the Niners 0. Dallas was never even close, and the game could have very easily been 35-10 had the refs not been so intent on getting Dallas a 3rd quarter TD.

Tell ya one thing, I’m sure glad the easy part of our schedule is early. We do have some things to work on. Namely run D. Even with RayMac playing, the run defense was not good at all. Plus, we lost 2 CBs in the 1st quarter (Brock with a toe injury, and Culliver with a concussion). Jimmie Ward also left the game with a head injury, but he (not the team yet) said he’s fine and didn’t suffer a concussion. The good news on that regard was the next men up (Dontae Johnson and Perrish Cox) both played very well. Cox with a pick, and Johnson with 2 passes defended. So, all in all, a great game that will hopefully silence the writers who seem to want this team to implode among all the reports once again of ‘vet discontent’ in the locker room over the rigorous training camp. Shit, that’s so last month.

Methinks the vet in question was just released anyway. Won’t say his name but his initials are LMJ. He cleared waivers, and as of now, no takers.

 

 

 

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Ray Rice, RayMac, and Deaf, Dumb, and Blind (Jed) Justice

UPDATE: Ray Rice was just released by the Ravens. Uh, see below. What did you think happened on the elevator?

Sorry, going on a rant here. With the release of more video of the title fight in a Las Vegas elevator  a couple months ago between the 230 lb Ray Rice and his 105 lb fiancee,  the blogosphere is abuzz with talk of revisiting and adding to the supposed punishment of Rice. While I have no idea if anything more comes of this, my question is, what the fuck did you think happened anyway? The NFL is disavowing any knowledge of the extra footage, but this matters? What do you think happened when 2 fully conscious people walk into an elevator, and moments later one is being dragged out of the elevator by her hair?  You now have people coming out and saying “gee, this makes everything different.” I say, gee, get a fucking clue.

It goes part and parcel with the recent hooraw around Ray McDonald and his scrape with his pregnant girlfriend. Just taken at face value, you have a big party with a bunch of people there. At some point near the end of the party, a woman calls the cops because she feels threatened by her boyfriend. He just happens to be a football player. The cops show up, and notice bruises around her neck and on her arms. I imagine they check out RayMac for consistent injuries, but whatever. He gets arrested for suspicion of spousal abuse.

Here’s where the stupidity starts. Jim Harbaugh, in a dig at his brother, tells anyone and everyone in hearing distance that he would NEVER tolerate a player of his being an abuser of women. Remember, brother John welcomed back Ray Rice after his deal, and said we stand behind our player and will accept the NFL’s (fucking joke of a) punishment.  When Ray McDonald gets dragged to jail, ol’ Jimmy is all of a sudden very interested in due diligence and letting the courts handle it.

How do the courts handle it? Well, look at Ray Rice. He and his (speed bag) fiancée promptly get married. And Rice has to attend some sort of anger management deal. In other words, no punishment. Was she under duress to marry him? No one knows that except for them. The NFL levies a huge 2 game suspension, and boom boom, everyone is happy. Except for the victims of domestic violence who rarely get any form of justice and usually get labeled as the cause of what they get. Will he continue to beat her? Another question we won’t get to know. Unless he’s stupid enough to get caught doing the same shit somewhere else, or worst case she eventually shoots him. Hey, just ask Steve McNair. Look, he may never do anything like this again, but if you believe the stats, most abusers don’t stop at just one. Like Lay’s potato chips.

The point being, no one seems to have trouble turning a blind eye to this. From the courts to the league to the owners, to their teammates.  Which brings me to Jed York. And to a lesser degree, Trent Baalke. These are the guys who would be in the direct position to lay down some kind of suspension, sit-down, or punishment for RayMac’s alleged abuse. What does Jed do? Absolutely nothing. He has been as quiet is a church mouse. He and Trent Baalke are hiding behind the due process bullshit Harbaugh conveniently hid behind. Not a peep.

Would it kill Jed to sit down Ray McDonald for one game as the investigation proceeds? No. Plenty of other people in similar circumstances are suspended with pay pending an investigation into whatever the deal was. Everyone gets all bend over due process and ‘innocent until proven guilty’ but that all horseshit. What of the pregnant girl who was (apparently) strangled by her very large and very strong boyfriend? What of Ray Rice cold-cocking his fiancée with a punch that very well could have killed her? Lots of people come out and justify this behavior as if it’s boys being boys or whatever.  I wonder what they’d say if they were the recipients of systematic and ongoing abuse as the rest of the world winked and laughed.

 

 

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Game Day! Niners vs Allas

Until the Cowpokes find their D they will be known as allas this season. For all the recent bullshit. today’s the day the rubber meets the road. Game on. Game one. Screw everything else about all the distractions and arrests. Go out and hit somebody.

And, I’ll tell you this, Harbaugh and company have gone to great lengths to create the perfect ‘us vs them’ mentality.

Go, Niners. 31-10 good guys.

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