Front Office Folderol

Among all the deals that need to be made, the players that need to be signed, the impending draft, and the recent heartbreaking losses, we haven’t heard from Young Jed, the not-so-erstwhile owner of your San Francisco 49ers. I mention this because, at least in my mind, there seems to be trouble brewing. Nothing major, not at this point, but I think there are issues behind the scenes with the direction of this offense, and with the power structure in the front office.

No one has come out and said anything, but there are intimations from some of the writers that Harbaugh was not happy with the direction of the play calling as the season wore on. He supposedly took a more active role from Greg Roman as the season wore on, for good or ill. Then you have the ‘creative tensions’ between Harbaugh and Trent Baalke. Harbaugh certainly wasn’t impressed with AJ Jenkins as he rarely saw the field, and other highly regarded players (see: LMJ) have languished on the sidelines to the point of distraction. Then you have Jed York and Baalke both saying that Aldon Smith would ‘play sparingly’ after the DUI arrest, yet Harbaugh used him on all the defensive plays vs Indy. The whole Eric Mangini Experience was a black hole of nothingness, and this offense once again sputtered and stalled at the worst possible time and came up short.

Add to this the fact that Jim Harbaugh is in line for a contract extension. He is now behind Jeff Fisher of StL ($7 mill) and Super Bowl winner Pete the Cheat Carroll ($6 mill). One would think he’d like to ratchet that up a bit to be in line with the elite coaches. Say $7.5 mill a year. You have to wonder if he’d like more control over the draft than how the balance is currently established, with Baalke having the final say.  Will he parlay his success to gain more control? Or will he do what his recent history suggests and put on his travelling shoes? The University of Texas made a push for Harbaugh last December, and while it seemed implausible then, who’s to say he may not want to give it a shot back in college?

I think Jed has the utmost respect for Harbaugh, but you really have to wonder how Jim plays this. The Colin Kaepernick extension (and all the rest of the players after him) could very well depend on the Niners signing Harbaugh to an extension. Jed isn’t one to swing his dick around, but if Jed has a mind that he wants more offense rather than the Michigan offense we seem to be channelling, I wonder if he would hire a new more pass oriented OC and see how Harbaugh reacts. Or will Jed simply let the contract issue slide for one more season and play the string out to see what the team does?Harbaugh still has 2 more seasons under contract, and a lot can change from now to the end of the 2015 season.

I seriously doubt this doom-and-gloom shit happens, but really, this is a team in flux with all the players on the edge of free agency, and these undercurrents of a power struggle between Harbaugh, Baalke, and possibly York as Harbaugh seems to want more control over personnel decisions. It certainly puts the fact that guys like AJ Jenkins and LMJ get left out of the rotation as guys around them get hurt and they still don’t see the field of play in a different light.

About unca_chuck

Lifelong SF 49ers, SF Giants, and Golden State Warriors fan
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52 Responses to Front Office Folderol

  1. Spitblood says:

    Interesting angle, and well written. I didn’t realize Harbaugh had wrestled some of the play calling away from Roman down the stretch.

    Regarding Harbaugh wanting more control over the draft, I haven’t read any rumblings about this but it’s certainly possible. Harbaugh does seem to have a lot of say. He did draft Eric Reid in the first round, and Baalke wasn’t around at Stanford when Harbaugh went after Reid there. Harbaugh also played a major role in the decision to draft LaMicheal James because Harbaugh respected him so much at Oregon when the two played against each other in the PAC 10. My feeling is, but I don’t know for sure, that Harbaugh has a decent amount of say regarding the draft.

    Another thing to think about is Harbaugh’s Stanford teams. I think Harbaugh did a lot of the major recruiting from what I’ve read. when he was the coach at Stanford. And look at how his teams were built: Good running backs, full backs, good tight ends but no real dominate threat at receiver. Was this because Harbaugh wasn’t good at drafting or developing receivers at the college level? Was AJ Jenkins a Harbaugh pick? Harbaugh recruited Doug Baldwin and I read this year that Harbaugh wasn’t impressed with Baldwin, quietly reducing Baldwin’s role at Stanford to a point where Baldwin wanted to show Harbaugh he was wrong when Baldwin got to Seattle. And now we have Ricardo Lockette developing in Seattle. Jenkins developing (albeit slowly) with the Chiefs. Baldwin and Lockette in Seattle. Kyle Williams gone. Harbaugh’s the common denominator there.

