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"What's Changed?" - thru Game 4 of 2011

We did not kill ourselves yesterday and found a way to win a game and not way to lose a game.

Looked far more solid for most of the game on both of the lines (with the exception of run blocking).

At least had the plays called with enough time for us to audible.
What's changed vs. last year? Our record.
A lot has changed.

1. Team did not once shoot themselves in the collective foot.
2. Defensive speed has been upgraded, but it probably still is not where it needs to be. There is no team that will be able to run laterally against us with Bowman and Willis' side-to-side capabilities.
3. Alex Smith showed some *really* nice throws. The throw in the second quarter to Vernon Davis (to his back shoulder) and the throw to Josh Morgan were throws that, I quite honestly, didn't think he could execute. Those are also throws that give an insight into his level of confidence.
4. The coaching is drastically improved. I was shocked that fans booed when the 49ers were up by six and elected to kick a field goal instead of go for a touchdown on 4th and goal from the 1 or 2 yard line. Maybe it was just an expression of general frustration with the red zone offense, but Harbaugh's decision to go for a field goal and make the game a two-possession one was absolutely the right thing to do and one which Singletary would have botched.
5. Defense can pressure the quarterback without sending the house. *Huge* change that will pay dividends.

There are more, I'm sure, but these stand out.
We get plays in on time and a lot less penalty's.
Biggest change, no stupid, unlucky mistakes that cost us the game... Plus AS was top ten in total QBR
Originally posted by DarthNiner:
Insert "Haters gonna Hate gif"

It's not Alex's fault that Harbaugh didn't open up the playbook for more plays downfield. Harbaugh had a pulse on the game and knew that he could rely on his defense and didn't have to take chances on offense. He was running plays around the line of scrimmage (screens, TE pass to the flats, etc.) to control the clock and keep it away from the other team's offense. That's called "Coaching Awareness".

...and by the way, it's not "almost 70%", it's actually 75%. Smith was quick and decisive in his progressions and in his throws. It really looked like a west coast version of the offense yesterday.

Logic its hard to find on Niner Talk. Nice post Darth. Harbaugh put Alex in a position were he wouldn't fail, the offense was able to move just gotta finish it off punching it in the redzone.
Another thing that's changed for the better over the long course of the season:

David Akers.

Joe Nedney was no slouch, but David Akers just looks like a stud, both physically and with the "sureness" of his FG attempts and kickoffs.
Originally posted by 49ersMyLife:
I agree that our passing game was subpar, and mostly because of conservative play-calling...but I expected that in the first week. If we're not forced to throw the ball, Harbaugh will prefer not to throw it. No way a new offense can be fully installed in month and a half, and I just don't think Alex Smith has the full grasp of the offense (or the WRs) yet, nor does Harbaugh knows all the strengths or weaknesses of the QB and the WRs. In my opinion, that's the reason for over-protecting Alex Smith - and taking a conservative approach.

I expect the offense to open up as the season progresses. There is no question that Harbaugh likes to run the ball, that was evident at Stanfurd also...and only trusted Luck once he knew the ins-and-outs of the offense. I expect things to be different when we're behind and are forced to throw the ball. Dallas will throw the ball and put up points, and I expect Harbaugh to have a different game-plan for next game. I don't mean that we will come out throwing, but I expect him to take more chances in the passing game.

Our run blocking was terrible in week 1. I'm more concerned about that than anything else.

I agree I felt it was very conservative play calling too , and I would like to believe that Harbaugh will open in up as the season progresses and as the opponents become better and force us too. The run blocking was another big disappointment and there was a small handful of plays where I thought Gore didn't make a cut or missed an opportunity and didn't look like himself out there. I just have to remind myself that it was an abreviated off-season and hope that we will continue to add plays to the passing game and really improve in our run blocking. Dallas is gonna be big challenge.
ZERO Sacks, Zero Interceptions on offense. That's huge. I know, 124 yards sucks - but losing sucks more.

Game 1 = OK, which is average. Improvements needed everywhere starting on run blocking. Pass rush was very good - and there wasn't much blitzing. Secondary played much better than last year's squad.

Ginn was a great surprise and opponents will have to game plan for him. Did we return any KO or Punts for TD's last year?

Play calling was as close to the vest as you can get - yet there wasn't any [that I can recall] stupid Singletary calls. Clock management was better than last year.
really diggng this thread. thanks for starting.

there is not a whole lot to add to this list, but i will say that after the "running into the kicker" penalty on gooden, i thought, we were gonna go on a bad defensive streak-and for the most part, we kinda did (gave up 3 consecutive 1st downs-i think). but UNLIKE many times last year. the niners found a way to buckle down and stop the seahawk momentum.
I don't think much has changed except that we played an injured and weak team. Things were more crisp but Alex Smith was put in terrible situations with a whole lot of 3rd and longs. Can't say Harbaugh helped him any with the play calling. The one thing Alex was able to do that he didn't in the past was throw 5-yarders on these 3rd and longs or run the ball.

