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Dilfer: "Baalke smartest football man in the league"

Hey MadDog what's your take on Aldon Smith so far this season?
Originally posted by mike:
Originally posted by RedWaltz24:
Didn't Maddog say something earlier this season similar to what Dilfer said?

If "stupidest" is similar to "smartest".

DaDiva,

Smith has been really solid this year as a rookie in pass rushing. He is better than expected, and the future looks bright. On the downside, he is still a liability in coverage, and to me, this is the main reason he is still playing a backup role. If he can play better in reverse, we may have a very complete linebacker for a decade. I graded him as the best 3-4 OLB entering this draft, and he, along with Kerrigan and Reed, are playing very well in that role. This rookie 3-4 OLB class looks solid.
Originally posted by MadDog49er:
DaDiva,

Smith has been really solid this year as a rookie in pass rushing. He is better than expected, and the future looks bright. On the downside, he is still a liability in coverage, and to me, this is the main reason he is still playing a backup role. If he can play better in reverse, we may have a very complete linebacker for a decade. I graded him as the best 3-4 OLB entering this draft, and he, along with Kerrigan and Reed, are playing very well in that role. This rookie 3-4 OLB class looks solid.

lolwut?
Originally posted by zillabeast:

Dude, I didn't even know photos existed of Todd Kelly making a play .

Thumbs down for making us look at those horrid Bucs uniforms.
  • mike
  • Veteran
  • Posts: 1,827
Originally posted by HessianDud:
Originally posted by MadDog49er:
DaDiva,

Smith has been really solid this year as a rookie in pass rushing. He is better than expected, and the future looks bright. On the downside, he is still a liability in coverage, and to me, this is the main reason he is still playing a backup role. If he can play better in reverse, we may have a very complete linebacker for a decade. I graded him as the best 3-4 OLB entering this draft, and he, along with Kerrigan and Reed, are playing very well in that role. This rookie 3-4 OLB class looks solid.

lolwut?
Yeah I call a big ol' stinky bull doo-doo on that one.
[ Edited by mike on Oct 26, 2011 at 7:38 PM ]
Originally posted by MadDog49er:
Since some minds are curious how I feel, this would be my response:
1) Baalke is not the "smartest man in football"
2) Baalke is not the "dumbest man in football"
3) Baalke may be the "luckiest guy in football to this point of this year"
Why do I respond this way? Let's take a trip down memory land with the draft: Patrick Peterson was the man the team targeted, and was unwilling to trade up to get him. While that may, or may not, end up being a good news story (to project a rookies' whole NFL career at the 6 week mark would be naive), the bottom line is that he was placed in the position of being forced to draft Aldon Smith, since it was reported that nobody wanted to trade up or down for that 7th pick. Did he backdoor himself into a nice selection? Maybe. But, I wouldn't call this genius, rather lucky if Smith, who has been solid this year, pans out. Right now, Smith is still a backup. I still contend, as on draft day, that the superior player will be JJ Watt, and we will have to track these two as time passes.

Secondly, in free agency, the team was blindsided by the loss of David Baas in free agency, and attempted to make Snyder the replacement. Once that appeared to be a risky proposition, he then looked at bargain bin centers, and signs Goodwin. Now, once again, I want to give Goodwin some time to see if he is really an upgrade or downgrade over Baas, but once again, this is not the player the team wanted to hold down the center position. He wasn't even the second guy. He probably wasn't even the third (Spencer was probably the next on the list). In other words, spin the wheel and throw a dart and see which center is hit. To me, that is not genius.

Next, the team targets a whole series of corners, and engages in serious negotiations with at least two (Nnamdi and J. Joseph). Again, the team does not get the player intended (are we seeing a theme here?), and ends up with probably the number 8 free agent corner on the list for 2011. Now, any four grader could have gone down the remaining free agent cornerback roster list and see that Rogers was the top guy left. This is not rocket science.

I have to give Baalke some credit: The signing of McDonald looks solid at this point, as he has been very active. However, let's revisit this down the road. McDonald has had some big issues with knees in the past, and the DL could use an injection of youth in it. I will concede this point in the future if the knees hold out and he continues to play well. I would have drafted Watt in this spot, saved $9 million over 4 years, and picked up a player 5 years younger that may end up becoming the best 3-4 DE in the game for the next decade.