    I could see Harbaugh taking control away from Roman, but in the drafting department, I think Harbaugh has a lot of say. And with a lot of say comes his fair share of blame when things go wrong. I’m certain Harbaugh was connected with Reid and James. Others, like Jenkins, I don’t know about.

    Harbaugh didn’t win a National Championship at Stanford, and he hasn’t won a Super Bowl. I say there’s one word and one word only that explains why he fell short in both areas: receiver. And maybe Trent Baalke gets too much of the blame regarding our selection of Jenkins. Until Harbaugh can find and draft a great receiver, maybe two like Rice and Taylor, Harbaugh will never win a championship. That much I’m sure of. And it’s why I want the 49ers to go away from Iupati, Gore and Roman, and spend money on Kaep and Crabtree. But it’ll be interesting to see how things play out this off season, for sure!

    • Hmmm good response to a thought provoking topic. I too will be curious to see how the Harbaugh/Baalke/York relationships play out. Right now we cant know and maybe the principal players (above) dont know either, yet. We’ll find out eventually by their actions and also non-actions (= who gets drafted and who gets on the field). And who doesnt! But words from the above are secondary to actions = contract extensions, etc.

      Agree, we need WRs in our O, drafted or otherwise, to be productive.

  2. unca_chuck says:

    That’s the rub, Spit. Is Harbaugh’s failure to develop a deep-threat WR based on his inability to use one correctly? As I’ve said before, Ted Ginn’s success elsewhere brings that to the forefront. Possession type WRs are fine. As are TEs in his offense. But Harbaugh doesn’t see to know how to integrate a deep threat into his offensive philosophy.

    I want Roman to go too, but Harbaugh HAS to be the driver of the change. He doesn’t appear to WANT to change his style. Which makes the contract negotiations a big deal. If Jed waits and the team falls short again, what then?

  3. unca_chuck says:

    For all the talk of drafting LMJ, he certainly isn’t in Harbaugh’s good graces now. The deal around AJ Jenkins was the story that they had his name in an envelope a week before the draft.

    Who’s envelope? If it was Harbaugh’s idea, then why did he ignore the guy for 2 years? I mean really. Kappy was obviously his guy. Harbaugh got him in at the earliest opportunity, and left him in when A Smith healed up. He certainly hasn’t gone to bat for AJ or LMJ like that. The Vance McD deal is the same. He’s gotten some action, but by shittiness or whatever, he didn’t get much playing time. You have to wonder if some of this comes from Harbaugh not agreeing with Baalke.

  4. Spitblood says:

    Harbaugh’s not going anywhere. There’d be a second Arab Spring in SF if Jed let Harbaugh go, and we did just open a new stadium. Hard to get excited about a new stadium with Norv Turner as your head coach. Iran would bomb us out of spite for stealing their thunder. Harbaugh will certainly leverage more money, but I doubt he’ll leverage more power. I think he’s got a fair amount of say and a good working relationship with Baalke. I think we’ve given Harbaugh too much credit and dumped too much blame on Baalke lately. Another reason Harbaugh won’t make a power grab is because Pete won’t. Pete will keep Snyder and (inebriated) Sons in Seattle’s front office.

    Then the only question in my mind is how, without a coaching change and a dramatic change to the offensive personnel, will we get a passing game? Roman, Iupati, Gore? No thank you. Mangini? No thank you. But those bums don’t seem to be going anywhere. Right now it looks like more of the same next year for our offense, and I know we won’t win the Super Bowl with this cast of characters on offense. And what hurts is that we aren’t an Aldon Smith on defense away from being a good offense. In my opinion we’re three good offensive skill players away and one good offensive coach (with valued input) away. That’s a a lot of change and Harabaugh doesn’t seem like a guy who can change. I think we’re in for another boring season of offensive football. One thing that might change is for people to start calling Jim Harbaugh Jim Levy instead of Jim Schembechler. That might bring us a passing game. Name calling works. My literary eloquence was the soul reason Alex Smith was run out of town. No more Alexcuses! Jim Levy understood. Marv Harbaugh?

