Big Trouble in the Big Easy

At the half way point in the season, there are serious problems with the Red and Gold. Say what you will about the so-called problems with the front office and the head coach, the head coach and the players, the players and the media, and certain wardrobe choices by the players, the product on the field is a mess right now.

The bye week was a chance to get healthy and to organize a fairly inconsistent offense. One that had shown flashes of big play ability, but had gone away from the ball control in your face offense they were known for. The th0ought was to integrate the two to the success of both sides of the coin, running and passing. And, by proxy, improve the red zone offense.

Well, we got last week. A surprising beat-down at the hands of a team that gained a paltry 192 yards on us, yet found a way to outscore us. The offense sputtered and staggered its way to a 13-10 loss, giving up as many sacks in the 1st half as the Rams had gotten ALL SEASON. The completely dominant game we played in StL was but a distant memory as the O line was beaten regularly by the same guys who smothered them in week 6.

Say what you will about Jeff Fisher, but he makes adjustments. The Niners? Not so much. As evidenced by the score and the way the game played out.

Anyhow, on to the Big Easy. This game takes on a ton of significance, as to the point that we are going in the wrong direction. 4-2 to 4-5 would put us behind a bunch of teams, including Seattle, to gain a playoff spot. Green Bay’s ahead of us, and NO very well might play into the mix as well. Dallas? Well, they are right on track to fade back into mediocrity as Mr. October once again becomes Ms. December.

Question is, how will the 49ers respond? They NEED this win otherwise they will be 2 games behind Seattle and way out of the division race, as Sea will beat the Giants at home, and the Cards should easily dispatch the Rams in AZ. Dallas may get a win in Jolly Old England, playing the Jaguars (shit, they play more games in London than Man U), Green Bay, as schitzophrenic as they are, play a Bears team in Lambeau that is more schitzophrenic and lousy. Lose this game and there are all of a sudden 5 other teams on them that could very well pass them up.

Still and all, this is a long season, and a lot can happen. A loss here doesn’t close the book, but it sure makes it a ton harder to get to the playoffs. And as the SF Giants showed, once you get there, all bets are off. The playing field is level, and a hot team can ride the wave.

Question is, can this team get their shit together, or will they continue to squabble and fret and constantly screw up on offense?

About unca_chuck

Lifelong SF 49ers, SF Giants, and Golden State Warriors fan
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52 Responses to Big Trouble in the Big Easy

  1. unca_chuck says:

    Shit NJ, just saw all your Van Halen (and Van Hagar) posts. Good stuff.

    Top Jimmy is one of my favorite unknown Van Halen songs.

  2. Phil Rudd, the longtime drummer for AC/DC, was arrested yesterday for allegedly hiring a hitman to assassinate two men. Sounds like a “Dirty Deed Done Dirt Cheap” gone awry. Phil was looking for a guy to “Shoot to Thrill.” If convicted, Phil Rudd will truly be on a “Highway to Hell.”

    OK I’ll stop now.

  3. unca_chuck says:

    I always thought it was Dirty Deeds Done With Sheep.

    Gullible ones, at that.

  4. NoFear49er says:

    unca_chuck says:
    What have they done to counter the blitzing,NoFear?

    In this Rams game?

    Play Action Passes
    3 step (and less) drop quick hitters to the flats and over the middle.
    Read Options
    Weak Side Runs
    Naked Bootlegs
    Motions to force the coverage to commit
    6 and 7 Man Protections

    and, I’m sure, others that don’t come immediately to mind.

  5. unca_chuck says:

    ONE screen for 4 yards. ONE delayed draw for 1 yard. 0 points in the 2nd half. The rest is SOP for us, so those aren’t adjustments, those are our usual play calls. Duh.

    If you call what the Niners did as adjusting, then you don’t know what it means. You know who adjusted? Jeff Fisher. He played a completely different game than the one he previously played in week 6. We didn’t react well, and we couldn’t change things up enough to figure out their adjustments.

  6. unca_chuck says:

    Who is licking your chops, Nippy?

  7. NoFear49er says:

    “What have they done to counter the blitzing,NoFear?” doesn’t ask about adjustments.

    But the adjustments were obvious. The entire third quarter was tighter formations, fewer receivers on the line, more bodies in protection. The fourth quarter was a bit more spread and receivers than the third but was dominated by penalties more than plays. You may not have noticed since it had a lot to do with poor execution and mistakes by the players.

  8. unca_chuck says:

    Gee, splitting hairs, I see. Countering does not equal adjusting.

    No one doubts the talent on this team. Right? Certainly, any given play can go to the house, but some stand a better chance than others. No matter the execution.

    Do you think they are playing badly because they are:

    not executing?

    Why the yards in between the 20s (not last week) but not in the red zone (see above)?

    This team still gets real conservative in the red zone. They’ve been doing this for a while. They have opened up the passing game, but I still hear the same complaints. Too basic a passing game. No quickness. No versatility. No no-huddle. Time management, inadvertent time outs. We show what we are going to do (esp in the red zone) , and do it. Hence that last goal line stand. 2 WRs in there? Pass to Crabs. 2 WRs in there? Roll out, throw OB. Jumbo formation? Kappy keeper. The Singletary “Here’s our shit. Stop it if you can” mentality. Teams are stopping it!