The Whitner signing to this date was also pretty solid. Donte is going to blow coverages, and lose a game here or there because of it. If you are skeptical, ask a Bills' fan. However, so far, so good.

The signing of Edwards was another bargain bin deal that has not worked out. Still some time, we will see. Akers has been great. So, to me, you are hitting on some, missing on others.

I think this is a thread that needs to be revisited in a couple years. The Niners, in signing a slew of one-year contracts, instead of longer contracts, may end up taking a step back in 2012 if they are not able to retain a number of these guys who could be gone: Alex Smith, Josh Morgan, Ted Ginn, Alex Boone, Ahmed Brooks, Braylon Edwards, Dashon Goldson, Blake Costonzo (another nice one year pickup to this date), Chilo Rachal, Carlos Rogers, Reggie Smith, Adam Snyder, and a number of other players the team has used: Brock, Spillman, Norris. Have fun with that one, Baalke.

I close with this: If you agree with Dilfer that Baalke is the smartest man in football, then must embrace his projected right side of the offensive line in training camp: Snyder---Rachal----Davis. This is simply not smart at all, and any Niners' fan who watched last year and the first few weeks of preseason cannot argue with this point.

P.S. Some board members get all lathered up when I critique management for things I think they do in error. I ask these members to not take things so personally, as if they are personally related to Baalke, Jed, or any other person at headquarters. You would think that I go around kicking puppies, or spitting on nuns. I simply disagree with many of the manuevers this team has taken this offseason. Only time will tell if I am right on my criticism or not.
Finally, some people are stating that I am dodging these threads, or laying low. Neither of these are true. This has been an extraordinarily busy few months for me, and I simply am not on the board that much. My apologies to those who demand for me to spend hours on the board daily. That ship has sailed for now. And, now, back to more fun stuff offline.

Cheers.

I'm disappointed with your logic MD. I value your opinion, and strongly agree that judging someone in 6 games is insane, however your logic doesn't add up. The Peterson argument specifically frustrates me. By that logic, you are either assuming that every team has the player they pick in the 1st round as the #1 player on their board, or they should trade the farm to trade up. Was Peterson the first player on our board? maybe. Did we trade for him? no. But there are two parts to the equation. How much better is he than the guy you're going to draft? and what is that going to cost you? I'm sure that everyone outside the top 3 does not draft the #1 player on their board. So who was going to trade with us? AZ who wanted Peterson also? Cincy who had their heart set on AJ Green? Carolina? Denver? Buffalo? They all wanted players who would have been gone by our pick, and would have required the farm for a trade. We couldn't offer that much for 2 reasons: 1. Baalke knew he wanted to draft a QB later in the draft and needed not only the 2nd round pick, but also other ammunition. 2. Last I checked Peterson is not Andrew Luck...you don't trade the farm for CBs! Then you say he got "lucky" with Aldon Smith. Again, by that logic every team is lucky. The Colts were lucky with Manning, someone will get lucky with (excuse the inadvertent pun) Luck. Other than that, drafting is a skill. Aldon Smith was the top rated player on our board, we wanted to trade down to get him later, and we chose him over players that many thought we would take. Completely unfair to call that luck. You think Watt will be better? Fine. Very possible. You think it's too early to tell if Aldon will actually be good? That's fair again. But to call a pick lucky? Come on! Same logic goes for FAs. We all know that loosing teams have to do more to get FAs, and sometimes the player doesn't even consider non-playoff teams. But back to my point... we had a value assigned to certain players, and if another team valued them higher, then we stopped competing. That's what you're supposed to do! If you value someone at $3MM/yr, and someone pays them $9MM/yr (random #s) then you didn't fail, you stuck to your guns. As for the 1 year players, I hardly doubt we'll have much trouble re-signing the ones we want. Rodgers has stated he wants to stay here long term. Ginn took a pay cut to stay. I'm sure he'll resign. Alex will do as Harbaugh says. Morgan will have a long term deal before the season ends, and any judgement on Edwards should be saved until he actually plays (how did you say that he was a mistake on Baalke's part? He go injured in game 2! How do you predict that?). You really think signing Costanzo will be an issue? The other 1 year contract guys? Who cares? Too early to tell how good Baalke is, I agree, but reading your review I can't help but see an agenda to be skeptical. Unfair criticism for much of it.
Originally posted by RayWersching:
I remember Dilfer gushing about the 49ers selections on draft day. I was pretty disappointed in the picks at the time so it sticks in my mind. It did seem biased to me at the time but the way the rookies are contributing makes him look pretty smart.