  5. Spitblood says:

    Jim Levy Schembechler? JLS? Can you see me workin’?

  6. unca_chuck says:

    If Harbaugh falls short yet again,m the rumblings will get loud. Mooch got canned for less. Fricking Seifert got the boot for much the same, and he WON 2 Super Bowls. . .

    • Spitblood says:

      I don’t know if I agree with this….. the rumblings for Harbaugh’s head. I’ve read Berger’s take on this on Skeeber’s blog, and I have to say I’m in total agreement with Berger about mostly everything he’s been writing lately, especially about Super Bowls being the standard, but look around. Who are you going to hire to compete for Super Bowls if we dump Jim? Jim may be Marv Levy. It’s looking that way. But Jim is (warning: Alexcuses) two fade routes away from winning a Super Bowl and playing in another. I’m not sticking up for Jim because his offense sucks and 49er fans do need to start letting Jim hear their frustrations so Jim changes his offensive philosophy. But you don’t quit a job without another job in hand. And you don’t fire Harbaugh without knowing the next guy you hire can take the team to the Super Bowl. But I will say one thing. I wouldn’t be at all bummed out if York fired Jim a few years down the road and hired Vic Fangio as the head coach with Fangio having a passing oriented OC in mind. I think Vic might be great. Either way, I still think it’s premature, even next year, to be calling for Harbaugh’s head.

      It’s hard to read Harbaugh’s relationship with Colin Kaepernick. I can’t tell if Kaep likes Harbaugh. I saw Kaep blow right by Harbaugh when Kaep threw the INT to Sherman. Harbaugh was looking to console Kaep and Kaep was having none of it. That might be because Kaep was inconsolable, or it might be because Kaep’s not all in with Jim Harbaugh. However, if Kaep and Harbaugh are cool, that’s not something I easily throw away. Kaep’s in the playoffs each year competing for Super Bowls as a young qb with a head coach who hand selected him. Kaep might have 15 years ahead of him. That’s a huge, huge factor to consider. Kaep is getting invaluable playoff experience that will, down the road, put him over on teams like the Panthers who are first time aw-struck playoff teams. Kaep will beat those guys with Harbaugh’s structure. And I think Kaep and Harbaugh together will evolve. It has to happen. I thought this year Roman held Colin Kaepernick back considerably even with Crabtree out. I said it all along the scheme gets guys open – not receivers being asked to win their matchups. And a college run game coordinator isn’t going to create offensive passing schemes to get guys open. But Harbaugh’s more involved in that than I’ve given him credit for. Harbaugh’s more to blame. Look at what I wrote about Harbaugh not getting receivers involved at Stanford. I honestly hope AJ Jenkins develops now because Harbaugh will have to deal with the egg on his face. He already has Richardo Lockette egg on his face. And Doug Baldwin egg.

      Bottomline: Kaep and Harbaugh will start to figure out a passing attack. It will take Jim time, because he’s stubborn. But if Harbaugh dumps Crabtree for Iupati, I’m right there with Berger callin’ for Jim’s head. Dump Gore. Dump Iupati. Bring in more receivers. Bring in more running backs. And for god sakes, figure it out on offense. This has been embarrassing and Harbaugh and Roman are getting exposed.

  7. NJ49er says:

    I recall Harbaugh commenting about having to face LMJ in College as well Chuck.
    As I thought at the time, the Drafting of LMJ was more about replacing Ginn on the PR/KR side of our Roster.
    Never saw him as a viable threat to replace or enhance Frank, he’s simply too small.
    Rather then lay this on Harbaugh or Baalke, I’m more inclined to believe LMJ just isn’t cutting it.

    We’ll debate the Offense as it relates to Roman and the lack of passing efficiency certainly.
    I’m more inclined to think of it in terms of the talent on the Roster and utilizing what’s already here.

    Major factor for me, Kaep learning to master the QB position.
    Touch, timing, and feel for the pocket, has as much to do with the passing game as anything.
    If Kaep isn’t seeing every route or, buying time in the pocket, to enable these routes to uncover, no amount of scrutiny of Roman makes any sense to me.

    One major attribute I admire about Harbaugh is, that he’s going with the hot hand, at any position that matters.
    If Baldwin isn’t cutting it, he’ll be gone. As was the case for Kyle and AJ.
    I expect the same for LMJ.

