Ninerless in November

The good news is no one is gonna get hurt in a game this weekend. But that doesn’t preclude the ‘Rona from spreading around the team. Grasu has it, and so does LB Joe Walker. If we get out of that alive, the hope is that we will have some of our offensive weaponry back. Raheem Mostert and Deebo Samuel being the biggest pieces.

Shanny went so far as to say that even Kittle and Garland could be in the mix if we are playing ‘meaningful’ games down the stretch. Meaningful meaning we need to beat the Rams next weekend, and they need to lose to the Pats tomorrow night, for us to have any kid of chance.

And let’s hope that isn’t the case. The obstacles just seem way too high this misbegotten season. Shit, they are even talking about bringing Jimmy back for shits and giggles.

I don’t know. Could this season get any weirder? I guess I shouldn’t ask.

Interesting games today are the Sunday Night offering of the Raiders vs the Chiefs. If the Raiders can somehow pick off KC twice, that would be no mean feat.

And the NO/Falcon game features Taysom Hill as the starter for the Saints. Sean Payton is throwing a wrench into the mix to see what happens with Drew Brees being on the shelf. Still pissed at that call. The 2 refs 5′ away didn’t flag it. It was the side judge 20 yards away.

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Bye Week Bliss

Yea, there was a time when the bye week was an unnecessary distraction from the great teams of the recent and not so recent past. Now, it is a respite from the injuries, disasters, bad calls, bad play calling, and the injuries. And it also signifies saying goodbye to the 2020 season. Sure, we are still in the hunt, and frankly, the defense played a pretty solid game against the tough New Orleans Saints. The Niners held the ball for the entire 1st quarter, and they built a 10 point lead to start the 2nd quarter.

From there it went down the rabbit hole as mistakes, penalties, horrible line calls, and the moribund offense kept the team stuck in 1st gear throughout the rest of the game. And that was even with Drew Brees cooling his ribs on the sidelines for the whole 2nd half after a sack by K Street. One that was flagged for no apparent reason, other than we tackled an old white guy. The fucking side judge made the call from 20 yards away rather than the back judge 6 feet away.

But, whatever. The two muffed punts, the two interceptions, the obligatory stupid 4th down run up the middle, and the inexplicable inability to put a body on Chauncey Gardner-Johnson played a huge part in the loss.

Which brings me to the coaching. Once again, there were thousands of fans screaming at their TVs to do something about Gardner-Johnson. It looked like to me he made 15 tackles in the 1st half as we inexplicably tried to run sweeps when every play was getting blown up for losses. GJ was in the backfield faster than our guys were getting the ball. Yet we kept running those plays and not blocking GJ. Saleh, for all his injuries to deal with, and the mismatching of players to positions, never sees the obvious. Like Bruce Allen getting torched for 2 quarters while GB ran up the score, Saleh never rolled a safety over to help.

Shanny for his part seems allergic to throwing on 1st down. He NEVER took a deep shot yet again. Well, they tried ONCE with The Beater and his one play, and he underthrew terribly a wide open Rick James on a simple go route. It should have been an easy TD but it was batted harmlessly away.

But, whatever. yes we are injured, but you see plays over and over where someone (McKinnon) misses a blitz pickup, or a linebacker comes in free. Our misadventures at center continue with Hruss the Goose being shunted aside as Brunskill learns the new position. Westie really is missed badly. Shit, even Ben Garland was coming on as being a capable backup. But in the year of the injury, they are all out.

So, the hope was to get some sort of healthy after the bye, but it appears to just be a respite from the upcoming carnage. Mostert could be back, Sherm, and Deebo too, but it shouldn’t make that much difference. The defense isn’t going to fold, but it isn’t going to stop anyone.

What is so annoying is looking at AZ and seeing a team that is kicking ass and having fun. Much like us last year. seattle still hasn’t fallen off the map, and they will get killed in the playoffs, but they are still a top-tier team. The Rams have found their mojo again, and while they are not gonna win it all this year, they are a young team having fun as well.

