All Quiet on the Western Front

We are practicing (and fighting) with the Texans this week, and other than the fight between Jimmie Ward and DeAndre Hopkins (who was then ejected rom practice), there’s not much to report.  Other than that, safety Terrell Williams ‘slightly’ injuring his knee, there is not much to report.

Speaking of balls deep. The Jimmy G deep passing game is still floating out there in the stratosphere. These have been somewhat allayed by many connections with Marquise Goodwin in practice, but Garoppolo still thinks that, like his whole game, it is a work in progress. He holds himself to high standards, as does Shanahan, so I think the passing game should be fine. The WRs look a hell of a lot better than in recent memory, and the progress is evident to those watching. I guess.

Anyhow, game 2 is coming up against these very same Texans, so expect a few more fights as these guys get tired of facing each other.

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Owies! (HBD, John Brodie)

Well, we are avoiding the major injuries in this grueling preseason. But we aren’t avoiding the nagging injuries. The laundry list of dings and doinks include:

TE George Kittle (shoulder) — week-to-week
RB Matt Breida (shoulder) — week-to-week
DL Arik Armstead (hamstring) — week-to-week
RB Jerock McKinnon (calf) — rest this week, reevaluate next week
CB K’Waun Williams (ankle) — rest this week, reevaluate next week
LB Malcolm Smith (hamstring) — rest this week, reevaluate next week
OT Garry Gilliam (concussion) — day-to-day
DL Solomon Thomas (concussion) — day-to-day
LB Eli Harold (knee) — day-to-day
Edge Jeremiah Attaochu (groin) — day-to-day
WR Max McCaffrey (foot) — day-to-day
Limited: TE Cole Wick (knee), LB Brock Coyle (hip), CB Richard Sherman (hamstring), OG Joshua Garnett (knee), OL J.P. Flynn (knee)
Recovery Day: OL Mike Person

So, we have avoided the big one so far, unlike Washington RB Derrius Guice who tore his ACL after breaking off a nice long run, or SD CB Jason Verrett who tore his achilles right before camp, or Packer linebacker Jake Ryan who tore his knee up to name a few, but our list is pretty long.

The fact that 2 RBs are on the list, starter Jerock McKinnon and Matt Brieda, prompted us to sign Alfred Morris. Yeah, he’s a bit long in the tooth, but he’s not here to take over the workload, he'[s here to be a body in the backfield for the next 3 games while the starters heal up. Unless things change fore the worse. McKinnon is a bit worrisome as we paid him a shit-ton of money to be on the field, not as a situational back, so his health and availability is of paramount importance. Breida was a nice surprise last year, and this signing throws shade on Joe Williams, but at this point we simply need the bodies.

Also, shout out to John Brodie, who is celebrating his 83rd birthday today. A real tough son of a bitch on and off the field. He endured the slings and arrows of a drunken Kezar stadium crowd for years and years to win the MFL MVP in 1970, and lead the 49ers to the playoffs three straight years. He played, and won on the Seniors Tour in golf, and was a successful announcer for a few years as well.

He suffered a major stroke in 2000 and was told he couldn’t walk or talk again. He is now however, doing both.  Brodie certainly was an epically tragic figure in my early sports days as he was the QB when I started watching games, and his stirring comeback in 1972 to come off the bench and lead the 49ers into the playoffs with two 4th quarter touchdowns to beat the Vikings 21-17 is one of my all-time favorite events that I saw live.

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When is a win not a win? Yesterday. I think there were 7 injured Niners with 3 seconds elapsed in the 2nd quarter. TE George Kittle and RB Matt Breida both had shoulder injuries that look kind of significant. Kittle’s hurt hurts a little more because he was hurt reaching for a bad Jimmy G pass downfield. Salomon Thomas and Gary (Ian) Gilliam both had concussions, and Malcolm Smith (the hologram LB) pulled a hammy during the National Anthem.

Sure it’s good to win, but as Aluminum Mike Singletary proved, preseason wins mean nothing when the season starts.

The Niners looked slow from the get-go, and Dallas simply drove down the field at will and scored on that first possession. Then they went to scrubs on O. Garoppolo wasn’t as successful as Prescott, but he looked OK converting a couple 3rd and long situations minus the missed pass to Kittle that got him hurt. Hmmm, where have I heard that before? Anyhow, CJ BeatHard was beaten hard and did OK for a midget QB. Lots of tipped passes and missed shots.

The guy whose stock rose the most was Julian Taylor. Arik (who?) Armstead’s backup was all over the field making tackles and getting fairly decent pressure on Dallas’ QB for most of the game. DJ Reed had some nice pays, Dante Pettis looked very solid despite letting one get into his pads, but got so open on a deep ball that he still caught it despite being underthrown 10 yards by CJ. Bourne made some nice adjustments out there as well.

What to gain from this? We have the makings of a strong team but I’m sure worried about our depth. This team cannot afford too many more injuries and we are as week 1 of the preseason.


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(itsonlypreseasonbut) It’s GAME DAY ! ! !

Well, here we go with the 2018 football season. The Giants are staggering around .500 and don’t seem capable of passing up the myriad teams in front of them for the division, let alone with wildcard.  So football is coming just at the right time. Everyone knows the issues (O line, D line), the struggles (defensive backfield), the position fights (defensive backfield, WR, backup RB), and the tough schedule out of the gate.