    Roster spots are earned and shouldn’t be wasted for guys that aren’t contibutors.
    We’re a team with solid leadership and vision now.

    Sure, they’ve got their issues in places but, it isn’t impossible to fix.

  8. unca_chuck says:

    Well, that’s where I’m concerned. Last year was ripe for us to win and we fucked it up badly. This year? Seattle became the front-runner in a big way and they didn’t puke on their shoes as we did.

    The bar has to be set higher than the shitty running team we become in the playoffs. Otherwise we will repeat this 2013 season this year. And next. Good enough for the payoffs, but nbot good enough to nake it alll the way. We showed that we aren’t good enough to overcome our crap-ass red zone offense and our constantly leaving points off the board.

    • NJ49er says:

      I’m confident that they’re eager to improve it too Chuck.
      We’ve come a long way in 3 years.
      Hoping, as you are, that they’ll get it corrected.

    • NJ49er says:

      We definitley some deep threats beyond VD.
      No doubt Baalke is shopping in that area as well.
      Good deep Class of WRs to shop in this year too.

      Let’s hope he changes his batting average in a good way this May.

    • NJ49er says:

      And while we’re at it, losing Iupati in Seattle contributed to a weaker output in the running game too.
      We were in it until the end so I don’t feel that we’re too far away.
      Hoping Lattimore can provide a spark, along with an improved philosophy toward the passing scheme.

    • NJ49er says:

      When you factor in the Seattle DLine rotation, you realize that they had the upper hand against our OLine in that matchup.
      We’ll be adding Tank and Dial this time around as well.
      Always about getting better, at all positons, in order to stay in the picture.

      I think we’ll get it done.

    • NJ49er says:

      We also seemed to improve our deficiencies against the noise factor in the NFCC game too.
      It’s still a huge advantage for their DLine to get off quickly but, we improved it, which is an important factor going forward.

  9. unca_chuck says:

    No, this isn’t impossible to fix. I just wonder if Harbaugh sticks with Roman, and if he even sees the problem. There isn’t enough in this passing attack to scare anyone. THe red zone offense is impotent.

    You CAN run for 150 and throw for 275. IF you make the necessary changes.

  10. unca_chuck says:

    Nice list. Most of that makes sense. The only reason I always wil rate Brady over P Manning is that Manning had a lot more weapons than Brady ever did. Brady consistently did more with less. Take this year for example. His team was decimated by injury, yet got to the AFC Championship game. And I’m sure he would have done better than Peyton in the Super Bowl.

  11. These Winter Olympics suck. It was 65° in Sochi today and people were hitting the beach and going swimming. I’d usually say these Olympics stink on ice, but I don’t think there is any.

  12. unca_chuck says:

    They should hold the snow events at 3:00 am to make sure the snow isn’t slushy. The halfpipe event yesterday was a joke. Half the competitors (including Shaun White) washed out in the shit conditions.

  13. I wouldn’t know good/bad snow conditions from my ass, but when there’s been that many complaints from all the competitors. Something ain’t right. The hockey is just getting underway. Maybe that will liven things up a bit.

  14. unca_chuck says:

    Bulllitt needs a boy friend. Or a hobby. What a fucking pussy.

  15. rtfirefly says:

    L.J. Cobb to E.G. Marhall (12 Angry Men, referring to gadfly Henry Fonda): He was just baiting me.

    Marshall, dryly: He did a good job.

  16. rtfirefly says:

    Never fear, Chuck. One day I called B* a “troll”, a word which to the best of my knowledge had never been used before on Skeebs’.
    Since then he’s used that word about once a day (for the last three years!). He’s a little kid who thinks he learned a bad word: “Ca ca, ca ca, ca ca, ca ca, ca ca…”.
    Cracks me up now every time I see him use it. Makes me want to take away his Oreo.

  17. unca_chuck says:

    Ahhhh, gonna be a looong offseason

  18. rtfirefly says:

    Got him, LOL. Kid loves to dish crap, but can’t even take the truth! Made my day. Hi, B*!

  19. rtfirefly says:

    Double got him; he deleted his comment. Guess he wants his Oreo back, or doesn’t want it in print that he reads this blog.

