In the week leading up to the official return of the West Coast Offense--the most exciting event in ages--Greg Roman issued a curious warning: prepare yourselves for disappointment. "I don't think in the little bit over a month that we've been together that we've been able to ... strap anything together that's really going to surprise anybody," he said, preemptively invoking the lockout as an excuse for the absence of bells and whistles. In the end, he said, with something approaching a sad resignation: "You are what you are."
And what exactly are we?
For THIS week, at least, we're exactly the same.
Oh, don't get me wrong. The exotic formations and personnel-groupings were pleasant trappings of creativity. But they seemed to mask an archaic philosophy. That is to say, play it safe. Rely on a straight-ahead running game, no matter how ineffective it is; be content with kicking field goals, instead of taking the risks inherent in going for touchdowns; and let the defense (and, perhaps, the special teams) deliver the win.
Where, oh where, have we seen this before?
Indeed, this game felt just like those games that made us cringe in recent years. Our defense was heroic, putting relentless pressure on Tarvaris Jackson--with scarcely any blitzing, mind you--while ultimately forcing 3 turnovers and allowing only 219 yards, 3 per rush and 4 per pass. Yet our offense, despite starting drives at the Seahawks' 27 and 9, settled for field goals. We added a THIRD field goal when a longer drive stalled after four straight runs. At last, just before halftime, another drive beginning in Seattle territory ended in pay dirt. Still, if you'd watched this team the last few years, you knew that bad things happen when we don't maximize our opportunities. And here, with the same Frank Gore three-yard runs and the same Alex Smith checkdown passes (save for a couple of very nice deep ones), we were leaving points all over the field.
In the second half, you could feel it coming. Our offense opened with a three-and-out, running on first-and-10 and third-and-12. Seattle responded with a 56-yard touchdown drive, as our defense started to show its fatigue. Our O pitched in with two more three-and-outs, and Seattle drove 65 yards for a field goal. Our O at last sustained a drive, but settled for a field goal again when four straight runs left us stuck at the one. Seattle then went 80 yards in 6 plays, and all of a sudden, what should've been a humongous lead was down to only 2.
Don't tell me you didn't know what would happen next. Our O would play it safe, of course; we'd kick either a sixth punt or a fifth field goal; and we'd ask our D--exhausted now--to make a final stop. Our D might do it (see Cutler, Jay), but then again, maybe it wouldn't (see Favre, Brett). Either way, though, we'd let a blowout go down to the wire.
And that's when Ted Ginn let BOTH our O and our D off the hook.
Afterward, though Jim Harbaugh expressed no need to "look at the film," he otherwise sounded precisely like the man he'd replaced. He praised the O's "blue-collar" mode: "running the ball, not forcing the throw, playing field position." A day later, he bristled at suggestions that he was "playing safe"; running on third-and-long, he said, gave us "the best chance of success on the down and in the football game."
"I don't think we're [playing] safe," he said, fooling absolutely nobody. "I think we're attacking and I think we're playing to win."
What on earth is happening?
What's happening is that Harbaugh is changing HIS style more than he's changing ours. Asked what happened to his crucial promise, Harbaugh insisted that this IS the West Coast Offense, at least in terms of its "terminology and verbiage." But as he went on to point out, "the West Coast is a big, big system. It can encompass the talents of your players to be used in a variety of ways." So, since the talents of our current players are, shall we say, DIFFERENT from those of our dynasty days, "you're not going to see a replication of what the team did in the '80s or '90s."
Dang. I kind of LIKED the '80s and '90s.
I think we've had a misunderstanding. Of course, no one thought that the West Coast Offense would trigger an instant dynasty. But it was supposed to mean more than running the West Coast versions of the same lousy plays. If you run on seven third-downs, as we did--naturally, we converted none--you might be running WCO plays, but you're not really running the WCO. The WCO isn't just "terminology and verbiage." It's a PHILOSOPHY. It doesn't surrender its fate to the defense, and it certainly doesn't wait to be bailed out by kickoff and punt returns.
It attacks. It doesn't just say so; it DOES so.
