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LaMichael James is a Niner

Originally posted by Disp:
James has touched the ball just over 60 times in his career and he's fumbled it 6 times (4 fumbles, 1 fumble against NE that they said forward progress stopped, and a fumble vs. Atl. that he was barely down by contact on a KR). That pretty much says everything. I don't care what he potentially brings as a punt returner; for a ball control team, if he's fumbling the ball once every 10 touches, that's unacceptable and WILL cost this team.

This isn't only an issue on kicks and punts, it's an issue on runs with him. Every time he gets touched it feels like there's a chance the ball's gonna get ripped out.

Crap. That is a scary stat. Thanks for posting.

Say what you will about Kyle fair catching so many punts, but the thing is, he caught them. LMJ has had 2 muffs in the past 2 games. Don't think for a second that the ball security emphasizing coaching staff has not taken notice. Yes I realize Kyle f'ed up in the NCFCG, but they weren't muffs.
Originally posted by Disp:
James has touched the ball just over 60 times in his career and he's fumbled it 6 times (4 fumbles, 1 fumble against NE that they said forward progress stopped, and a fumble vs. Atl. that he was barely down by contact on a KR). That pretty much says everything. I don't care what he potentially brings as a punt returner; for a ball control team, if he's fumbling the ball once every 10 touches, that's unacceptable and WILL cost this team.

This isn't only an issue on kicks and punts, it's an issue on runs with him. Every time he gets touched it feels like there's a chance the ball's gonna get ripped out.

emphasize 1 fumble in the superbowl...............
  • cciowa
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james has always scared the hell out of me on punt returns. I think we are just stuck with him , both the good and bad. then you go after the best return man you can find in the draft. if he can play wr that is just gravy.There is no one you can put back there for a punt return so we are just going to have to deal with that lurching in our stomach when the other team punts to him
Originally posted by Disp:
James has touched the ball just over 60 times in his career and he's fumbled it 6 times (4 fumbles, 1 fumble against NE that they said forward progress stopped, and a fumble vs. Atl. that he was barely down by contact on a KR). That pretty much says everything. I don't care what he potentially brings as a punt returner; for a ball control team, if he's fumbling the ball once every 10 touches, that's unacceptable and WILL cost this team.

This isn't only an issue on kicks and punts, it's an issue on runs with him. Every time he gets touched it feels like there's a chance the ball's gonna get ripped out.

Still working with a short sample size. By the same logic, Ted Ginn should never be allowed to return punts or kicks because he fumbled the ball 5 times in his second season in the NFL. He got criticized for muffing a bunch of punts when with Miami, but was a fairly reliable returner with the 49ers, no. Returners need reps to get their confidence. Josh Cribbs, Devin Hester, both of those guys had issues with ball control, it comes with the territory. Hester fumbled 6 times as a returner in his first season.

If you want someone with dynamic return ability, then you take the good with the bad, either that or you take back 'Fair Catch' Williams and expect to have the ball between the 20-30 yard line everytime.


Like I said, James needs to improve his focus and I'm sure the coaching staff will work with him on that, if he continues to make mistakes, then you look at replacing him on returns as well, but people are overreacting quite a bit. The guy barely played last season until Hunter got injured, then they threw him in, this preseason he didn't get much work, they made him inactive for several of these games, young players will make mistakes, it happens.



James right now has one of the better punt return averages in the NFL, he's averaging almost 12 yards per return, he's certainly worth working with.
[ Edited by Phoenix49ers on Dec 2, 2013 at 10:32 AM ]
  • Disp
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Phoenix, what are you talking about? Ginn was so unreliable on kicks and punts last year that he lost his job and the Niners made no effort to resign him. He had 4 punt return fumbles in like 30-35 attempts. He was great in 2010 and 2011 and was a liability last year.
[ Edited by Disp on Dec 2, 2013 at 10:49 AM ]
  • cciowa
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Originally posted by Disp:
Phoenix, what are you talking about? Ginn was so unreliable on kicks and punts last year that he lost his job and the Niners made no effort to resign him. He had 4 punt return fumbles in like 35 attempts. He was great in 2010 and 2011 and was a liability last year.
agree,, at the time it made sense to let ginn walk. i remember many of us were saying our return game for this year could not be worse that last year. well we were wrong about that but still as disp"at the time" it made sense to let him walk, not good with punt returns, lost his return jobs to james or hunter and did not do anything as a wide out.. Now as we can see his lack of production as a wide out for us may just be another shovel on romans heap
Originally posted by Phoenix49ers:




