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No , Harbaugh Did NOT Have 'Almost The Same' Players As Singletary

Baakle shopped for the groceries and JH cooked the meal.

Mostly the same on offense and it showed the POWER of excellent coaching.

Many similar players on D and it showed the power of excellent drafting and the difference excellent coaching can make.

NOW - let's keep the ball rolling and get some new groceries.
Originally posted by SofaKing:
Originally posted by 49erRider:
Originally posted by SofaKing:
The bend but don't break philosophy was thrown out the window this year.

Actually, bend-but-don't-break is exactly what our defense did all year. They allowed the ball to be moved on them through the air - they just didn't allow teams to score. That's what bend-but-don't-break is. The bending part is allowing passing yardage (or rushing yardage, but we didn't allow any of that sh*t) and the don't break part is not allowing the TD.

I disagree. We were ranked 4th in total defense, 2nd in points allowed, and 1st against the run by a large margin. We gave up passing yards because teams had no other choice but to pass. No way they were running on this D. Opposing QB's had a QB rating of 73.6 (5th in NFL). Bend but don't break is what Indy had for many years with their Tampa 2. Give up a lot of yards but limit points scored. Teams did not gain many yards on us nor did they score many points. This is not a bend but don't break defense.

Ours was a different version of Bend but don't Break D that allowed the secondary to pressure harder for picks, strips, or big hits; but, when it got to the red zone, we stiffened up.

The number of picks greatly influenced the QB rate stat; but, look at the number of yards our D gave up compared to the number of points. We were clearly a bend but don't break D...
Originally posted by jsaniner:
In a recent column Lowell Cohn wrote, "Mike Singletary had the same players with a few exceptions and couldn't deliver". That's a typical media opinion, that Harbaugh, using almost or mostly the same players as Singletary had, was solely responsible for the 49ers stunning success. You here the theme over and over, by sportswriters, on TV and on sports talk radio. It has become the conventional wisdom.

There is one problem with it - it's dead wrong. It ignores a major story, a significant accomplishment of the 2011 49ers - the rebuilding of the defense by Trent Baalke. When you look at the changes in defensive player personnel from 2010 to 2011 in detail the scope of the makeover that Baalke orchestrated becomes clear. It wasn't just "a few exceptions" as Cohn said, but a whole lot of exceptions, a total rebuild.

Of the 13 defensive positions positions (the starting 11 plus a situational pass rusher and nickel back), nine of them had new players. That's a major transformation. Baalke did it by by moving backups into starting roles - Brooks replaced Lawson at outside linebacker, Bowman replaced Spikes at inside linebacker, Sopoaga moved from defensive end (replaced by backup Ray McDonald) to replace Franklin at nose tackle. Brown replaced Spencer at cornerback. Baakle acquired quality free agents - Whitner at strong safety and Rogers at cornerback. Baakle drafted Aldon Smith as a pass rusher and Culliver as a nickel back. Every one of these moves was an upgrade at the position. Only Goldson and Willis and Haralson and Justin Smith werre carry-overs at their position from 2010. Vic Fangio is a fine defensive coordinator, but he could not have achieved the results he did using 2010's players.

This in no way diminishes the job Harbaugh and his staff did; they deserve all the credit they have received. But Baakle deserves equal credit for what he accomplished. Together they engineered one of the most remarkable turnarounds in NFL history. Neither could have done it without the other.

Whay he is saying is that he put players in

Originally posted by 9erred:
Originally posted by jsaniner:
In a recent column Lowell Cohn wrote, "Mike Singletary had the same players with a few exceptions and couldn't deliver". That's a typical media opinion, that Harbaugh, using almost or mostly the same players as Singletary had, was solely responsible for the 49ers stunning success. You here the theme over and over, by sportswriters, on TV and on sports talk radio. It has become the conventional wisdom.