This wasn't an issue for Harbaugh at Stanford. With Andrew Luck, Harbaugh crushed his opponents with an almost violent aggression. With Alex Smith, it's a different story. Oh, sure, Harbaugh showered him with outlandish praise, wrapped him up in a manly hug. But all this for completing mostly shorties for barely more than a hundred yards--for simply not giving the game away. Why such a pathetic standard? It's not the lockout, not when ROOKIES are throwing for more than 400. It's something else: clearly, despite Harbaugh's coachspeak, playing it safe is all that he trusts Smith to do.
Forget about Harbaugh turning Smith into Joe Montana. For now, at least, Smith has turned Harbaugh into Jimmy Raye. Incredibly, the nightmare goes on.
We won, though, you'll quickly point out, and 'round and 'round we'll go again. Four years ago, we won our first game, beating a division rival despite gaining only 194 yards. Two years ago, we won our first game, beating a division rival despite gaining only 203 yards. And now THIS year, we've won our first game, beating a division rival despite gaining only 209 yards.
But THIS year, you'll say, things'll be different. THIS year, we've got the West Coast Offense.
But we don't. Unfortunately, we really don't.
Date: September 19, 2011 at 2:19 PM
Comment: Jeff you've captured the essence of today's 49ers. New head coach, the same philosophy we've had since Nolan. I can't believe Harbaugh is calling the shots. I can't believe we paid A. Smith 5 mil. for mediocre, 100 yd. performances. Harbaugh is already protecting him. Harbs be a man, open up, take chances, attack on both sides of the ball. We were on the brink of letting the Seattle game slide away in the 4th qtr. only to be saved by two miracle returns from T. Ginn. Whenever the opposition decides to commit to the pass they have major success against a way-below-average 49er secondary. Couple that with the Nowin, Dingleberry, Harbnoballs brand of conservative run-it-up-the-gut-till-it-hurts football and we have a team that will have a worse record than last year. High hopes and admiration for a "bright new coach"? Bull, this is not even close to a "West Coast Offense"! Bill Walsh is turning over in his grave. Just keep coaching "Not to lose" like Mike and Mike before you and you'll be making excuses for your failures all year! Pass, attack, keep them off balance, no more FEAR Harbs! You can be mediocre with Smith if you want to write this season off already!
Date: September 18, 2011 at 9:21 AM
Comment: i think the niners offense will come around with time, i also feel they will do better against dallas...on that note warren sapp was saying that the niners are tanking the season to get a. luck. i think sapp is ignorant, all he does is laugh and get fatter--he does not belong on tv, ugly dude.
Date: September 16, 2011 at 12:35 PM
Comment: I am not happy with last week's performance, but drawing all these conclusions based on one game is absurd.
Date: September 16, 2011 at 11:25 AM
Comment: Well you never responded to my first post so I assume that you agree. Question for ya, what will you do if the Niners win on Sunday. What will you do if A Smith plays well. I figure that because the odds are in your favor you should be able to man up and accept some kind of challenge. What do you think ??? :P
Date: September 15, 2011 at 10:10 PM
Comment: For all the mad love you give to Harbaugh, I'm surprised you're not defending him here. Yeah, the offense was vanilla and at-a-glance it doesn't seem much different from what Jimmy Raye was doing but there's clearly a method to his madness. The man rightfully does not trust Smith, yet his other options are two rookies who are nowhere near ready. Thus, his primary goal this season is to keep Alex upright. Pretty tall order given how the OL showed they are utterly incapable of pass protection in the preseason. Yet somehow he pulled it off. The blind-side sack resulting in a fumble that has typified Smith's career didn't happen. And remember, Harbaugh was a coach who ran the ball in college before he got his QB so his Gore-heavy attack isn't that surprising. The triumphant return of the WCO will come when Harbaugh finally has his QB. Until then, the gameplan is for Alex Smith to keep the seat warm and not get pummeled while doing so.
