Another Test for your San Francisco 49ers

The crazy thing about football as opposed to baseball is the urgency of EVERY game. In baseball, you can go on a 6 game losing streak, and still come out of it fine. In baseball, there’s always tomorrow. In football, you drop 2 games in a row, and 3 teams can pass you up on the way to the playoffs. Parity being what it is in the NFL these days, there is NO room for error. If you look at last year’s games, there were maybe 3 plays that kept the team from being 9-7 instead of 6-10. Look at Sunday’s Eagles win. There were missed FGs all over the place, fumbles, and drive-killing penalties. But the game hinged on the pursuit of Justin Smith to strip the ball from Jeremy Maclin, and Dashon Goldson having the wherewithall to simply fall on the football and not try to do too much and be the highlight hero (hello Nate Clements).

So, here we sit, atop the NFC West with a 2 game lead 4 weeks into the season. I sure as hell didn’t think we’ll have a lead like this at this point in the season. I knew the other teams were weak, but I figured it would take the 49ers time to get acclimated to the new systems and schemes they are all learning. I guess we should all be thanking the scheduling Gods, because the Rams, on paper at least, the best team in the west, has a brutal schedule, and looks like they’ll end up 0-7, with Green Bay, Dallas, and NO as their next 3 games. Seattle and AZ certainly aren’t doing very well, and all my thoughts on getting Kevin Kolb (talk about Checkdown Charlie. AZ fans are blasting his signing now) were unfounded and silly.

TB is one of those fair to middling teams that, when on can be scary, but watching that game last night, they spent 3 quarters shooting themselves in the feeet repeatedly. They must have had around 10 holding penalties. Freeney was unstaoppable, but Curtis Painter kept Indy from doing much offensively. But, as the thread says, this is a big test for your 49ers. And one where the head coach has to REALLY stress the importance of staying focussed. They are coming home after their best road trip in probably 15 years. They are getting press (albeit it’s more of the ‘how the fuck did the Iggles give it away?’), but Harbaugh is already getting praise from the talking heads around the media-sphere. The threat is very real that these guys come in with swelled heads, and thoughtsw of prime-time glory. This is where your coach HAS to beat on these guys to remond them that it’s all about hunger. All about not reveling in the recent past. It’s about pushing forward and not believing the hype. Matt Maiocco interviewed Harbaugh after returning from Philly, and it gives me a good feeling regarding just this fact. The gist of the interview is:

Is part of your task this week to sort of gauge the pulse of the team and make sure they don’t get too high after this win?
Harbaugh: “Yeah, that’s one. It comes back to – you’re getting better or you’re getting worse, you never remain the same. We’ll keep that blue-collar mentality.”

His experience as a head coach at Stanford defintely gives him an edge that the previous head coaches didn’t have. Even more so, when you consider that keeping college football players from going to the moon after big wins (say beating USC in LA), is tougher than doing that with professional football players. Still and all, these guys, as a team, are winning games that they had previously lost. The difference is the coaches back then would praise the team for close losses (GB, Minn, Atl, NO, Colts, Titans, ring a bell in the last couple years?), and then come up short down the road becasue they would rest on their laurels and fall flat. I can’t count how many times the Niners had (to steal a phrase from Skeebs) GPS games. Statement games. Ones that would show the team’s mettle. Invariably they’d fall flat, lick their wounds, and have to rebuild themselves from scratch. The problem came from the coaches building up the team needlessly and not putting in the work. Nolan would regularly give the team Monday off if the team won the previous Sunday. While that may sound good from a player standpoint, it doesn’t drive hiome the point that you need to keep working to get better, not take time off. There plenty of time to rest in the offseason.

Here’s the entire interview with Harbaugh. It is an excellent study in motivation techniques, self-deprecation, and the ‘us-vs-them’ mentality that Bill Walsh always drove into his players.

 Harbaugh understands what to do to keep these guys moving forward and not looking back. Well, the proof will be in the pudding this weekend, but he seems to have a much better grip on this than his predecessors.

About unca_chuck

Lifelong SF 49ers and SF Giants fan
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132 Responses to Another Test for your San Francisco 49ers

  1. unca_chuck says:

    Fuck, why do these threads end up so goddamn long? I start typing and I can’t stop.

  2. grumpyguy says:

    One last thought on Alex: every QB does some things well (except JaMarcus) and some not so well. Saint Joe was not capable of going Mad Bomber a la Daryl Lamonica.

    A bad coach, like Singleneuron, keeps hammering that square peg into the round hole until something breaks.

    A good coach sees both the ability and the limitations, and sets a player up to succeed, rather than fail.

    Alex finally has a good coach. However far we go this year, he should fall on his knees every night and thank the football Gods that he has been delivered from stupidity, and the bug eyes of Mike Singletary.

    • TedSpe says:

      The maniacal bug eyes along with that big ol’ cross always made him look more like a vampire hunter than a football coach (he still looks like a football player, though)

    • unca_chuck says:

      Yeah, it has been the bane of Smith’s existence so far here in SF.

      Here;s to hoping he stays up in the 90th percentile. 97.7 is nothing to shake a stick at.

  3. unca_chuck says:

    Moved this from the last thread.

    Team wins, team losses, sure. I get it. There ARE times that shit happens by the QB that tips the scales. Like, say, throwing 2 pick 6′s in a row. Funny thing for Promo was that still shouldn’t have been enough to lose the game for Dallas. They still had a comfy lead after those fuckups. He had to fuck up more later to seal the deal. Football is just such a conglomeration of turning points, opportunities, and chances that ANY one play can determin the outcome of a season. Take SB XXIII. The play before the catch by John Taylor, Montana threw a pass right at a Cincy DB (Crowder?), and he dropped it. RIGHT to him. On the goal line. Game over if he holds on. He makes that catch? History is rewritten. Walsh loses and Sam Wyche wins the big game from his mentor. How does the rest of the career paths for all involved change? It’s nuts to think about.