oh noes, Trent Baalke is incapable of making every goal and priority of his materialize! His inability to control the minds of hundreds of other people all across the NFL--from every personnel man and front office executive to every player in the NFL and every incoming rookie--is clearly a black mark on his resume!

Give me a f**king break. Baalke is not the smartest man in the league, and maybe he is lucky, but show me a successful NFL team that doesn't have to luck out to be successful. I guess the Pats decided to wait until the 6th Round to draft Tom Brady knowing that he's be on the short list of greatest QB's in the history of the game. Sometimes its the moves you don't make, and sometimes those moves aren't made because of good decisions, and sometimes they aren't made because of things outside of your control, and you dodge a bullet, and sometimes you settle for something and it turns out great.

Dilfer is a weirdo and his praise of Baalke is not gospel. But so far so good.
i like dilfer he is a native of the bay....he also seems to bump heads with steve young when they are on t.v when i say bump heads i dont mean argue it just seems they are on other sides of the page when they play analyst on t.v.( see opinions on flaco)...
Originally posted by MadDog49er:
3) Baalke may be the "luckiest guy in football to this point of this year"
Why do I respond this way? Let's take a trip down memory land with the draft: Patrick Peterson was the man the team targeted, and was unwilling to trade up to get him. While that may, or may not, end up being a good news story (to project a rookies' whole NFL career at the 6 week mark would be naive), the bottom line is that he was placed in the position of being forced to draft Aldon Smith, since it was reported that nobody wanted to trade up or down for that 7th pick. Did he backdoor himself into a nice selection? Maybe. But, I wouldn't call this genius, rather lucky if Smith, who has been solid this year, pans out. Right now, Smith is still a backup. I still contend, as on draft day, that the superior player will be JJ Watt, and we will have to track these two as time passes.

I disagree that Baalke may be the "luckiest" football guy.

First of all, it doesn't matter if you don't land the top prospect on your board (if he isn't worth trading up for). What matters is that you make a good selection. If your main target isn't there, then select the next available player you believe in. At the end of the day, you have to make the pick work regardless if you got the "top" guy or not. All good GMs have a backup plan, and obviously Baalke was prepared if Peterson wasn't available at #7.

Second of all, Baalke wasn't placed in a position where he was forced to draft Smith. There were several talented players available. He wasn't forced to pick Smith, he DECIDED to choose Aldon. If Smith develops into a dominant pass rusher, then Baalke deserves credit for making a great pick. He could have easily chosen Amukamara, Watt, Quinn, etc...but he went with Smith.

Lets say BOTH Peterson and Smith become top players at their respective positions. What would you say is the smarter move for a team whose philosophy is to build through the draft:
A) Give up several picks and/or player(s) to get a dominant CB
B) Keep all our picks while getting a dominant pass rusher

Its a no brainer. I respect that Baalke didn't trade up and overpay for who we assume was his top prospect. He obviously weighed out several options and went with what he felt was best for our team. That's not luck.


Originally posted by MadDog49er:
Secondly, in free agency, the team was blindsided by the loss of David Baas in free agency, and attempted to make Snyder the replacement. Once that appeared to be a risky proposition, he then looked at bargain bin centers, and signs Goodwin. Now, once again, I want to give Goodwin some time to see if he is really an upgrade or downgrade over Baas, but once again, this is not the player the team wanted to hold down the center position. He wasn't even the second guy. He probably wasn't even the third (Spencer was probably the next on the list). In other words, spin the wheel and throw a dart and see which center is hit. To me, that is not genius.