Date: September 15, 2011 at 10:21 AM
Comment: You have 4 OL that were 1st Round picks and one that was a 2nd Round pick. You have 2 receivers and 1 TE that were 1st Round picks. Then you have a BUST 1st overall pick QB. He has all the talent in the world around him to succeed but HE doesn't have the instincts to be an NFL QB. Baalke stated that last year. Said that the good and GREAT QBs in the NFL get rid of the ball on average 1-2 seconds FASTER than Alex Smith. Meaning drop back make their reads and BAM ball gone. Or step UP, to the left or to the right and then BAM ball gone. Alex Smith? Drop back...freak the heck out and roll up into the fetal position or run towards out of bounds. 6 years of that same thing over and over. ENOUGH SAID.
Date: September 15, 2011 at 9:15 AM
Comment: Throw caution to the wind and the ball down the field. What do you really have to lose ... just another season if the Niners continue to 'Nip & Tuck' their way to the goal line. Last game against the Seahawks we must have had 6 or 7 plays within the 5 yard line, but no passes into the corner of the end zone, just plow ahead and eventually settle for a field goal again! Too many games lost in the past by taking field goals instead of going for the TD. The O-line needs to fend off rushers and the Qback (whoever) needs to 'Zip' the ball at least 10+ yards once in a while ... we have the horses to bring it in!
Date: September 15, 2011 at 8:23 AM
Comment: Bottom line is Alex Smith is NOT an NFL starting QB. After 6 years look at his stats. Look at his W-L record. They DON'T lie. He doesn't have it plain and simple. Make all the excuses you want.
Date: September 15, 2011 at 6:18 AM
Comment: Jeff, I am kind of on the fence on this one. I do not want to jump to a lot of conclusions based on one game, but then again why hold anything back? The answer is this team is far from ready and by that I mean system and personnel wise. This is definitely a transition year, hopefully we will start seeing progress as the season unfolds but I do not expect a lot, especially not playoffs.
Date: September 14, 2011 at 8:07 PM
Comment: Jeff, I think if you looked out the window and saw drops of water falling from the sky and said look it's raining people would dispute it!... that game was terrible, i don't care what anyone says. great article. more important, i know you think next yr is the yr of the WCO but do you think that Kap can run it?? i'm not sold it's his style personally, not yet anyway. How real of a shot does Scotty T have? I would love to see them play this year but the problem (under my theory) is, based off the schedule, our D, and our ST, i actually have us at 8-9 wins... which keeps us in a playoff race all year. I don't think we see the rooks at all this year.
By: you are smarter than Harbaugh
Date: September 14, 2011 at 4:27 PM
Comment: This knee-jerk kind of article belongs on fox news, this was Harbaugh's first game as an NFL coach yes he was aggressive in college but the NFL is not college football the niners have an incredible football legacy and maybe the guy got a little nervous and wanted to play it safe with a mediocre (at best) Qb and an offense that had 3 weeks to practice an entirely new scheme. Did you ever think that maybe this man who turned around shit college teams knows what he is doing? This man who is notoriously secretive and who could have gone to pretty much any team in the NFL? To think that maybe he knew that this is pretty much all we needed to do to beat the crap hawks especially when our front was getting so much pressure? Maybe he was thinking hey i'll hide some of the good plays for when we actually need them and not show the rest of the League our real offense. Or maybe this man who has developed Luck and so many other Qb's decided that he wanted to go to an NFL team that was a national joke and ruin his reputation and career by doing the same thing that has been done before... which one is more plausible? Try thinking before you make yourself look like an idiot.
Date: September 14, 2011 at 10:53 AM
Comment: To the writer... How sure are you that all of these conclusions that you are drawing from this one game are going to be valid after 9, 10, 11 games? It does not seem rational to make that assumption. This reminds me of the article that was written about Baalke screwing up the offseason that was written after the first few days of free agency.
By: STL Niner Fan
Date: September 14, 2011 at 8:10 AM
Comment: While I'm not one to press the panic button after preseason or even early season results, I do believe Kaplan's points here are valid and worthy of serious consideration. I was shocked at the play calling during the game. Just shocked. It was like we hadn't changed anything from the prior regime. And when we got a fresh set of downs at the Seahawks' 9 and refused even then to throw a pass I was floored. Hell I think even Jimmy Raye would have called up at least one throw. Plus I thought Smith looked pretty good when given the chance to do something. The bottom line, we've seen this trend before...a couple early season wins by the skin of our teeth with no offensive production. Niner Nation proudly proclaims "hey we won didn't we?". Yet the season ends with at best a .500 record. I'm not ready to press the panic button yet but this is an all too familiar beginning to an NFL season....I guess I was just hoping for more signs of life than we showed. I can tell you this, unless the offensive philosophy changes, we will not contend with the better teams in this league and we will be LUCKY to post a .500 record.
