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3-17 on Third Downs

This Sunday looked like 2010 and before 49ers because once again we OFTEN had long third downs -- and this OL can NOT give the QB time on long 3rd downs to make deeper throws. Combine that with a set of WR that doesn't get separation and wha-la -- 2010 all over again.

I like the comparison to GB, NE, NO Qbs able to beat the blitz. Watch those blitzes closely. What you see is ONE blitzer coming free and usually a RB picks that guy up or chips him. Yes, if forces a quicker throw.

Watch the 49ers against the blitz - it is MAYHEM. DL and blitzers are breaking through. Go ahead, reqatch this last game, I did. On several blitzes right up the middle both blitzers and a DL came free as the OL tried to decide who to block! There were literally OLinemen who blocked NOBODY while two guys blocked 1 guy. It is like the 3 stooges out there. And the REALLY sad part is, sometimes the OL double team actually failed and let that guy through tooo. very sad

There is absolutely no predictability of the QB to know where the pressure is coming from and then beat it. The OL and blockers are chasing their assignments to the QB.

Heck, simplify the darn scheme. Each guy make one block -- just one block -- stop trying to pass guys off and help other guys. Just man up and block 1 guy. Let the blitzer come free and make that the QB's responsibility to make him miss or beat him. At least he'd only have to worry about one guy, not the whole darn DL coming at him.
Both the center and the QB are responsible for making linecall and changes at the scrimmage. I wouldn't say that wouldn't where the blitz was coming from. They were stacking it. After the first half, they should have adjusted, but didn't.
Originally posted by WildBill:
Both the center and the QB are responsible for making linecall and changes at the scrimmage. I wouldn't say that wouldn't where the blitz was coming from. They were stacking it. After the first half, they should have adjusted, but didn't.

This tells me the team did not know how to adjust - a coaching failure.
Originally posted by dj43:
Originally posted by NinerGM:
Originally posted by dj43:
Originally posted by LundyLove:
We have been terrible at third downs all year.......

Good teams are good at third down

We are now 30th in the league in third down conversions with 30 percent

The offense has big problems and it starts at the QB position.Why do you think that teams cannot blitz all day against GB or NE? Because those QBs make you pay when you bring the heat. Alex Smith is unable to get the ball out quickly to his hot read.

Game after game, we have heard network commentators along with Eric Davis on the 49er broadcast point out that 49er receivers are not looking back for the early throw, not recognizing blitzes and adjust routes to take advantage of space emptied by the blitz, etc.

The most important asset against blitzes is the TE. The TE is closest to the QB and should be able to quickly get into position to take a pass in open space. We see guys like Jason Whitten who has made a career of doing just that. When Whitten goes down, so does Romo. Gates and Gonzalez do the same thing for their QBs/teams. All three not only have size, but also agility to adjust to passes thrown under pressure on the QB that are often not right on target.

Jimmy Graham and Rob Gronkowski are the next generation but with more speed and even greater size.

One thing all these guys have in common is the ability to read and adjust. (Graham is particularly noteworthy in that he has developed that skill in just two years.)

With the 49ers, Vernon Davis still has not learned how to do that after 5 full seasons. So while we might hope that Harbaugh the Wonder Worker could teach him how to do that in the future, the current version just doesn't read well enough to be a help in this area. Walker doesn't seem to be in the mix very often, or at least often enough to see if he could be that quick relief guy.

That leaves it up to the WRs and, as we saw on Sunday, Crabtree who is now the most experienced (though still limited) is still running route short of the line to gain. Twice Sunday he caught passes 3 yards or less SHORT of the flag.

So that is just one aspect of it. Others include penalties, no push from the OL, and inaccurate passes.

Still another aspect that we need to recognize is the fact that Harbaugh CHOOSES to play a field position game with Andy Lee and the defense. Rather than attempting to pick up the first on 3rd and long, he takes the 8 yard throw and lets Lee pin the other team deep in their own end with a punt. In that sense, the fact the ST and defense are SO strong results in an offense that does not look as strong as it might if they always felt compelled to go for the first down instead of playing "field position."

This is true, however look at the passes. They are on the money and thrown where the receiver's momentum carries them past the defense to the opens spaces on the field.
That is not always the case, and that is part of my point.

We all have learned that Vernon Davis does not have the agility to adjust to balls that are not right on target. In contrast, when I watch the other guys I mentioned above, I see they are often not only making quick hot read adjustments, but they are also making acrobatic catches on balls thrown low, behind them, over their heads, and on the turf. I won't take up space by noting individual plays I have observed but only say that EVERY QB I have seen this year has been bailed out by a TE that makes good reads and catches on balls that are far from "right on the money."

I stand by what I posted above; ONE of the big problems with the 3rd down offense is the lack of a TE who makes the correct hot read AND has the agility to make the catch on a ball that is not perfectly thrown.

Now on the subject of Michael Crabtree cutting off his route 2 yards before the flag, and Jim Harbaugh CHOOSING to play field position football rather than always attempting to get a first down on 3rd and long..........



I'm just saying the source of the problem isn't just one receiver. One play or even one type of play. There are inconsistencies regardless of players, play-called or even blitz. We saw against the Ravens you had, the perfect play call, the receiver (Ginn) catches the ball but the play was nullified because - whether BS or not - a mental lapse by an Olineman. I can go on and on. Sometimes it's Smith, sometimes it's the play, sometimes it's the OL, sometimes it's Davis. There are just as many cases where receivers are open down-field and Alex doesn't see the guy. I'm just saying it's never one thing with this offense.

I'm not saying all the blame is on Alex. I AM saying that with a different type of player at QB, some of the inconsistencies we see in other areas are smoothed over.

We make the same argument about Gore and the running game. The 49ers look unbeatable because there are times when Gore is healthy when he's just DOMINANT despite average OL play.

However I'd argue in today's NFL, given all the rule changes and an emphasis on scoring/passing, it's a lot harder to stop a good/great QB than it is a good/great RB.

But just because this argument might be true doesn't mean it's Alex hate. I don't buy that for one minute.
[ Edited by NinerGM on Dec 13, 2011 at 6:49 PM ]
Originally posted by LundyLove:
This is not a thread about Alex Smith......

But to say he is not part of the problem are ignoring the big red Elephant in the room

LOL! If this is not a thread about Smith why did you dump the reponsibility on him in your opening?
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