James right now has one of the better punt return averages in the NFL, he's averaging almost 12 yards per return, he's certainly worth working with.

Your talking about an avg over a small amount of games.
Not to mention he to hear Phoenix tell it he suddenly has amazing pass catching ability to rival guys like Woodhead that have made their entire career based on it and are producing just as well on other teams.

and he accuses me of posting opinions...
James needs to step it up. Hopefully this is the weekend he takes his first return to the house! I said that last week though too.

As for James as a running back, I'm in the not at all convinced crowd. He's always made up for his size by being quicker than everyone else and at this level he just not that fast. He's never been a receiving back at all so I don't think putting him in the slot or playmaker type role is right for him either. I won't even mention him in the same universe as Sproles. Not to mention that aside from one or two plays he seems to get taken down by a slight breeze.

He needs to take on this special teams role and at least become reliable before he even worries about taking touches from Gore and Hunter. At this point he should never be an option on offense.
thread should be changed to lamichael james is a whiner
LMJ is giving me Kyle Williams flashbacks every time he's back there returning punts. I know he's better than Kyle returning the punts, but you gotta catch the ball first in order to get a return, 2 muffed in 2 games is not good at all. Muffing a punt this week against Seattle might be the difference in a close game.

I hope Garrett Celek is good to go this week so we can release Carrier and sign back P.Cox to be our backup punt returner just in case LMJ struggles on Sunday.
Originally posted by PhillyNiner:
Not to mention he to hear Phoenix tell it he suddenly has amazing pass catching ability to rival guys like Woodhead that have made their entire career based on it and are producing just as well on other teams.

and he accuses me of posting opinions...

I'm saying we don't know because he hasn't been given those opportunities. As far as seeing someone line out wide, I'd much rather see James out there than Miller. Give him those opportunities, if he fails, he fails, but the guy more or less has been marginalized in every way. At this point, I'm not entirely sure why they drafted him since they appear to have no idea on how to use him. Put James in New England or Seattle and he'll be a productive player, not a star, but a solid contributor on offense.
Originally posted by Disp:
Phoenix, what are you talking about? Ginn was so unreliable on kicks and punts last year that he lost his job and the Niners made no effort to resign him. He had 4 punt return fumbles in like 30-35 attempts. He was great in 2010 and 2011 and was a liability last year.

Yes, but in 2010 and 2011 he was very reliable, this season for Carolina he has been very reliable. Look at the top returners in the NFL and they all tend to screw up, look at Trinidad Holliday recently, perhaps the most dangerous returner in football and he's gone potato, he went potato in Houston last season at times before they cut him then became beastly in Denver.

You take the good with the bad, just as an explosive returner can make some huge plays for you, they can also screw up at times. If James keeps having issues with receiving punts, then so be it, replace him, but to jump all over him after a short sample is kind of asinine IMO. If you don't let guys play and make mistakes, they're never going to fully develop.
Originally posted by jreff22:
Your talking about an avg over a small amount of games.

It's the best average the 49ers have had since 2011 and that is with a huge return having been called back. Its a promising start, if he can get his punt receiving issues under control, he could be a very effective, high quality returner. Keep in mind that the majority of the top returners didn't do so hot early on, many of them averaged less than 10 yards a return in their first season and the numbers slowly moved up throughout their career. James has just started, I'd like to see what he can do.
We should have used that draft pick on an every down player, not a 4th string rb.