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And the Anti-Heitmann Crowd Suddenly Went Silent

Originally posted by 49ers:
Originally posted by LA9erFan:
Originally posted by MadDog49er:
Captain Heitmann

An article stating that Eric Heitmann has been named as a team captain. No praise from anyone.

Evidence of league-wide recognition for Heitmann=

Quote:
Review of Cards Game

Kevin Lynch, a SF writer, saying "Center Eric Heitmann shifted the line adroitly and no one broke into the backfield untouched (except once but in that case it was up to O'Sullivan to get rid of the ball and he did). Heitmann also did a fine job stopping the pressure up the middle. All the heat came from outside."

Evidence of league-wide recognition for Heitmann= Minimal. It is a review of one game (Arizona, Week 1). No opinion of him overall as a player, just evaluation that he played well in Week 1.

Quote:
Preseason Analysis

Another article written by a SF writer, Craig Massei. Here is what he says about Heitmann:

"With new opening-day starters at every position except center - which is capably manned by veteran Eric Heitmann, who is playing the best football of his career as the season begins..."

"...A solid center in Eric Heitmann."

The first statement is relative to Heitmann's own performance, and not a statement on how he is regarded league-wide. It would be a definite stretch of the imagination to say that saying that Heitmann was "solid" is a glowing endorsement along the lines of him being one of the best interior linemen in the NFC.

Evidence of league-wide recognition for Heitmann= Minimal Sorry, a local writer calling him "solid" doesn't make a compelling case.

Barrows' Analysis of Heitmann

"A year ago at this time, Heitmann had made a Herculean effort to return to the field following a broken leg late in the 2006 season. Largely because of that effort, he won the team's Bobb McKittrick award (voted on by the offensive line) as well as the Ed Block Courage award. Heitmann, however, wasn't himself early in the season, and he and the rest of the interior of the offensive line struggled mightily. (Search: Smith, Alex + Bernard, Rocky). Heitmann's play improved by the end of the season, and so far this summer he and Jennings have been the most impressive linemen. It's a good time to be playing well; Heitmann is in the final year of his contract. Last year, only one starting center was paid less. Heitmann should be rewarded. The question is whether the 49ers or one of the 31 other teams in the league will do the rewarding."

Evidence of league-wide recognition for Heitmann?= You tell me.

Quote:
CC Times Scouting Report

"Center Eric Heitmann is playing at his highest level since breaking a leg late in 2006"

Evidence of league-wide recognition for Heitmann?=Yikes, not even close.

NYT NFL Contributor

"Only center Eric Heitmann returns to the same position after starting all 16 games last year, as he played well last year after returning from a broken leg suffered late in the 2006 season"

Evidence of league-wide recognition= The best so far, although even MadDog describes Heitmann as "playing well at the end of the season" last year. Their opinion of his 2007 season as a whole seems to be in the minority. But at least it's from the NY Times.

Quote:
"Best Center in the NFC West"-ESPN

"No member of the team wears No. 7 on his jersey, but center Eric Heitmann qualifies as the best seventh-round draft choice on the roster -- and in the division. He has 82 starts over the past six seasons and there isn't a better center in the NFC West."

Evidence of league-wide recognition for Heitmann?= Somewhat. Once again, at least it's a national publication. However, I'm not sure that many people on this board, including the ones who are lukewarm about him, believe that he isn't better than Lyle Sendlein, Chris Spencer, & Nick Leckey. Saying that Heitmann is the "best Center in the NFC West" isn't exactly effusive praise.

Quote:
How is this for a start?

Fairly unconvincing.


That deserves one of these:


Wow MD got pretty much owned in his own thread, that's too bad. On the bright side I with the power invested in me by well no one do here nominate this a Thread of the Year candidate.
Oh and on topic Heitmann did tip off the snap last week in Seatle. So, negative points for that.
I was critical of Heitmann last year because he ABSOLUTELY was a liability in pass protection. There is no argument about it. But last year is done and gone. I was willing to give him a shot this year to get it together this season and he has. He played outstanding last game and was mauling defenders, especially in the run game. Staley did well too.