The Niners probably could have kept Baas if they were willing to make him a top 3 paid center. I think it was a smart move to let him walk because he isn't worth what the Giants are paying him. There isn't much of a drop-off between Goodwin and Baas skill wise. But contract-wise, we got an upgrade. It was a smart move by Baalke to replace an (overpaid) average center with a (cheap) average center. You assume that Goodwin was at the bottom of Baalke's list, but you don't know that for sure. What we do know is that it was a decision that worked out.


Originally posted by MadDog49er:
Next, the team targets a whole series of corners, and engages in serious negotiations with at least two (Nnamdi and J. Joseph). Again, the team does not get the player intended (are we seeing a theme here?), and ends up with probably the number 8 free agent corner on the list for 2011. Now, any four grader could have gone down the remaining free agent cornerback roster list and see that Rogers was the top guy left. This is not rocket science.

Yes, we are seeing a theme here...we aren't overpaying for players even if they happen to be at the top of our list. We could have overpayed for a good CB, but instead we got a good CB for cheap. Also, was Carlos Rogers number 8 on Baalke's CB list for 2011 or was he number 8 on your list? There were other CBs available (Marshall, Carr, etc) who Baalke could have signed instead of Rogers. Once again, Baalke ended up getting a solid (in this case a GOOD) player without overpaying (are we seeing a theme here?)


Originally posted by MadDog49er:
I have to give Baalke some credit: The signing of McDonald looks solid at this point, as he has been very active. However, let's revisit this down the road. McDonald has had some big issues with knees in the past, and the DL could use an injection of youth in it. I will concede this point in the future if the knees hold out and he continues to play well. I would have drafted Watt in this spot, saved $9 million over 4 years, and picked up a player 5 years younger that may end up becoming the best 3-4 DE in the game for the next decade.

I haven't seen Watt play much, but I think our pass rush needed to be addressed more than the DL. Based on Aldon's play so far, I think he was a great pick especially with McDonald taking care of business at DE.


Originally posted by MadDog49er:
The signing of Edwards was another bargain bin deal that has not worked out. Still some time, we will see. Akers has been great. So, to me, you are hitting on some, missing on others.

This is what makes Baalke a smart decision maker. Its low risk, high reward. Baalke's misses so far aren't hurting the team financially. If Braylon bounces back and finishes the year on a strong note, thats great for us. If he doesn't, that sucks but his cheap contract allows us to move on without cap problems.


Originally posted by MadDog49er:
I close with this: If you agree with Dilfer that Baalke is the smartest man in football, then must embrace his projected right side of the offensive line in training camp: Snyder---Rachal----Davis. This is simply not smart at all, and any Niners' fan who watched last year and the first few weeks of preseason cannot argue with this point.

I can't say that Baalke is the smartest, but I do believe he is one of the smartest. As for the training camp projection, that means nothing. With the lockout, most teams didn't have full rosters during training camp and were still in the process of adding players. Snyder-Rachal-Davis was a temporary lineup. Training camp depth charts aren't always projections of the regular season lineup. Snyder starting at center wasn't a good idea going into the season, which is why it was addressed with Goodwin. I don't see how this is a negative for Baalke because that training camp lineup is irrelevant today. The fact that it was addressed should be seen as a positive move by Baalke.
Originally posted by mike:
Yeah I call a big ol' stinky bull doo-doo on that one.

