I re-watched the game with the NFL.com preseason package last night. It is a steal for only $20 and useful for fantasy degenerates like myself. Here is my summary of the passing plays from a 49er perspective. (We know that they blitzed almost every down, so I won't get into that) I won't cover Kaep yet because I don't think he knows the offense well enough at this point.
Anyway, I can say that Alex's first throw was on him. He should have hit Vernon on that Throw. Though It is telling that none of the recievers adjusted their routes when 3 extra men came on a blitz. The first play was the best protection the Niners had all night and it is no coincidence that Gore was in the game and picked up the blitz very well there. There was some pressure, but not really that much. It didn't look like his throwing lane was compromised at all to me. The Third play of the first series was just Lupati messing up as Staley chewed him out for missing his assignment.
2nd Drive - Vernon Whiffed , or didn't recognize the blitzing back. No routes were broken off for relief, but if Vernon gets that Blovk Morgan was open near a first down. It looked like that is where Smith was going with the ball. Smith has taken two huge blind hits at this point. Frank Gore looks good. *Side note- Donte Whitner looks very good and his coverage skills were better than many had been complaining about from what I saw.
3rd Drive -
Run with gore (bye Gore) Then another pressured Pass. Smith actually handled this one pretty well. He stepped up, changed his throwing ngle slightly, and fired a nice ball to Vernon away from the defender. It may have been just a bit hard if I am nit-picking, but Vernon Dropped it or the defender just tipped it at the last minute. I couldn't tell for sure. I think Vernon just dropped it. If he catches that he had quite a bit of free space behind him. The Next play. Anthony Davis gets beat, and Smith gets sacked. I don't think he could have stepped up in to the pocket much more (maybe a little bit) on this play because it was very small and collapsing. His small hands were able to hold on to the ball somehow even with his arm being raked by Will Smith I believe.
4th Drive- Anthony Dixon is not decisive when running the football. I know it is just one game, but Hunter was way better IMO. 2nd down pass play - Obviously a miscommunication. Delanie stopped running his route. Smith felt some pressure and had to rush the throw a little bit. It looked like Vernon had a step and should have been the target. Smith most likely saw the free DB blitz coming from the right and looked to where the blitz came from for a target. Vernon woud have had a touchdown with a well thrown ball though. Not sure why Moran Norris was split wide and running a Go route, but he was so slow that it didn't really impact the play. #rd Down. Alex made his worst throw of the game. Way behind Braylon on the slant. A good throw there makes it a 1st down. I think this was Smith's worst play of the game because Vernon was also open in the middle.
5th Drive- Run, Good pass to Braylon for a first Down on the Slant. That Play will be there all year as long as teams are blitzing (and they will be blitzing all year). Smith will have to hit it consistently. I wish they would have done more of that throughout. I only counted 3 slant-heavy plays with all that pressure. Interestingly, this is the first play where Smith was not pressured. The final play was a screen that looked to be well set up (for once!) but Dixon didn't turn it up field quickly enough. I think Kendal Hunter or Gore would have had a nice gain on that play.
I won't make any conclusions, but my observations were just that Smith looked rusty and out of sync, and there seemed to be little game-planning for blitz relief-especially on the first 2 Series. I look for that to be a priority in the coming weeks. Seeing Vernon open so much was kind of nice though, if the line can protect a little bit more, he might have a huge year now that there will be other play makers to draw some attention away from him.
[ Edited by dtcomposer on Aug 13, 2011 at 10:24:30 ]