    If Crabs drives into the end zone a foot further, we get the score. If Kappy doesn’t fumble, blah blah blah, but in the end we came up short, as we did so often with Singletary. This offense HAS opened things up between the 20s. But the red zone offense is still for shit. What is so hard about misdirection on the 5? Or the 1? It baffles me no end.

    • Nipper says:

      Red Zone Offense……..what is it? Where is it? Who can operate it? Answer…. anyone playing the Niners!

  9. The Bengals had to burn a TO within the first 2 mins of the game and then proceeded to throw an INT on the very next play.

    They’re taking a page outta our playbook.

  10. If a Niner fan were to say, “The sky is falling.” All the other Niner fans would actually look up.

  11. unca_chuck says:

    And you’d be looking out your navel.

  12. Greg Roman was surprised to hear that he was under fire from fans, media and even some players who have questioned the team’s identity crisis. “That’s news to me,” Roman said.

    No wonder our offense sucks. It’s hard to game plan when you actually live underneath a rock.

  13. unca_chuck says:

    Heard on the radio this morning that Pep Hamilton, OC for the Indy Colts, and Andrew Luck’s mentor, would be on the short list for head coaches should Bo Schembechler Jr. TM leave for the Big House.

  14. unca_chuck says:

    Well, NoFear? You pinning ALL the problems in Kaepernick?

  15. 12th man says:

    Just before we get carried away with the idea that Kap is not improving and is the main O problem:

    I think Kap had an up and down game and could certainly have done some things better, the pass to Crabs. I also think that was a very difficult game for any QB to operate in given the pressure.

    No way in hell is anyone going to convince me that a team that’s first in FG, last in TD and last in redzone is only in that position because the players that can largely move between the 20’s suddenly can’t execute inside the last 20. The play calling is the majority of the reason they don’t convert more TD’s and I feel that is just obvious to see.

    Most asked for some small tweaking of the plays to include more passing, I didn’t read anybody suggesting they should forget how or when to run the ball to go in favor of the pass.

    Roman seem’s to always be second guessing himself and outsmarting himself, trying to be too clever. He has no feel for calling things at the right opportunity. To me he is still coaching high school/college style plays as often as not.

    • NoFear49er says:

      Some here have cried for passing the ball on every play. Come out passing and keep passing. Along with the four and five wide formations. And keeping Gore and the running game on the bench or just cut.

      They got their wish and it was a failure.

      We have some of the best coaches in the game. Solari, Fangio and Roman, yes Roman.

      • 12th man says:

        Big fan of Fangio, top notch.

        For me the jury is out on Solari. A line full of high draft picks is not performing to its talent level. Every team gets injuries, that is no excuse. Drevno left and the line performance dropped off. Could be coincidence or it could be the game has passed Solari bye. Not sure.

        Roman is in over his head. The high talent level particularly in the RG area masked his shortcomings IMO.

        I think Harbaugh is a quality HC making mistakes in his first NFL gig as they all do. Probably it will take being fired and going to another team for him to make significant progress as a HC. Nothing like a big dose of humility to give a new perspective.

        If I had a choice I would esentially demote Roman now and have Harbaugh take over as OC or possibly promote someone from within the Org to replace him. I would also shitcan this O design by commitee approach. I feel it creates a fragmented style without an identity.

    • If Kap doesn’t turn the ball over 4 times vs the Bears and fumble at the goal line vs the Rams, this team is 6-2 rather than 4-4. Now *that’s* historic.

      • 12th man says:

        Dennis that is a spurious argument. You can just as easily say if Kap didn’t have that unbelievable play throwing across his body and across the field, something only 1 or 2 guys could pull off then the team would be “blah, blah, blah” Kap is a work in progress no argument but he is not the reason this team is 4-4

      • A work in progress who is currently not progressing. Can we agree upon that?

  16. Nipper says:

    The Big Easy on Sunday is going to be the Big Hard for the Niners. They better forget passing much and just pound the ball in a bruising running game.

  17. unca_chuck says:

    Rupert, no one has advocated that, and you know it. This is just your usual bullshit of creating an issue that isn’t there and then arguing against it. THEY are the ones going overboard. No one here said they need to go 4-5 wide all the time. I’ve said about 1,000 times that they don’t need to go Mouse Davis, just throw more 3-4 WR formations into the mix. Yes, they’ve done that, but they are going overboard on the pass.

    I guess it keeps you warm at night to feel that way, but you are full of shit.

  18. unca_chuck says:

    Roman is very sub-par in developing a passing game. He’s a RUN OC for God’s sake.

    Why did Harbaugh take his play calling duties away from him last year? Why is this year a struggle? Because Roman’s doing a great job? How about the red zone? Last? Yeah, re-up the OC.

  19. “We have some of the best coaches in the game. Solari, Fangio and Roman, yes Roman.”

    I see one glaring name that’s missing. Now who could that be?