There is one problem with it - it's dead wrong. It ignores a major story, a significant accomplishment of the 2011 49ers - the rebuilding of the defense by Trent Baalke. When you look at the changes in defensive player personnel from 2010 to 2011 in detail the scope of the makeover that Baalke orchestrated becomes clear. It wasn't just "a few exceptions" as Cohn said, but a whole lot of exceptions, a total rebuild.

Of the 13 defensive positions positions (the starting 11 plus a situational pass rusher and nickel back), nine of them had new players. That's a major transformation. Baalke did it by by moving backups into starting roles - Brooks replaced Lawson at outside linebacker, Bowman replaced Spikes at inside linebacker, Sopoaga moved from defensive end (replaced by backup Ray McDonald) to replace Franklin at nose tackle. Brown replaced Spencer at cornerback. Baakle acquired quality free agents - Whitner at strong safety and Rogers at cornerback. Baakle drafted Aldon Smith as a pass rusher and Culliver as a nickel back. Every one of these moves was an upgrade at the position. Only Goldson and Willis and Haralson and Justin Smith werre carry-overs at their position from 2010. Vic Fangio is a fine defensive coordinator, but he could not have achieved the results he did using 2010's players.

This in no way diminishes the job Harbaugh and his staff did; they deserve all the credit they have received. But Baakle deserves equal credit for what he accomplished. Together they engineered one of the most remarkable turnarounds in NFL history. Neither could have done it without the other.


I agree with the writer, Harbaugh DID do it with alsmot the same team. If you look at the players who moved in they are equal. I have no doubt harbaugh would have performed the same with the other roster.

The core is the same.
QB- Alex Smith
RB Frank Gore
WR- Michael Crabtree
LT Joe Staley
LG Mike Iupati
C- Wash
RG- Rachal/Snyder
RT Anthony Davis

So the offense (ranked 29th) is essentially the same.

Punter same
Kicker replaced, both good

Defense, same 3-4 defense with core players of Justin Smith, Isaac Sopoaga, and Ray Mcdonald, Ahmad Brooks, Patrick Willis all the same. ?DB's mixed up but old roster as good.

So Harbaugh did have the same.

What I think he is saying is that he put players in (from the core) to best fit his scheme. This team isnt the same... All players played better then any other year and there was been key additions that has made an impact. McDonald and Sopoaga, Brooks and Haralson are prime examples of that. Yes our offense was the same but I watched them this year and saw them make plays I havent seen in years. Their not what they should be but we all seen glimpse of what is to come.
What do you think.
Originally posted by Constantine:
Originally posted by jsaniner:
In a recent column Lowell Cohn wrote, "Mike Singletary had the same players with a few exceptions and couldn't deliver". That's a typical media opinion, that Harbaugh, using almost or mostly the same players as Singletary had, was solely responsible for the 49ers stunning success. You here the theme over and over, by sportswriters, on TV and on sports talk radio. It has become the conventional wisdom.

There is one problem with it - it's dead wrong. It ignores a major story, a significant accomplishment of the 2011 49ers - the rebuilding of the defense by Trent Baalke. When you look at the changes in defensive player personnel from 2010 to 2011 in detail the scope of the makeover that Baalke orchestrated becomes clear. It wasn't just "a few exceptions" as Cohn said, but a whole lot of exceptions, a total rebuild.

Of the 13 defensive positions positions (the starting 11 plus a situational pass rusher and nickel back), nine of them had new players. That's a major transformation. Baalke did it by by moving backups into starting roles - Brooks replaced Lawson at outside linebacker, Bowman replaced Spikes at inside linebacker, Sopoaga moved from defensive end (replaced by backup Ray McDonald) to replace Franklin at nose tackle. Brown replaced Spencer at cornerback. Baakle acquired quality free agents - Whitner at strong safety and Rogers at cornerback. Baakle drafted Aldon Smith as a pass rusher and Culliver as a nickel back. Every one of these moves was an upgrade at the position. Only Goldson and Willis and Haralson and Justin Smith werre carry-overs at their position from 2010. Vic Fangio is a fine defensive coordinator, but he could not have achieved the results he did using 2010's players.

