Picking Up Where We Left Off . . .

. . . on the injury front. Yes, game one saw the 49ers lose two starters as both Raheem Mostert and Jason Verrett both suffered season-ending knee injuries. Both appeared to be non-contact injuries, as once again, an artificial turf field seems to be the culprit. Needless to say, both players are extremely frustrated as both have fought back from previous injuries. Verret with a torn achilles and a laundry list of injuries over his career, and Mostert with knee, ankle, and arm injuries.

To a man, the team has nothing but respect for Verrett and the battles he has gone through his whole career, and it really did affect the outcome of the Detroit game. The team completely lost its mojo and the defense lost their focus.

Beyond any more screeds by me for the ultimately cheapskate motherfucking owners who continue to force their players to play football on unnatural grass, the league needs to mandate real grass. Indoor stadium or no. Just watching football these last couple years, with shortened practices, less preseason build-up, and now COVID restrictions, I’d say around 25% of the injuries are non-contact ones where the players simply break instead of the field giving way.

We’ve gone past the days of Candlestick Park, and the old Veterans stadium in Philly, among others, in which the fields were basically painted concrete with ankle-breaking seams everywhere. So, let’s move on from the newer version of the same shit. The rubberized shaggy shit is better than the concrete, but it still grabs too hard at players’ ankles and knees, causing these non-contact leg injuries.

Baseball has nearly phased out artificial turf. The NFL should.

Meanwhile, it looks like Trey Sermon will be on the squad this weekend as he and Brandon Aiyuk were both mysteriously unused during the season opener. Sermon was a healthy scratch, for fuck’s sake. Brandon Aiyuk has been dealing with a hamstring issue, and I guess Shanahan felt that Sherfield, who blew past Aiyuk during the preseason, would give the Niners a better chance to win. Strange, as Aiyuk had such a strong season last year. Sermon however, was maybe a victim of the numbers game with Mitchell, Mostert, and Hasty all performing well. Mostert as we all know is done, but it appears that Sermon is now fighting for playing time behind Hasty. Odd.

Definitely weird scenes inside the 49ers gold mine. Don’t know WTF is really going on, but it appears to be some sort of issue with the two guys and the coaching staff. Stay tuned, I guess.

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Pyrrhic Victories Are Getting Old

UPDATE: The 49ers have signed free agent CB Dre Kirkpatrick, recently of the AZ Cardinals where he had 56 tackles, 7 passes defensed, and 3 picks last season.

A bad thing happened on they way to a laugher win in Detroit. With the game seemingly in hand at 38-10, and the starting D line getting a rest, Jason Verrett blew out his ACL backpedaling on a fairly routine pass play to his side. it was a huge blow to the team as Verrett was disconsolate on the sidelines. The defense rallied around him as he then struggled to get to the locker room amid the tears of frustration and pain.

His loss took the wind out of the sails of a team that was cruising through an easy romp. Detroit stormed back with 2 quick TD scores in the 4th and were threatening for the tying score amongst the botched onsides kick recovery and a fumble on what would have been a game-sealing 1st down for Deebo Samuel as the game wound down.

A win is a win, especially on the road, but this was the hapless Detroit Lions and Jared Goff. A team that thought they would get better by getting a lousier quarterback. The Niners took care of business for the most part through the first 3 quarters, minus some big runs early, a fumble on the first offensive snap, and the loss of Raheem Mostert on the 2nd offensive snap. Good thing we drafted a couple running backs. Trey Selmon didn’t even dress for the game. I guess they figured they could get Mostert through a game, but alas . . .

The offensive stars were plenty. Gimmy passed for 314 yards on 17-25 passing, Deebo Samuel caught 9 passes for a whopping 189 yards, including a solid single-coverage read by Jimmy that resulted in a 78 yard TD catch and run, Eli Mitchell ran 19 times for 104 yards, including a 38 yard scamper that saw George Kittle take out two Lions, and Trey Lance went 1-1 for 5 yards and a score to super preseason standout Trent Sherfield, a guy who passed up Brandon Aiyuk on the WR depth chart.

The defense played well enough, including a 4th and 1 stop, decent pressure most of the game (when Bosa and Ford were in), a pick 6 by Dre Greenlaw after consistent pressure from Dee Ford, who had a sack as well, K Street’s first sack as a Niner, and a sack by Nick Bosa.

As devastating as the injury was, Kyle Shanahan issued a pretty strong mea culpa to the press after the game saying he went too conservative and took out his starters (mainly Ford and Bosa) too early. Unfortunately it didn’t work out with Verrett, and Shanahan noted it really shook up the team to see Verrett, a guy who has worked his ass off for 3 years now, lose his season in the 1st game.