Take a look at the first line of my MadDog Draft Review Thread on the grade I gave Aldon Smith on the Draft Forum. It is clearly stated. There is no doo-doo.
Originally posted by RollinWith21n52:
I'm disappointed with your logic MD. I value your opinion, and strongly agree that judging someone in 6 games is insane, however your logic doesn't add up. The Peterson argument specifically frustrates me. By that logic, you are either assuming that every team has the player they pick in the 1st round as the #1 player on their board, or they should trade the farm to trade up. Was Peterson the first player on our board? maybe. Did we trade for him? no. But there are two parts to the equation. How much better is he than the guy you're going to draft? and what is that going to cost you? I'm sure that everyone outside the top 3 does not draft the #1 player on their board. So who was going to trade with us? AZ who wanted Peterson also? Cincy who had their heart set on AJ Green? Carolina? Denver? Buffalo? They all wanted players who would have been gone by our pick, and would have required the farm for a trade. We couldn't offer that much for 2 reasons: 1. Baalke knew he wanted to draft a QB later in the draft and needed not only the 2nd round pick, but also other ammunition. 2. Last I checked Peterson is not Andrew Luck...you don't trade the farm for CBs! Then you say he got "lucky" with Aldon Smith. Again, by that logic every team is lucky. The Colts were lucky with Manning, someone will get lucky with (excuse the inadvertent pun) Luck. Other than that, drafting is a skill. Aldon Smith was the top rated player on our board, we wanted to trade down to get him later, and we chose him over players that many thought we would take. Completely unfair to call that luck. You think Watt will be better? Fine. Very possible. You think it's too early to tell if Aldon will actually be good? That's fair again. But to call a pick lucky? Come on! Same logic goes for FAs. We all know that loosing teams have to do more to get FAs, and sometimes the player doesn't even consider non-playoff teams. But back to my point... we had a value assigned to certain players, and if another team valued them higher, then we stopped competing. That's what you're supposed to do! If you value someone at $3MM/yr, and someone pays them $9MM/yr (random #s) then you didn't fail, you stuck to your guns. As for the 1 year players, I hardly doubt we'll have much trouble re-signing the ones we want. Rodgers has stated he wants to stay here long term. Ginn took a pay cut to stay. I'm sure he'll resign. Alex will do as Harbaugh says. Morgan will have a long term deal before the season ends, and any judgement on Edwards should be saved until he actually plays (how did you say that he was a mistake on Baalke's part? He go injured in game 2! How do you predict that?). You really think signing Costanzo will be an issue? The other 1 year contract guys? Who cares? Too early to tell how good Baalke is, I agree, but reading your review I can't help but see an agenda to be skeptical. Unfair criticism for much of it.

The process you adopt in player personnel matters is critical to get the guys you want on the field. Can you get everyone you want? Surely not. However, Baalke's approach has been passive: we will wait and see what is left over for us. That was his approach in the draft this year, and was his approach in free agency. There were a few exceptions, but the pattern is one of passivity. That is my criticism. In the end, to me, this is not the way to build a franchise. You may end up hitting on some players by being passive (look at the crazy draft the Bengals put together with the worst scouting department in the NFL), but in the end, I believe it is a long-range losing application.

I am not calling the pick of Smith lucky, but the process in landing him. You wanted to go up, but didn't make the bold move. You wanted to go down, but didn't find takers. You select what is left over as a third option, and may have hit.

The Niners and the one-year contracts signed are going to have to make some serious tough decisions because these players are not going to be as cheap next year. Smith is going to cost a LOT more money in 2012 if both sides decide to work something out. Rogers is going to be very pricy. Snyder is now a starter, not a backup. Ginn is going to want more money next year.

I am skeptical of Baalke. I may be wrong in the end, but I think his approach is not a long-term winning approach.
Originally posted by MadDog49er:
Since some minds are curious how I feel, this would be my response:
1) Baalke is not the "smartest man in football"
2) Baalke is not the "dumbest man in football"
3) Baalke may be the "luckiest guy in football to this point of this year"

P.S. Some board members get all lathered up when I critique management for things I think they do in error. I ask these members to not take things so personally, as if they are personally related to Baalke, Jed, or any other person at headquarters. You would think that I go around kicking puppies, or spitting on nuns. I simply disagree with many of the manuevers this team has taken this offseason. Only time will tell if I am right on my criticism or not.
Finally, some people are stating that I am dodging these threads, or laying low. Neither of these are true. This has been an extraordinarily busy few months for me, and I simply am not on the board that much. My apologies to those who demand for me to spend hours on the board daily. That ship has sailed for now. And, now, back to more fun stuff offline.

Cheers.

IMO it's not your criticism of the front office that people respond to but the strident way in which you do it. Of course being strident isn't unique here, but your stridency seems to come from a self-styled expertise and knowledge of front office operations that you really do not have. Even with this latest response to the success witnessed to date you play the fly on the wall and paint most of the off season as either limited options, or spinning a board and throwing a dart, or dumb luck. When you gave him credit you qualified it as, "OK, but let's wait and see". Whatever.

