Originally posted by dtg_9er:
At the risk of being too positive after a loss, I thought this was Smith's best game in years. The interception was disappointing but other than that he made plays with his legs, threw a very nice long pass after the errant snap, and generally played with heart and toughness. His team mates were very positive about his performance so he is building a leadership perona.
At the beginning of preseason I thought the 9ers would be blown out by any decent team and struggle against the very worst, at least until mid-season when they would start to settle into the new offense and defense. They are ahead of schedule, though the loss was agonizing.
Haven't figured out why the run game is so bad but someone mentioned switching blocking schemes and that is probably the reason. No one is pointing fingers yet and that is also a good sign. They will continue to improve and I would expect they will still have a decent record this year--8-8 or 9-7.
They desperately need speed and playmakers at WR and DBs. I thought Edwards and Crabtree would become a good pairing but that seems unlikely now. Ginn is just not able to catch consistently...and explain that to me! Can catch a punt but not a pass? Depth perception? Morgan is one of my favorites but he is a 3rd or 4th at best. At the moment...is Rogers the only DB playing decently? Whitner? Wow did I overrate these guys...or is it the loss of Spencer?
I was only upset with the one decision by Harbaugh. But besides that, and the fact that we lost, everything else was about what I expected or much better.
1) Alex Smith is making plays in this offense. "Making plays" meaning: Throwing off balance, throwing on the move, throwing with pressure.
2) Pass rush was fantastic. McDonald is a beast, Aldon Smith was a half step from a sack several times but Romo gets rid of the ball so darn quick. Brooks was good too, and Haralson wasn't too bad either. (Obviously, we all now JS is a beast).
3) Bowman is a player, he will be a very good player in this league, he is already a good player.
4) Play calling was pretty good. It's not the play callers fault that Smith doesn't throw deep. He doesn't have the moxie of a Cam Newton or Tony Romo. He likes to play it safe, that's just how he's wired.
What I expected:
1) Gore not getting going. At this point, teams are game planning for Gore 90% and game planning for Smith 10%. With more passing yards, we can take the pressure off of Gore. The pass sets up the run in the WCO. On one-on-one's Smith needs to go down field more. Give Vernon a chance to catch a jump ball.
2) Pass defense. Much of it was to the TE. We have a third string safety and a backup corner in their right now. Tony Romo might make mistakes, but he makes up for them with big plays. That is his MO.
3) O-line was able to give Smith some good time in the first half. Then their defense made adjustments and destroyed our play-action before it got started in the second half. Our half time adjustments need work. We need to get away from the roll outs and quick screens.
Need to get better:
1) We need a more aggressive mindset. If you get awarded a 15 yard penalty for a first down, you take it. 15 yards is a lot; time off the clock is important when you're ahead in the 4th quarter. If you're down by 10, with 11 min left, you take the 3 points, but if you're up by 7, you've got to take advantage of huge, momentum changing penalties. Expect to score a TD, burn some clock, go for the win. Prepare for the worst, but don't fear it.