I had no comment on Heitmann so far this year. Well until last Sunday. My comment is now -- I'm glad I gave him a shot to prove his worth. And he has.
You know, MD, you'd get a lot more constructive feedback if you'd get off your high horse. You have this tendency to come off as condescending...and that turns a lot of posters off. State your opinion...whatever it is, and lay off the sarcasm. There are quite a few in this forum who have some knowledge about our team. I thought the idea was to share the wealth...without the snide comments, to encourage meaningful discussion.

Now, as for Heitmann...there are definitely pros and cons on him. No one should doubt his intelligence...he's a very bright OL. He's fully capable of making the line calls...if there's one thing I'd question, though, it'd be his toughness. Not that he's not tough, but he might not be stout enough. I think it's for those reasons some have suggested Wragge (the strongest OL we have) or Baas (who's a beast) might be guys to replace EH. Eric didn't have his best season last year...that's no secret. That was a likely factor in McCloughan drafting Wallace. Cody's not ready...he's got a lot to learn, but one thing that's impressed me is he's a tough kid. He'll get knocked on his ass, but he'll also come back and stand his ground. I'd say let's see how Eric does the rest of this season...if he comes back to his 2006 form, then he'll make McCloughan's decision to try to re-sign him or not a lot tougher. At this point, I'd say it's probably @ 50/50.
Originally posted by Watchutalkinbout:
Originally posted by nvchamp9ers:
You know what I have had it up to here with you arrogant ass attitude Maddog. You know what you are even more arrogant than me and football is my job! I deal with it everyday and actually understand it. You know what?? EVERY time I have ever asked you a real high level technical question you have been unable to answer. You know what you read things on the internet and then repost it here as your "gospel" you, "talk to scouts" and use generics terms when talking about players but you know what you never bring up any high level technical information.
I may not be able to write post as articulate as you but you never argue any threads with me when I am talking high level schemes or technique. The fact is "DOG" that you are a high school teacher. The FACT is, that you obviously spend a lot of time reading about football on the internet but let me ask you, do you even coach football at the high school level? No, I already checked, referring back to the name given by Matt in his article. I asked scouts and coaches alike and none of them heard of you. Fact is, that in no way are you involved in the higher level of football. If you are the talent evaluator that you claim to be, then you would be making more money than me, as a head talent scout at either a huge college or a pro team. Yet you stay making nothing as a high school teacher....hmmmm....FACT is if you had all the knowledge you claim to have, you would be able to be my boss easily but you aren't and you don't have that knowledge. Get real, you are a guy who knows how to use the internet to get more info than most about football but in now way are you a talent evaluator or a scout.
What you are is a guy who has gotten way to big for even me to take, and I am known for my arrogance. The difference is when people ask, I am more than willing to talk in depth about scheme and be really cool about it. I will not make a post about how stupid all the other "experts" are. You need to realize who you are, and where you are at in life and put yourself back in check.




Again.

[ Edited by FILTHpigskin on Sep 22, 2008 at 22:58:59 ]
Originally posted by OnTheClock:
I was critical of Heitmann last year because he ABSOLUTELY was a liability in pass protection. There is no argument about it. But last year is done and gone. I was willing to give him a shot this year to get it together this season and he has. He played outstanding last game and was mauling defenders, especially in the run game. Staley did well too.

I had no comment on Heitmann so far this year. Well until last Sunday. My comment is now -- I'm glad I gave him a shot to prove his worth. And he has.