  20. NoFear49er says:

    Yeah, Kaepernick is a work in progress, like so many of the players in the league and on our team. Most of them don’t get a pass for it though. If he plays badly he deserves the criticism.

    Personally I thought he was making some pretty fair progress early on. He was stepping up into the pocket instead of pulling the ball down and running as a first reaction to pressure. He was taking the time to read his progressions, and making some good decisions, etc.

    Lately it seems like it all goes to hell and he focuses on the pressure instead of the play. That’s been resulting in bad decisions and bad throws. But just by saying Kaepernick blew some plays causes folks to come unglued and say don’t blame Kaepernick, and then follows a diatribe containing all the old Alex Smith excuses.

    Kaepernick’s a third year pro and he gets paid a lot money to run the offense. He should get criticized when he screws up. I don’t know why that hurts so many feelings.

    The O-line’s never been great at pass pro. Boone’s, Martin’s (J and M), and Looney’s play haven’t helped and having to start a rookie center mid-season would put a major kink in any team’s struggling o-line. That should have been considered by everyone demanding Kaepernick throw more and we line up more receivers. Even so, Kaepernick has time to throw on many pass plays.

    I agree with Nipper, we need to run the ball against NO at home and put Kaepernick’s legs back in the game with some more option runs. If Willis plays, Graham may be held back and our D might hold Brees and co to under 21.

    • 12th man says:

      One of the first things I wrote after the game was Kap played poorly. I would think that the “lately” part of your Kap season assessment is tied to the O line issues that have deteriorated badly.

    • Little to no chance Willis plays tomorrow. Looks like you can add Dan Skuta to that list as well. Niners just promoted Chase Thomas from the PS. So we could have some combination of Borland, Wilhoite and Chase Thomas, and possibly all three out on the field at the same time together.

      Good luck with that shit. Jimmy Graham’s $6,300 price tag over @DraftKings looks like an early Christmas present. Don’t look that gift horse in the mouth.

      • NoFear49er says:

        Jimmy Graham will cost you a lot more than 333/point tomorrow. They need to set those costs like Monday. So I’m pretty sure his cost reflects Willis out. Yeah, I know all the pundits predict a great game for Graham. I’m agin it.

  21. unca_chuck says:

    No one is above criticizing Kaepernick. Just like no one called for the Mouse Davis offense, NoFear. But carry on with your imagined slights.

    I said after the game that Kappy held the ball too long and could have avoided a couple of the sacks, but 14 sacks in 6 quarters, you think Kappy’s going to put his head down maybe?

    Ball control is important. Problem is teams can blitz us AND stop the run by loading the box.

    The Niners need to find a way to counter the blitzes. Once again. If they don’t it’ll be a long morning.

  22. NoFear49er says:

    Well then, why do you feel the need to keep denying something you never said? You also continue to insist we keep running nothing but five and seven step drop and slow developing plays which is another fiction you keep pushing. Or do you deny saying that, too?

    You’re nothing if not thick-headed. It’s fine for you and 12th man to level criticisms at Kaepernick but anyone else having some thoughts along those lines is pinning it all on Kaepernick? Is that really how it works in Chuckland?

    I listed over a half dozen things the team does to “counter blitzes”. What are they supposed to do, check with you? Do you think Belichick or Manning can stop the effects of a good pressure package? Why don’t they? Idiot!

    The biggest things we need to do are the o-line blocking better and Kaepernick to recognize the free blitzer when they send too many to block. Even then if the defense sends more than five there’s nobody deep or someone uncovered. It’s a risk they take because Kaepernick’s not able to react to it and burn them for it.

    This game, look for how many short options Kaepernick has and ignores. And look for how many one, two and three step drop plays we run.

    • NJ49er says:

      Kaep isn’t quick to recognize single coverage either NoFear49er.
      Be it short on a hot read or otherwise.

      Yes, he’s missed plenty.
      He seems to ignore the short middle area of the field too.
      Most of his decisions seem to favor the edges, outside the numbers.

      Fortunately, when Defenses have jumped those routes, his fast ball has prevented several Pick 6’s from occurring, going back to last year as well.
      He’s shown some flashes but is a long way from a polished QB at this point.

      • NJ49er says:

        I’d just like to see how we’d function with quick hitters.
        Force Kaep to fire in rhythm.
        Not going to be pretty tomorrow if we fall behind early.

  23. NoFear49er says:

    We won’t get a break against the Saints tough d-line and Junior Galette/Parys Haralson as rush ends/OLBs. but I think we come ready to play and pull off the upset.

  24. unca_chuck says:

    NoFear, none of those things you listed were done to counter blitzes. That is our normal offense. Runs off tackle? Really? Weak side runs? This is business as usual.

    Screens, slants, delays. These are the customary ways to slow blitzing. In the 2nd half last week, we were still favoring deep drops for Kappy. Nothing quick. No 2 step and throw plays. We barely know how to correctly use play action for God’s sake.

    And in the red zone, never have I thought, ooh look, something different. It’s the same play calling regardless of the situation. It has been noted everywhere that the offense goes back to the power formation in the red zone. It isn’t working. They AREN’T adjust their thinking in these situations, and repeat them ad nauseum.

    New thread is up.

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