  20. 12th man says:

    For those still holding a candle for Alex Smith and those who think Kap didn’t do enough last year to deserve a new contract despite very few receivers to throw to I offer this from Maiocco:

    Kap had the most productive season since Garcia in 2002, that’s as a QB through the air, Yds and TD’s, Oh and he also ran for the second most yards in 49er history, 524, while he wasn’t throwing for 3,197 yds and 21 TD to very few viable targets.

    All that in 1.5 seasons as a starter. Yeah the Niners should wait to sign him to a long term contract cause his production and upside is sketchy. Maybe even draft his replacement this year because there are tons of talented rookies who can do just as well as Kap right?

    The power running game did not produce in the playoffs because A) the scheme they mostly run it from allows the box to be stacked, B) they had run Gore for the second most attempts of his career and C) Gore is not the runner he used to be. That meant Kap had to pull O out of his ass to try to win and almost single handidly did it in Seattle no less but yeah he sucked making mistakes at the end when he was the only guy making anything all game long.

  21. 12th man says:

    From a purely talent perspective Alex Smith couldn’t shine Kaepernicks shoes.
    Smith has vast experience and is smart on the field with just enough talent to put it to good use, he maximizes what he has and is very effective with it.
    If Kap can learn from his vast 1.5 seasons worth of experiences and grow into the QB position he can be the best in the game. If not then he is already good enough to go to the dance with a strong enough run game and great D.

    The run game was sorely lacking against the better D in this league and scheme is where I would start trying to rectify it followed by less carries for Frank. Hunter is a decent RB coming off an achilles that as far as I can tell no RB has ever come back from. He gets a couple of carries a game and people say his YPA is no better than Frank. Is that a reasonable deduction? The guy gets almost no carries and has no flow in the game yet he still produces the same as Frank and somehow that means he wasn’t good enough yet Frank is?

    If they can get production from the run game against the better D teams then the passing game will be more effective on play action especially. Right now they sell out to stop the run and take away 2 targets in the passing game. Kap is not a finished product by any means and has his part to play in improving aspects of his game but scheme is what needs tweaking.

    Just to clarify for those of you who pick out a sentence or phrase and attack that as though it is the whole message. Frank Gore has been one of the best in the league since he was drafted. Frank Gore today is still one of the very best at aspects of his game such as blocking. Frank Gore can still be effective as a running back, he is not washed up as some others have said. Frank Gore is not capable of carrying the load for an extended season anymore. He has vast experience and enough physical attributes left to make it work against most opponents. The time to transition from bell cow to contributer has come.

    • Spitblood says:

      Alex Smith used to get radar lock like Kaep gets now. It’s a young qb thing. As they get older, coaches break them of the habit, and qbs start to see the field better. Kaep’s the best young qb in the game, and he’s only going to get better. Harbaugh just needs to develop WRs for Kaep. And if they let Crabtree walk, Kaep’s in trouble because Harbaugh can’t develop receivers. Gives Crabtree more leverage at the table.

      I do honestly think Frank Gore is done and ’13 should have been his last year. I liken Frank Gore to a pitcher without a fastball. Now, for Frank, it’s all about gimmicks. Pass block well so Rathman keeps sending you out there. Hope they don’t find someone else who can pass block. Be a coach. Be a leader. Curve ball, change up. But when it’s 3-2 with the bases loaded, Frank’s in trouble. And 3-2 with the bases load was Seattle in the NFC Championship game. The difference between Lynch and Gore is what cost us the game. I’d rather have two new rookie running backs with fresh legs and a desire to make a name for themselves in a rotation with Kendal Hunter. Love Frank, but he’s done.

      I think 2014 will be the year that fans really see Frank like Willie Mays – playing far too long. Maybe Frank can play for the Mets. And that’s why Bill Walsh would have released Frank (if I’m right). You can’t afford a year where a player’s decline is so obvious while on your team. Let his decline be obvious somewhere else. Well, scratch that. His decline was obvious last year. Too late.

      And to your point about Kendal not getting the carries…. I wonder if Harbaugh didn’t want to use Kendal as much because of his Achilles injury. Demarius (sp?) Thomas said he didn’t come back full strength until his second year after surgery. I wonder if the coaching staff was worried about Kendal’s health. I sure hope so. It was blatantly obvious Kendal was the better back in the playoffs.