    The thing with Smith, being on the losing end of SO many close games, was the fact that any mistake by him gets magnified to the extreme in the loss. I fall prey to this at times. It’s hard not to when the outcome is a loss. You look back and say, shit, that pick 6 for a TD was the killer. Or the Eagles fans saying that Maclin’s fumble was the killer. Or the missed FGs. Or the Ronnie Brown lateral. Or Vick getting tackled 3 yard short of the 1st down. Or 50 other plays that directly affected the outcome. I’m good and goddamn sure that there are people in Philly bemoaning the fact that Vick somehow lost that game for them. Despite his nearly putting up 500 yard of offfense BY HIMSELF.

  4. twinfan1 says:

    Big game this weekend, Niner Nation would be an unhappy tribe if Smith “reverts to form”. This is probably the closest he’s ever come to changing some minds. I don’t think he even needs a particuarly big game – just a win.

    • NJ49er says:

      Twinfan, I think many of us ‘Faithful fans’ wanted nothing more than for Alex to get a pair. Perhaps that was Nolans’ MO when he threw him under the injury bus and divided the Locker Room? I soured on Alex for not fighting back but, he didn’t give up either. He’s a standup guy and deserves to have a guy like Harbaugh to get him over the hump.

      Alex lacked confidence and never seemed to grasp the timing aspect of the game.

      I don’t worry about him ‘reverting’ to anything, I hope to see Harbaugh continue to spoon feed him the Offense he expects him to master.

      Once Alex can perform with a quick trigger and timing like he did in Qtr 3 in Philly, he will give Aaron a run for the money. Our Defense and Team in general, is very well balanced.
      We need the Trigger Man to make it go. Having Crabtree on the same page with Alex would be a monumental improvement also.

  5. grumpyguy says:

    A win will do it. Even a loss won’t hurt him right now too much so long as there are no pick sixes or other big negative plays involved.

    If we split the next two, that’s 4-2 at the Bye. Way better than it could have been. Beat the Brownies, go 4-1 in the division, and that’s 9-7 without anything more. By any reasonable measure that’s pretty good for Year One of Harbaugh cleaning up Singleneuron’s mess. Almost certainly wins the division too – but then 7-9 probably would win this division.

  6. unca_chuck says:

    The problem with expectations is that when they suddenly blossom, the bar jumps up to a higher level. All of a sudden, we all expect to see more.

    Frankly, the way TB played at home yesterday was pretty atrocious. They had a shitload of penalties and couldn’t put away an injury-decimated Indy team til late.

    For once I’d love to see a laugher. We’ve had enough nail-biters to start the year. Get on top, and keep the pressure on. Freeman and Blount are good, but I don;t see too much of a problem. I didn’t before the Eagle game. The thing about Smith? One percieved knock on him is his game to game consistency. But I’m pretty sure that this is the first time in his career he’s had meaningful coaching. I’m sure he’ll be fine.

    • twinfan1 says:

      90.4, 99.1. 85.6, 112.1…I doubt he’s ever had 4 consecutive games with those kind of ratings. Although going back to last year’s Philly game he’s had just one game under 85.6, San Diego last year. So that’s 10 of 11 games 85 or better. 15 TD 4 INT. He’s been a lot better than the perception. OK, that ends today’s promo..

      • phil fan says:

        Yep Smith is finally getting a chance to show us what he’s got. Amen, fall on your knees and thank God for the good fortune of getting HC Harbaugh and his team of coaches this year. Have we ever paid our dues waiting for this??

  7. unca_chuck says:

    Tukafu on the IR with a wrist injury. Missed that during the game.

    Colin Jones (S) was promoted from the PS, and John Williams (WR from USD) was signed to the PS.

  8. twinfan1 says:

    The Gore/Hunter tandem is extremely exciting going forward. Funny- before yesterday all the talk was how other teams were geared to stop the run and let Alex try to beat them in the air- the third quarter Sunday turned it around- and the big run( Gore for 23) to start the wining drive came out of the shotgun with Philly looking pass after they had gone short to Crabtree on first down out of the gun. That was classic WCO. Eagles had no clue what Roman would call the rest of the way.

  9. unca_chuck says:

    The Gore/Westbrokk tamdem should have been used last year. The joke was Westbrook couldn’t figure out the 49er offense in 8 weeks. The opponents took one quarter to figure it out.

    What annoys the shit out of me is thousands of people (including me) has been advocating this very thing for nigh since they got Smith. Spread formations with 3-4 WRs, and run in the gaps.

    Gore got his 1st big 40 yard run in the 1st half. I want to see what that formation was. I don’t remember too many 3 WR sets in the 1st half.

  10. winder says:

    Hunter is just the runner we needed to get. He can run inside or out, catch the ball and is very explosive. Keeping Gore fresh into the 4th was a thing of beauty, let our Ol pound em for 3 quarters and then let Gore have em, a thing of beauty i tell you.

  11. unca_chuck says:

    It all goes back to having coaches that recognize what thypes of players they have on their team and how to put them in the position to be successful.

    It isn’t that hard, but both Nolan and Singlebraincell tried to make Smith Dan Marino. The only time they opened things up was when they were down by 21. Millions of fans were screaming to open shit up to START a game like this. They did it ONCE. The Jacksonvill game in 2009. They won like 23-3. It waqs a breeze. It was the last time they ran the offense with a lot of 3 WR sets.

