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

That is such a misconception. The offense was the same but this team won with defense and special team play. We went from a good defense to a great defense by:

1) adding a true # 1 corner (at least in terms of performance this season) in Rogers
2) letting a very good ILB (Spikes) go and installing an All Pro (Bowman)
3) letting a pretty good NT go (Franklin) and reshaping the Dline with Soap and McDonald
4) Signing a near pro bowl caliber free safety (Whitner)
5) Most importantly, drafted a game changing pass rusher (Smith) which is something this team hasn't had in a LONG time.

Not to mention the addition of Akers, Costanzo to help solidify the ST.
Originally posted by sachie23:
That is such a misconception. The offense was the same but this team won with defense and special team play. We went from a good defense to a great defense by:

1) adding a true # 1 corner (at least in terms of performance this season) in Rogers
2) letting a very good ILB (Spikes) go and installing an All Pro (Bowman)
3) letting a pretty good NT go (Franklin) and reshaping the Dline with Soap and McDonald
4) Signing a near pro bowl caliber free safety (Whitner)
5) Most importantly, drafted a game changing pass rusher (Smith) which is something this team hasn't had in a LONG time.

Not to mention the addition of Akers, Costanzo to help solidify the ST.

donte whitner isnt a pro bowl caliber safety, hes a solid player but hes not a pro bowler
[ Edited by crabman82 on Feb 13, 2012 at 9:09 AM ]
I say same players, BUT- WITH BETTER UTILIZATION !!!
Originally posted by toppdogg32:
I say same players, BUT- WITH BETTER UTILIZATION !!!

its the same core group, there was some turnover, but there is every year on nfl teams
Originally posted by crabman82:
donte whitner isnt a pro bowl caliber safety, hes a solid player but hes not a pro bowler

I said he's near pro bowler (i.e. solid player).
Who cares if Harbaugh had the same team. I know I don't. The team was just as talented under Singletary, but motivation can only get you so far. At some point you have to have a real idea about scheming, and that's what JH brought 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.

yeah what this guy said, so they moved positions and were moved into starting roles.....and? they were on the team, nolan and singletary were horrible at eval talent. that is what the problem with this team was. you cant say it was a new team when the players were already on the roster lol, harbaugh just played the better players like a real, good coach should.
Originally posted by kodiak9er:
yeah what this guy said, so they moved positions and were moved into starting roles.....and? they were on the team, nolan and singletary were horrible at eval talent. that is what the problem with this team was. you cant say it was a new team when the players were already on the roster lol, harbaugh just played the better players like a real, good coach should.

So you think the defense would have done as well as they did without Whitner and Rogers and Aldon Smith and Culliver? Maybe you you should start following baseball.
  • mike
  • Veteran
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Agree, people are underrating how big of an influence a 14 sack pass rusher, all pro linebacker, and a much improved secondary has on winning games. Many of our losses were very close games and when you have a defense go from ranked somewhere around 13th to top 5 you win way more of those close games.

Also, on offense there technically were a lot of "new" players if you consider that Alex Smith and Frank gore were both hurt or in alex's case also benched a good portion of the season. We easily could have won one or two more games(those close games vs rams and seattle that ruined our chances of making the playoffs at the end of the year) with gore playing instead of dumbass dixon running headfirst into linemen and carr/troy doing stupid s**t. Alex was bad but he wasn't as bad as troy or carr in hindsight.

Last season was such a mess, but we still were only 3 wins away from being in Seattle's shoes as the nfc west champs. Heck even Akers could have helped us a lot last season.
Originally posted by SofaKing:
You've got a valid point. Offensive personnel remained largely the same, but the defense got a makeover. The Defense featured 6 new starters (McDonald, Bowman, Brooks, Rogers, Brown, Whitner). You could argue there were 7 new starters if you include Sopoaga's shift to nose tackle.

Also the addition of Aldon Smith cannot be understated. For the 1st time in forever we were able to apply consistent pressure without the need to scheme up exotic blitzes.