Harbaugh gets very little credit from me on this outing and Smith, the Defense, and Special teams gets the credit.

Their FS was everywhere and appeared to be very aggressive but it didn't appear that we tried to take advantage of his aggressiveness.
  • Blitz
  • Veteran
  • Posts: 7,858
For the first time in as long as I can remember, I saw them starting to "put it all together", a huge change. There are three phases plus coaching, that makes 4 phases of the game. I saw a team finally starting to work together. I saw all these things occurring in the same game:

1) Didn't see any stupidness. All 4 phases, everybody kept their heads screwed on straight....that's new.

2) Not only did all 4 phases not do "stupid does", they all 4 contributed...nobody stayed home and left it to somebody else, including the coaches...that's new too.

3) We won the TO battle, decisively....that's new, the consequence of one and two above.

4) Coaching made some savvy tactical moves along with some savvy strategic moves, taking advantage of Seattle's relative inexperience/youth. Examples:

a) Tactical: The tackle eligible/reset move to draw Seattle's d over the line, brilliant recognition of the moment and exploitation of it.

b) Strategic: Having Ginn return to one side just about all game long, then returning to the other side. They burned Earl Thomas with that one...he got out of his lane because of it and creeped over....and Ginn took it the other way.

5) Everybody was prepared..no meltdown.


These were the big changes I saw. In the future there will be bumps in the road and some regression at times...but it looks like they are laying a good foundation built on proven, solid, fundamental football philosophy: No stupid s**t, awareness of the situation, all 4 phases showing up and contribute, winning the TO battle.
[ Edited by Blitz on Sep 12, 2011 at 9:27 AM ]
We are undefeated
Originally posted by Blitz:
For the first time in as long as I can remember, I saw them starting to "put it all together", a huge change. There are three phases plus coaching, that makes 4 phases of the game. I saw a team finally starting to work together. I saw all these things occurring in the same game:

1) Didn't see any stupidness. All 4 phases, everybody kept their heads screwed on straight....that's new.

2) Not only did all 4 phases not do "stupid does", they all 4 contributed...nobody stayed home and left it to somebody else, including the coaches...that's new too.

3) We won the TO battle, decisively....that's new, the consequence of one and two above.

4) Coaching made some savvy tactical moves along with some savvy strategic moves, taking advantage of Seattle's relative inexperience/youth. Examples:

a) Tactical: The tackle eligible/reset move to draw Seattle's d over the line, brilliant recognition of the moment and exploitation of it.

b) Strategic: Having Ginn return to one side just about all game long, then returning to the other side. They burned Earl Thomas with that one...he got out of his lane because of it and creeped over....and Ginn took it the other way.

5) Everybody was prepared..no meltdown.


These were the big changes I saw. In the future there will be bumps in the road and some regression at times...but it looks like they are laying a good foundation, built on fundamental football: No stupid s**t, all 4 phases show up and contribute, win the TO battle.

Great observation.
  • Blitz
  • Veteran
  • Posts: 7,858
Originally posted by Joecool:
Originally posted by Blitz:
For the first time in as long as I can remember, I saw them starting to "put it all together", a huge change. There are three phases plus coaching, that makes 4 phases of the game. I saw a team finally starting to work together. I saw all these things occurring in the same game:

1) Didn't see any stupidness. All 4 phases, everybody kept their heads screwed on straight....that's new.

2) Not only did all 4 phases not do "stupid does", they all 4 contributed...nobody stayed home and left it to somebody else, including the coaches...that's new too.

3) We won the TO battle, decisively....that's new, the consequence of one and two above.

4) Coaching made some savvy tactical moves along with some savvy strategic moves, taking advantage of Seattle's relative inexperience/youth. Examples:

a) Tactical: The tackle eligible/reset move to draw Seattle's d over the line, brilliant recognition of the moment and exploitation of it.

b) Strategic: Having Ginn return to one side just about all game long, then returning to the other side. They burned Earl Thomas with that one...he got out of his lane because of it and creeped over....and Ginn took it the other way.

5) Everybody was prepared..no meltdown.


These were the big changes I saw. In the future there will be bumps in the road and some regression at times...but it looks like they are laying a good foundation, built on fundamental football: No stupid s**t, all 4 phases show up and contribute, win the TO battle.

Great observation.

We got a ST coach, I am stoked about that. Winning teams got it going on ST. Big time games, among big time teams, all feature ST as a deciding element much of the time. (Not that we are a big time team lol)
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