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Dilfer: "Baalke smartest football man in the league"

Originally posted by MadDog49er:
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 MadDog49er:


First Round- Aldon Smith- C grade
Smith was the best OLB left on the board when the Niners selected.

seems like you thought Von Miller was the best OLB in the draft.
[ Edited by HessianDud on Oct 27, 2011 at 9:23 AM ]
Originally posted by MadDog49er:
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.
Funny, but you never said you rated Aldon Smith the best OLB (besides Von Miller) until AFTER the draft. Before that, on every version of your Big Board, including the last one, you had Robert Quinn ( a player similarly situated as a college DE who would convert to OLB in the NFL) ahead of Aldon Smith. Then, AFTER the Niner's drafted Aldon, came your pronouncement that you had Aldon Smith rated higher at OLB all along.

Oh, and I understand that the Big Board is simply a rating/projection of where players might be taken, not a valuing of them as football players--all that "bull doo-doo" you routinely try to use when called out on your projections. As if there's no connection between a projection and the football ability of the player.

You say that its about where the players might be taken; that must therefore assume that every GM and personnel guy in the NFL is projecting the same or close to it. So saying that Quinn is projected higher means that you thought every GM/personnel guy in the NFL thought he was better than Aldon Smith.

But not you. (AFTER the draft!)

Sorry, but I think Mike is right, something smells here.
[ Edited by oldninerdude on Oct 27, 2011 at 10:31 AM ]
http://espn.go.com/blog/nfcwest/post/_/id/49660/asante-samuel-and-lessons-in-free-agency


The San Francisco 49ers made very few waves during the free-agent signing period.

Cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha was the biggest name available, and the 49ers had a clear need at the position.I even made an air-tight case for San Francisco making a play for him.

The 49ers' general manager, Trent Baalke, later explained why the team has been so careful in free agency over the past few seasons. He said the 49ers wanted to reward their own players, as reflected in deals for Patrick Willis, Vernon Davis and Joe Staley. The organization was also reluctant, in general, to dramatically change the dynamics within the locker room by throwing out of whack the financial pecking order.

The 49ers' thinking came to mind when Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Asante Samuel recently ripped management for playing "fantasy football" with players. Samuel said he had no problem with the team signing Asomugha and acquiring Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, even though both players played his position. He said he was most upset by the team's efforts to trade him. But the acquisitions were obviously related to the trade efforts.

Samuel might be the only player in the Eagles' locker room upset by the situation. Asomugha has been one of the best players at his position in the NFL. It's not like the Eagles overpaid for a marginal player. But the 49ers came out fine at cornerback by signing Carlos Rogers to a one-year deal, and they didn't risk dynamics in the locker room.

That air-tight case for signing Asomugha has leaked momentum amid the 49ers' 5-1 start, particularly given how well the team has played on defense.
give some credit were credit is due, you're not a pundit and nobody is paying you to act like Flip Bayless, MadDog.

i was also hesitant about some of the picks, but at least i can say i was wrong. you're better than this MadDog.
Originally posted by candlestick49er:
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.



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.



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?)



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.



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.



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.


great analysis!!!



is great to have this analysis on this forum!!



we all have different points of view on the draft or GM or FA but what it is nice is that at the end we will see the result on the field and that will tell us who had it right!!



to me maddog does an excellent job analyzing talent, he may be wrong sometimes but I know he has also being right!



this is not an exact science and we are on the second year of what seems to be a great time to be a 49ers fan, there will be more players and draft to analyze especially now that we have 21 free agents and all are making this team win. who are we going to resign? let keep rolling guys
Originally posted by SonocoNinerFan:
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.
Fact is, MadDog lives in Ohio, and doesn't routinely get the weekly network telecasts of Niner games. He doesn't get CSN Bay Area telecasts, with "Chronicle Live," "Niner's Post Game," "NinerTalk," "SportsNet," etc., etc. He's never indicated that he's attended any Niner training camp days, or Family Day, or any other local event, or Niner home games, for that matter.