Last week’s game got the the point of being unwatchable due to the absolute shit-show put on by the offense. Like so many of the past teams these last 20 years. Something that really pisses me off. We MIGHT be able to beat Alex Smith and the No-Skins, but that is about it. The Cowboys? Who knows? I’m thinking best-case is 1-5. Better case is 0-6.

Huzzah.

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Game X – The Downward Spiral

Not much to say about this one. Last year’s battle was an epic shootout the 49ers won 48-46. With our defense at close to full strength. Now? Not so much on either side of the ball.

I really don’t see a scenario where the plucky understudies come through and bring the team to victory, but I didn’t think we’d beat the Rams. This however is a different animal. Brees is having another huge year with 2100 yards, 17 TDs, and only 3 picks.

We of course have Nick Mullens. 11 yards, 5 TDs 4 picks. Good news? Brendan Aiyuk is off the COVID list and will play. As is Kendrick Bourne. Rick James had a career game last week. 9 for 183 and a TD.

So, we may get some points. I’m thinking 42- 24.

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Meanwhile, Back in the Year One . . .

Thursday already and even with the long break we get no break from the injury fairy. Richard Sherman may be back, but why bother?Might as well give all the walking wounded a pass till after the bye week.

I mean, what are we looking at with N’Awlins? 72-10? We can’t hang with them in a gunfight, and we likely won’t slow them down at all, so let’s just go through the motions and try to skate through the Big Easy without too much damage. BDN seems to be good/bad/who knows? in his weekly progressions, so maybe he can get somewhere with Aiyuk back? I don’t fucking know.

This team is past the point of being able to be coached up for a win against a top-toer team. And NO is. If we hold them under 40 I’ll be amazed.

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The Year That Will Never End

There’s 2020 hindsight, and there’s 2020. The year no one wants to remember. From the Super Bowl loss on, the year has gotten steadily worse. COVID. Sports being cancelled, life being cancelled. Lockdowns. Masks. Sports reappear as the Dodgers and Lakers with their respective championships. And the Niners enter the 7th circle of hell, AKA Metlife Stadium, on the dirty banks of the Hudson and thus starts the cavalcade of injuries.

This year is a complete loss as we won’t get any meaningful players back from IR this year. Jimmy G is more than likely out of here as well. We have fallen quickly back into the quarterback pool after a promising couple of seasons surrounded by injuries and Jimmy G’s ineffectiveness. We obviously know by now that Nick Mullens isn’t the answer, The Beater is the Beater, and all the roadkill available out there would be too costly.

Dak Prescott would be fun. Maybe he would take a one-year make-good deal. He would be intriguing as fuck playing under a system like Shanahan’s. Jimmy G was obviously not the dynamic passer that they thought they were getting, and he schemed his way to Jimmy’s effectiveness. Still and all, the only way to do anything is to draft a QB.

Trevor Lawrence and Justin Fields are going top 3 so they are out. Trey Lance is a possible, and he very well may fall to us should the Redski, uh, No Skins somehow pass us in the standings. It could happen or it would cost us plenty to trade up. Sure the Team That Will Be Named Later is 2-5, but 1.5 out of the top spot in the East. They will hopefully make a run for it and win the division at 5-11 as we lose out.

Fuck, I don’t know. This year can’e end fast enough.

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Game 9!! COVID? No Proooooblem! Line Up, Boys!

Seven players, four 49ers, and three Packers, tested positive, or were in close contact with a positive player, for tonight’s game. Yipeee! Fuck this season and the horse it rode in on. Every time I think this season can’t get any worse, it does. So we are down THREE starting wide receivers, one quarterback, two tight ends, three O linemen, three running backs, two defensive ends, a cornerback, a safety, and a partridge in a pear tree.

The NFL, in their consummate disregard for player safety and health, says there’s a 0.0% chance that the game will be postponed, barring an earthquake swallowing up Levi’s stadium, or yet another COVID outbreak among the officiating crew, groundskeepers, or cheerleaders.