    • grumpyguy says:

      Like I said: you can do the pound the square peg into the round hole thing, and continue to fail, while not being here to fool anyone. Or you can, you know, actually do some of that coaching shit.

      Not too hard to tell which approach actually works.

  12. Flavor says:

    I love that Harbaugh dropped his “you getting better or you’re getting worse, you never stay the same” line in that interview. That is still plastered all the way across the west side of their practice field behind the end zone at Stanford. It’s also tacked up on my wall at work. Love that dude……..

  13. Flavor says:

    I love that Harbaugh dropped his “you’re getting better or you’re getting worse, you never stay the same” line in that interview. That is still plastered all the way across the west side of their practice field behind the end zone at Stanford. It’s also tacked up on my wall at work. Love that dude……..

  14. twinfan1 says:

    Smith talked about Harbaugh, one of the more interesting statements was that Jim didn’t give them “crazy”, unrealistic goals.I think he as refering in part to halftime Sunday, but also to the season as a whole. When they had their awful start last year, players didn’t need to hear that they were still going to the postseason.You hear unrealistic shit, you tune it out. 16 one game seasons Harbaugh said .

  15. twinfan1 says:

    Sing kept insisting that Frank couldn’t run out of a shotgun formation- I’ll use 2009 because he missed so much of last season. He averaged 4.7 on 48 carries out of the gun, In the Raye-Gun “I” formation he averaged 3.1 on 74 carries.

  16. unca_chuck says:

    Yeah, Singletary was either building the guys up as the greatest team or shotgunning them down in the locker room and to the press. Nolan was the same way. It was all mercurial and reactionary. Some guys would get benched for the slightest infractions (Alex) and others (Chilo) would get 5 miles of rope. The roster was littered with ‘his guys.’ It’s like they all saw Gruden acting like a maniac and thought, OK that’s how you do it. Great for small bursts of time, but to go through a season that way eventually stops working. Gruden, whatever one thinks of him as a coach, at least had a plan. He knew how to put together a team.

    With Sing, the message was different every week. No consistency. No level headedness. Just a lot of sound and fury and paranoia spewed out to everyone within earshot.

  17. Flavor says:

    I wonder if Harbaugh spends any time practicing those post-game speeches. THat one Chuck posted, it seemed to just roll right out of him but with perfect timing and balance. There were too many one-liners in there, though. Either way, he obviously can capture the attention of the team and it’s not bullshit, he’s actually got it. That’s why I said it’s so exciting to watch the re-birth of this team. It’s not like 1981, there will never be something like that for us again. But you can see it in the players eyes, they are getting wide eyed and excited that they are part of something. Unsure of what to call it, for now, they’re content to take it week by week, just like their coach………

  18. unca_chuck says:

    Coaching college kids must have given him an arsenal to work with. Plus, his dad was a coach, his brother, and he’s been around the game his whole life. Sure, there are others who have grown up in the same kind of environment (Nolan), but can’t do shit with it, but he seems to have actively sought advice from all the people he worked with. From his QB coach days in Oakland, to USD, and Stanford. Up to and including Walsh. You look at a guy like Singletary, and he obviously had his own ideas on how to do things. You also saw that he was very inflexible and stubborn. Look at the quotes attributed to each of them. “We’re not here to fool anybody.” or “You’re getting better or you’re getting worse, you never remain the same.” One is full of bluster and bravado, but in the end signifies nothing compared to one that is applicable to many different things, and is a little deeper than a puddle.

    I don’t know. I didn’t think it would take hold this fast, but I’ve always thought this team was worse than the sum of its parts for the past four seasons. Nolan had a decent team in 2007. Certainly good enough to win the west. Smith’s injury was a tough break, but Nolan didn’t do antything to stem the tide of crap that permeated the 8 game losing streak. By then, Nolan had trashed Smith, and let the offense stagnate to a pile of shit under Dilfer. Tollner came is to gain some semblance of a cogent offensive plan, but by then it was too late. Sing? Read the quote. To be effective, you have to run sophisticaed plays that are a little more that Gore up the middle.

    In the end, I hate to get my hopes up (even though they now are) because these last few years have been a grind on me. Which is why I reluctantly even thought they could win 8 this year. But it’s not hard to see glaring differences in four short weeks.

  19. unca_chuck says:

    Shit, with my wife out of town, I get a lot more posting done.

    I should be at the Happy Ending massage parlor. . .

  20. phil fan says:

    No it’s not exactly like 1981 again but we are getting to witness some kind of a rebirth here that’s true. We can’t know for sure if this is going to lead to a return to the promised land of playoffs and championships but it sure feels like it. We saw it before so it’s easy to imagine something like that happening again. How could we not? Team is coming out of a similar football dark age as the early BW teams were, that’s the same. Harbaugh like Bill Walsh has lots of offensive football/coaching experience, not some clueless defensive coaching rookie repeating same old useless crap. Harbaugh like Bill has a workable plan that we are now seeing evidence of actually succeeding, imagine that! Both have high ‘football IQs’.

    What I like that seems to be different is Bill had to deal with a difficult owner (as it turned out) who contributed to his early retirement and Harbaugh’s relationship to Jed York seems much more harmonious. It seems so anyway and hopefully it’s true. Hate to see Jim leave after a measly 10 years. Optimism, what a concept!

  21. NJ49er says:

    What I saw from Alex in Philly was a sense of timing and having WRs in the right ‘windows’ in the 3rd Qtr. My contention from the start was that Harbaugh is spoon feeding this Offense to everyone a taste at a time. Once Alex pulls the trigger like that without ‘Thinking too Much’, we’ve solved 2 major issues. The OL suddenly looks more formidable and, you force the Safeties out of the Box.