So, let’s get ready to RUMBLE!!!

Here’s a little trip down memory lane . . .

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The Edge of Wetness

Sure, it’s only pre-season football, but it’s FOOTBALL! The 2018 season is about to officially start in 2 days! Against the Dallas Cowboys no less. Lots of good things coming out of camp, but aren’t there always good things coming out of camp? Alex is hitting the long ball .Kaepernick is sharp in his 2nd and 3rd reads.  Hoyer is catching fire . . . on and on.

Thing is, this camp does feel different. the team has some legit weapons in the backfield in McKinnon, Jusckjcklxj, Brieda, and possibly Joe Williams. Garcon is healthy, Goodwin came on like gangbusters working with Jimmy G, last year. Dante Pettis is lighting up the practice field with Jimmy G. And Kittle has a better grasp of things.  Jimmy G is Jimmy G. A guy who took the team over and won in a very compressed time frame. He’s up to speed, and itching to play.

Defensively there have been a lot of changes. And a couple injuries. One serious, one hopefully not. Arik Armstead is already out for a bit with his hammy, Richard Sherman is  also nursing a hammy. We aded pas rusher Jeremy Attucho, Sherman, rookie DJ Reed, Fred Warner, and the return of Malcolm Smith.

But as we all know, the season will come down to two things. How well we protect Jimmy, G and how well we get after the opposing QB. I think our pass rush could be helped a little bit by the better coverage downfield, but the pass rushers have to bring it. We have been anemic in the rush since they heady days of Aldon and Juston Smith. We’ve lost AA for a while and he rest is up for grabs. Word is DE Salomon Thomas has flipped with DFB to the inside, and both players have improved.

Then again it’s only talk until they hit the field.

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Jimmy G and the Deep State (of his game)

Thanks to LJ for bringing this up, so I had to look into this a little more. Frankly I had never heard of the supposed issues Garoppolo has throwing deep passes. His numbers last year were 4-16 (with one drop) which works out to 31.3%. Sucky. Or 31st out of 35 QBs.  Granted, this is a small sample size, and granted even more, Jimmy G came into an entirely new system that he didn’t completely grasp and was force-fed in a few short weeks, AND we don’t really have a stable full of thoroughbreds at WR, but still and all, that’s a pretty shitty completion rate. Even coming out of college, the knock on Jimmy was, per an NFL writer,Nolan Nawrocki:

“He undershoots and often hangs the deep ball, Makes receivers work for the ball downfield, and deep accuracy could stand to improve.”

To me, this isn’t a big deal. At least not yet, anyway. This will be Garoppolo’s first camp to fully digest Kyle Shanahan’s offense. Garoppolo already showed toughness in the pocket, accuracy in the pocket and on the move, and the ability to improvise whe the protection breaks down. His feel for the game is very solid for a guy with so few starts, and he should only get better with more reps with his stable of WRs.

Jimmy G has made Marquise Goodwin look like a bona fide weapon, if not a deep threat, with his speed and separation ability, and Dante Pettis is getting rave reviews for his precise route-running and separation ability. He could very well be the steal of the draft. The point being, if the WRs and Jimmy G can roll at about a 62-65% completion rate on 0-25 yard passes, the deep game WILL open up. And with any kind of separation, the completion rate will rise.

As was noted by ROB!! in reference to Bill Walsh, you don’ really need to be all that successful throwing deep. Just showing it lets the defense know you are willing to try it. As I noted, Andy Reid, EVERY game vs the Niners back in the day Reid would throw deep on the first play. Why not? If you miss it, you’ve shown the defense you are willing to gamble. If you miss it, so what? 2nd down. If it’s picked off, it’s basically a punt. If you hit it, you’ve gained a big chuck of yards, if not a TD.

What annoyed the LIVING SHIT out of me was that Teflon Mike Nolan, Aluminum Mike Singletary, St. Jim Harbaugh, and Jimmy Bag-of-Farts  NEVER threw deep. Teams used to dare us to try and go deep by lining up their entire defense within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage.  Ted Ginn, for all his warts and drops, had ONE deep play in three years here. He had multiple big plays when he got to Carolina the next year.

So I have no problem with the inconsistencies with the deep ball as of now. We just need to DO IT.  I have no issue with Shanny because I know he knows the importance of using the deep ball judiciously.

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Khalil Mack and the 49ers

As the negotiating between the Raiders and Khalil Mack keeps on going nowhere,  the possibility has arisen where the Raiders simply give up and trade Khalil Mack. This instantly perks up my radar as the 49ers are cap-rich, and have all their draft picks in the next few drafts. How dominant would the 49ers defense be with the addition of Khalil?

Mack has played in 3-4 schemes as well as 4-3 schemes as that’s how Ken Norton Jr  ran his defense with Mack as his OLB/edge rusher, so he’d plug right in. He and Foster wreaking havoc together would be epic. And I like ROB’S!!! offer of our 1st next year, our 2nd in 2020, and our 4th in 2021. Works for me.

Funny thing is, the word on the street is that Prince (not-so) Valiant is strapped for cash and can’t write the check to PAY Khalil.  He can’t afford him right now. Which means they WILL trade him.

If he’s on the market, grab him.

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