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

Originally posted by Blitz:
Originally posted by Joecool:
We were trying to run out the clock with 6 minutes to go and near a TD. Why don't you ask this, which team played better in the 2nd half and which team sat on it? We were playing too conservative (scared) that half.

Don't know if the team "sat on it" like you say. I don't think the plan changed much between half, and why would you change a plan when you are up 16-0 anyways? Only a fool would go and try and fix what isn't broken. I think if you are going to claim they sat on it in the second half, you need to claim it for the first half too because I don't think there was any difference in the plan between halfs.

Truth is, the offense didn't execute worth a s**t ...by and large in either half.....and that is far from "sitting on it". You say the ST won the game in the end which is partially true at best, because the reality is the ST (and the d) pretty much won it all game long (field position, field goals etc.) and the offense didn't execute well pretty much all game long. Stats will bear this out, third down conversions, red zone performance etc.

The offense has a long way to go, and the saying holds true: "You have to learn to first not beat yourself before you can learn to beat others." They got the first part of that wisdom right yesterday and that is big progress for this offense considering where they have been in the past. That was their main contribution yesterday.. ...not beating themselves... and it was a realistic expectation, it's simply unrealistic to expect these dudes to fly when they barely know how to stand on their own feet. They gotta learn to not f**k it up for the rest of the team first (something which they were experts at prior), and they did that. You and I, and everybody else, is just going to have to wait and see if the second part...learning to beat others... comes to fruition or not.

From that sequence after we got a first down from the roughing the kicker, the plays that were called were very different than what was called in the first half in the red zone. In the first half, we were doing roll-outs, fades to Vernon, qiuck slants near the goalline. In that sequence in the 2nd half, we ran, ran, and was it a 2 yard pass or was it another run. That is VERY different and sitting on it. It was obvious Harbaugh was trying to run down the clock. Too bad there were 6 minutes left still.

We got a break from Special Teams because SEA had the momentum and felt great by only giving up the FG. They were only down by 2.
, Through 2 games at home, what's changed?

- Overall game management is still more organized than the Nolan/Singletary years. Constant moments of indecision and confusion, costing inopportune timeouts are much less. There was that instance in the 2nd half, when there seemed to be a mixup with Snyder reporting in as an eligible receiver (TE) and Harbaugh was arguing with the officials quite a bit, but he was the primary person INVOLVED, as opposed to Nolan and Singletary as being bystanders to the confusion.

- As for the decision to stay with the FG instead of taking the 1st down, that would have been a HUGE CHANGE, if he had taken points off the board (again)and shown agressiveness (remember Nolan's 3rd and AN INCH episode against the Rams). However, I can't fault him for the decision to stay with the FG. At that time, it seemed like a 50-50 call.

- HC handling of a QB after a tough series or an INT. After Alex had that poor throw and then the INT, notice that Harbaugh and the staff immediately went to a long range pass play to get the QB right back into it. Alex ended up getting sacked, but this is a subtle but significant change. Nolan and Sing usually retreated farther into a shell and would have taken the ball away from the QBs hands.

- Alex is more efficient and in more command of the huddle. He even seems like he's calling his own plays from his wristband based on the set that Harbaugh and Roman give him.

- Pressure from just the front four is much improved still, but it won't be enough with the porous secondary coverage we have, especially over the middle. We need to see those blitzes even more, I think.

- Pass Coverage on intermediate routes to tight ends and taller receivers has gotten much WORSE. This is where we miss what Manny Lawson and Nate Clements brought to us. Better coverage and more physical play at the covering linebacker, and how Clements would come up like a safety. We've gotten killed these past 2 games.
[ Edited by Bluefalcon61 on Sep 18, 2011 at 6:13 PM ]
When we had Jeff Garcia I never got nervous of waited for us to falll apart. I knew we had a chance....this has not been the case the last 7 years. I'm invested, but never surprised when we lose.
Originally posted by simplyfloyd:
When we had Jeff Garcia I never got nervous of waited for us to falll apart. I knew we had a chance....this has not been the case the last 7 years. I'm invested, but never surprised when we lose.

A lot of fans are focusing on the same trends that have plagued us in the past or questioning short-term single game decisions and performances, all which are magnified with the angst that comes with a tough loss.

Is the improvement meter generally still going up?

Yes. Hard to see it after this loss, but it's there.
  • FL9er
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I hate saying this, but once you temper your expectations and realize that this team isn't as good/talented as you hope/think, the less pissed off you'll be.
Passrush is better than before, yet still it lacks speed, the best example was the hit Justin Smith delivered just a bit to late to be a sack.

Game management is better, the relationship to the QB is better.

What ahs not changed, porous O line, giving up sacks after a good play the down before.

Until we get decent passprotection team will stack the box because they know they will have a good shot at a sack.
Originally posted by simplyfloyd:
When we had Jeff Garcia I never got nervous of waited for us to falll apart. I knew we had a chance....this has not been the case the last 7 years. I'm invested, but never surprised when we lose.



THIS. Seven damn years and Alex Smith still looks like a rookie on every down. When is enough finally enough??
through*
Originally posted by zillabeast:
THIS. Seven damn years and Alex Smith still looks like a rookie on every down. When is enough finally enough??

What do you want to do? Ruin Kaepernick putting him in before he´s ready??
Originally posted by FL9er:
I hate saying this, but once you temper your expectations and realize that this team isn't as good/talented as you hope/think, the less pissed off you'll be.

See I don't see is that way. We need a QB who is capable of taking risks and shots down the field and not playing on edge all the time. We have the Mercedes Benz frame we are jus waiting for the engine.
Originally posted by DonnieDarko:
through*

thru - acceptable, informal variant of through. Used commonly when associated with dates or events.