    The Slant that Josh took to the house is a play I’ve been praying for too long. That is a staple of the WCO and forces a CB and LB to have eyes in the sides of their heads.

    If Alex can master a 3 Step drop successfully, look out. We will be deadly.

    I know you and I have differed on this in the past Chuck but, it worked like a charm in Philly. Suffice it to say, Philly LBs don’t exist but the Slant does break the 8Man Box if you can do it properly.

    This is where Crabtree and Braylon will make a living I hope.
    Then, you add Josh/Ginn/Williams to the mix along with Delanie and Vernon?
    I’m drooling over the possibilities. You beat pass rushers by getting over on the LBs.
    For me, the WCO is quick hitters and OLmen that can hit moving targets in space.
    This is where I see Anthony and Iupati looking like animals, at the 2nd level.

  22. NJ49er says:

    Alex needs to get that focus more readily. It’s about timing and trust with his Receivers, be it WR/TE or RB.
    Harbaugh will them on the same page in due time. I’m thinking we’ll look like a much different Team after the BYE.

    Bruce Miller is already a capable receiver, he just needs to polish his Pass Pro and FB skills in the blocking dept. This will take plenty of reps but, Tom Rathman is the perfect instructor.

  23. unca_chuck says:

    What’s curious to me, and I’m sure it’s the lack of practice time (or fucking training camps), is the fact they don’t use Crabs on slants. I’ve been advocating slants forever, but the two I’ve seen this year went to Morgan. Smith earholed Crabs a couple times last year when Crabs wasn’t looking,. Whether Crabs didn’t read it hot or just wasn’t ready, they ain’t together on it. That needs to happen.

    Except for the 2nd half, all the pass plays are outs or comebacks. This has been true for the past 4 years. Teams seem to have taken away VD on the deep seam and there still hasn’t been any 40+ yard attempts. I agree that they are taking their time integrating all this. And like I said, they’ve gotten this shit rolling faster than I thought, And the faster Norriss fades away, the better.

    • NJ49er says:

      There seems to be a concerted effort to involve everyone in little ways each and every week Chuck. It’s indicative to me that Harbaugh is playing the teaching game.

      We’ve all waited a LONG time for a HC to have a GD PLAN. I’m perfectly comfortable grabbing ugly wins so long as they’re WINS. It’s not how you start, it’s how you FINISH.

      The biggest and most obvious change right now is the fact that these guys are spilling it for Harbaugh. No Team succeeds if they don’t buy the PLAN.

  24. Berger says:

    I think losing to TB and Detroit is a distinct possibility. We opened the offense up last week because we were down by 20. In a close game would we do that again? I don’t know but I have
    serious doubts. My guess is we run an old fashioned conservative offense, get beat in a close one, and then the blogs can all get back to blaming the loss on Alex for the one bad play he seems to have each game.

  25. grumpyguy says:

    TB will be close but they are kind of not firing on all cylinders right now. I think we can take them. Detroit, we should lose… but they are bound to have a letdown at some point, and we might just catch them at the right week. Both games will be tough. I’m very curious to see how Harbaugh approaches each team. He does NOT need to throw 60 times a game, but running out of the gun seems to agree with our personnel. As for Alex, he has been ‘good Alex’ more than ‘bad Alex’ this year, he just needs to keep it up, show some consistency, avoid the really killer mistakes like pick sixes. He is playing with more confidence this year than ever before. I’m still wary of going all in on him as a guy who can win in the playoffs, but I think in Harbaugh’s system he should certainly play well enough for us to win this crappy division, and then we’ll see.

    At least the team is interesting to watch this year, instead of making you want to stab out your eyes with a fork. That’s progress, of a sort.

  26. unca_chuck says:

    You must have missed the Monday night game, Berger.

    TB shot themselves in the feet for 3 quarters before they finally did anything. Against an injury-decimated Indy team and a wobbly Curtis Painter. At home no less. Any good team will put up 20 on them before they figure out what the hell they’re doing. If they can’t get started for 3 quarters at home, do you think playing on a short week 3 time zones away is going to make shit easier?

  27. unca_chuck says:

    Check out Stephen A Smith putting the beat-down on Skip Baseless (hah!) re Brett Favre’s comments regarding Aaron Rodgers .

    Too funny . . .

  28. Flavor says:

    I’m surprising confident about the TB game. The one thing we do consistently well is stop the run so Hilarious Blount can get ready to get shut down. And while I don’t think that Harbaugh is going to go all spread again like he did in the 2nd half, I DO think he’s going to mix Gore and Hunter into formations that really allow us to move the ball. Once we get 2 TD’s up on them, Fangio can throw all those wild ass blitz formations at Freeman and I think he is going to make a lot of mistakes on Sunday…..

  29. unca_chuck says:

    Yeah, I will say that these are the kinds of games that show the heart of the team. Games like these were theones that Singletary failed big time on. The only difference is these gut-check type usually came after close loss. How many times last year did this team come up short, look flat and unprepared, and in the end, fuck up against a shitty team? The year before? The year before that? At least 5 a season.

    If anything defines the Nolan/Singletary eras, it’s coming up small in big situations. This is the first big test of the character of the team. If they come out and play well, and somehow lose, it’ll be OK. If they come out, give up a bunch of sacks, can’t run, and get beat down like last year, then there’s a problem. Tampa is a team that looks a lot like the Niners. They are trying to gut out wins with a short passing game, and a power running game and a smothering defense. Indy made them look pretty bad offensively. Granted, we don’t have Dwight Freeney, buit our defense matches up pretty well with TB. The Niners don’t need to be scared of the deep game. That isn’t Freeman’s deal. It’s underneath stuff, and runs up the middle with Blount. The Niners should come out and show 8 in the box.