The game? Who the fuck knows? I don’t think the Packers are for real, but we have depleted the cupboard down to nothing. You look at the current roster depth, and we have one healthy WR. Trent Taylor. Kevin White is gonna to be elevated from the practice squad, and a couple guys, River Cracraft and Chris Finke, who will get the thrill of playing in front of a prime time audience. Let’s hope they don’t shit the bed and fumble their shot away. Like Dante Pettis.

Here’s a fun fact. Not one skill position player on the Niners played in the NFC Championship game 10 months (decades?) ago.

Frankly, as much shit as I’ve been giving Kyle Shanahan, he has done a pretty amazing job of scheming games around:

a) all the injuries
b) a sucky injured quarterback

Can Shanny do it again? Like the Ram game? I won’t hold my breath, but I think Jordan Reed has been cleared to play, and Ross Dwelley has played pretty well in his chances as a starting TE. They both loook to get a lot of looks. Run game? Hasty should get some chances, and he has to avoid fumbles, but GB does not defend the run well. Mullens gets a shot at redemption for his disastrous Iggles game, and GBs defense is middle of the pack and 20th in points allowed. We need to play fairly perfectly to with this one.

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Quarterback Controversy?

A little break in the injury parade. Let’s talk quarterbacks. Has JImmy G played his last down as a 49er? It very well may come to be. Is there a quarterback controversy? I don’t think so. I also don’t think Shanahan wants Jimmy G. as his quarterback going forward. Funny to hear the pundits out there saying we need to sign a stop-gap QB like Kurt Cousins or Matty Ice. Fuck that. We HAVE Nick Mullens. He’s fine as our stop-gap guy. We need to draft a QB and ride the big dick next year.

Why? Whoever we would get will garner big money and cap space if not draft picks/players (think Ryan) if it is a trade. Winston? No. Trubscuit? Hard no. Cousins? Meh. Dalton? Pass. The one guy who could be intriguing is Dak Prescott. He can play at a very high level and checks a lot of the boxes for the mobile big-armed quarterbacks. The problem of course would be $$$. He’s looking for a lifetime deal.

So, we need to draft someone. Since we are out of the Trevor Lawrence/Justin Fields sweepstakes, we may not even get a shot at Trey Lance out of North Dakota State. I would love to see him in a Niner uniform, but he’s movin’ on up to the top side of the draft. I’m thinking we end up somewhere in the 13-16 range so those guys will be gone. Unless we trade up. To do that we would need to get more picks for payers somehow.

No idea how this will work out, but I seriously don’t see us getting a stopgap for Jimmy.

I wish he was . . .

. . . but he ain’t.

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Short Week Blues + Here Today, Kwon Tomorrow

Here we go again. Forget the fact that Jimmy G was flt horrible against the Seahawks porous pass defense, it remains to be seen how bad George kittle’s injury is. His x-rays came back negative, but he’s getting an MRI today to determine what the issue is. Proily the dreaded high ankle sprain everyone on this team seems to have. He may be able to play through it, if anyone can, but we just have to wait for the results.

The game? The shootout that wasn’t, and almost came to be, and if not for a dumb call (or smart play depending on how you look at it) on the hit on Russell Wilson which drew a unsportsmanlike penalty, Wilson faked going into a slide for a split-second and when Jimmy Ward committed to the tackle, slid, drawing the foul. So, what would have been possibly a 45 yard FG, or a 4th and 2, gave the Hawks their final TD, putting the game out of reach.

No need to rehash the fuckedupness of the game, but the telling stat was the 49er offense gained ONE yard in the 3rd quarter while Seattle put up 17 points to get to a 30-7 lead at the start of the 4th quarter. Jimmy G was benched in favor of Nick Mullens, and he got the Niners somewhat into the game with 3 TDs, and if not for a 2 point conversion that missed by 6″, we would have been down one score at 30-22.

