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Coaching priorities next year......

What areas do you think the staff will focus their coaching (skills) attention this off season?

We saw this catch doing an amazing turnaround of the team - awesome. And we saw them emphasize the basics -- of their scheme and football discipline -- team first ethose, assignment responsibility and improving execution each week, exceptional ball security, AND exceptional talent. All things missing for the last 5+ years With a solid foundation, and not forgetting that, we also saw a lot of room for improvement. Here is
Plus the coaching staff was essentially learning about its personnel on the fly having lacked an offseason for teaching and installation. I have no doubt that this staff has an excellent grasp of their talent and coaching priorities going forward.

Here is what I think they are going to focus on this offseason and training camp:

1. QB skills -- This last year was about the basics and a progressive installation of the scheme and limited game plans. This time, I think the staff is going to work on finding out if ASmith, or the other QBs, can take these basics and start making throws on better timing and into tighter windows. I suspect that a huge amount of practice is going to be QBs stressed to throw to beat tight coverage -- e.g. receivers running crossing routes with underneath and over the top coverage, but with enough room that the right throw on time beats the coverage (see VDavis reception against the Saints). Thowing on the run will be the second point of emphasis -- Smith needs to dramatically improve here. I suspect they are going to work him rolling left over and over. Lastly, they will run a ton of drills where the QB must move around in the pocket without leaving the pocket -- working on ball security, throwing position, eyes downfield -- and be timed to who can stay in the longest without getting firmly grabbed. The QB that succeeds in these drill will win the starting job (IMHO).

2. WR play related to timing with the QB, separation, and aggressiveness to the ball are going to go hand in hand with the above.

3. TE - I think they draft a big bodied, soft handed TE to work the inside zones better -- which goes to the passing game work above. I suspect Davis and DW are too duplicative in talents.

4. OL - pass blocking and blitz pick-up scheme, scheme, scheme, working as a group with the RBs.

5. RBs - pass blocking, I thought they ran well, minimal dancing, etc.

6. Defense - darn, they played so well, there isn't much to say. What skill or assignment issues were there?? Aldon needs some work on getting by first contact, he came free mostly on stunts or second moves to the inside when the QB was forced to move. Besides some highlight reel power rushes, his main move going straight up on a tackle was to go outside and hesitate to avoid contact, and then explode past the tackle late. JSmith was the guy that worked right through people for direct sacks, and Ray McD was primarily a gap splitting rusher. Soap's role tying up the middle was unsung - but huge. The LB core was awesome - even Haralson -- they played their assignments incredibly well and rarely had a breakdown. Shoot, even Grant came in and we hardly missed a beat. On the back end, I think Culliver showed incredible progress as a rookie. Even when WR made catches on him, he wasn't beat badly. He may be a full time starter next year. The coverage in the deep middle had a few breakdowns, but you can't win them all.

7. Special teams - Holy cow. Again, Seely may be the secret to the 49ers success. The coverage units were unbelievebly good - even IF the first tacklers missed, the follow-up coverage just swarmed people. I can't remember an instance where the coverage broke down and left a big gap for the returner to burst through. That is a testament to his coaching with such a short off season. Maybe they will work on Lee's leg strength to improve his distance - he doesn't kick very far - joking!!!
Nice post. A full off-season should help with a lot of the issues that you listed.

- Timing between QB & WR needs to improve. Size & Speed is needed at WR/TE.
- OL needs to be better in blitz pickup.
- RB's and OL need to be better in short-yardage situations. Might need to add a goal-line/short-yardage specialist RB.
- Defense & Special Teams are money. They just need to keep doing what they're doing. Aldon must become an every down player.
I believe Harbaugh subscribes to the Walsh method of practicing game simulations to develop speed and fluency of plays. He hated wasting time on drills that took time away from actual game situations. Singletary's nutcracker would be a perfect example of a waste of time.

Agree with most of your observations Hearstfan but disagree that Smith throws poorly on the run. He is actually pretty accurate. Smith needs work getting rid of the ball quickly on timing routes. They will be working on timing, timing and timing. WRs will work on getting through their routes consistently. Not late, not early but on time. They need work on middle routes. Some velcro may be sewn to receivers hands.

Oline work will be fun to watch. Who will be the starter at RG? Snyder, Kilgore or someone else.
I like your observation on Culliver. Even when beat he was right there. Could be a star.
With out further offseason moves yet to be made, I would say the most important is to get Kaep up to speed to be a good, competent backup at QB. We were very lucky Smith didn't get injured this year. I don't think we would have been 13-3 had that happened. Would have been a disaster for both Kaep and the team to have him on the field so early.
The recievers need to work on their hands. Crabtree, Vernon Davis, Edwards, Ginn and Delanie walker all dropped easy passes including Touchdowns. Gore dropped a number of easy screens in the flat. I wouldn't mind signing someone like Reggie Wayne knowing he is older now but isn't likely to drop a lot of passes.
What? 5 post and no mention of Kyle Williams or ASmith is the zuxors???

Niner Talk, you're letting me down, yo!

- 98
Good post... You nailed most of them. I'd like to see the WRs work on coming back to the ball when Alex is in trouble or scrambling and not stopping and standing there. Also, Alex using pump fakes more often and being more decisive. Also, changing the cadence once in a while... Alex has drawn people offsides a lot of the time in the past when using his barking. Working on passing out of the jumbo formation. Switch things up.. need to get more of the playbook learned and Roman has to get his head out of his butt at times. An offseason should make him more fluid and help him to be able to call better games. I'd like to see us continue to get new trickeration plays but nothing with our RB's throwing especially since none of them have ever thrown a pass. Use the jet sweeps more, get some new stuff in....

The 2 most important things though IMO are blitz pickup/pass protection and QB mechanics/WR timing. We get better on those two things alone and that solves a lot of our problems. Oh, and getting a big wr/te will help this but we have to be better than 25-30% or whatever we are on 3rd downs. It's pathetic... need to work on that in the offseason. Work on developing plays/routes Alex feels comfortable with on that down, work on blitz pickup for that down, play against our defense and do various situations with different yards to gain and on different spots on the field. (more slants!!!) Alex has to work on getting balls batted down (using passing lanes and our OL can help by practicing getting DL down... we really don't cut block much anymore)

P.S. Anyone noticed how we stop doing those "sneaky" shifts on 3rd downs to get people to jump? Guess when one ref says it's legal and the other says it's not it isn't worth risking it. It was pretty much a judgment call on if they made a movement forward.
[ Edited by Gore_21 on Feb 2, 2012 at 7:07 AM ]
They need to scrap whatever package that has justin Smith trying to block instead of an actual lineman.
Ol biggest need for work followed by Alexs accuracy. However we need Wes that can actually get open to help him out
Originally posted by kidash98:
What? 5 post and no mention of Kyle Williams or ASmith is the zuxors???

Niner Talk, you're letting me down, yo!

- 98

3rd down conversions and red zone offense----I am sure the coaches will review every single play in those situations and see what went wrong.
The pass play calling needs to be improved overall, including better red zone plays that Alex is comfortable actually throwing. (Alex holds the ball an extra split to full second on most pass plays including in the red zone.)
Originally posted by swim4speed:
The pass play calling needs to be improved overall, including better red zone plays that Alex is comfortable actually throwing. (Alex holds the ball an extra split to full second on most pass plays including in the red zone.)

This