  30. twinfan1 says:

    “Twinfan, I think many of us ‘Faithful fans’ wanted nothing more than for Alex to get a pair.”
    Well, considering the shit he’s put up with since 2005, I’d say he’s more than shown he’s well endowed. Harbaugh has been a tonic for the whole team,but Smith has always been a talented QB. Jim has finally installed a system that can take advantage of skills Smith always had. He’s shown it many times over the years but the previous regimes always went back to the good ole “I” and give da ball to Frank..he was great in the third quarter Sunday because he was allowed to be great. Berger is right on, and if they want a guy to make clean hand offs to Frank and hit Morgan on those 5 yarders, they should have kept Shaun Hill. Besides Smith’s great half, the big diff from previous years- the fucking defense didn’t give it back at the end. Remember NO last year? They rallied to tie, turned it over to the defense, and never saw the ball again. That play by Justin was huge in great part because that virtually never happened in recent years, I’d bet nearly every one of us expected Vick to drive them down and their POS kicker nail one to win it..
    Anyway, I expect them to beat Tampa. I’ll reserve judgement on Detroit until I see next weeks game. I think they’ll come back to Earth.. of course some think the Niners are playing above their heads, we’ll see..

  31. grumpyguy says:

    The Lions have to have a down week sometime. Let’s hope they save it for us.

  32. winder says:

    The Lions game will be a huge challenge to our OL. Besides their passing attack, their biggest strength is the pass rush. It will be interesting to see how we adapt our game plan to the way they play. Alex is gonna have to get rid of the ball quick. I think a couple of draws and some well executed screens will help to keep em in check a little. To win this game we are gonna have to own the line of scrimmage.

  33. unca_chuck says:

    Suh is basically unstoppable. They have to adjust for him big time. AD had a horrible game vs Babin. Suh is better than that.

  34. grumpyguy says:

    Yeah, Detroit would be a good week to unveil Smith rolling out away from pressure. Otherwise, he is too likely to get his head torn off. I still don’t trust this line in pass pro against the big boys. Also plays that take advantage of defensive aggressiveness: draws, traps, screens, slants.

  35. Del Mar Dennis says:

    I think Sunday would be a good time to give Kaepernick his first NFL start.

  36. twinfan1 says:

    Was he traded to Dallas?

  37. unca_chuck says:

    Yeah, we’ll get Nate Davis, Kory Sheets, and Thomas Clayton. We’ll be unstoppable.

  38. Badger says:

    Let’s not get too excited about Alex just yet, he had one great quarter against philly and a really ugly first half, The other games he really was being throttled intentionally by the coaching staff to avoid having the deadly mistake. Don’t get me wrong, I give him credit for not having the deadly mistake so far, do I think he is capable of winning a playoff game – no. If Alex shows the ability to put a team on his back and the consistency week to week I will gladly be at the front of the Alex parade.

  39. unca_chuck says:

    No one’s inducting Smith into the Hall of Fame quite yet, but the prevailing theory is that Harbaugh is feeding the offense to the whole team a little at a time. He started with the run. Now he’s moved on to the passing game. The Seattle and Dallas games saw little 3 WR sets, the Cincy and Philly games saw a lot more. The Eagle game saw more difficult throws. Slants, the throw to Crabs down the sideline that split their zone, and even the crossing route to VD. Different wrinkles.

    The thing is, they started awful with the blocking and pass pro. They’ve slowly improved. The 2ns half last week was pretty good.

    Which is why this game is a great gauge of how they are progressing and what they’ve learned. My quick take on this game is, we should be able to get on top of these guys pretty quick, and then coast home. TB is a team a lot like us. We need to do to them what teams used to do to us, and that’s force them out of their comfort zone (get an early lead), and force mistakes.

    • phil fan says:

      Baby steps right, we are so far back from all the shit in off-season. I say we fuck the Bucs (nice ring that) and become the scary team Jimbo is building. I realize it’s not Halloween yet (that would be the Browns) but goddamn it I wanna scare other teams! And pound them into guacamole, okay?

      FUCK the BUCS!

  40. twinfan1 says:

    The ugly first half was Roman’s more than Smith’s. Very similar to the GB game in 2009. Anyway, none of these guys are excited about Alex, Badger. Mostly they expect him to re-suck, you’re preaching to the choir, pal.

  41. unca_chuck says:

    I think the phrase is guarded optimism, Twin. There’s very little of what you think is here that is really here.

    Except for Dennis.

  42. Del Mar Dennis says:

    There’s always one exception to the rule. “As for me, all I know is that I know nothing.” -Socrates

    It was either Socrates or Sgt. Schultz. I get those two mixed up.

  43. Del Mar Dennis says:

    Hey you Alex pole smokers: Steve Young just said on KNBR that he’d take Romo over Smith. Put that in your whacksock and beat it.

  44. twinfan1 says:

    Chuck, I’ve read the comments – as we saw Sunday, all it takes is one mistake to empty the Alex Wagon..But whatever. I’m sure you’re right as always.

  45. unca_chuck says:

    Yes, Mike . . . Still and all, I’M guardedly optimistic.

  46. unca_chuck says:

    Shit, Isaac Sopoaga is out with a staph infection. Dobbs and Williams will be his replacement depending on who does better in practice.

    Spencer didn’t practice as well. Not sure if he’s out or not.

  47. unca_chuck says:

    We used to have way too many DBs.

    Now Brock is out with a broken hand and Spencer is hurting as well . . .

