A Tale of Two Cities

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. In yet another epic fail in a season rapidly filling up with fails, the 49ers laid a stinking turd in their own back yard by losing in miserable fashion to the lowly Oakland Raiders. Who would think that the Raiders, winners of 2 of their last 3 games, would completely dominate the now docile Niners? Losers of 2 out of their last 3.

It it had the feeling of doom when Kaepernick threw his first pass for a pick. It stayed through most of the game as the Niner offense sputtered and stalled time and time again. The difference today was our vaunted defense was toasted repeatedly with passes over the middle to their TEs. Something Seattle showed and we didn’t correct.

Other than that, the Niners had one nice drive and took the rest of the day off.  The missed FG just was the diarrhea icing on the shit cake. I’m completely at a loss to figure out what the problem is, so I blame everyone. From Jed on down. I still blink Kaepernick can return to his former self. Harbaugh has worn out his welcome.

About unca_chuck

Lifelong SF 49ers, SF Giants, and Golden State Warriors fan
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72 Responses to A Tale of Two Cities

  1. Nipper says:


  2. Irish Kevin says:

    Well this topic has been ground into the gutter. What are the Niners going to do. Right now there is nothing they can do till the end of the season and A. Decide on a HC and then someone has to take Kaep and work with him on reading the field. IMO, Harbaugh has not done his job in coaching Colin. It appears to me Colin does not go through his reads. He keys on one area of the field. You could see Carr and Wilson when they were flushed out of the pocket, they were looking all over the field. The other thing I notice about the Niners pass plays they are always. well almost always down the side line. Rarely are the receivers clogging the middle of the field and then running towards the sidelines. When defenders only have to run “with” the receiver it becomes easier to defend. So next year, Whoever coaches the Niners needs to work with Colin and the play calling has to get better.

  3. Berger says:

    I still like Harbaugh as a head coach. I don’t know if he can fix the offense with the current tools he has to work with. To fix it a lot of changes will need to be made to the coaching staff. If he is unwilling to do that he’ll need to go too. I hope it doesn’t come down to that but it sure looks like it will.

  4. Berger says:

    I still can’t get over how successful we were running the ball on first down yesterday but we kept changing the personnel package and doing something else after a 5 or 6 yard pick up. The lack of rhythm has killed this offense.

  5. Berger says:

    While listening to Haby’s press conference today I had to disagree with two comments. He said he didn’t go away from the running game yesterday. OK, we’ll just have to agree to disagree about that one. He also said Kap’s mechanics are fine. I can see he’s dropped his elbow too low lately causing some throws to sail. His delivery has also become longer recently which creates a general lack of accuracy. I can’t say why Harby can’t see this. Maybe he does and doesn’t want to comment about it? It would be hard for me to believe he can’t see it. Anyway, IMO, part of coaching is seeing this and correcting it. If a staff doesn’t notice this kind of stuff it is hard to believe any QB can be as consistent as he could possibly be. It’s my opinion one coach should be assigned to watching this on game day for every QB in the NFL.

  6. Irish Kevin says:

    Ronnie Lott‏@RonnieLottHOF·2 hrs2 hours ago
    Congrats to MadBum, @SInow’s Sportsman of the year. The epitome of a gamer for the @SFGiants this season. http://bit.ly/1vxQh5D

  7. NJ49er says:

    What got exposed in Oakland were LBs on our Defense who suck in coverage.

    The Checkers/Chess analogy I live by was perfectly executed by Oakland’s Staff.
    We don’t exploit mismatches or, we attempt to, but fail to take advantage, due to hurried reads by Kaep when attempting to utilize them.

    Borland/Wilhoite and Skuta can’t do what Patrick and NaVorro do in coverage vs TEs.

    A composed Derek Carr had the vision, and touch, to surgically manipulate coverage and win those battles.
    Kaep flat out sucks when it comes to working the middle or, taking something off the 98mph fast balls to deliver those types of passes.
    Leading or, throwing a Receiver open, is severely lacking in his repertoire right now.