  22. unca_chuck says:

    12th you ain’t gonna find too many people, here at least, who feel that losing Smith was the wrong idea. As far as Gore goes, that’s been my take on it as well. They will phase Gore out this year and get Lattimore the bulk of the carrries as the season goes on.

    Don’t know if you saw this, but it was embedded in NJ’s post about Jay Cutler. It’s former (yeah, he’s the one that got Cutler in the 1st place) Bears GM Jerry Angelo’s take on the current crop of NFL QBs.

    Like I said, I will always rate Brady higher than P Manning because Manning had more tools to work with most of his career. Smith is what Smith is. A smart tough QB with a limited skill set.

    • 12th man says:

      It wasn’t written just for this blog Chuck. There are visitors here who push an agenda and miopically focus on whatever the kid didn’t do perfectly and ignore the huge accomplishments despite scheme, available receivers, his own lack of experience and his QB shortcomings as he develops. It has been widely known that a QB really gets it in year 3 as a starter if he gets it at all. Kap has done amazing things already.

      Be thankful he plays for the Niners.

      I did see the QB rankings, I thought he had superman newton, worthlessberger and smith too high and Kap too low. I also would trade Brady for Manning as I would choose Brady at the end of a tight game to get it done when it really counts. Manning to me has just not produced when it’s all on the line, repeatedly even though he is amazing as a fantasy regular season player. Rogers may be the best of them though.

  23. Irish Kevin says:

    Lets try this again

  24. unca_chuck says:

    Speaking of cuts, on Wednesday, the Saints cut safety Roman Harper, defensive end Will Smith, and cornerback Jabari Greer. They also decided not to re-sign linebacker Jonathan Vilma. All four players were part of Gregg Williams’ defense during their super bowl run and all four were injured for some or all of this past season.

    They went from $18 mill over the cap to 3 mill under.

    Be nice to free up some room by cutting Carlos Rogers and getting Gore to restructure.

    • Spitblood says:

      How ’bout just dumping Gore entirely? That’s what Bill Walsh would have done. But I know, Unca…… you love you some Gore. Who doesn’t?

      • unca_chuck says:

        A) He’s under contract
        B) He’ll likely restructure
        C) He’s 33 yards from 10,000
        D) He isn’t the problem

        Do you think Kendall Hunter would be doing anything different running up the middle facing 8-9 man fronts? No. He’d do worse.

        Are we majically going to run the power sweep going forward? No.

        Again, Gore isn’t the problem with the run game. The scheme is.

      • Spitblood says:

        I DEFINITELY THINK KENDAL HUNTER WOULD HAVE HAD MUCH BETTER RESULTS. Kendal could have bounced it to the outside if there wasn’t anything up the middle. Frank can’t bounce nothin’. When defenses know ALL YOU CAN DO IS RUN UP THE MIDDLE, THE MIDDLE WILL BE CLOGGED because outside backers don’t need outside contain. Would you worry about Frank getting the edge on you? Not me. Clog the middle and if Frank bounces it to the outside, let your grandma in her wheelchair run him down from behind. Kendal Hunter would have been a far superior choice.

        A.) There’s no guaranteed money left. They could cut Frank easily. They’ll cut numerous others who are under contract.
        B.) Would you buy a broken washing machine?
        C.) Harbaugh can’t afford the luxury of paying a washed up player to achieve milestones when people are starting to wonder about Harbaugh.
        D.) HE IS EXACTLY THE PROBLEM WHEN YOU RUN TO SETUP THE PASS AND YOU CAN’T RUN!!!!! Did you watch the Seattle game?

      • Spitblood says:

        I’m not writing this to piss off 12th and Chuck. Just keep an open mind.

        The more I think about it, the more I think Frank Gore was the main problem last year in the playoffs. Do you guys remember the Fly Sweep with Ted Ginn? When starting to run that play Jim Harbaugh said “There’s two ways to stretch the field: vertically and horizontally. The outside fastball sets up the curve in the dirt. Frank Gore can’t stretch the field horizontally with a fastball, so defenses were looking curve ball. When a hitter can sit dead red, you’re in trouble (and I know dead red means fastball but you get my meaning). AGAIN, no outside contain because your grandma can run Frank down from behind if he bounces it outside, so clog the middle. And that’s just what Seattle did in the NFC Championship game. Seattle’s defense sat dead red on Frank. And we all were calling for more stretch, more spread, less, as Berger calls it, sardine can offense.

