Chips Ahoy!

The Chip Kelly era starts much like the Jim Tomsula era started.  With a resounding win on Monday Night Football. Last year it was the 49ers manhandling the soon-to-almost-beat-Seattle-in-the-playoffs Minnesota Vikings. Last night it was the newly rebirthed Los Angeles Rams, as Chip and the Cookies stomped the piss out of a really bad looking Ram team 28-0. Jeff Fisher, as I’m sure you folks know, is not high on my list of good coaches, had the best defensive line in the game looking ill-prepared and slow. Their offense consisted of futile runs and sideways passes. Whether we were covering well, or they just didn’t take shots is up for debate, but as a whole, the defense played every minute and gave up little.

The offense is a bit of a different tale. The run game is a different animal with Carlos Hyde in there. He ran well behind what appears to be a vastly improved O line. The Rams may be an offensively-challenged unit, but their defense is no joke. They are rated as one of the top front 7s in the league. However, with Chipper’s faster-paced plays, and runs from 3 wide sets, the line was able to create nice holes for Hyde to run through.

Blaine Gabbert? Well, he had a fairly uneven game. 22-35 and 170 (1 TD) isn’t going to make anyone forget Joe Montana, but he hit passes that needed to be hit for the most part. The first half was going well, but the game ground to a halt in the 3rd quarter. LA changed their defense to take away the short passing, and the 49ers were skunked the entire quarter to the tune of -4 yards and no first downs. The saving grace was the defense shutting down LA the entire quarter as well. The point being, Gabbert got sloppy for no reason as he forced passes on bad reads, and nearly had 2 picks, including a near pick 6.

Just as inexplicably, Chipper got a little more creative and the offense started moving again. 14 points later the game was a blowout, and the Rams, behind Jeff Fisher (10 penalties for 102 yards) got demoralized, chippy, and stupid. Which led to Aaron Donald being ejected from the game for trying to behead Quinton Patton.

As for the D, well, pitching a shutout is hard in the NFL. Even with a challenged group like the LA Rams and Kasey Kaseum. The line held Gurley to 47 yards on 17 carries, and a grand total of 185 yards. They got nothing deep and everything was horizontal.

All in all, it looks like a good game to start the season. How this bodes for the 3-time-zone cross-country-trip-on-a-short-week-and-play-the-early-game-on-the-East-Coast (FUCK THE SCHEDULERS) remains to be seen, but we did this last year and it went south in a hurry.

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Game Day! (The) Silence (of) the Lambs

Here we are, the final game of the opening week of NFL 2016. We get the east coast/west coast Monday Night double-header. Cool for us on the West Coast, but if there are any 49er fans in New York, they get a 10:40 pm start time. Kinda sucks for them, but Monday Night Football has always been a bit of a fuck-a-row for the East Coasters.

Anyhoo, this game is going to be a test for both teams. Chip kelly is for all intents and purposes seemingly done a decent job of taking a bunch of miscellaneous parts from the previous regime and a recent draft that focussed on both lines to give us a small sliver of hope that the team may have a solid base to work from. At least this is what gives me hope.

QB? Well, this is a bit of a quandary. Blaine Gabbert won the job merely by being there more than Colin Kaepernick. Nothing great, but not a lot of mistakes either. Kappy? Well, depending on how tonight goes, he could very well be the starter by next week. He will bide his time as the insurance policy. As far as routes go, I’m hoping we played it close to the vest as there was very little mid-range top deep passing.

RB? Both Carlos Hyde and Shaun Draughn played little in the preseason due to injury, but both showed a lot of solid running. Keeping Hyde healthy is vastly important to the fate of this team. Draughn is a very nice compliment to Hyde, and backups Davis and Harris even looked good.

WR? The big unknown. Adding Rod Streater and Jeremy Kerley at least gives us some experienced guys after Bruce Ellington went down again. Torrey Smith has an amazingly great attitude after basically being ignored all last season, so the hope is, as with the QBs that we can open things up tonight and get the ball downfield more than the 6 yard bites we saw in the preseason.