This in no way diminishes the job Harbaugh and his staff did; they deserve all the credit they have received. But Baakle deserves equal credit for what he accomplished. Together they engineered one of the most remarkable turnarounds in NFL history. Neither could have done it without the other.

Whay he is saying is that he put players in

Originally posted by 9erred:
Originally posted by jsaniner:
In a recent column Lowell Cohn wrote, "Mike Singletary had the same players with a few exceptions and couldn't deliver". That's a typical media opinion, that Harbaugh, using almost or mostly the same players as Singletary had, was solely responsible for the 49ers stunning success. You here the theme over and over, by sportswriters, on TV and on sports talk radio. It has become the conventional wisdom.

There is one problem with it - it's dead wrong. It ignores a major story, a significant accomplishment of the 2011 49ers - the rebuilding of the defense by Trent Baalke. When you look at the changes in defensive player personnel from 2010 to 2011 in detail the scope of the makeover that Baalke orchestrated becomes clear. It wasn't just "a few exceptions" as Cohn said, but a whole lot of exceptions, a total rebuild.

Of the 13 defensive positions positions (the starting 11 plus a situational pass rusher and nickel back), nine of them had new players. That's a major transformation. Baalke did it by by moving backups into starting roles - Brooks replaced Lawson at outside linebacker, Bowman replaced Spikes at inside linebacker, Sopoaga moved from defensive end (replaced by backup Ray McDonald) to replace Franklin at nose tackle. Brown replaced Spencer at cornerback. Baakle acquired quality free agents - Whitner at strong safety and Rogers at cornerback. Baakle drafted Aldon Smith as a pass rusher and Culliver as a nickel back. Every one of these moves was an upgrade at the position. Only Goldson and Willis and Haralson and Justin Smith werre carry-overs at their position from 2010. Vic Fangio is a fine defensive coordinator, but he could not have achieved the results he did using 2010's players.

This in no way diminishes the job Harbaugh and his staff did; they deserve all the credit they have received. But Baakle deserves equal credit for what he accomplished. Together they engineered one of the most remarkable turnarounds in NFL history. Neither could have done it without the other.


I agree with the writer, Harbaugh DID do it with alsmot the same team. If you look at the players who moved in they are equal. I have no doubt harbaugh would have performed the same with the other roster.

The core is the same.
QB- Alex Smith
RB Frank Gore
WR- Michael Crabtree
LT Joe Staley
LG Mike Iupati
C- Wash
RG- Rachal/Snyder
RT Anthony Davis

So the offense (ranked 29th) is essentially the same.

Punter same
Kicker replaced, both good

Defense, same 3-4 defense with core players of Justin Smith, Isaac Sopoaga, and Ray Mcdonald, Ahmad Brooks, Patrick Willis all the same. ?DB's mixed up but old roster as good.

So Harbaugh did have the same.

What I think he is saying is that he put players in (from the core) to best fit his scheme. This team isnt the same... All players played better then any other year and there was been key additions that has made an impact. McDonald and Sopoaga, Brooks and Haralson are prime examples of that. Yes our offense was the same but I watched them this year and saw them make plays I havent seen in years. Their not what they should be but we all seen glimpse of what is to come.
What do you think.

I think the point is that the coaching change made a bigger impact than the FA/Draft player aquisitions.
  • cciowa
  • Veteran
  • Posts: 24,757
even if the players were the same, the mind set is different and the coaching was actually coaching instead of ineptness and drama.I give sing credit for nothing, not the rebirth of vernon davis, nothing. He was as bad if not worse than dennis erickson
Originally posted by jsaniner:
In a recent column Lowell Cohn wrote, "Mike Singletary had the same players with a few exceptions and couldn't deliver". That's a typical media opinion, that Harbaugh, using almost or mostly the same players as Singletary had, was solely responsible for the 49ers stunning success. You here the theme over and over, by sportswriters, on TV and on sports talk radio. It has become the conventional wisdom.

