Medic ! ! !

Well, the once overabundant amount of running backs has been waylaid by the injury bug in 3 short days. First, Marcus Lattimore was placed on the PUP list last Wednesday, due to a combination of his previous knee injury, and a more recent hamstring injury.  Then on Thursday, Kendal (endzone) Hunter blew his knee out in a non-contact drill. Then of course, on Friday, LaMichael James, a guy who would have likely gotten more looks with the other injuries, turned his good fortune into a dislocated elbow, and he’ll be out for a month.

Other than that, C Marcus Martin, Bruce Ellington, OLB Aaron Lynch, and DL Kaleb Ramsey were also PUPed. Martin and Ellington both suffered minor ankle injuries, and they should be back pretty quickly. No idea ’bout the other guys. I really want Ellington on the field as much as possible.

Anyhow, who among you think this is a bit of a blessing in disguise? Sure, Gore looks to be the starter, and Hyde the backup, that was pretty much set in stone. But Hunter was a good change of pace guy, but not as elusive as LMJ, but that’s a different can of worms. Either way, the lack of depth could force the coaching staff to look to the passing game more than they might have. Having a healthy corps of WRs certainly is a change from previous years when we had scrubs and decoys.. This could be looked at as the next step in the growth of Colin Kaepernick as  quarterback as well. Give him more options to evaluate, and have him read the field more rather than the one-read-and-run that was apparently the usual play design.

I’m not too concerned with these injuries, other than Hunter. For his limited role he brought a different skillset than Gore. Either that, or we have a Jewell in the rough . . .

Posted in Uncategorized | 66 Comments

The 49ers Are Happy Campers . . .

. . . for the most part. The 49ers started camp yesterday, and most of the gang came to the festivities. VD showed up, as everyone knows. Boone didn’t, as everybody knows. The good news is this latest break in football activities didn’t result in anyone hitting the police blotter or TMZ. Kappy is thrilled about the new-look offense and his newly inked WRs that he has to throw to. The coaches are thrilled about Carlos Hyde and his emergence as the backup to ageless Frank Gore.  Justin Smith is feeling better than he has in a couple years after undergoing shoulder surgery this offseason. An injury that he played through all last year. And, of course, VD showed up and silenced the folks (me) calling for his head on a plate, with a side of Rhino.

How this all shakes out is a mystery, what with a newly re-tooled defensive backfield, a missing RG, and a crowded offensive backfield. That being said, one has to feel good about the fact that Colin Kaepernick has a lot more options to throw to, and a coaching staff  that, as of now, seems to wants to give more power to our young QB. And a staff that seems willing to pry open the passing section of the playbook. Boone should show up at some point. And if he’s learned anything, he should heed Joe Staley.  Show up, do your job, plant some seeds about your discontentment. But SHOW UP. The team has said over and over they will not negotiate with absentee players. Boone, for his part, changed agencies, and went with Schwartz & Feinsod. They of course are famous for having Darelle Revis among their clients, and their insistence of taking a hard line (advising clients to hold out rather than negotiate) instead of working things through more amicably.

Sorry, Rhino. You are a nice guy, and a great story overcoming your problems, but adios. Guards aren’t that hard to find, or replace. The Niners have enough in camp right now to absorb your loss. And if you want to miss the Super Bowl ring that you just might get, well, tough shit dot com.

Posted in Uncategorized | 79 Comments

Bring Me the Head of Johnnie Morton

Well, I stand corrected. I thought our WR coach was the ex-Detroit Lion WR Johnnie Morton. He’s John Morton, a training camp casualty and World Football Leaguer. He got so far as the Raiders practice squad in 1993 and never got on an NFL  field. He has been the Niner WR coach for 3 years. He worked with Turner an Gruden with the Raiders, did some good work with Payton in Nawlins, and at USD with Harbaugh, so his creds seem fine.