By: Canadian Faithful
Date: September 14, 2011 at 7:39 AM
Comment: You like the 80's and 90's........Montana and Young completed several passes for under 10 yards in the WCO and had receivers that ran 90 YDS TO PAYDIRT! Alex Smith was efficient and mistake free on Sunday. He completed 15 of 20 passes I believe? Several the same under 10 yard variety. The recipe against Seattle is to ground them and pound the ball. Then play defense. I saw a wishbone formation on Sunday! Something I have not seen in several years from the Niners. That is WCO...yes/no? I don't buy the doom and gloom. If this current coach and QB win a few games and quit being the Cleveland Indians of the Major League movies maybe all the reporters...like yourself...will lay off and just enjoy the success. It has only been one game!! I hate to say it but there obviously is far too much opportunity for media to write something these days. I hope you have an opportunity next week to eat some crow regarding this "Black Sunday" article. You play to win. JH & AS played to win. Forget the style points of the 80's and 90's. Those days are gone. Just WIN!!! A recipe to win every week!
Date: September 14, 2011 at 12:50 AM
Comment: kaplan, you are pathetic. so long.
By: Nick S.
Date: September 13, 2011 at 11:19 PM
Comment: People call Kaplan hyperbolic, and this article is the perfect evidence. Three words can describe this article Jeff... knee-jerk reaction (or two words with a hyphen).
Date: September 13, 2011 at 10:18 PM
Comment: Item 1) Much easier to teach a single person (C. Newton) an established offence than to teach a whole team a new one. Item 2) Smith ain't (using ain't for effect) Newton. Item 3) Jesus Christ can we give Harbaugh ANY time before we expect miracles? Item 4) Alex sucks (I'm pretty sure). Item 5) Donovan, Vince, Kolb CHOSE NOT TO BE IN SF. Item 6) Anyone who thinks this team would be great this year knows NOTHING about football, and Jeff you're no exception.
Date: September 13, 2011 at 9:20 PM
Comment: Jeff, first off thank you for telling it like it is! I'm sickened!! How anyone can be happy about that win is sad. this is what we have become? celebrating that dogsh*t game?? i live in NY and it reminds me of when yankees fans praise AJ Burnett just for going 5 innings! I make my friends watch SF on direct TV every sunday, they may not talk to me again all week!! everyone agreed (including myself) it was the worst game on sunday. you take those returns away and you have high school football, wait that's an insult to my alma mater! Jeff we are on the same page all the way, i said ten times did jimmy raye come back?? you know it's bad when you're rooting for your QB to throw a pick just to show some guts! lockout my ass, this weekend was PACKED with offense! bottom line, i'm still gonna believe, but if we don't make a change sunday feel safe to bet your house on the cowboys. this isn't gonna be jabbing the seachickens to death, we need to throw some punches to beat the boys. to anyone who says a win is a win... remember we don't play seattle 11 times this year!
Date: September 13, 2011 at 8:29 PM
Comment: I thought the game plan was almost perfect. But the 49ers won. I must admit that while I can't help wanting the 49ers to win, I don't want to see another bad team, like say, the Seahawks, to end up with Andrew Luck in the '12 draft. The 49ers have won the last game of the season, and thus hurt their pick selection, in too many recent years--remember Patrick Peterson? I realize it seems crazy to hope we beat the good teams, and lose to the bad teams, but let's face it, this year's team ain't goin' anywhere near the Super Bowl, so why not just take out our frustration to win on the Cowboys, Giants, Steelers, etc. and play "blue collar" against the (bad) teams we're really competing against, and lose. But win.