As much as I want to get down on the new DC DeMeco Ryans for the failure in the 4th quarter, it is safe to say the team was crushed by the Verrett injury and lost their focus. Add in the fact that the defense had gone to the 2nd string midway through the 3rd quarter, a bad bounce on the Preston Riley-esque onsides kick, and the Samuel fumble, it turned out a lot worse that it should have. Although still a win. Wash this off, and move on to Philly. Thankfully a grass field.

At some point the NFL needs to mandate grass fields. In yet another disastrous opening game for the 49ers, the team lost two starters to non-contact injuries. Word is we may bring back Richard Sherman. Mostert’s loss will be mitigated by Trey Sermon.

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2021 Kickoff!!! Revenge of the Niners

Here we go! The game will finally be played on the field! The talk is over! 2021 is here!

I won’t add much to the blather only to say I think Lance will only get 5-6 plays max. Unless it becomes a blowout. This game is about getting Jimmy G back to feeling good and hitting his passes.

Not too worried about the D. This one should be fairly routine.

31-13 Niners.

Any season predictions welcome as well. 12-5.

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Thursday Night NFL 2021 Season Kickoff

The 2021 football season officially kicks off tonight as the Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers (how the fuck?) take on the hapless Dallas Cowboys. Dallas’ 2020 season looked a lot like ours as Dallas suffered a multitude of injuries, and yet almost ‘won’ the east despite going 6-10.

Ageless Tom Brady once again will try to defy time and lead a team to the promised land. Tom Terrific got the job done last year on the basis of a strong defense and his minimizing of mistakes. But as show over and over, pressure him, and he will make mistakes.

Not tonight though. Dallas has their matador defense intact and will give up points by the truckload. I see something like a 38-27 win for the Buccos.

_______________________________

On the Niner front, Jalen Hurt has lingering knee issues. in other words, same as it ever was. Looks like another stint on the IR for him. They will ‘re-evaluate’ him in 3 weeks. Not sure how much longer they will put up with his inability to get on the field during a regular season game. Emmanuel Moseley is a game-time decision and they are holding out hope he will be ready If not, Josh Norman, Demmodore Lenoir, and Ambry thomas all look to get some playing time. Shit, we’ve even brought back Dontae (king of the waive) Johnson. Hey he knows the system, he just can’t play it very well.

Kevin Givens and Javon Kinlaw were held out of practice, but just precautionary.

Brandon Aiyuk, Aaron Banks, Nick Bosa, Dee Ford, Dre Greenlaw, and Jason Verrett all returned and fully participated in practice.

THREE MORE DAYS!!!

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Five. More. Days.

The 2021 football season comes rushing at us in 5 days. The hype, the backlash, the prevaricating, the questions about our starting QB and all that jazz can be put to rest. The game will actually finally be played on the field! WITH fans! Not that we will see the boys in person any time soon. Our first home game is September 26th, against the Packers.

With that being said, Trey lance still isn’t throwing footballs. He’s dealing with the bone chip in his index finger. He’s out of the splint, but no throwing. This may slow our roll a bit, but the hope is the Niners can treat these first two games as extended pre-season game in preparation for the real deal come the 26th. Neither the Eagles or Lions are very good, so the chance to ease into the meatier part of our schedule when we face GB, Seattle, and AZ will be a welcome one.

Dee Ford is apparently ready to ease back into action after he, by his own account, rushed himself back into action nearly a year ago, costing him the entire season. Not sure who OKed this course of getting football-ready, but it sounds pretty stupid. He has seen the light (I guess) and everyone is saying the right things about his progress, and he will be used on an as-needed basis. Nothing near full time. A la Fred Dean one would hope. The rest of the line looks strong and healthy, so his passing down playing should be effective.

Of course things hardly go as planned, so we just have to wait and see how this plays out. Almost there!!

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Your 2021 49ers Taxi Squad

1. Defensive end Alex Barrett. Age: 27
2. Wide receiver Travis Benjamin. Age: 31
3. Wide receiver River Cracraft. Age: 26
4. Defensive lineman Darrion Daniels. Age: 23
5. Fullback Josh Hokit. Age: 23
6. Offensive tackle Corbin Kaufusi. Age: 28
7. Guard Senio Kelemete. Age: 31
8. Tight end Jordan Matthews. Age: 29
9. Safety Jared Mayden. Age: 23
10. Guard Colton McKivitz. Age: 25
11. Quarterback Nate Sudfeld. Age: 27
12. Linebacker Elijah Sullivan. Age: 24
13. Tight end Tanner Hudson. Age: 26
14. Cornerback Dee Virgin. Age: 27

BONUS: Offensive tackle Alfredo Gutierrez. Age: 25

We have two more slots to fill. Most intriguing guy to me is safety Jared Mayden. He’s young and talented, and may be called up soon. I’m a little surprised he made it through waivers. Sullivan is another young guy wecan likely turn into something.