The O line, despite the shenanigans of Anthony Davis, looks vastly improved over last year’s version. Trent Brown has been very solid at RT so far, garnering praise at all stops, and the return of a healthy Kilgore Trout cannot be understated. Andrew Tiller replaces a reluctant AD and pushes him to backup RT. Joe Staley is still in fine form, and FA acquisition Zane Beadles has been solid as well as he has kept first round pick Josh Garnett from cracking the starting lineup.

Vance McD looks to be finally on the verge of a breakout year, and he’s decent enough as a blocker, as is Garrett Celek. Bell has shown flashes of good hands.

On D we should see a lot of improvement. The DBs are healthy and have looked nothing short of fantastic. Eric Reid had a nice pick 6 on Trevor Siemien, and the coverage was spot-on most every game with the starters.

The pass rush is another matter as no one has shown too much against us in the preseason to make a determination. Marcus Rush looked like a pretty good 3rd down option, but he’s on the PS for now. Aaron Lynch is serving his 4 game suspension, and a significantly lighter Tank Carradine steps in for him alongside Ahmad Brooks, the enigmatic on-again-off-again presence. Ray-Ray Armstrong had a very solid preseason and camp to push his way into the lineup alongside NaVorro Bowman.

The D line suffered a major blow since Ian Williams wasn’t able to make it back from his ankle injury. The entire D line hasn’t played a down yet together as NT Glenn Dorsey is also nursing nagging injuries, but we get to see the bookend Ducks Arik Armstead and DeForest Buckner hit the field tonight along with Quinton Dial. The key here will be the rotation to keep these guys fresh against Todd Gurley. Mike Purcell at NT and Tony Jerrod-Eddie will also be rotating throughout the game, I’m sure.

So, shoot me for being a little optimistic. I think this team looks a lot better than it did one year ago. The coaching staff can’t help but be better than last year’s train wreck, and that should lead to a couple more wins than last year. Better overall play on both lines is my main reason for hope.

 

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The Season is Here!

Carolina travels to Sherpaland to open the 2016 season! The talk is over. The miasma of uncertainty  stops, and the real shit begins. Of course, the Niners are saved for the last game. Monday night vs the Rams.

To me this is a very important game. Given the tough schedule, this would appear to be the most winnable of the first 5. The. A k end isn’t as tough as the beginning, but all may be lost by then.

Well, enough talk. Play ball!

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The Taxi Squad is Here . . .

TAXI SQUAD
Maximum of 10 players

  • WR           Dres Anderson
  • OL             Alex Balducci
  • OL             Fahn Cooper
  • TE             Je’Ron Hamm
  • CB            Prince Charles Iworah
  • OL             Norman Price
  • LB             Marcus Rush
  • LB             Shayne Skov
  • RB            Kelvin Taylor

I’m glad they were able to keep Skov, Rush, Hamm, Anderson, and Taylor. All of those guys showed something promising. I’m a little surprised Rush wasn’t snapped up by someone. He may be undersized and one-dimensional, but he showed a very quick burst to the QB and caused disruptions on passing downs. Hamm has nice hands, as does Taylor out of the backfield. Dres? Made a nice adjustment on the TD pass from Ponder. He must be showing something in practice. Same with Harper and the linemen. Hey’ I’m just glad to see Pears gone.

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The Cuts Are In . . .

  • WR           Dres Anderson
  • OL            Alex Balducci
  • WR           Devon Cajuste
  • DL            Demetrius Cherry
  • OL            Fahn Cooper
  • QB            Jeff Driskel
  • TE            Je’Ron Hamm
  • RB            DuJuan Harris
  • CB            Prince Charles Iworah
  • OL            Colin Kelly
  • LB            Corey Lemonier
  • DL            B.J. McBryde
  • OL            Norman Price
  • LB            Marcus Rush
  • LB            Shayne Skov
  • NT            Garrison Smith
  • RB            Kelvin Taylor
  • WR           Bryce Treggs
  • WR           Ryan Whalen
  • WR           DeAndrew White

The good, Lemonier. The bad, DeAndrew White, Dres Anderson, Marcus Rush, Shayne Skov. The Ugly? The rest. The surprises to me were Rush and the young WRs. I guess they werem’t getting open, but I thought Skov would stick for special teams, and Rush would fit in as a 3rd down pass rusher.