There is one problem with it - it's dead wrong. It ignores a major story, a significant accomplishment of the 2011 49ers - the rebuilding of the defense by Trent Baalke. When you look at the changes in defensive player personnel from 2010 to 2011 in detail the scope of the makeover that Baalke orchestrated becomes clear. It wasn't just "a few exceptions" as Cohn said, but a whole lot of exceptions, a total rebuild.

Of the 13 defensive positions positions (the starting 11 plus a situational pass rusher and nickel back), nine of them had new players. That's a major transformation. Baalke did it by by moving backups into starting roles - Brooks replaced Lawson at outside linebacker, Bowman replaced Spikes at inside linebacker, Sopoaga moved from defensive end (replaced by backup Ray McDonald) to replace Franklin at nose tackle. Brown replaced Spencer at cornerback. Baakle acquired quality free agents - Whitner at strong safety and Rogers at cornerback. Baakle drafted Aldon Smith as a pass rusher and Culliver as a nickel back. Every one of these moves was an upgrade at the position. Only Goldson and Willis and Haralson and Justin Smith werre carry-overs at their position from 2010. Vic Fangio is a fine defensive coordinator, but he could not have achieved the results he did using 2010's players.

This in no way diminishes the job Harbaugh and his staff did; they deserve all the credit they have received. But Baakle deserves equal credit for what he accomplished. Together they engineered one of the most remarkable turnarounds in NFL history. Neither could have done it without the other.
Forgive me, but I'm not understanding your argument. You cite Cohen's article and provide a quote that "Mike Singletary had the same players with a few exceptions and couldn't deliver" and say that this basically is a common misconception by the media and then go one to give your reasons. The fact is, all of your arguments point to the fact that Singletary DID have the same players (barring a few exceptions), he just didn' play them in the right position or had the wrong guys starting. Take a look:

2010 Defense 2011 Defense:

DE J. Smith DE J. Smith
NG A. Franklin NG. I. Sopagoa
DE I. Sopagoa DE R. McDonald
OLB M. Lawson OLB A. Brooks
OLB P. Haralson OLB P. Haralson
ILD P. Willis ILB P. Willis
ILB T. Spikes ILB N. Bowman
CB S. Spencer CB T. Brown
CB N. Clements CB C. Rogers
SS T. Mays SS D. Whitner
FS D. Goldson FS D. Goldson
Nickel T. Brown Nickel C. Culliver
Sit Pass Rusher A. Brooks Sit Pass Rusher A. Smith

So, as far as the defense goes, of the 13 positions you speak of, 9 of those players were on the team and actually only 2 new starters were acquired. I would say that Singeletary DID have the same players for the most part "with a few exceptions" like you cited.

As for the offense, it's even more apparent that Singletary had "the same players with a few exceptions":

2010 Offense: 2011 Offense:
QB A. Smith/T. Smith QB A. Smith
RB F. Gore QB F. Gore
FB M. Norris FB B. Miller
WR M. Crabtree WR M. Crabtree
WR J. Morgan WR J. Morgan/B. Edwards
TE V. Davis TE V. Davis
LT J. Staley LT J. Staley
RT A. Davis RT A. Davis
RG C. Rachal RG C. Rachal/A. Snyder
LG M. Iupati LG M. Iupati
C D. Bass C B. Goodwin

Taken together, of the 24 positions (22 starters plus nickel back and sit pass rusher), 7 of them were new acquisitions. Of the actual 22 starters, only 5 were new acquisitions (where Edwards did not have any impact and previous Niners in Ginn and Williams filled his role). So really, of the 22 starters, 18 of them were indeed players that Singletary did have. Wouldn't you say that the sentiment "Mike Singletary had the same players with a few exceptions and couldn't deliver" would be a fairly accurate statement?
Originally posted by D_Niner:
Ours was a different version of Bend but don't Break D that allowed the secondary to pressure harder for picks, strips, or big hits; but, when it got to the red zone, we stiffened up.