Guys like Benjamin and Carcraft will likely be game-day call-ups as needed. Barrett is a pretty solid guy, we just have so much line depth he can’t squeeze into the lineup.

Gutierrez is part of some kind of diversity program for foreign players, sohe doesn’t count against any kind of body count.

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Cut List Surprise

Color me baffled. The 49ers cut Ha Ha Clinton-Dix among the guys to be shuffled off to Fed Ex to meet the 53 man roster. Here’s the list:

Hokit and Kelememte are likely headed for the taxi squad but Dix played a solid safety all preseason. Benjamin is OK, but Jennings has dropped a lot of passes, Hurd is pretty much a non-entity, but Sherfeld came on strong, and Sanu did as well. I get that, but not sure what the Niners are thinking with the safety position.

I guess they feel really good about Talano Hufanga. Yes, he’s a star in the making, but Dix would be a solid backup, and tavon Wilson is not on my radar as being much more than adequate. Jaquiski Tartt is ‘making strides’ to play opening day, and yes he’s a very good safety. When he’s on the field.

Other than that, we traded LB Jonas Griffith and a 2022 seventh-round draft pick to the Broncos for their 2022 sixth-round draft pick and a 2023 seventh-round draft pick.

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Pre-Game Finale

So much for never playing the Raiders in the preseason. Hopefully it isn’t a stupid-fest in the stands. We are supposed to see a lot of starters, but I don’t believe it.

Anyhow, the real season gets one more week closer. . .

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Pre-Game II Post-Game News

The Niners made some moves to get to the 80-man limit yesterday, including releasing:

DL Shilique Calhoun
CB B.W. Webb

The following guys have been waived:

WR River Cracraft
OL Corbin Kaufusi

And the Mychal Kendricks Experience has been a short-lived one as he has been put on the IR. Maybe his Band of Gypsies will make a come-back in October.

This upcoming game with the Las Vegasangeles Raiders will supposedly have a lot more starters than in recent games, but who and for how long has not been shared by the powers-that-be. The murmurings say that they may play the entire 1st half, but that will be something to see on game-day Sunday.

Something I just happened to notice is that without the 4th preseason game, there is a 2 week break between the last pre-season game and the opening of the regular season.

Odd, but I guess it will help the players that they get a break before the real action starts.

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Pre-Game II in the Books

Well, the preseason is off to a rocky start. QB-wise anyway. Both Jimmy G and Trey Lance had cases of the yips as they both overthrew pass-catchers and both suffered interceptions. Trey did redeem himself by directing a TD drive with less than 2 minutes before the half, and the opening drive of the 3rd quarter. But at one point, he was 1-5 with 9 yards and three 3-and-outs.

For Jimmy G, this is not good. He should be used to the speed of the game and how to dump off effectively. Instead, he has bad footwork, and hurries his off-target throws. Lance? Well, he’s still learning, or unlearning, bad habits. Like not setting his feet and not hurrying passes. Trey settled down nicely as he and Trent Sherfeld seem to be making a habit of Sherfeld getting amazingly open on deep sideline routes for big plays.

And this is why I’m not too concerned about Lance. He needs a LOT of reps to feel comfortable in the NFL game. The speed is vastly different, and he doesn’t have a ton of college experience anyway. Yes, he was tentative on a broken play that he should have chosen to run faster, but he also showed his running ability on the 2-pt conversion that was called back. he threw some misguided missiles on short passes, but his Sanu and Benjamin on perfectly timed rockets into small windows for TDs.

The offense is really ultra-vanilla as our big weapons Kittle and Mostert aren’t playing, and Trent Williams is sidelined. We don’t want to show anything too outlandish, and with Jimmy back there, we won’t anyway. He needs to tighten up his game dramatically.

Another concerning thing, to me anyway is the drops. Aiyuk has a few, Samuel a couple, and there were more scattered drops yesterday. Even the 2 picks could be considered drops as both times the WRs had both hands on the ball. Again though, I’m more concerned about Garoppolo regarding this as he has to be better than that. As there is little chance Lance starts the season as the starter, Jimmy G can’t be making stupid decisions and throwing those WTF picks he seems to do once or twice a game.

Defensively I liked the pressure we got. Even though none of our starting D line played. Minus AA. He played great for a short time, and the backups took over. Sacks, run stuffing, a safety, and a lot of pressure looked good. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix looked solid till he lost a guy in the end zone. Hufanga looked solid as well playing safety.

Still and all, there were lots of penalties, including bullshit ones, and lots of mistakes, but this is what the new NFL looks like with limited practice time, limited scrimmaging, and now one less preseason game.

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