    Borland is a 2 Down LB right now.
    By virtue of his height and speed, he may never be a complete 3 Down LB either.

    • NJ49er says:

      Another key missing ingredient in our Offense is, the TE in passing downs, being anyone other than Vernon.
      Given the injuries, I guess we can make the argument but, it is something we fail to employ with any success.
      Just like stretching the field with the young bucks, Patton or Ellington.

      On the whole, I believe Roman and Harbaugh just don’t have the vision, or dedication,
      to install a Pro-Grade passing attack.

      And, until Kaep can find his check-downs with touch and accuracy, he’ll continually seek the chunk yardage plays where he can muscle it in.
      Few Receivers on this roster have the strong mitts that Q and Crabtree have either.
      Which make drops a whole lot more frequent IMO.

  8. unca_chuck says:

    More often than not, our routes seem to consist of running 10 yards, turning around, and stopping.

    We had that one drive where Kappy threw quick short passes, and they marched down the field and scored. Naturally they stopped doing it after it proved to be effective. We seem hell-bent on out-thinking ourselves rather than the defense doing it for us.

    Like the no-huddle that worked for one drive, and they sent it to the cellar. It baffles me to no end that this team is running the same plays from 3 years ago. Everyone on thre league knows what we do and how to stop it.

    • NJ49er says:

      Been my main gripe for months Chuck.
      Creativity. Checkers & Chess.

      If you have these plays designed, practiced routinely and, can’t execute them in game situations, what’s the common denominator?

      Seems to me you’re not Coaching it properly or, you’re going through the motions when you practice them, without perfecting anything.

      For me, the lack of crossers and, the use of the short middle in general falls on Kaep.

      He’s ALWAYS looking outside and deep, ignoring the easy check downs.
      Likely because his short game sucks due to his lack of touch.
      Of late, his accuracy in all ranges has been horrid.
      No clue why that is, short of lacking confidence and poise perhaps?

      To read Harbaugh suggesting he sees nothing wrong with Kaep’s mechanics is laughable at best.
      Just what is Jim doing with him during prep time?

  9. NJ49er says:

    Sando makes a good argument for Mangini being a consideration for our next HC.
    I don’t agree necessarily but, it’s plausible, considering the ties that bind their past histories.

    Parcells, and his Coaching Tree, where each has worked, including Belichick.
    Some thought, Mangini moving around within our Staff, was intended to groom him from the ground up in SF.

    Someone to keep in the mix I guess?

  10. unca_chuck says:

    God, no. I sure hope not. That’ll set back the team another 5 years.

    • NJ49er says:

      We all know how the NFL operates Chuck.
      Most everyone gets recycled through the Coaching Trees that succeed.

      Happened with Walsh, now The Tuna has his share of successors too.

      Sean Payton, Belichick, Baalke and Mangini have all come through the ranks.

      Can’t dismiss it, seeing as Baalke tried to reel in The Tuna before Jim got hired.

      • NJ49er says:

        Funny thing is, my Son texted me this AM, asking what I thought about Sean Payton, if NOLA lets him go.

        Told him, why not?
        Might be a better mentor for Kaep in the long run.

  11. NJ49er says:

    As reports would have it, Walsh was high on Harbaugh coming through the channels too.

  12. NJ49er says:

    Can’t forget about Tom Coughlin either.

    Other’s of note, once within the Parcells Tree – who just beat us in Oakland – Tony Sparano.

    A guy I’d like them to consider, if we lose Fangio as DC, Steve Spagnuolo.

    Josh McDaniels and Romeo Crennel also have ties to The Tuna by way of Belichick too.

    These things continue to perpetuate through time in this League, with the occasional detour through the College ranks.

    • NJ49er says:

      Sad thing is, Jim knows how to keep a locker room focused.
      He’s obviously not happy working with Trent.

      If Jim could accept some changes on the Offensive side of the house, things might improve.

      It seems as though that isn’t likely to happen.

  13. NoFear49er says:

    I’ve posted here before that the all-22 film shows that notion to be erroneous. I know some folks here don’t appreciate facts being used to argue against imagination but there it is.