Yeah, I think that Heitmann's been solid so far this year. Not worthy of effusive praise, but definitely not worth of getting benched. He's played well, IMO.
Originally posted by CorvaNinerFan:
You know, MD, you'd get a lot more constructive feedback if you'd get off your high horse. You have this tendency to come off as condescending...and that turns a lot of posters off. State your opinion...whatever it is, and lay off the sarcasm. There are quite a few in this forum who have some knowledge about our team. I thought the idea was to share the wealth...without the snide comments, to encourage meaningful discussion.

Now, as for Heitmann...there are definitely pros and cons on him. No one should doubt his intelligence...he's a very bright OL. He's fully capable of making the line calls...if there's one thing I'd question, though, it'd be his toughness. Not that he's not tough, but he might not be stout enough. I think it's for those reasons some have suggested Wragge (the strongest OL we have) or Baas (who's a beast) might be guys to replace EH. Eric didn't have his best season last year...that's no secret. That was a likely factor in McCloughan drafting Wallace. Cody's not ready...he's got a lot to learn, but one thing that's impressed me is he's a tough kid. He'll get knocked on his ass, but he'll also come back and stand his ground. I'd say let's see how Eric does the rest of this season...if he comes back to his 2006 form, then he'll make McCloughan's decision to try to re-sign him or not a lot tougher. At this point, I'd say it's probably @ 50/50.

OWN...

Oh nevermind.

Good post.
The player in the crosshairs by a number of board "experts", for some very strange reason, as being unworthy of starting, let alone sharing oxygen with the rest of the planet, has been Eric Heitmann. If someone can explain this to me, it would be greatly appreciated.
-- Heitmann does an EXCELLENT job of blocking at the second level. He is smart and probably does a good job at making calls on the line too. But he get bullrushed VERY badly at times. This causes the pocket to collapse. I think this makes up for his second level blocking.

Some of the crazy remarks recently have included replacing him with Baas...no, it was replacing him with Wragge...wait a second, it was putting in an untested, unproven rookie in Cody Wallace, to man the middle, make the line calls, and get the ball successfully to JTO.
-- Baas and Wragge hardly ever get bullrushed. Baas played center in college. Wragge has played center for us and gave the quarterback a better pocket while he played, although he almost certainly can't do what Heitmann does at the second level, but it is certainly reasonable to assert that Wragge gives us more at center for what we do. Its not a slam-dunk argument, but its certainly a reasonable one.

It is very odd that nearly every professional expert lauds Heitmann as one of the best centers in the NFC (once again this week by the broadcasters), and yet, he seems to be only the 4th best center on this team, if you read from some of our board members. Maybe, it is fifth. I'm starting to lose track how bad Heitmann is.
-- "Experts"? The "experts" have been slamming our line for years. They thought our offense would stink this year and would be no different than last year. That's what the "experts" know. And the broadcasters? You know very well how randomly inconsistent they are.

I invite those without a bias to invest about...10 seconds to find the complimentary comments about Heitmann on the internet, from journalists, broadcasters, beat writers, opposing players, and coaches. But, then again, what would they know? They are not board members, so they obviously are oblivious to reality.
-- I'm curious why these coaches and players have never voted him into the Pro-Bowl if he is so popular? And exactly when do players and coaches talk down a solid player on another team? Our team complemented the Lions defense before the game. Every team talks up their opponent EVERY WEEK.

It is always funny to find a person who does a "proper evaluation" and "grade" of a player by finding the one fault out of twenty plays, saying, "See, I was right", completely ignoring the plays before and after, when two enormous chasms were exposed in the middle of the defense by Heitmann.
-- He is DEFINITELY an exceptional player at the second level. No argument there.

Once again, for the one millionth time, I encourage board members to not play favorites with particular players. Evaluate them fairly, whether you like them or not. Tip your hat to them when they do something well. Otherwise, you simply make a fool out of yourself in front of the board. Heitmann embarrassed the Seahawk defense on Sunday, and yet...not a peep by the board. Shocking!!!!!
-- It is true that if a player has a weakness, many on the board don't bother to think or look at that players positive characteristics. Heitmann is an excellent blocker at the second level. The broadcaster pointed his block out in the game at the second level which sprung Gore. However, at the same time, you can't ignore what he does poorly just because you like him and he is a good guy.