By: Chris Platt
Date: September 13, 2011 at 6:33 PM
Comment: Okay, believe it or not it has been one week. So let's not judge Harbaugh's system on one game in which we led by two scores the entire game. It was pretty obvious he kept it close to the vest and then when they had to open it up they did. Plus, given Harbaugh's propensity for playing things close to the vest, I'm not shocked to hear him kind of play down his system in a sense. Any relatively knowledgeable 49er fan can see that Harbaugh is introducing a pretty complicated and different WC scheme that is much different than Raye's. We can't forget that Harbaugh and Roman have had a lot less time than normal to introduce this system so why don't we stop complaining Kaplan and enjoy a 49er win.
By: Lucky Phil
Date: September 13, 2011 at 3:53 PM
Comment: This game was all about trust. Coach says great things about Alex, but the OC and Harbaugh don't trust our QB not to lose the game. This wasn't about asking Alex to win the game, it was about do we have the confidence to let him throw on 3rd down. And Coach didn't. We can't run the WCO without confidence in the QB. I liked the 80's and 90's offense too, Jeff. But there will never be another Bill Walsh, Montana, Rice, J Taylor. Doesn't mean we can't run the WCO with what we have. A Smith, Davis, Edwards, and Gore can be very productive in that offense. But Coach needs to let Smith throw on 1st, 2nd, 3rd downs and trust that O-line to hold the rush. Smith will surprise people if you give him the time to throw, and you don't need much time throwing short passes in the WCO. The WCO is all about getting positive yards, a short quick passing attack to RB's, WR's and TE's spread the LB's. When CB's cannot tackle the WR's and RB's on the edge it opens the interior running game because the LB's have to play the pass. WCO has always been pass first to set up the run. Harbaugh's version of WC is establish the power run first and then pass. Not sure I understand the logic of it.
Date: September 13, 2011 at 3:44 PM
Comment: Give the team a few more games. I don't think they wanted to show much in this game, considering their next few opponents. Joe and Steve advised fans to be patient.
Date: September 13, 2011 at 2:34 PM
Comment: Thanks for your insight Terry.
Date: September 13, 2011 at 2:21 PM
Comment: That for sure wasn't any WCO that I ever witnessed before. I was sure hoping we would run to the outside more than we did. I was hoping we would throw at least five to eight yards and let the YAC take care of more yardage. I think Alex did just fine but I could have done what was asked of him. The question I have about Alex still remains unanswered. When I see Newton, Sanchez, and even Henne throw the ball I start getting upset with our system. Now if we ran the ball good then I wouldn't mind but we didn't. If we win with what we have then okay great but I don't see that happening. I still think it's too early to be critical, I was hoping to do that at the bye week. If our offense plays this week like it did against the Hawks I can't see us winning. There was a lot of positives that came out of the game tho and I am not talking about special teams.
By: Terry B.
Date: September 13, 2011 at 1:57 PM
Comment: Steve, there is nothing more tiresome than the argument that only those who coach or play the game are qualified to comment on it. You don't need to be a coach or player to offer an opinion on running the ball seven times on third down. That's cowardly, play-not-to-lose football. If the only valid opinons are from those who coach the team or create the game plan, then I don't know what you're doing at this site since no one who coaches the 49ers writes for this site. I totally disagree with your argument that this column offered personal frustration rather than good commentary. An example of bad commentary is what Dallas Niner Fan wrote below. The easy column to write would have been "we won, all is good." For anyone with two eyes and half a brain, it is clear that all is not good. That's what's refreshing about this article. I don't just want to read mindless, pointless cheerleading. Despite the win, there are a lot of reasons to be worried about this team.
By: Dallas Niner Fan
Date: September 13, 2011 at 1:10 PM
Comment: In response to the above article I would like to quote the infamous Al Davis: "Just win baby!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" PS: they better beat Dallas. I don't care how ugly it is.