But really, what the hell is wrong with the WR corps on the 49ers? Never has a group been so underwhelming for so long. The list of WRs that failed to catch on (unless you are Anquan Boldin) is too long to list, but Randy Moss, Braylon Edwards, Mario Manningham, and Ted Ginn are recent washouts. No to mention Kyle Williams. Granted, some of this is by design as the Niners want to run, and rarely use more that 2 WRs at at time, but, Moss’s time here was especially frustrating as he was almost always covered 12 yards off the line, and the Niners rarely exploited the fact that they could have thrown 10-yard comebacks all the way down the field with little resistance.

Throw in the fact that the 3rd WR position has produced miniscule numbers in recent memory. Galling is the facat tat Ted Ginn caught more passes last year as the 3 in Carolina than he did in 3 years here. What did that get him? Well, a one-way tiket to AZ, but the point remains that we didn’t do very much with him as our speed guy. Once he lost his effectiveness as a PR, he was toast here. But obviously, for all his disappointmnt as a 1st round draft choice, and subsequent horrible numbers as a Niner, he’s a viable WR who is better that what we got out of him.  Manningham sort of follows suit.  He started well, and was beset with nagging injuries, and never got rolling. Swett Brain campe in and had little impact. Bye bye. The rookies? Well, AJ Jenkins may be the bust of this decade draft-wise, but others haven’t fared well wither. Ronald Johnson didn’t make it through camp, Quniton Patton looked promising, then he got hurt. He came back late and made a couple nice catches. Now we have Bruce Ellington. He looks like a guy weith speed to burn.  A guy wh0o can open up the top on a defense. Alas, he just hit the PUP/Non-NFL injury report.

Yay. Another guy who looks to red-shirt his rookie season. At what point do you turn to the coaches to find out why the 49ers fid it so hard to integrate WRs into their offense? Is it incomprehensible blocking schemes that they are required to learn?  This certainly must play a part because it has a lot to do with why Frank Gore is so hard tounseat as the go-to RB on the Niners. Gore may have scored a 6 on the Wonderlich, but his knowlege of the 49er playbook has reached Einsteinian levels. Is this the reason? Is it our rudimentary offense? Our 1-2 WR formations that appear to be nothing more than 12 yard outs (which occasionally get jumped for pick 6’s) and mid-range come-backs? We certainly don’t show a lot of double moves, slants, or deep routes for our WRs. The deep balls go to VD. Slants? A relic from the past. As are screens, unless its the dreaded bubble screen to the WR.

Which brings us to John Morton. What the hell is he actually doing? Either he’s been given shit to work with (not likely as some guys leave here and still produce) or he can’t elevate these guys to play better than they’ve shown. We’ve all heard about the new-age passing offense that is coming. The multiple-WR sets. In the immortal words of Steven Tyler, “same old story., same oldsong and dance, my friend.” Seeing Carlos Hyde drafted in the 2nd round gives me even more pause to think this is all preseason babble.

I’ll believe it when I see it.

Posted in Uncategorized | 49 Comments

As The Tight End Turns (or shut up and show up, VD)

Well, Jimmy Graham has officially set the bar for TEs that are, well, him. He just signed a 4 year/$40 mill deal with $21 mill guaranteed. Disgruntled 49er tight end Vernon Davis is still talking to the trees when he expresses his desire for a contract extension. After saying for a couple weeks that if he doesn’t have a deal in place by camp it won’t be a big deal and that he’d be here, there are rumblings out of somewhere that he may not show.

What to do? Well, trading him may not be the most prudent thing to do, and certainly there is a market for him, but at what point do you tell him to shit or get off the pot? If this was a shitty deal (like say, Alex Boone’s), then I’d be behind him. However, he signed a very generous deal as a rookie, he signed the richest deal for a TE in the league back in 2010, and he’s still the 3rd highest paid TE in the league.

And he wants more? Sorry, no. He has once again positioned himself above the team. As he did for 3 years coming in to the league. We all remember click-clack, the dropped passes, and the stupid penalties. If he doesn’t show up to training camp, which opens on July 25th, I’d definitely think about trading him. Preferably to a team that needs a guy to hype. Tampa Bay and Jacksonville spring to mind. Even the Jets. They’d love his shtick in the Big Apple. The alternative is what? Bench him? Let him play when the games start? Certainly viable options, but the Niners are NOT going to knuckle under to him and his contract demands. To do so at this point would open the gates for guys like Crabs and Iupati to hold out next year.  The front office has been very very good at positioning themselves with team-friendly contracts and fallback positions should guys leave (hello, Dashon). The delicate balance between contracts, upcoming free agents, and the finite amount of money to go around is a messy and tangled web of current value, future potential, and aging players. A tough job that has waylaid many a team in this salary cap era. For VD to do this now is a fairly large threat to the team this front office and coaching staff has built.