I really don't know what Dilfer meant by smartest football man in the league. To me smartest doesn't directly translate to best and it certainly doesn't mean the most experienced or knowledgeable. It just means he's smart, which to me means with more experience he has, in scouting lingo, nice upside as an NFL General Manager. The results to date, free agent and rookie class alike, look very promising. And I'll take some luck to go along with smarts any day.
[ Edited by SonocoNinerFan on Oct 27, 2011 at 9:04 AM ]
Originally posted by RollinWith21n52:
I'm disappointed with your logic MD. I value your opinion, and strongly agree that judging someone in 6 games is insane, however your logic doesn't add up.

The Peterson argument specifically frustrates me. By that logic, you are either assuming that every team has the player they pick in the 1st round as the #1 player on their board, or they should trade the farm to trade up. Was Peterson the first player on our board? maybe. Did we trade for him? no. But there are two parts to the equation. How much better is he than the guy you're going to draft? and what is that going to cost you? I'm sure that everyone outside the top 3 does not draft the #1 player on their board. So who was going to trade with us? AZ who wanted Peterson also? Cincy who had their heart set on AJ Green? Carolina? Denver? Buffalo? They all wanted players who would have been gone by our pick, and would have required the farm for a trade. We couldn't offer that much for 2 reasons: 1. Baalke knew he wanted to draft a QB later in the draft and needed not only the 2nd round pick, but also other ammunition. 2. Last I checked Peterson is not Andrew Luck...you don't trade the farm for CBs!

Then you say he got "lucky" with Aldon Smith. Again, by that logic every team is lucky. The Colts were lucky with Manning, someone will get lucky with (excuse the inadvertent pun) Luck. Other than that, drafting is a skill. Aldon Smith was the top rated player on our board, we wanted to trade down to get him later, and we chose him over players that many thought we would take. Completely unfair to call that luck. You think Watt will be better? Fine. Very possible. You think it's too early to tell if Aldon will actually be good? That's fair again. But to call a pick lucky? Come on!

Same logic goes for FAs. We all know that loosing teams have to do more to get FAs, and sometimes the player doesn't even consider non-playoff teams. But back to my point... we had a value assigned to certain players, and if another team valued them higher, then we stopped competing. That's what you're supposed to do! If you value someone at $3MM/yr, and someone pays them $9MM/yr (random #s) then you didn't fail, you stuck to your guns. As for the 1 year players, I hardly doubt we'll have much trouble re-signing the ones we want. Rodgers has stated he wants to stay here long term. Ginn took a pay cut to stay. I'm sure he'll resign. Alex will do as Harbaugh says. Morgan will have a long term deal before the season ends, and any judgement on Edwards should be saved until he actually plays (how did you say that he was a mistake on Baalke's part? He go injured in game 2! How do you predict that?). You really think signing Costanzo will be an issue? The other 1 year contract guys? Who cares? Too early to tell how good Baalke is, I agree, but reading your review I can't help but see an agenda to be skeptical. Unfair criticism for much of it.
Good post, excellent analysis.

I concur with all of it, except for the part about "valuing" MadDog's opinion. I used to give him the benefit of the doubt, but his posts about the draft (Aldon Smith a "C"? Culliver a "C+"? Bruce Miller an "F" at FB? etc.), about FA, and about Baalke, prove that he doesn't know as much about NFL football, or as much about the Niners, as he would like us all to believe. (To his credit, he sure can BS his way through a post defending his position(s), though.)

In addition, his unwillingness to eat crow when he's clearly wrong (i.e., "Niner's gonna be 1-5 at the bye week") can't help but make one wonder. He had Aldon Smith as the best OLB, but NEVER ranked him higher than Robert Quinn on any version of his "Big Board"? Sure, that seems likely. (Not!)

The former English teacher in me made me break your post up into paragraphs to make it easier to read. I apologize, but sometimes one cannot help old habits.

Finally, MadDog may respond and accuse me (and/or you) of "stalking" him. To which I reply: I've never done anything more than what you did in your post: question his logic. Something I've done with other posts and other posters. Your post here saved me the effort, and you did a much better job than I could have done.
[ Edited by oldninerdude on Oct 27, 2011 at 9:14 AM ]
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