Date: September 13, 2011 at 1:03 PM
Comment: Terry, I'm not trying to sway your opinion, or enlighten you in any way. I think if you read the majority of the comments made about the article, the feeling is shared about it. It is tiring to read material like this one, that is more of a personal rant than an objective article. It is easy to have a critical opinion about something when you're not the one that has to coach the team, or create the game plan. That is what I was alluding to with the cop-out comment. There is so much to the job of coaching a professional team that you and I as laymen do not see. I have been a fan from the sixties until now. I went through the bad times, the good times, and the bad times again. I heard and read all the articles about Bill Walsh in his first year of coaching. Many of them were on the order of this one. It is just impossible to foresee what is going to happen in a season, or with a coach and team. There are just too many variables that play into it, and writing personal rants do nothing but that...rant. For me, I like to see good analysis, whether it is positive for my position on the team or negative. I just feel this article is personal frustration, and not good commentary.
By: M. Horner
Date: September 13, 2011 at 12:36 PM
Comment: These comments make me want to dump a bucket of urine on someone's head. I can't believe how pathetic 49er fans have become. Our wasted decade of Erickson, Nolan, and Singletary has lowered our expectations so much that we now think that THAT crappy performance was something to get excited about. God, we're in for a long season.
Date: September 13, 2011 at 12:28 PM
Comment: Keff Japlan sarcastically writes: "we won, we won, but we still suck." So, in Keff's view, you don't suck if you won, but you do suck if you lost. So the Saints suck, but the 49ers don't? I see...
Date: September 13, 2011 at 12:27 PM
Comment: Author writes marginal press maybe to provoke response. Recall that every team that has tried to implement the WCO took time to do it. In Walsh's original incarnation, it took two seasons and benching Steve DeBerg for Joe Montana to implement the WCO. In its original incarnation the WCO supplanted the run with short passes exploiting what the defense gave. Game 1 is way too early to say things are the same.
By: Terry B.
Date: September 13, 2011 at 12:25 PM
Comment: Steve, could you enlighten us please on the difference between personal commentary and factual and objective commentary? The above column offers a personal opinion based on objective facts: e.g., running 7 times on third down (objective fact) looks like a cowardly Mike Singletary offense (personal opinion). Isn't this what all sports columnists do? You have done nothing to dissuade me from my personal opinion that you made the dumbest comment I have ever seen on this site. Oh, and who besides Jeff is providing the "good commentary" on this site? I must have missed it.
By: R Nuu
Date: September 13, 2011 at 11:44 AM
Comment: I don't know why I keep clicking on Kaplan's articles. All I know is I feel sorry I did.
By: Doesnt Matter
Date: September 13, 2011 at 11:41 AM
Comment: Why is this guy a blogger for this site? All I read when I read his articles are "blah, blah, whine, whine..." I think he thinks he should coach the 49ers, honestly.
Date: September 13, 2011 at 11:41 AM
Comment: You are being ridiculous. Cam Newton blah blah blah. I don't care if our offense is still prehistoric. There was still an obvious difference this year. Harbaugh ran Singletary's offense better than Singletary ever could/will. He took Nolan's/Singletary's players and made those players look professional. He managed a game that was simple but proficient. First try, right out of the gate. Already better than we have seen before. You have plenty of reason to not like Alex Smith, but he played very well. No mistakes is a big step for him. In the years past his mistakes were what lost the game for SF. I want to see more passing too, but not if we lose.
Date: September 13, 2011 at 11:22 AM
Comment: ya kaplan one thing means everything. one game and one comment made after a game means everything for our whole team and our whole season, keep tellin yourself that. like calidreamin said, most of the people come to these articles now for the entertainment of this ridiculousness. but with each one they become less and less a reflection of the what the 49ers actually do and more and more of an interpretation of what you want to think the niners did. just state the facts, it's easy.
By: Keff Japlan
Date: September 13, 2011 at 11:17 AM
Comment: We won, we won, but we still suck.
Date: September 13, 2011 at 11:12 AM
Comment: I really hope this guy isn't getting paid. I keep telling myself not to click these Kaplan ... paragraphs. Good job 9ers it's not coming overnight but it's coming.
Date: September 13, 2011 at 11:07 AM
Comment: Terry B. I think my comment about cop-out is easy to understand. We are spectators that have opinions, but there is a difference between personal "commentary", and factual and objective "commentary". As to why I visit this site. I enjoy seeing some good "commentary". Unfortunately, you have to sift among the bad to find the good. Don't take my cop-out comment too seriously Terry. It's just personal "commentary".