    Kaepernick is a guy who rarely throws the ball until he sees his target receiver open. He doesn’t throw to landmarks and he doesn’t throw his receivers open.

    Carr stood in the pocket and made some great throws at the last tick where Kaepernick breaks the pocket and pulls the ball down to run at the first sign that protection is breaking. And then he’s focused on the pressure not downfield.

    If Kaepernick was finding open receivers and getting the ball out quickly and accurately to them most of these complaints about checkers and chess would evaporate.

    • NJ49er says:

      Kaep isn’t immune from criticism NoFear49er.
      Execution of the play design is central to the QB and players involved.

      Frustrating part for me is, what the hangups are, between practice and game performance.

      My Checkers/Chess analogy implies that we’re not finding the weaknesses to exploit, as opponents seem to find with ours.
      Which of course, comes down heavily on Kaep identifying them.
      Kaep is in a major funk of late.

      Opponents have found his weaknesses, obviously.
      If he can’t be Coached out of it, few options are left but to suffer the consequences or, try another QB, which leaves Gabbert.

      • NJ49er says:

        I also have my questions about O-Line calls and where that responsibility rests?
        If Kaep isn’t identifying the D-fronts, protection calls likely don’t work either.

        Can’t be sure a Rookie Center is being trusted with those tasks either.

        The mental side of the game is challenging enough, he’s now compounding it with errant throws.

  14. NoFear49er says:

    NJ49er, I’ve brought up the question about protection calls before, too. Looks to me that Boone is doing some of the directing for blitz pick ups anyway. I’d guess they use a standard blocking scheme by even or odd front and where the will backer and strong safety line up. If a backer or db show up near the line the lineman affected makes a call that says which way he’s blocking. If the play calls for sliding protection I’d imagine Kaep makes that call.

    First play of the game, for example, FB releases into the flat and turns back to look for the ball immediately at the LOS. I see this or something like it on many plays, yet someone will state we NEVER have any options for Kaepernick but going deep and it gets repeated as fact and pretty soon everyone wants the OC’s head for not giving Kaepernick any options but deep throws. Just because Kaepernick ignores the options doesn’t mean they aren’t part of the play.

    On this play, Frank cuts the rushing DE, badly, and the DE regains his feet and continues his rush to the QB. Kaepernick sees him and instead of hitting the wide open Miller for a short gain and maybe some decent YAC he breaks the pocket and scrambles determined to wait until Crabtree gets open, and then delivers the ball to the Raiders’ safety.

    My point is, if Kaepernick sees the protection whiff and his primary not open, and makes a quick decision to complete the pass to the FB in the flat, we look more like an in-synch WCO moving the ball and the checkers v chess argument goes away.

    It’s impossible for me to believe Kaepernick is coached to do what he does, because if that was the case there would be no point for Miller to do anything but stay in the protection giving Kaepernick an extra second or two to make the deep play work.

  15. Good analysis. Kap has a lot to learn and he needs to admit it, become a student of his position. Raw athleticism has reached its limit

    • 12th man says:

      Hey Phil, not sure what the jab was about a particular poster you quoted that I will tell you is Spit but it wasn’t, easy to tell really since the poster made sense and wasn’t pushing a lame, thin yet obvious agenda.

      I see you picked up and are running with some of his arguments again. Beware of the dark side my friend.

      Glad to see that blow missed your plantation again, you have been lucky with that the last few times, happy for you.

      • Yeah ‘Dogwood’ you’re talking about? I was joking, he did make sense

        I also thought that was pretty insightful your saying other posts sounded like Spitwad = those other posts earlier (but I didn’t read any of it).

        No jab intended or delivered my friend. But I do stand by the incessant media jabs and false reports as having Jed’s blessings. Is that a Spitwad signature argument? We were on the same side of that issue true.

        He insists on his POV and goes too far bur has some good ideas IMO. Dark side, lol

      • philippinefan says:

        So 12th questions.