The number of picks greatly influenced the QB rate stat; but, look at the number of yards our D gave up compared to the number of points. We were clearly a bend but don't break D...

We were 4th in yards allowed and 2nd in points allowed. I don't see a huge disparity there. We didn't allow many yards which translated into not allowing many points.
I disagree. The roster has a lot of the same names. Some in different positions or different roles but largely the same squad.
Trent made some good decisions but guys like Bowman, Brooks, Sop, and Ray, still had to play and come good.
I agree the free agents and rookies played their part but you speak as if the backups from last year weren't on the team.
Your argument doesn't hold water because Harbaugh and his staff could have chosen not to put them on the field or advise they be cut.
The point the writer was making is mostly the same names, drastically different results.
cc, I will raise you one and say BM was WAY worse than Er-wreck-son, the most inept coach in ages until....BM(bigmike).
Originally posted by VANiner:
Forgive me, but I'm not understanding your argument. You cite Cohen's article and provide a quote that "Mike Singletary had the same players with a few exceptions and couldn't deliver" and say that this basically is a common misconception by the media and then go one to give your reasons. The fact is, all of your arguments point to the fact that Singletary DID have the same players (barring a few exceptions), he just didn' play them in the right position or had the wrong guys starting. Take a look:

2010 Defense 2011 Defense:

DE J. Smith DE J. Smith
NG A. Franklin NG. I. Sopagoa
DE I. Sopagoa DE R. McDonald
OLB M. Lawson OLB A. Brooks
OLB P. Haralson OLB P. Haralson
ILD P. Willis ILB P. Willis
ILB T. Spikes ILB N. Bowman
CB S. Spencer CB T. Brown
CB N. Clements CB C. Rogers
SS T. Mays SS D. Whitner
FS D. Goldson FS D. Goldson
Nickel T. Brown Nickel C. Culliver
Sit Pass Rusher A. Brooks Sit Pass Rusher A. Smith

So, as far as the defense goes, of the 13 positions you speak of, 9 of those players were on the team and actually only 2 new starters were acquired. I would say that Singeletary DID have the same players for the most part "with a few exceptions" like you cited.

As for the offense, it's even more apparent that Singletary had "the same players with a few exceptions":

2010 Offense: 2011 Offense:
QB A. Smith/T. Smith QB A. Smith
RB F. Gore QB F. Gore
FB M. Norris FB B. Miller
WR M. Crabtree WR M. Crabtree
WR J. Morgan WR J. Morgan/B. Edwards
TE V. Davis TE V. Davis
LT J. Staley LT J. Staley
RT A. Davis RT A. Davis
RG C. Rachal RG C. Rachal/A. Snyder
LG M. Iupati LG M. Iupati
C D. Bass C B. Goodwin

Taken together, of the 24 positions (22 starters plus nickel back and sit pass rusher), 7 of them were new acquisitions. Of the actual 22 starters, only 5 were new acquisitions (where Edwards did not have any impact and previous Niners in Ginn and Williams filled his role). So really, of the 22 starters, 18 of them were indeed players that Singletary did have. Wouldn't you say that the sentiment "Mike Singletary had the same players with a few exceptions and couldn't deliver" would be a fairly accurate statement?

I think I need to restate and clarify my position. I was wrong to say only Baalke was responsible for changes in the defense. Certainly Harbaugh was involved in most of the personnel decisions. It's hard to tell who was responsible for each decision, but it doesn't matter. They both should get equal credit for a superb job. I stand by my basic premise that Baakle/Harbaugh orchestrated a major transformation of defensive personnel that resulted in a unit vastly superior in talent compared to the 2010 unit.