What's changed? Well first time in 8 yrs we got a coach who was actually a HC (at Stanford), and has coached OL, WR,RBs, TEs, QB, plus all D positions. That is a huge improvement over strictly D coaches, or in case of BM(Bigmike), just LBs. After Texans and Saints game JH knew we had OL guys who had no idea how to play their positions, and for SEA game, he kept OL blocking simple, and OL responded well. Alex was not asked to throw but a very few long passes, which took a load off the OL. Neither noln or singletary would ever have thot of that, nor did they.

Dallas game, Ryan shows up with the dreaded box 8, which 9ers have had no idea how to defeat in 8 yrs. Amazingly JH didn't recognize it either, or if he did, didn't know how to attack it with short dinks and dunks. It is also possible our new OC from Boise, had no idea what a box 8 was, and didn't know how to counter it. I think both will see the results of throwing deep and running frank into 8 or 9 guys on LOS is a loser. One time they did throw a quick hitter to Morgan for 13 yds. Then, oddly, we didn't see that again. Strange. I believe JH will be able to learn from his mistakes (FG issue is another learning experience against a guy like Romo), remember them, and move on. I never had that feeling with noln or BM.Overall we will be as good as our HC can make this team...no better. We have for the last 8 yrs, put guys out there and let them see if they could win. JH is a players coach, being able to coach every position, from footwork to handwork, to recognizing D sets, etc. He started with the OL with plain vanilla O calls, and for first game really impressed me. The rob ryan box 8 obviously confused harbaugh, and he will be studying that all week. It is hard to have a game won and then have the coach give it away. I think harbaugh learns from this experience, whereas noln and singletary never did.

Overall we are a more professionally coached team now, the HC is also an OC, which is the way it has to be. Talentwise we have improved, but until this yr, that talent has been wasted by HCs who didn't know the entire game of football. JH does and by yrs end (maybe sooner) will improve our team thru good coaching. We never had this type of improvement with previous 2 coaches. So yeah, JH beat himself sunday. But I believe he will learn from that and move on. We never expected that from noln or BM.
Game 3 on the road against the Bengals

Several positive changes from this win and first 3 game set of 2011:

We've been competitive and have a chance to win in very game - LATE IN EVERY GAME. Just 3 games in, I no longer have the feeling that we've lost a game even before we started playing, like I did with Singletary last year.

We can win on the road in an early game against a non-divisional/ non NFC opponent we rarely see. This game was huge to the team's confidence - especially in a game we did not play well until late in the 4th quarter. Under Nolan and Singletary we would have lost this game, somehow. I feel confident we can go into Philly and have a very decent showing.

May be time to ease Frank Gore out (new contract or not). From his brief appearances, Hunter is just a more dangerous dude to have in our offense. He can run inside, outside, and catch the ball. Even if Frank Gore finds his legs, he's a purely inside runner at this point and he makes us too predictable. With Hunter in there, there is that extra bit of hesitation in the opposing defense which is good for us to sustain WCO type ball control drives.

Alex has had three overall decent performances in a row even with the degree of difficulty going up. We haven't seen "Killer-Mistake" Alex (so far) and while he's not lighting up the scoreboard, he's working within the offense efficiently enough to be the kind of QB that may give us a 9-7 season. Will still need an upgrade if we are to progress to 11-5 and 13-3 level and go deep in the playoffs.

David Akers is a game winning weapon. Holy Cow. The kind of kicker who can add 2 wins to the win total every year. The difference between 7-9 and 9-7. May be the best kicker ever in 49ers history if he keeps this up.
Originally posted by Bluefalcon61:
Game 3 on the road against the Bengals

Several positive changes from this win and first 3 game set of 2011:

We've been competitive and have a chance to win in very game - LATE IN EVERY GAME. Just 3 games in, I no longer have the feeling that we've lost a game even before we started playing, like I did with Singletary last year.

We can win on the road in an early game against a non-divisional/ non NFC opponent we rarely see. This game was huge to the team's confidence - especially in a game we did not play well until late in the 4th quarter. Under Nolan and Singletary we would have lost this game, somehow. I feel confident we can go into Philly and have a very decent showing.

May be time to ease Frank Gore out (new contract or not). From his brief appearances, Hunter is just a more dangerous dude to have in our offense. He can run inside, outside, and catch the ball. Even if Frank Gore finds his legs, he's a purely inside runner at this point and he makes us too predictable. With Hunter in there, there is that extra bit of hesitation in the opposing defense which is good for us to sustain WCO type ball control drives.

Alex has had three overall decent performances in a row even with the degree of difficulty going up. We haven't seen "Killer-Mistake" Alex (so far) and while he's not lighting up the scoreboard, he's working within the offense efficiently enough to be the kind of QB that may give us a 9-7 season. Will still need an upgrade if we are to progress to 11-5 and 13-3 level and go deep in the playoffs.

David Akers is a game winning weapon. Holy Cow. The kind of kicker who can add 2 wins to the win total every year. The difference between 7-9 and 9-7. May be the best kicker ever in 49ers history if he keeps this up.

You say we will need an upgrade at QB if we are gong to go deep in the playoffs but how do you purpose that happen during this season? Heck, I would like to know how we do better than Alex Smith next season.
Originally posted by taney71:
You say we will need an upgrade at QB if we are gong to go deep in the playoffs but how do you purpose that happen during this season? Heck, I would like to know how we do better than Alex Smith next season.

I'm not thinking about this season, or even the next. If Alex has an incredible leap in performance, then wonderful. I don't think he will. He'll plateau somewhere close to the kind of performance Harbaugh is getting out of him now.

I'm thinking 2013 at the very earliest with another QB, a stouter secondary, and a better pass blocking Oline.