Sure, VD’s a great talent, a top 3 TE. But the Niners should be able to get some great draft picks, and maybe a player or two,  for his services. And be free of the bullshit. Truth is, he’s a 30 year old TE. Is he worth a 4 year extension? Maybe. Maybe not. He’s a good blocker, and he’s got speed to burn, but the 49ers now have a solid stable of WRs and V McD can block as well, so they ain’t going to fall off the map without him. McDonald’s a decent pass-catcher as well, so why not trade the disease?

Posted in Uncategorized | 35 Comments

The NEW NFL (or, how I stopped worrying and learned to love the police blotter)

Far be it from NFL players to be removed from the social media circus these days. In fact it appears to be a cottage industry. Whether it’s TMZ staking out LAX to break the Aldon Smith bomb hoax story, or some dude taking pics of Johnny Foot (Eight) ball rolling up a $20 in a Vegas bathroom (what happens in a Vegas bathroom apparently doesn’t stay in the Vegas bathroom) getting ready to partake in some recreational drug usage, or Ray Rice cold-cocking his soon-to-be wife and caught by the hotel security cameras, no one is safe at any time any where.

Throw in the fact that players still get in trouble the old fashioned way (failed drug test, DUI), Cleveland Browns WR Josh Gordon, he of the recent fame of being involved in the Jim Harbaugh trade, pulled a triple-triple by recently failing a drug test for pot, getting arrested for speeding and possession of marijuana, and then getting a DUI last weekend.  Teammate Davone Bess was recently arrested for beating up a cop at the Ft Lauderdale airport, Viking Erin Henderson pulled a double-double of his own getting arrested on separate DUI and drug possession charges, AJ Jefferson (not Jenkins),  Henry Melton, and Thomas Keiser were all arrested on domestic abuse, public intoxication, and assault charges.

Point being, I didn’t hear about a lot of these. I had to look these up. We’ve gotten to the point that getting busted as a player is getting pretty passé, unless it’s either a name player like Colin Kaepernick, or it’s a big crime, a la Aaron Hernandez. As we all know, our own team has suffered the slings and arrows of getting bad press for a bunch of players in the spotlight for various misdeeds. Throw in the high-and-mighty comments of head coach Jim Harbaugh and you have a side of shit to go along with the already beefy shit sandwich Coach has to eat.

As is obviously apparent, major fines and suspensions have done little to curtail these screw-ups. Shit, even with all the steroid busts in baseball, no one really gives a shit, provided you come up with a conciliatory mea culpa. No matter how trite or contrived. So, what next? For all intents and purposes, all these busts make Aldon’s situation look pretty mild in comparison. Or at least on par. I still think it’s only a 2 game suspension despite all the hooraw in blogland.

Chris Culliver’s case looks to be hitting the courtroom soon, so we all get to see how THAT turns out. For me, this one is a bigger deal. He faces five charges in all: felony hit and run, felony reckless driving with injury, felony possession of brass knuckles, misdemeanor hit and run, and misdemeanor driving on a suspended license. But Goodie Goodell doesn’t really come down hard on domestic abuse/aggravated assault charges. Plenty of players have beaten up their girlfriends and gotten in bar fights with little or no repercussions. Not to mention having a shit-flier of a party. Hitting children on bikes and then threatening passers-by may not be seen as a good model for their players to follow. But really, these misdeeds are not slowing down, and no one seems to care.

What do you think? Should these misdeeds be treated as a necessary part of the game? Should Goodie Goodell suspend guys harder? Ban repeat offenders indefinitely? Turn a blind eye to it, as was done for so long? The fans have shown that they don’t care one whit. Most are of a mind that if you can play, you deserve a 2nd (or 3rd) chance. As long as you are a star player. If you are a special teamer? Sorry. Don’t pass Go, don’t collect $200.00. It’s the nature of sports in America.