I think Driskell,  Anderson, and Rush are headed for the taxi squad. G Smith as well. Looks like Ponder makes the grade as a hedge against the rest of the generally mediocre performances of Gabby and Kappy. Let the games begin!

 

 

 

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Yes! The Preseason is OVER ! ! !

The Niners won a thrilling (zzzzzzzzzzzz) contest of wills and flags in Sandy Eggo as the backups from SF beat the backups of SD 31-21. 2-2 in these meaningless games, but the takeaway from this game is that no one got hurt.

Colin Kaepernick afro’ed himself  into a middling performance that didn’t change any minds about the pecking order. Blaine Gabbert is our starter, Kaepernick is the backup. After that, Jeff Drisekll looked horrible, throwing 2 pick in 3 passes in a bad 3rd quarter stretch. Christina Ponder continues to impress against the backup brigade, throwing passes to WRs and generally looking like he should stick. Over Driskell? Yes.

Other that that, the other hot players coming out of camp are Marcus Rush and Mike Davis. But for two fumbles, Davis would be even more of a shoe-in for the back-up RB spot. That should be his.  Carlos Hyde is once again a question mark, and Shaun Draughn is battling a rib injury himself, so Davis, and possibly Kelvin Taylor, will make the squad.

WR is a big question mark as well, but Kerley made a few nice catches from CK. Beyond Torrey Smith and Kerley, we got a lot of young guys. Dres Anderson had a clutch catch on the goal line on the 1st drive, and after that? Unsure.

For the D line, Ronald Blair had another solid game, and the D line in general has played well despite losing Ian Williams, and Dorsey’s uncertain status. DBs as well. No surprises there.  I was a little surprised to see Kenneth Acker traded, but we have a soliod group of defenders.

Optimistic? Who knows? I’d like to be, but this season has been way too wacky to be realistic. Will Kappy get cut? No. Despite the hooraw, he’s better than Driskell. Ponder? Well, that’s harder to tell, but I think they carry all three at this point. Kelly can’t afford to be caught short-handed with all the weirdness circling the team. Still think this could be an 8-8 team if they can get healthier and not get too many injuries.

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Fuck the Preseason . . . Last Game !

So far we’ve lost players, games, and the backing of the police. Think the Chipster is maybe rethinking his job choices? Hey, it’s a paying gig, and really, if he can get something out of this team resembling decent football his stock will rise pretty high. But as it stands now, the team still looks like a clusterfuck nightmare. There’s no apparent front office turmoil, and they haven’t weighed in on the Kappy deal other than to say it’s within his rights as an American to sit for the anthem, but there is still a swirling miasma of unanswered questions about the team, why the front office has been ignoring the QB position in the draft, the WR position in the draft, and basically sat on its thumbs while having scads of cash available to sign free agents. Signing a backup guard is hardly ground breaking stuff.

Whatever the anthem fallout is, Chip is saying Kappy is still part of the team, and still part of the QB race.  Granted, I think Kappy has two blown tires and is leaking oil at an alarming rate, but who the fuck knows? A bad performance against San Diego’s Walmart brigade could spell the end for Kaepernick here or anywhere. A good performance? Well, there are teams like Dallas and Denver who at this point are dealing with major uncertainty at the QB spot. So, a trade is a possibility I suppose. Jerry Jerk-off loves him some craziness so he could very well trade for him. Elway? Well, I think the water has cooled significantly on that one. Even with Denver looking like they may implode themselves.

Beyond that, the game tonight will be a picture of ugly Americans lashing out at someone going out on a limb. The mob mentality will prevail and the potential for a lot of ugliness exists. I have no problem with the military or supporting the job they do, but I also think there are systemic problems with the police in this country.

 

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