Let's put it this way. Compared to all the other centers the 49ers have had over the years. It looks like Heitman is at the bottom:
Newberry -- Much better than Heitmann, never got bullrushed and was powerful. A Pro-Bowl type of player.
Dalman -- I think Chris Dalman was overall better than Heitmann. He did not have any weakness and did everything fairly well.
Sapolu -- Jesse Sapolu was a Pro-Bowl type of player.
Cross -- Randy Cross was another Pro-Bowl type of player.

In other words, you have to go way back to find someone who Heitmann is BETTER than. Perhaps this is the reason a lot of board has been hard on him. We are used to having top centers.

Heitmann does a lot of things well, and he is fantastic at the second level, but he gets bullrushed too much. Didn't you see him get pushed into Gore in the Seahawks game? It caused a critical fumble. Didn't you see him get pushed into Gore AGAIN in the Seahawks game? Gore was able to jump to the outside for the touchdown fortunately.

I'm not sure how you can "embarrass" a d-line when you are getting shoved 5 yards backwards onto your ass. In fact, it sounds like the complete opposite is true.

Heitmann is a nice guy who some people understandably want to defend. But I'm afraid we have another "nice guy" bias, similar to what we had with Alex Smith. Just because your "nice" doesn't mean you should escape criticism.

Do I feel like we MUST dump Heitmann or we are doomed? No. But we could certainly upgrade the position.
I'm not saying that Baas or Wragge are definite upgrades, but they MIGHT be.
Bump...
Brian--I think a better question would be, "Will Heitmann be on another team next year by his own choice?" As he is a free agent he may be too expensive or may not want to stay if the 9ers show no progress toward the end of the season.

The 9ers have three other OLmen who can step in and compete for the job and that is a great situation to be in as one of them, Wragge, has shown in the past that he is capable.

I like Heitmann and think his injuries may be responsible for his weak play last year but if he doesn't come all the way back I would be happy seeing Wragge as the starter, Baas as back up and Wallace in the wings. However, the 9ers are a stronger team with Heitmann, as a starter or a back up, than without him.

It would be reasonable for any 9er free agent to want to jump ship given the record of the past three years. If the Pats (or any other serious contender) need a C next off-season Heitmann should jump at the chance.
Member Milestone: This is post number 600 for bret.
I find it interesting that MadDog launched this thread and stayed around to argue with people until his argument was refuted convincingly, and then he disappeared!

I'm willing to admit that I was frustrated with Heitmann's play last year. But I also figured that he simply wasn't the same player after his broken leg and hoped with another year it might get better. He definitely looked better this week.

People calling for his head when he wasn't performing well were simply expressing their own frustration with the play of our team and have had a hard time accepting breakdowns week after week.

It looks to me like Martz MAY be on track to break that cycle. And his decision to go with O'Sullivan (a move I believe MadDog derided) was a key to the positive change.

Finally, I don't put a lot of stock in what the "experts" around the league think. They're just people with opinions, an often they aren't paying as close attention to our team as fans. Admittedly many fans aren't knowledgeable, but frankly many writers don't impress me much either! Most of the "experts" missed on the 49ers last year (when they were the media darlings as a dark horse), and I suspect they're missing on them again this year (when virtually no one picked them to do well).
Easily one of the best threads of the year. It works on many levels and there are good points from every side.

FWIW, who cares how Heitman does? It's irrelevant when one succumbs to the truth of the MadDog Mantra:

Originally posted by MadDog49er:
Repeat after me: This is not a good team.

Originally posted by LA9erFan:
"If you are going to go through hell, keep going."-Winston Churchill, when asked about the 2003-2008 San Francisco 49ers


Originally posted by nvchamp9ers:
Bump...

I'm still waiting too....