Posted in Uncategorized | 124 Comments

All Aldon, All the Time

Well, in lieu of anything happening otherwise, and VD’s been raked over the coals long enough, news out of Los Angeles is that Aldon Smith will not be facing any charges out of the ‘misunderstanding’ at LAX earlier this year.

Whe asked what the problem was at LAX, Aldon said, “One of my friends asked me what the problem was with the offense. I told him, we need to put more WRs on the field. Run 3-4 WR sets. We need to spread the formations to open up the running lanes. And we need to occasionally throw a BOMB!”

And the mayhem ensued. This of course is 4th hand information gotten from a guy at Cinnabon who talked to a flight attendant who talked to a baggage handler who knew one of the TSA agents whose brother was there.

This is good news all around for the Niners and especially Young Aldon. If he keeps his nose clean for the next couple weeks, his suspension looks to be 4 games max. I’d think with time served and good behavior, he’ll get 2 games off.  Aldon needs to learn from this and take the appropriate precautions when geting his swerve on in the future.

Posted in Uncategorized | 91 Comments

Fun with Mindless Prognostication

Stealing a page for the Bleacher Report in that they’ve decided to rank the coaching staffs of all 32 NFL teams, based on, well I don’t know. It looks like it’s based on one little paragraph.

Interesting to me are all the retreaded names you see here. John Fassel, Marty Morningwig, Hue Jackman, Norv Turner, even Marc (he’s gone!) Trestman has circled back around to be a head coach. Albeit a long and winding road.

Ex-players are repped all over the place in Fracnk Reich, Ron Rivera, Gary Kubiak, Sean Payton, and of course Jim Harbaugh.

Coaching royalty is also represented by Mike Shula and Joe Lombardi. Lombardi being a fast-rising coaching star (now the OC for Detroit) and the grandson of you-know-who.

Beyond the fact of who they picked for #1, there’s a lot of interesting fodder in the list to say the least.

32. St. Loo – Head coach: Jeff Fisher
Offensive coordinator: Brian Schottenheimer
Defensive coordinator: Gregg Williams
Special teams coordinator: John Fassel

31. Dallas Cowboys – Head coach: Jason Garrett
Offensive coordinator: Scott Linehan
Defensive coordinator: Rod Marinelli
Special teams coordinator: Rich Bisaccia

30. Washington – Head coach: Jay Gruden
Offensive coordinator: Sean McVay
Defensive coordinator: Jim Haslett
Special teams coordinator: Ben Kotwica

29. Houston Texans – Head coach: Bill O’Brien
Offensive coordinator: None
Defensive coordinator: Romeo Crennel
Special teams coordinator: Bob Ligashesky

28. Oakland Raiders – Head coach: Dennis Allen
Offensive coordinator: Greg Olson
Defensive coordinator: Jason Tarver
Special teams coordinator: Bobby April

27. Cleveland Browns – Head coach: Mike Pettine
Offensive coordinator: Kyle Shanahan
Defensive coordinator: Jim O’Neil
Special teams coordinator: Chris Tabor

26. Detroit Lions – Head coach: Jim Caldwell
Offenisve coordinator: Joe Lombardi
Defensive coordinator: Teryl Austin
Special teams coordinator: John Bonamego

25. Miami Dolphins – Head coach: Joe Philbin
Offensive coordinator: Bill Lazor
Defensive coordinator: Kevin Coyle
Special teams coordinator: Darren Rizzi

24. Tennessee Titans – Head coach: Ken Whisenhunt
Offensive coordinator: Jason Michael
Defensive coordinator: Ray Horton
Special teams coordinator: Nate Kaczor

23. Jacksonville Jaguars – Head coach: Gus Bradley
Offensive coordinator: Jedd Fisch
Defensive coordinator: Bob Babich
Special teams coordinator: Mike Mallory

22. New York Giants – Head coach: Tom Coughlin
Offensive coordinator: Ben McAdoo
Defensive coordinator: Perry Fewell
Special teams coordinator: Tom Quinn