Date: September 13, 2011 at 10:53 AM
Comment: Yes, after six weeks Roman's offense was as productive as Raye's offense after eighteen months. I'm eager to see how Roman's offense looks after another six weeks. Remain calm. Nothing to see here . . . yet.
By: Terry B.
Date: September 13, 2011 at 10:24 AM
Comment: Steve may have posted the dumbest comment to ever appear on this page--and that's saying something. "Opinion with no personal risk involved is such a cop-out." In other words, ALL sports commentary is invalid. Steve, if that is the case, why in the world are you even visiting this site?
Date: September 13, 2011 at 10:23 AM
Comment: The only thing that matters is to win by any means necessary. Stats will not put a team in the playoffs, only games won will do that.
Date: September 13, 2011 at 10:19 AM
Comment: NinerEd75: This isn't even good enough to be in Niner Talk. It should be in Ninny Talk. Jeff, this has to be one of the worst rants you've ever published. Drawing conclusions after just one game. You really believe every word out of Harbaugh's mouth? Really? CoachSpeak? What are you going to write about when Harbaugh allows the offense to suddenly light it up against the Cowgirls? I -- for one -- would not be all that surprised to see this happen. Harbaugh has let it be known -- through his mouth -- that he's going to stick with bland and boring. Watch what the man DOES, Mr. Kaplan, not what he SAYS.
Date: September 13, 2011 at 10:11 AM
Comment: Alex Smith can throw for 125 yards all day and if that gets me a win every Sunday then I don't give a crap. He made no mistakes and he was accurate.
Date: September 13, 2011 at 10:11 AM
Comment: It's gonna take more than one game to get the WCO installed and Carroll was trying to bait Smith into throwing it into coverage. I do agree that what we saw was not the WCO, but don't blame Smith for that. I think that if anything Harbaugh was protecting his QB a bit. Giving him a functional Offense while keeping him upright. Because the more comfortable a QB is in the pocket the more fun he's likely to have and that's Harbaugh's goal. Make it fun and his QB will take chances while being more accurate. When Smith DID get the chance to throw deep, he did so and he was accurate. The things that most 9er fans believe he can't be. We'll see this Sunday.
Date: September 13, 2011 at 10:09 AM
Comment: "Incredibly, the nightmare goes on"??? We won. Was it perfect? Was it in the manner we would have liked (42-3), no. But to say that winning is an nightmare is a little much. If Singletary and Raye had won, with their dinosaur offence, Harbaugh would not be here and we would not be having this discussion. Be happy, enjoy what you've got because it is something to build on.
Date: September 13, 2011 at 10:06 AM
Comment: This article was RATHER in such terms ANNOYING to READ with the constant EMPHASIS on CERTAIN words.
Date: September 13, 2011 at 10:05 AM
Comment: Barabino well said!
By: Scott Bennett
Date: September 13, 2011 at 10:03 AM
Comment: Well you are right in saying "here we go again". Every week we can depend on you to give us the half empty version of any ray of hope we may get when watching our team play. Then you wonder why J.H. doesn't really want to make statements to you guys? Thank you again for this week's downer!
Date: September 13, 2011 at 9:56 AM
Comment: Not beating up on anybody, but the offense will be as good as the guy at the helm. The q.b. has his own game and any coordinator will have to work around that game. It is not by accident that the 9ers have been tops in the league in three and outs the last 6+ seasons. The team's inability to find/connect with receivers downfield, holding onto the ball and being unable to throw receivers open, as a result you have constant checkdowns. They can only do so much with the q.b. they've chosen at the helm.
Date: September 13, 2011 at 9:56 AM
Comment: Seriously, I didn't realize how many ways people could complain about a win. Harbaugh took what was given to him (team, players, opponent) and got a win out of it. I don't see a whole lot of negatives. As far as offensive production, we will improve as the season goes on. What did you expect from a brand new coaching staff that only has a month to prepare its team for the season? They got a win, and, as you know, those haven't come easy the past decade or so. It'll take time. We're starting over. Again. This time, though, I fully trust the coaches to get the most out of this team. It may not be pretty, but I think we may surprise some people. Including our own fans, apparently.