Here’s my mid season evaluation of the Niners:
Q.B. He’s still learning on the job and getting comfortable with his receivers. V. Davis seems to be the go-to guy. Which isn’t bad, he just needs to be better at finding his W.R’s and NOT staring them down. I HOPE that over time Smith grows into a better Q.B. Grade: C-.
Running Backs. Although Gore is a great R.B. and is able to run and receive well, he still mostly runs between the tackles. This helps the opposing defense stack’em up. Coffee seems to be a very good back up who runs a lot like Gore. High praise indeed! We have no speed burner at this position; I wish that we had kept Sheets. This could have been a solid compliment to Gore. Moran Norris is a great blocking F.B. Grade: A.
Wide Receivers. This is a weird mix of one older Vet passed his prime and a bunch of young guys with loads of potential. Bruce needs to make way for a younger receiver like Crabtree, Morgan, Hill, Jones, etc. Our W.R.’s also seem to get caught from behind too much Grade: D+.
Tight End. Vernon Davis and Delanie Walker may be one of the best duos at T.E. in the league. This unit has great blockers and excellent receivers with outstanding SPEED. Grade: A.
O-Line. This is the weakest unit of the team. Center Heitman is excellent; Chilo and Bass are serviceable with Chilo having a bunch of upside. Staley is all that you can want from a Left Tackle. Snyder is not going to be a starter next year, hopefully! He’s a great utility guy, but a starter he is not. So far Sims has been a pleasant surprise, but will his good performance last? With Staley hurt, grade: D-.
D-Line. The interior linemen have done an outstanding job against the run and pushing the pocket back against the Q.B. Smith, McDonald, Sopo, Franklin, and even Balmer have done a great job this season. I can find no fault with this unit. Grade: A+
Line Backers. Lawson, Willis, Spikes, and Haralson all seem to be very good run and pass defenders. The problem is that they still don’t generate much of an outside pass rush. In a 3-4 that’s very important. Lawson may never fulfill that dream. Haralson has yet to rush the passer like last year. Grade: B.
Secondary: Spencer is doing an excellent job back as a starter. Brown has played very well too. With Bly and Clements in the mix we are very deep at C.B. At Safety the backfield falls down a bit. They have NO play- makers at this position. Lewis is a solid strong safety that can support the run and pass protect. At free safety, so far, no one has been a very good pass defender or ball hawk. If the Niners found a ball hawk F.S. look out! Grade: B-.
Kicking Game: A+.
Coaching. Singletary has not been able create an offense that can run and “Impose its will” on the defense. The Niners O-Line is too week to get this done. He has created a team that has more discipline and will not quit the game. Can Raye take advantage of Smiths arm? Will Sing let him?
I feel that Sing is getting the team to perform as well as the talent allows. Grade: C-.