  48. twinfan1 says:

    But Ross and Belt are due off the DL tomorrow…oh, wrong blog

  49. NJ49er says:

    Chuck I rewatched the Philly game today and Anthony Davis was pretty solid with technique in comparison to previous efforts. Show me any OLman in this League that doesn’t roll when they cut block. He needs to polish his technique there. Babin is no joke to handle and there was 1 sack he was given because Anthony blocked down and the RB never chipped him on the way by.

    All this stuff is correctable, except maybe for Chilo who just appears to whiffing at everything he attempts to hit?

    TB has some young LBs starting along with DLmen. I’d look to take some big shots early. If we can grab an early lead I think we can negate Mr Blount to some degree by forcing them to throw. Especially if Ice is not there to stack up the middle.

    No matter the plan, we have them at our place and I like our chances.

  50. Berger says:

    Boy was Steve Young backtracking on Alex today. They asked him Romo or Smith? He said something about Romo has knocked down more pins but in a very long answer that included talking about people that have dissed Peyton Manning, he sounded to me he would go with Smith. Down goes Romo again!

  51. NJ49er says:

    Tony Promo is nothing but a hood ornament on the Cowpattie Limo.

    I’m sick of hearing about him and Michael Vick already. Promo is a weak armed version of Favre. All he does is make excuses for his myriad mistakes.
    We handed him that Big Drama Queen Comeback at the Stick.
    All smoke and mirrors with Dallas. They can’t lose enough for me.

    J.O. and Columbia’s Team. Who gives a flyn rats’ A&&?
    What have they done since Mr Ego canned Jimmy Johnson?

    BTW, did anyone catch Redskins’ Chris Cooleys’ comments on Promo? Hysterical.

  52. phil fan says:

    Here’s a thought on defense: through the first quarter of the season the San Francisco 49ers are tied for #1 in turnover-differential at +8. Tied with who? Why that other Harbaugh led team the Ravens. Should make for an interesting Thanksgiving Day wouldn’t you say?

    “The Ravens collected seven turnovers against Pittsburgh in Week 1. The 49ers have forced turnovers at a more consistent pace, collecting three apiece against Seattle, Cincinnati and Philadelphia, and two against Dallas. They rank tied with Detroit and Minnesota for the fewest giveaways with three”. (Sando, NFC West Blog)

    We have 6 Ints and 5 fumbles taken minus 3 total of our own. Net +8.

    Seems I recall the Forty Niners were pretty good in this department when B Walsh was coaching.

    Stuff the Fucking Bucs!

  53. unca_chuck says:

    Yeah, the DBs are getting balls. There were times when our CBs would get ZERO picks on the year.

    Cooley was too funny. The way most of these guys mumble banalities, it’;s great to hear shit like that.

  54. phil fan says:

    Sad but true,ZERO PICKS! Holy shit that will never fly in the Harbaugh era. What was it with those D coaches having lame DB/Pass defenses?? Some defensive geniuses we had there, right, puke!

    His guys are Hungry to make the boss happy!

    Whale on the motherfucking Bucs, we got some serious payback due. Freeman is on my fantasy team? So what? Fuck that, this is reality!

    Okay then….

  55. Del Mar Dennis says:

    I heard Scott Tolzien has looked good running the scout team this week.
    That’s good enough for me. I’d start ’em Sunday.

    • unca_chuck says:

      Of course you would. That’s why you currently reside in the Hysterical Hilton.

    • phil fan says:

      Haha, Dennis. Hey whatever works, Jimbo will figure it out. Gotta a feeling the lame-o types will be hitting the pine sooner rather than later. We got someone better old AS will sit. He’s getting his chance now but Not For Long if not good.

      • twinfan1 says:

        Yeah, he’s in huge danger of losing his job, Phil.

      • phil fan says:

        Right, sure, uh huh, okay then. But I do want big D to recover his love for this team…

      • unca_chuck says:

        You may be in for a loooong wait, Phil.

      • phil fan says:

        Well dang that’s too bad but whatever Doesn’t work I guess. But again, what Is it? I think it was Flavor and twin brought this up earlier. It’s not Smith but something behind that got to be going on for old D. Only he could figure it out that’s for sure. I guess my questions are:

        – What would it take for the 49ers to be OKAY?

        – Would it be okay if the Niners went 10-6? Won the division? Won a playoff game? Won the the whole fucking she-bang, Super Fucking Bowl? Would that be good enough? What then would be for you?

        For me, I’m pretty easy to please. Used to be in the glory years -go 10-6, beat the fucking hated Rams, win the DIV, take chances in playoffs. Now I’ll grin like a fucking idiot if we go 9-7, win DIV and a playoff game.

        But fuck what do I know beyond that? Notahellalot…. grin

  56. phil fan says:

    Can you say Chillya Rack-yall? Take a seat right over there son….

  57. grumpyguy says:

    PF – Of course you elevate your goals as you get better. Our goal now should be to win the division. I think we will, and then your goal becomes to win each successive playoff game.

    But honestly, in all measured seriousness, our first goal for this year was just not to suck – not to even be forced back a step because of all the changes and the lockout. There was good reason to fear we might have lost ground, even with better coaching. I am already pleased to see the team playing decent, competitive football. If we can keep that up, and get a little more productive on the offensive side, you have to call this year a solidly good one for Harbaugh. After so many disappointing seasons, this is feeling pretty good. Now if we can get some consistency in moving the chains and getting first downs, you would have to call it dramatically successful. We do it in spurts, now we have to find a way to do it whenever we need to.

    • phil fan says:

      Can’t find one single thing to disagree with Grumpy. Well said. :”Our goal is just not to suck”; “move the chains”. “not to be forced back….” EXACTLY

      Right, some consistency on offense is a huge positive right there.