Vic Fangio was a godsend, and he makes Manusky look like an amateur. I love that he had the confidence in our secondary to play so much press man coverage. I got so sick of watching our corners giving 6 to 7 yard cushions to receivers. The bend but don't break philosophy was thrown out the window this year. Fangio trusted his guys to carry out their assignments while also looking to make plays on the ball, and they delivered.


Umm, maybe Sing and Manusky shoulda made some of these moves since some of these players were on the roster last year.
Originally posted by jsaniner:
Originally posted by kodiak9er:
yeah what this guy said, so they moved positions and were moved into starting roles.....and? they were on the team, nolan and singletary were horrible at eval talent. that is what the problem with this team was. you cant say it was a new team when the players were already on the roster lol, harbaugh just played the better players like a real, good coach should.

So you think the defense would have done as well as they did without Whitner and Rogers and Aldon Smith and Culliver? Maybe you you should start following baseball.

And maybe you should start accepting that other people are allowed their own opinions.

And the bulk of the team were already on the roster. Draft picks obviously excluded.
Originally posted by English:
And maybe you should start accepting that other people are allowed their own opinions.

And the bulk of the team were already on the roster. Draft picks obviously excluded.

Sorry about the baseball crack, that was out of line. You say draft picks excluded. You left out free agents. That's my point, that the free agents AND draft picks (not on last year's team) significantly increased the talent level of the 2011 defense.
Originally posted by jsaniner:
Originally posted by kodiak9er:
yeah what this guy said, so they moved positions and were moved into starting roles.....and? they were on the team, nolan and singletary were horrible at eval talent. that is what the problem with this team was. you cant say it was a new team when the players were already on the roster lol, harbaugh just played the better players like a real, good coach should.

So you think the defense would have done as well as they did without Whitner and Rogers and Aldon Smith and Culliver? Maybe you you should start following baseball.

i do follow baseball, and hockey, and basketball, and soccer......the defense was already top 10 in the nfl last couple of years, and that was with manusky not fangio, and all but 3 starters and one situational player that you mention, were on this team already. singletary was a s**t coach, theres nothing to argue, 90% of the team was here when he was, the core of this team was on the roster with nolan. and in one year we improved by 7 wins. whatever dude, im sorry youre right. i think what you need to understand is that yes those FEW players brought in were upgrades from what we had before.....but the big thing is that the MAJORITY of the players that were already on this team played better than they had in their entire careers. its ignorant to say this is not the same team, it virtually is, look at the roster online lol its not hard..........7 1/2 players were already on the team, 3 1/2 were brought in(half being parys and aldon), on offense, 8 1/2 players already on the team, 2 1/2 brought in(edwards is the lost half, and the half gained after he left). its jst adding and subtracting lol this forum cracks me up
Originally posted by kodiak9er:
i do follow baseball, and hockey, and basketball, and soccer......the defense was already top 10 in the nfl last couple of years, and that was with manusky not fangio, and all but 3 starters and one situational player that you mention, were on this team already. singletary was a s**t coach, theres nothing to argue, 90% of the team was here when he was, the core of this team was on the roster with nolan. and in one year we improved by 7 wins. whatever dude, im sorry youre right. i think what you need to understand is that yes those FEW players brought in were upgrades from what we had before.....but the big thing is that the MAJORITY of the players that were already on this team played better than they had in their entire careers. its ignorant to say this is not the same team, it virtually is, look at the roster online lol its not hard..........7 1/2 players were already on the team, 3 1/2 were brought in(half being parys and aldon), on offense, 8 1/2 players already on the team, 2 1/2 brought in(edwards is the lost half, and the half gained after he left). its jst adding and subtracting lol this forum cracks me up