21. San Diego Chargers – Head coach: Mike McCoy
Offensive coordinator: Frank Reich
Defensive coordinator: John Pagano
Special teams coordinator: Kevin Spencer

20. Minnesota Vikings – Head coach: Mike Zimmer
Offensive coordinator: Norv Turner
Defensive coordinator: George Edwards
Special teams coordinator: Mike Priefer

19. Buffalo Bills – Head coach: Doug Marrone
Offensive coordinator: Nathaniel Hackett
Defensive coordinator: Jim Schwartz
Special teams coordinator: Danny Crossman

18. Kansas City Chiefs – Head coach: Andy Reid
Offensive coordinator: Doug Pederson
Defensive coordinator: Bob Sutton
Special teams coordinator: Dave Toub

17. New York Jets – Head coach: Rex Ryan
Offensive coordinator: Marty Mornhinweg
Defensive coordinator: Dennis Thurman
Special teams coordinator: Thomas McGaughey

16. Cincinnati Bengals – Head coach: Marvin Lewis
Offensive coordinator: Hue Jackson
Defensive coordinator: Paul Guenther
Special teams coordinator: Darrin Simmons

15. Chicago Bears – Head coach: Marc Trestman
Offensive coordinator: Aaron Kromer
Defensive coordinator: Mel Tucker
Special teams coordinator: Joe DeCamillis

14. Atlanta Falcons – Head coach: Mike Smith
Offensive coordinator: Dirk Koetter
Defensive coordinator: Mike Nolan
Special teams coordinator: Keith Armstrong

13. Arizona Cardinals – Head coach: Bruce Arians
Offensive coordinator: Harold Goodwin
Defensive coordinator: Todd Bowles
Special teams coordinator: Amos Jones

12. Indianapolis Colts – Head coach: Chuck Pagano
Offensive coordinator: Pep Hamilton
Defensive coordinator: Greg Manusky
Special teams coordinator: Tom McMahon

11. Denver Broncos – Head coach: John Fox
Offensive coordinator: Adam Gase
Defensive coordinator: Jack Del Rio
Special teams coordinator: Jeff Rodgers

10. Pittsburgh Steelers – Head coach: Mike Tomlin
Offensive coordinator: Todd Haley
Defensive coordinator: Dick LeBeau
Special teams coordinator: Danny Smith

9. Green Bay Packers – Head coach: Mike McCarthy
Offensive coordinator: Tom Clements
Defensive coordinator: Dom Capers
Special teams coordinator: Shawn Slocum

8. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Head coach: Lovie Smith
Offensive coordinator: Jeff Tedford
Defensive coordinator: Leslie Frazier
Special teams coordinator: Kevin O’Dea

7. Carolina Panthers – Head coach: Ron Rivera
Offensive coordinator: Mike Shula
Defensive coordinator: Sean McDermott
Special teams coordinator: Richard Rodgers

6. Baltimore Ravens – Head coach: John Harbaugh
Offensive coordinator: Gary Kubiak
Defensive coordinator: Dean Pees
Special teams coordinator: Jerry Rosburg

5. Philadelphia Eagles – Head coach: Chip Kelly
Offensive coordinator: Pat Shurmur
Defensive coordinator: Billy Davis
Special teams coordinator: Dave Fipp

4. New England Patriots – Head coach: Bill Belichick
Offensive coordinator: Josh McDaniels
Defensive coordinator: Matt Patricia
Special teams coordinator: Scott O’Brien

3. New Orleans Saints – Head coach: Sean Payton
Offensive coordinator: Pete Carmichael, Jr.
Defensive coordinator: Rob Ryan
Special teams coordinator: Greg McMahon

2. Seattle Seahawks – Head coach: Pete Carroll
Offensive coordinator: Darrell Bevell
Defensive coordinator: Dan Quinn
Special teams coordinator: Brian Schneider

1. San Francisco 49ers – Head coach: Jim Harbaugh
Offensive coordinator: Greg Roman
Defensive coordinator: Vic Fangio
Special teams coordinator: Brad Seely

Hey, it’s slow. Reading is fun-damental.

Posted in Uncategorized | 17 Comments