  58. Del Mar Dennis says:

    My love for the 49ers. What used to be right is wrong. Can love that’s lost be found? After the love is gone…

    • phil fan says:

      Bill Champlin lead guitar for Chicago (hope i got that right) was my 6th grade roommate at Ojai Valley School in da ’60s. Nice guy, friendly, from Mill Valley, friend of Julie Haas, Bill Graham, later Janice J, that bunch. He asked me what I thought of him after played guitar solo “Bulldog”. Said he was “okay”. You wonder about MY judgement? Weak, slightly off…. Nice song. Bill you done good my man~

    • phil fan says:

      Yes Del it can easily be found again. You will

  59. Del Mar Dennis says:

    I would toss in the “Young Frankenstein” line, “Could be worse. Could be raining.”
    But it IS fucking raining.

  60. twinfan1 says:

    Everything Dennis posts is a schtick, he’s our very own Rex Ryan. I doubt that he dislikes Alex Smith at all- just as with Eli Whiteside, Denny developed a routine and he thinks both spiels are funny ( my Vern and Vera Whiteside bit is a classic, he might be jealous- or perhaps he’s never had Vera’s 3 Soup Chicklen Casserole…)
    . He once posted that if I ever uttered the words “Alex Smith” again, I’d regret it untti the day I die…now that’s either a threat or just going over the top on his comedy routine. I hope it’s the latter.

  61. grumpyguy says:

    When you consider our difficulties moving the ball at times this year, we have done remarkably well at the field position game. Part of that is Andy Lee booting us out of some holes. But it’s also our defense. Our secondary is still shaky when teams start throwing the ball, but we’re pretty solid against the run. Justin Smith, Willis and Bowman are playing at an all-pro level right now. McDonald has done a hell of a job, and Sopoaga has been very solid on the nose. Brooks is okay and Aldon is coming on. By next year we could have the best front seven in the NFL. Now if we can find another CB and a free safety… guys who can run and cover.

    • phil fan says:

      Nice. You think Harbaugh and brain trust will Not get the right guy?

      • grumpyguy says:

        We’ll see. Culliver has good physical tools, but is still learning to play cornerback, let alone CB in the NFL.

        Free safety is a bigger problem. We have several credible strong safeties. Whitner and Goldson both play the Tim McDonald style well – short zone, extra LB in run support. Ask them to play centerfield and run and cover, that’s a problem. Not their skill set. I think the next draft will have to offer up a solution. Too bad we wasted a pick on Taylor Mays.

      • phil fan says:

        We could stock an NFL roster with alternates to our many wasted picks of the last few years!

  62. grumpyguy says:

    Dennis is going to have to get used to Alex Smith. He is the only show in town for now – I think Kaep is still a year and a half away from even competing for a starting job. Same for Tolzien, at best, regardless of what he did in pre-season. And quite frankly, it is far from impossible that Alex Smith signs a three-year contract to stay here after the season. We are very likely to win the division with him. Whatever his limitations, he is better than anything you are likely to find on the free agent reject pile. Most of those guys are too old or too unproven. For his part, Alex has to really appreciate having a real coach and will likely be very cautious in considering any moves. No one would have believed it a year ago, but it’s not altogether impossible that Alex Smith finishes his career a 49er. Or that he stays at least until someone can wrest the job away.

  63. unca_chuck says:

    Could be worse, Dennis? Yeah, we could be the Cowboys. The team is 3-1. You expected 1-3. Quit yer whining.

    Phil, yeah, I’m with Grump. not knowing how fast these guys could come together in the shortened preseason raised a lot of quaetions. For me it was the defense. They tossed a lot of guys, and while that was needed (Clements and Lawson were dead wood), I thought losing AF would hurt, and I thought it would take a while to integrate the new guys into a new (albeit similar) system under Fangio. As of now the Defense is playing better. They have forcd a lot more turnovers than in presious seasons. It wasn’t that long ago that our CBs would get NO ints in a season. Now, we’ve already got 4 among the CBs.

    The offense is the same deal. The Niners started pretty conservative, and have integrated a little more each game. Smith had done well in not throwing picks, and has directed the offense given to him by Harbaugh well. He has a little more to do each week.

    Frankly they are about 6 weeks ahead of where I thought they’d be. That being said, they have a tough schedule. TB may not be easy, and Deetroit on the road won’t either. But they’ve won 2 road games, beat a tough Philly team, and almost beat Dallas. 4-2 at the bye, and they are ahead of what I thought. There are tons of talking heads out there that picked the Niners to win the division, and thought 9-7 was doable. There are a ton of local scribes (hello Comcast tools) who picked them to go 5-11. I tought 8-8 was realistic. This game is a big one from the standpoint of who they are and what they can do. A setback here isn’t remotely the crushing defeat it may be made to seem, but a win would really put these guys on the map as an unp-and-coming team. At least in the outside world.

  64. twinfan1 says:

    Of course, a team is going to have a good record against the run when teams aren’t I referred to Andy Reid’s stupid game decisions and he prooved me right last week- other than Vick’s scrambling he only ran the ball 12 times- you have to make a better effort at running the ball when you get a 3 TD lead.Other than Vick, they ran 3 times in the 3rd quarter.