Originally posted by kodiak9er:
i do follow baseball, and hockey, and basketball, and soccer......the defense was already top 10 in the nfl last couple of years, and that was with manusky not fangio, and all but 3 starters and one situational player that you mention, were on this team already. singletary was a s**t coach, theres nothing to argue, 90% of the team was here when he was, the core of this team was on the roster with nolan. and in one year we improved by 7 wins. whatever dude, im sorry youre right. i think what you need to understand is that yes those FEW players brought in were upgrades from what we had before.....but the big thing is that the MAJORITY of the players that were already on this team played better than they had in their entire careers. its ignorant to say this is not the same team, it virtually is, look at the roster online lol its not hard..........7 1/2 players were already on the team, 3 1/2 were brought in(half being parys and aldon), on offense, 8 1/2 players already on the team, 2 1/2 brought in(edwards is the lost half, and the half gained after he left). its jst adding and subtracting lol this forum cracks me up


Originally posted by kodiak9er:
i do follow baseball, and hockey, and basketball, and soccer......the defense was already top 10 in the nfl last couple of years, and that was with manusky not fangio, and all but 3 starters and one situational player that you mention, were on this team already. singletary was a s**t coach, theres nothing to argue, 90% of the team was here when he was, the core of this team was on the roster with nolan. and in one year we improved by 7 wins. whatever dude, im sorry youre right. i think what you need to understand is that yes those FEW players brought in were upgrades from what we had before.....but the big thing is that the MAJORITY of the players that were already on this team played better than they had in their entire careers. its ignorant to say this is not the same team, it virtually is, look at the roster online lol its not hard..........7 1/2 players were already on the team, 3 1/2 were brought in(half being parys and aldon), on offense, 8 1/2 players already on the team, 2 1/2 brought in(edwards is the lost half, and the half gained after he left). its jst adding and subtracting lol this forum cracks me up

First of all I didn't say this is the same entire team. In my clarifying post I conceded this applied only to the defense. Looking just at that, and removing the new starters in 2011 that were also on the 2010 team, you are left with the new 2011 acquitions. I'm saying without them - if you still had Clements at cornerback and Mays at strong safety and 'who knows' at nickel back and 'who knows' as a situational pass rusher, then the defense would not have achieved what it did. It would have been better than 2010, but not as good as it was with the 2011 free agent and draft additions. The combination of a pass rusher like Aldon Smith and a shut down corner like Rogers and a strong safety like Whitner and a nickel back like Culliver was a huge factor in shutting down the opponents passing game. And I still maintain the story of the defense makeover - starters who were carryovers from 2010 AND new acquisitions - is underreported.
Bottom-line, rather than looking at what Harbaugh might have done with last year's talent, I think it is more productive to look at what Singletary would have done with this year's talent and I don't think there's any way in hell this team wins more than 8 or 9 games with Singletary at the helm. The 49ers improved talent-wise, but more importantly, this team improved in execution, the coaching staff got a hell of a lot better, the schemes improved defensively, the offense played in the fashion that Singletary TALKED about playing, but was much more crisp, more organized with better schemes than anything that they had in the Singletary era. As far as leadership, Harbaugh seemed to be even more of a motivator than Singletary and unlike Singletary, his teams could execute, they came out each game with a plan, well-prepared for the game, made plays, because the team had success, guys bought into Harbaugh's system while Singletary kept yapping and yapping incessantly until the day he was canned.

There was a lot less drama, the team was on the same page, there was better chemistry, there's absolutely no way you can look at the Mike Singletary era and say that talent was the only problem. Talent was from the problem, the team had talent even during his era but they lost a lot of close games, made a lot of poor decisions, were heavily penalized, all of that reflects on the coaching. Singletary might be a good position coach but he doesn't have the ability to organize, execute and put together a proper coaching staff the way a true head coach needs to do.

Harbaugh seemed more like he had a true vision for this team whereas Singletary seemed to be flailing around in the dark most of the time. The biggest difference is that while both men knew what they WANTED the team to be, Harbaugh was the only one who actually went out and made it happen. That is the big difference between a 6 and 7 win team of "coulda shoulda woulda" that lost a bunch of close games and a 13 win team whose discipline, coaching and execution made it possible for them to win 13 games and come within an unlucky turnover of the Super Bowl.