        Who is our persistent leaker(s)? Some low level source who has credibility w/ media?
        More to the point do you think FO could not quash this if they wanted to?
        Do you agree somebody in FO has an anti-Hendrix agenda?
        What do you guess the aborted trade to CLE was about? Initiated by Jimi?

        This started after the miss in the SB. Is that a coincidence or might there be a connection.

        Interested to hear your answers as we haven’t discussed this.

        We have other problems (people) so Nature is giving us a break w/ weather thankfully.


      • philippinefan says:

        “We were on the same side of that issue true. ”

        Actually we agreed Hendrix was more vital than Low Balker. Subsequent to the first reports of the CLE deal. Leaks/innuendo/slander never have stopped after that

  16. Berger says:

    At this point, Kap has been shell shocked. Kind of like what happened to Gabbert in Jax. Kap needs a good system and a good mentor. We don’t have a good system but I’ve always thought Harbaugh to be a good mentor. I am have some second thoughts when I don’t see simple fixes in Kap’s delivery being fixed. Kap has had excellent mechanics in the past so it should be an easy reminder to show him what he is doing. Maybe the distractions are having those kind of affects on the coaching staff? I don’t know because I am not behind the scenes.

    This is where having John McVay was so important in the ’80s. He was the one who smoothed out these rifts between Eddie and Bill. We don’t have that guy in the building these days. So it comes down to blaming the QB. That’s the normal thing for the outsiders to do because that is what they can see. And no, I’m not talking about Skeebers blog, I’m talking about fans, former players and national media who are not connected to what is going on inside the building.

    • philippinefan says:

      Berger, right on = “We don’t have that guy…anymore”. And we need some kind of buffers between the various players in FO and coaches. A trusted neutral 3rd party like Harry Edwards. Would Jim/Trent/Jed go for it? Dunno but it is needed.

      Like this: from a commenter on Inman’s blog =

      “” Pete Carroll hired a whole department of sports psych people to work with and be there for his players, and even chose players based on their capacity to make use of such a thing. Harbaugh could never do that.”

      I didn’t know that but you don’t hear all this crap out of SEA. Still it’s not a magic bullet w/ some players like Lynch.

      • Berger says:

        Phil- Sometimes in a relationship it is best to just part ways. The way this is being reported, this is what looks to be happening here. I can just go by the info that is available to me, an outsider.

        I’m leaning toward Tomsula for our next head coach but like Sparano too. I would love to have Linehan for our OC. Since I was wrong about Nolan, Sing and now Harbaugh, I don’t have much confidence in my ability to identify a new coach! LOL! I hope Jed is doing his homework.

      • Berger says:

        Another coach I would consider as head coach is Pat Shurmer. His play calling has been really good in the past and he has a history of developing QBs.

  17. Berger says:

    BTW, I talked to Bullit this morning. I like Bullit but I don’t want to blog with him right now because the two of us are nothing but a broken record going at each other these days. There is nothing more to say until the situation at 4949 Centennial changes. We would very possibly end up at each other’s throat. I enjoy talking 49ers and the fun was over at the other place. I’ll go back when there is something new to talk about. For now, I’m enjoying talking here. As long as it stays fun. Football is entertainment and entertainment should not be full of vitriol. If that happens nit is no longer entertainment.

  18. Irish Kevin says:

    alright so who is this Skeebers and Inman’s bloggs???

  19. NoFear49er says:

    Satisfied with the play calling, 12th man? I know when we lose games or a drive stalls it’s tempting and a little too easy to say other plays would have worked / should have been called instead. Of course, there’s no way to prove or disprove that so it’s also a pretty safe position to stake out.

    I’m not in Roman’s or Harbaugh’s head or a part of the process to see whether or not I agree with the decisions or why they were made. I’m not at the practices to see how these plays are installed and how well they work in practice. Even if I concede that the play calling could be better, I don’t believe it’s the problem with our offense.

    Instead of throwing out such a generalized and unprovable complaint and challenging folks to disagree with it why not offer some specifics that can at least be discussed/debated.