He posted in one of the Heitmann threads that he has to go to a local bar on Sundays to catch all the NFL games. So he apparently doesn't have the Red Zone on Direct TV.

Yet, despite access to the Niners that's limited by distance if nothing else, somehow he knows everything that goes on in the Niner's War Room on draft day and before? And somehow he knows what goes on in their Front Office during free agency?

I agree, it seems unlikely.
[ Edited by oldninerdude on Oct 27, 2011 at 10:00 AM ]
Originally posted by candlestick49er:
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.
This is excellent. Nice job, candlestick.

And MadDog deserves some "credit" for bringing these issues up for discussion, I suppose, even if he's only the foil here.
TrentDilferESPN Trent Dilfer
@TrentBaalke has the smoothest set of nuts I've ever had in my mouth! #MachTurbo
I've been around this board MUCH longer than my status indicates, but I still scratch my head at MadDog49er. The only posts I ever see from him (other than his well done Big Board in the Draft Room) are bashes and doom predictions for the front office and players... oh, and the regular posts defending his position and the more rare posts of "I told you so".

MadDog, you must really be discouraged by what you've seen so far this season.

Or maybe not. I really don't know since all I see of you is when things are bad. It's like you're happy and enjoy things most when the Niners are down. What's with that?
I think it's funny that some guys just can't admit that they're wrong.

I agree it's early to say one way or another that the moves made by Baalke in the draft are right or wrong.

What I do know is that the team is clearly much improved and the players that we did take are making a big impact on the current roster.

Maddog, if we draft JJ Watt who do we have instead of Aldon?

Sure JJ Watt would've been great but you draft him and you don't have Aldon.

Personally I'll take Aldon Smith + Ray Mac than what the alternative is.

Also trying to imply that Baalke "lucked" into the free agent deals that he got is just ignorant. He still had to know when to cut bait with the big free agents. IIRC you wanted them to go all out and sign Aso. Baalke felt the money wasn't worth it. That's not luck. They let Baas and Spikes go because they didn't feel they were worth the contracts they got - thats not luck.

They signed the guys they did when they were available for everyone. They didn't spin some roulette wheel and win a contract with Rogers. They could've signed Richard Marshall or one of the other guys. They signed the right guy.

GM's can't always get it right but it's pathetic that people think they can do a much better job. It's all speculation. I'm quite happy with what we've seen so far from this front office. If you can't admit you were wrong don't make it worse by implying it was luck. Sour grapes...
Originally posted by candlestick49er:
lots of text

I didn't read all that but I probably should have before posting so I could've just said

What he said.

Good job.
Some of my fondest memories on this board are reading the "MadDog gets owned" threads. Which, thankfully, have been occurring with increasing regularity as of late. It's just too easy.
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.

Solid response, but I am still wondering if your new offline activities include kicking puppies and spitting on nuns...
Originally posted by mike:
Yeah I call a big ol' stinky bull doo-doo on that one.

eww...
A good GM has a blend of "smarts" along with "luck" and "skill." If it were all so predictable, we would have computers making the picks and eliminate the human element completely.

With a view somewhat in hindsight, Baalke appears to have a significant advantage in personnel decisions as a result of his time spent as a scout. In that role he has talked to a lot of college coaches and analyzed their programs in relation to what he sees in the pro game. While that seems like stating the obvious, it has become more evident in his ability to identify and sign Harbaugh as well as draft some players that are looking very promising for the future. It remains to be seen but the best thing he has done appears to be the signing of Jim Harbaugh. An excellent coaching staff will make a GM look good every time but that fact does not mean that the GM has been lucky. Rather, he made a good hire and deserves credit for getting it done. Therefore, by extension, his drafting looks good as well.

Personally, I was quite negative on TB. I wanted an experienced NFL guy who had been with a winning program - perhaps an assistant but someone who had seen how it works. Baalke was not that kind of guy, however, that does not mean he isn't going to get the job done long-term as well as short. For my part, I am very pleased with what has transpired and look forward to see if it can be sustained.