What Cohn is really saying is that about 90% of the credit for the 49ers going from 6-10 to 13-3 belongs to Harbaugh and his staff; player changes were incidental. I agree that's true for the offense. But not for the defense, not when there were so many changes at so many positions, each of which was an upgrade at that position. A fair and realistic division of credit would split the difference – 50% due to better coaching and 50% due to better players. If the 2011 coaches had been stuck with the 2010 defense they would not have come close to the huge improvement in defensive ranking achieved by the rebuilt 2011 defense.

Another point I made is that the defensive makeover has been an underreported story; the media has not given it the attention it deserves. Perhaps that's changing. In a recent article Matt Maiocco wrote, "the remodeling of the team has mostly erased the memory of a team that underachieved in 2010". Remodeling. Isn't that another word for makeover? Hmmm.
Originally posted by D_Niner:
Originally posted by SofaKing:
Originally posted by 49erRider:
Originally posted by SofaKing:
The bend but don't break philosophy was thrown out the window this year.

Actually, bend-but-don't-break is exactly what our defense did all year. They allowed the ball to be moved on them through the air - they just didn't allow teams to score. That's what bend-but-don't-break is. The bending part is allowing passing yardage (or rushing yardage, but we didn't allow any of that sh*t) and the don't break part is not allowing the TD.

I disagree. We were ranked 4th in total defense, 2nd in points allowed, and 1st against the run by a large margin. We gave up passing yards because teams had no other choice but to pass. No way they were running on this D. Opposing QB's had a QB rating of 73.6 (5th in NFL). Bend but don't break is what Indy had for many years with their Tampa 2. Give up a lot of yards but limit points scored. Teams did not gain many yards on us nor did they score many points. This is not a bend but don't break defense.

Ours was a different version of Bend but don't Break D that allowed the secondary to pressure harder for picks, strips, or big hits; but, when it got to the red zone, we stiffened up.

The number of picks greatly influenced the QB rate stat; but, look at the number of yards our D gave up compared to the number of points. We were clearly a bend but don't break D...

agreed and to add to your point, i dont have the stats off hand, but in quite a few games against top tier offenses (yardage wise) we were often out gained but still won the game. philly and detroit got their yards, but not much else, its not like we were holding them 100 yards under what they averaged
That's why Baalke won executive of the year
He doesnt like Jim because he hurts his feelings in post game interviews...so of course he wrote this.

Cohn is garbage
crap , Ballke was there when Sing was there . Same players , Backups went in Starting roles and Drafting well . f**k the writer Same players except for S, and CB

why they are playing better than what they played for sing its on the O they played significantly better on D they were lights out but if you go back and look @ our games the year before it was because of the D we won the 6 Games and lost the rest the O was there for nothing . its coaching stupid !
Originally posted by Wubbie:
Not disagreeing with you, because it's true. Baalke DID have a significant say in the roster changes we had.

But if you look at our defense... like you said, Brooks, Bowman, Sopoaga, Brown, and McDonald were either promoted or shifted around. Who really gets credit for that? I'd like to say they deserve an equal amount of praise for it. They're probably sitting there in Santa Clara discussing who can play what.

On offense though, that literally is the same 11 starters (Smith, Gore, Crabtree, Morgan/Ginn/Williams, Walker, the O-line), yet the offense was more effective. I'd say that's almost all on Harbaugh for getting the most out of his players.

I think it's a silly discussion... who gets credit for what? Harbaugh and Baalke always talk about how much communication they have.

I think ISA post is valid when you look at the fact Sing and Baalke didn't see eye to eye. That hurt thier ability to communicate.

Sing probably would not agree with the moves Baalke wanted to make.

Its true these players were on the team, but Baalke's vision for them as starters made a huge difference.

When you look at the changes Baalke made on defense, clearly this was a different team.