    My challenge to you is to find a play that wasn’t blown up by failure of execution by key players and offer an argument about another play that should have been called there instead for better results or having a better chance for success in your opinion. It should include which defensive players we targeted or attempted to exploit and which ones you think we should have targeted instead.

  20. unca_chuck says:

    NoFear, what I’ve heard time and time again from people close to the team is that our play calling is very stagnant. We don’t hangs things up much. This was said last year. It has gotten worse this year.I’ve been very pissed off with the offense, esp in the red zone. With Kappy overcoming the bland calls with his athleticism, we had a chance. Now that he’s been told not to run, but then to run, he’s lost the edge he had. And he offense sucks now that they’ve forcd hi to do things he isn’t comfortable doing.

    The coaches are fucking him up. It’s a case of the coaches trying to fit their scheme around him instead of building a scheme around his strengths. Seattle is doing it right with RW. We are not doing it right.

    • Berger says:

      IMO, they aren’t forcing him to anything at all. They don’t know what they are doing themselves so how can they direct somebody else? It would be the blind leading the blind. Like NJ has been saying, we play checkers, the other team plays chess.

      RoBaugh brought a college offense to the pros and it is now been fully parsed and dissected. Kap use to bail them out with big plays but all the tendencies are now known for the OC and QB and the design can’t carry the offense. We are left with dumb schemes and a QB who is out of tricks. Time to get somebody in who understands how to run an NFL offense. Hopefully RoBaugh didn’t already blow out the QB’s confidence.

  21. Listened to Brent Jones radio show. He’s a former Santa Clara Bronco player so I’m a fan as an alumni.

    BJ says the attempted trade of Hendrix to CLE “by the SF 49ers” did great damage to coaches and players tho they deny it. Exactly my POV so I agree. FO decision IMO. Jed’s tweet = more serious damage IMO as we saw in OAK.

    -BJ says Kap needs to grow up. “Someone” needs to take him aside and tell him “this is the way we do things here; change or leave”. Jones says Niners need Leadership to stand up. S Young similar comments.

    -Great discussion about the O. “Turn Kap loose” Criticizes lack of continuity, rhythm. Hmmm, who mentioned this? Berger, Phil, NJ, Chuck

  22. NJ49er says:

    Curious to know, maybe NoFear49er or someone who has access to the All-22 information, whether Kaep is more successful from the Shotgun or under Center too?

    Pretty obvious he’s not operating in the Option much nor running at will any longer.

    There are plenty of valid points regarding the execution vs play calling debate too.

    Kaep runs the show once the plays are delivered.
    If he’s locked on, visually or mentally, to what he’s being assigned to do, we’ll never know.
    It’s his decision making that dictates where the play goes.

    There are a multitude of examples I have seen, simply from the broadcast feeds, where Kaep ignores his check-downs.
    In those cases, play design would appear to offer him an option to scrambling, taking a sack or, wasting a play in favor of a bigger chunk attempt.

    Take what the Defense gives you.
    Positive yards, big or small, help to wear down a Defense.

    • Berger says:

      Just fire the coach already. He picked the QB. You don’t like the QB. Fire the coach for choosing the QB you don’t like. That should stop the bitching. The new coach can decide to stay with Kap or get another one. It all does come back to the coach no matter what angle you choose.

  23. unca_chuck says:

    For all the shit Kappy gets for his pressers, he learned all that from Harbaugh.

    Change or leave? I don;t think so. Kappy just looks like he’s miserable out there, And that came form the coaches as well. He’s lost his passion for the game it looks to me.

    • NJ49er says:

      I can’t disagree Chuck.
      Been thinking/saying the same thing myself.

      He looks lost, angry and combative.
      Not something you appreciate as the ‘face’ of your franchise.
      That IS an area where Jed could easily get him in private, and perhaps, invite Uncle Eddie, Ronnie, Steve, Jerry, you name them, to discuss the legacy of 49er winning traditions in general.

      Sure, pressure of the position, big money etc but, suck it up and get focused.

      I’m beginning to believe the Team sees him as anything but a composed and dedicated leader at this point.

      • Berger says:

        It is good to see you disagreeing with the coach who continues to defend the QB you don’t like. Boot the tooth!