But, whatever. If anything, this gives the 49ers a chance to look at when Mullens can do in the immediate. Jimmy G is either too hurt on his ankle to play effectively, or has simply lost his mojo. Jimmy has played bad all season, even before the injury, so Mullens has to prove the Eagles game was an outlier. Sure, Seattle sagged their D by the 4th quarter, but Mullens hit passes DOWNFIELD. He threw passes hard and crisp. We at least looked like a competent offense when he was out there. Something Jimmy G hasn’t done for a long time.

Also, in a salary cap move, the 49ers cut their ties with Kwon Alexander. They traded him to the Saints for Kiko Alonzo and a conditional 5th round pick. Kwon had a solid year last year, around his pec injury, but has been a non-entity so far this season. And he’s hurting with an ankle injury. Alonso should fit right in as he’s already on the PUP list and won’t play this year.

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Game 8 – Halfway to Somewhere

This will be the halfway point of the season, and based on how this has gone, even being near .500 is a bit of an accomplishment. As bad as I thought Shanny and Co were doing during the first few weeks of the injury parade, they have redeemed themselves pretty well in beating the Rams and the Pats.

Now of course is the Seahawks. A bigger test than both those teams. The good news is no deafening crowd, no 12th man, and Seattle is not exactly the legion of Boom anymore. More like the Legion of Zoom as passes riddle their defense, and points fly on the board. They are dead last in defense by half a football field. And that’s saying something seeing how well Teflon Mike Nolan’s defense is doing in Dallas, and the Falcons being the Falcons.

The bad news is Russell Wilson is having an MVP season. Without him, this team is likely 1-5. With him, they are in every game. His receivers are absolute studs, and they can get open at will whenever Wilson leaves the pocket and buys a minute or two back there. They look to pass as they are beat up at running back, so we NEED to scheme some blitzes as we can’t just let Wilson pick us apart.

Looks to be some kind of shootout. Bet the over, which is an absurdly low 53.5.

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Silence in Seattle

Once more into the breach, as they say. Our recent roll courtesy of the Rams and Pats of course came on the heels of the huge steaming debacle at the hands of the not-so-lowly Miami Dolphins. They sprang into life after roasting the chestnuts off of us and have reeled off victories over, oh, well, the Jets and had a bye week. Nevermind. They are 3-3 and did play the Bills and Hawks tough, but whatevs.

Our task now is to travel to Seattle and play a team that always turns into a battle. Most recently the teams fought for the NFC West crown in week 17 last year. A game decided literally by a couple inches.

The upcoming game this weekend is a bit messier. We have been ravaged by injuries across the board. Especially defensively. Well, also at RB. And WR. And O line. Seattle on the other hand has lost their way defensively. They have given up the most defensive yards in the NFL by a whopping 54 yards. 31st Atlanta gives up 425 per game. Seattle? 479! Last against the pass, and 13th vs the run. The only reason they are 23 in scoring defense is because they are 5th in turnover ratio at +5.

Looking at Seattle’s record, they could very well be 2-4. The Falcons got beat. NE gave them a challenge but they came up short. The Cowboys had a late lead that they squandered. Miami made it close but ran out of time, Minnesota had the ball AND the lead with time winding down, and instead of kicking the FG and going up 8 went for it and failed on 4th down. And the Monday Night game where AZ put up 517 yards on the Seattle defense.

The X factor of course is the runaway MVP candidate, Russell Wilson. Game after game he is forced to score nearly every possession. In the AZ game, as it wore on, the constant pressure affected his game and he threw an uncharacteristic 3 interceptions. Seattle is a bit beat up themselves a RB and are now counting on ex-Niner Carlos Hyde. He had a pretty good game against the Cards and got 68 yards on 15 carries. Wilson natch had 84 yards on 6 carries. But, even when throwing 50 passes, his 388 isn’t that big a number.

But, Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf are an outstanding pair of wideouts. They’ve combined for 69 catches, and 1,061 yards. Even with our injuries, our defense is still plaing at a pretty high level, but the Seahawks are an offensive juggernaut that we will be hard-pressed to slow down.

If we can slow them down, we can win. I don’t see us winning a shootout with these guys. Mistakes and penalties are the usual factors.

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