    • phil fan says:

      Yes twin, that’s inexcusable, few runs. well we got JH and THAT is a blessing that we will be thankful for for one hella long time God willing

      • twinfan1 says:

        As I mentioned- the first two plays in the game winning drive were a short pass to Crabtree out of the gun and the 23 yard run by Gore out of the gun.For the rest of the drive Philly had no idea what we’d run…the sweetest had to be Hunter’s 14 yard run on 3 and 7. Lke the defensive stop that followed, that knid of drive just never happened in recent years. I liken it to a baseball pitcher not throwing fastballs in fastball counts…

  65. Del Mar Dennis says:

    I’m off to go get an MRI on my back and hip. God forbid they ever have to do one on my head. That image would lit up like a 40 ft. Christmas tree. Be back in a little while…

    • twinfan1 says:

      If they’re doing an MRI they already did a CT and it wasn’t good. What did the CT show?

      • Del Mar Dennis says:

        I had a Bone Mineral Density Test (DEXA) just now. I guess they’re looking to see if I have early onset osteoporosis. The test itself was a breeze. No enclosure, didn’t have to take off any clothes and was in and out of there in 15 mins.

  66. unca_chuck says:

    What the hell happened to you, Dennis? Fall off a horse?

    I mean, I’m in bad shape, but you sound like you’ve been ground up and spit out by a meat grinder.

  67. phil fan says:

    Yep I’m getting in game shape for the Bucs at 4 AM Monday (1 pm sunday yours) Here it’s 5 AM Friday morning. You think I don’t take this shit serious? You think I’m just blowing off the old lady (sweet young thing actually) drinking rum and fucking around on the internet, blowing hard?? Actually yes, you would be correct goddamit but hey a man’s gotta support his team, gotta hang wid his buds, gotta finish that fucking bottle of White Tanduay Rum.

    Late, gentlemen

  68. winder says:

    Hey dennis, good luck at the doc’s today, my back and hip act up on occasion and it certainly isn’t fun. I still feel that I am not that old but at times my body tells me different.

    Pf – Sounds like you have your game plan in order and I am with u on stuffing the F-ing Bucks.
    Sounds like A.S. is in the running for the Willie Mac award…O wait.

  69. grumpyguy says:

    Hang in there, Dennis. Hope the MRI does not come out too bad.

  70. Del Mar Dennis says:

    I’m hangin’, Grump. Talking Niner football helps. Thanks. I’d be more concerned for our buddy Rob in Florida. He must be crestfallen after hearing that his girl, Sarah, won’t be running next year. I think he has three boxes of Sarah Palin buttons.

    Hey, Rob. I know what you could do…put those buttons on your Bonsai trees as ornaments, and you could pawn those suckers off as Christmas trees. 😀

  71. grumpyguy says:

    American female politicians and crazy go together like baseball and hot dogs. Like pretzels and beer. Like Cheech and Chong. What’s up with that?

    The Brits at least had Maggie. Love her or hate her, you couldn’t underestimate her. She had more balls than any of their male PMs since Winston the Bombastic. In a street fight between Maggie, Bush I and Gorby, you know Maggie would have left them both dead on the ground.

  72. TedSpe says:

    Good luck Dennis

  73. unca_chuck says:

    Shit, Shirley Chisolm could more than hold her own.

    She may go medievel on your ass . . .

    • grumpyguy says:

      Can hardly remember her anymore. Now Hilary, there’s a highly strung bitch waiting to snap. Especially after decades of Bill. Hope he sleeps with one eye open if she is around, lest he get a Bobbitt.

  74. unca_chuck says:

    Hey, I just saw Pulp Fiction again.

    Sorry, Dennis. Not Pulp Friction . . .

    • Del Mar Dennis says:

      Will Bikini Cinema Pulp Fiction style suffice? Now that’s what I call “acting.”

  75. NoFear49er says:

    Twinfan, whatever is exploiting your address book lives still .

  76. grumpyguy says:

    There’s some nasty little viruses out there. I’ve gotten really careful about opening anything, even from people I know. Particularly if it has no subject, or has a blind link.

  77. twinfan1 says:

    Turns out it was deleted within Live Mail but not on the Web. Should be taken care of now. Apologies

  78. grumpyguy says:

    Singleneuron on offensive football: “We’re not here to fool anyone.”

    Greg Roman: “I think you’ve got to look at the players you have when you design your attack. I think you want to have a multidimensional attack that can’t be shoved into a box. Because, really, the way we look at it, anybody can stop a play if they know it’s coming, really, with numbers or stunts, etcetera. So, you want to have a diverse attack that accounts for different defenses and then it comes down to what your own team is good at and can be good at. We’re still figuring that out, I think that’s a work in progress, but it all comes down to execution. A power running game allows you to wear people down over the course of the game, probably more so than a zone running game does. It also probably gives you more opportunity to complement the play action.”

    Quite a difference from last year.

    • phil fan says:

      “We’re not here to fool anyone.” Man we are light years ahead of last years clueless crew. Not sure I could handle another crappy coaching regime. Love the football IQs of the present staff!

  79. phil fan says:

    Whoops, wife corrected me about the song Del posted “After the Love Is Gone” that this is by Earth Wind and Fire not Chicago as I assumed. BTW hope your med test went well Del Mar.

    And where is Rob?

  80. phil fan says:

    Cosell at NFL Films (?) said not to assume 49er offense has arrived as they’ve only played “one good half in 4 games”. I dunno, stats wise we’re not so hot but think the run game has been developing and with the change at RG the OL looks to be more solid. Agree with the chuckster that JH seems to have been installing the offense in stages starting with the run game, Thinking of last year’s offensive approach gives me a headache so I’ll bear with Harbaugh’s apparent plan as it develops. Looking forward to the Bucs as a good test of our offense against a good front 4 defense.

    Also wondering how our D will hold up without Ice against Blount.? D has far surpassed my expectations so far. Should be a good game, prolly low scoring.

  81. unca_chuck says:




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