      • NJ49er says:

        The simplest decision for Jed just might be, who he feels is the more important piece for the Franchise going forward, the highly compensated young QB or, the highly abrasive lesser priced HC?

        Those 2 key components are attached at the hip.
        If forced to save one or the other, which option does he choose?

      • NJ49er says:

        Berger you know my feelings on this topic.
        It’s getting almost as benign as debating the Chicken and the Egg theory.

        Something has to happen.
        Time to decide, if cutting off a finger to save your hand, makes this mess palpable for the future.

      • Berger says:

        Easy answer. Bring in a new coach and he will go with the QB he chooses.

      • NJ49er says:

        I don’t dislike Kaep.
        I think he needs more help.
        Maybe it’s as simple as another system?
        Start there.

        I also think Harbaugh doesn’t want to lose Roman.
        I’m hoping Roman makes it easy and steps down after the season.
        Then Jim is forced to accept a change perhaps?

        High drama ain’t my cup of tea when it comes to my 9ers.
        Fix this SH!T already.

      • Berger says:

        I like Kap but I would not defend him on his interviewing technique. If I was the coach I would bring him into my office and help him be a leader. Harbaugh is doing the opposite when defending his interviewing skills. The lack of leadership starts with the coach, IMO. BTW, Harbaugh looks like a defeated man in his pressers. I think Kap thinks he is just emulating his coach.

      • NJ49er says:

        No surprise there Berger.
        Kaep and Jim are attached at the hip.
        I get accused of being too much like my Dad too, always for the negative aspects too of course.

        Kaep needs to grow up first and foremost.
        Kids will be kids.
        Rich athlete kids like him get much more scrutiny, especially when you’re losing.

        There’s a difference between being competitive and being combative.
        Jim doesn’t know the difference so, how would Kaep learn any differently?

  24. NJ49er says:

    I’ve advocated for more WCO influence.
    There seems to be a concerted effort to introduce it, specifically with the shallow crossers.
    There it becomes an issue for Kaep to learn more touch and accuracy.

    He’s struggling there.
    More work is needed from him and with him.

    I’m not ready to scrap Harbaugh or Kaep, I’m more inclined to seek another scheme/approach.
    I think I’ve had my fill of Roman’s approach to date.

    • Berger says:

      We ran a crossing pattern which worked great. It was third and long, Kap threw a perfect pass with nice touch and it went for about 15 or 20 yards. I don’t remember seeing it again.

  25. unca_chuck says:

    Well, NoFear? What’s your response to that? I’ve heard Eric Davis time and time again say that this offense is predictable and bland. So what to they do? They do what you accuse us of wanting them to do and abandon the run. No one here has said that, but it is what they did. Has that screwed things up, along with the thousands of other things? Gee, must be execution.

    You call the complaints about the play calling unprovable, but saying these plays are a problem of execution is tantamount to saying every play if executed properly should result in a TD. That means no one is executing very well. You can try to execute a nice run, but if you are running against a 9 man front, it won;t work. If you are throwing passes and no one is getting open, then it won;t work. Bullit pointed to a couple passes last week that Kaepernick missed, Like it’s some kind of travesty that Colin missed a couple open guys. All the pass plays? I don’t know but I hear ED again saying these guys just don;t get any separation off the line. We still have no deep threat. VD is a ghost. Drops, miscommunication, no one looks in sync.

    Thinking this is just a problem with the QB is nearsighted to the extreme. 15 runs vs the Raiders, and Harbaigh says he didn’t abandon the run? Right.

  26. NJ49er says:

    Looks like Clowney had to go the micro-fracture surgery route on his knee.

    Didn’t Newberry have issues returning from several of those procedures?

    • NJ49er says:

      Houston has to be thinking this kid may not ever become the dominant player he appeared to be in College.

      Another on a long list of grateful GMs, that a Rookie Cap was put into place.

  27. unca_chuck says:

    Seems that people usually need 2 years to recover from microfracture surgery, if at all.

    New thread is up . . .

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