        Now if a guy can’t run outside the tackles, doesn’t it make sense that your OC is limited with his play calls? If Harbaugh’s right that you stretch the field both ways, but you only run up the middle, why is that? Harbaugh knows you have to stretch the field both ways. The Fly Sweep and Harbaugh’s subsequent comments are evidence to this. Either one of three things happened. 1.) Harbaugh was worried about Kendal Hunter’s Achilles injury and tried to protect him from another injury. I was crying, screaming for more Hunter even before the NFC Championship game. 2.) Harbaugh and Roman thought they owed it to Frank to give him one last shot to win a championship being the bell cow, running where only Frank can – up the middle 3.) The 49ers simply got addicted to Frank and couldn’t see any other way.

        In the Seattle / Saints game, that new young RB named K Robinson ran the stretch play against Seattle masterfully. Seattle, to me, looked exposed. Drew Brees played terrible and the special teams were awful, but Robinson kept ’em in the game because he could hit all the different running lanes with his speed. And Seattle, coming into the 49er game, wasn’t good against the run. Scouts were writing that Seattle might not win the Super Bowl because they weren’t playing the run well. But they won the Super Bowl because they faced Frank Gore and Peyton Manning. Winning the Super Bowl is and always will be about match ups.

        And remember, we are, without a doubt, a run to set-up the pass team. No question about it. So if the run isn’t there, because the running back can only really hit one hole and defense are sitting “dead red,” then the pass won’t be there either. The 49ers didn’t set-up the pass in the NFC Championship game so all that was left in the run game was for Kaep to use his feet and THAT somewhat set up the pass. And that’s exactly what happened in the NFC Championship game, and Kaep still almost won it carrying Frank Gore on his back.

        This is why I advocate the 49ers drafting two new running backs in this year’s draft. Get two new backs who can hit all the holes with speed and power, the go with play action. Effective runs with fresh legs will open up the passing game. Roman still sucks, but he was extremely limited by Frank Gore. Frank Gore is done.

  25. unca_chuck says:

    Jim Brown would have gotten 34 yards that game. AP would have gotten 36.

    Besides, nobody that matters is wondering about Harbaugh. Grandiose as you are, you aren’t on their radar.

    Read your all caps. When all you do is run up the middle, the middle will be clogged. Hunter can’t levitate over the cloggedness. And we haven’t run sweeps very successfully since the Roger Craig days. Besides, you want to dump our best run blocker in Iupati.

    • Spitblood says:

      Harbaugh sends me text messages all time. All I say is more Hunter, less Gore…. please. Jim Brown would have gotten 36 yards if all they called were runs up the middle all day long. But Jim Brown could have run sweeps and pitches to the outside, making the defense defend everything. And Roman would have called more variety of run plays with Jim Brown as his running back.

  26. unca_chuck says:

    It’s hard to run sweeps out of the ever-loving jumbo formations the Niners regularly run out of. It’s the scheme, skippy.

    How does NO run? Out of multiple WR sets. They force teams to get the safety out of the box. The Niners invite 8-9 guys to join the party.

    All your lengthy (fuck, dood) post tells me is what I’ve been saying for the past 4 months. The jumbo formation is a stupid formation to run out of.

  27. unca_chuck says:

    One last thing. What you fail to mention in all this, and something that got Steve Young out of the NFL 3 years early, is that if you start 2 rookies as RBs in our offense, Kappy would get levelled by free and clear rushers that the green RBs missed.

    New thread is up by the way.

    • Spitblood says:

      I agree with you on this point. But let’s not assume a rookie can’t pass block in his first year. Kendal Hunter was great as a rookie in pass pro.

    • unca_chuck says:

      Again, though if the Niners are going to suddenly start running outside and throwing the ball around 25-30 times, there needs to be some fundamental changes in the offensive philosophy. Meaning Roman has to adapt or go. I certainly don’t see that in him.

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