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Official Greg "the mad scientist" Roman Express

It just seems he's trying to do too much. He'd rather do 100 different things as opposed to 5 things that work well in the passing game. ItWe do what works well in the running game consistently, but don't do the same with the passing game. I can't really add much more than what NCommand already stated. That really seems to be the offense in a nutshell. We will roll on bad to average defenses and get shut down by the good ones. And I don't understand how any competent OC can let defenses simply take away playmakers for an entire game. You have to find ways to get them the ball. Defenses have known Frank Gore was going to get the ball for 8 years and he still manages to get his yards. Defenses have known that Antonio Gates, Jason Whitten, Jermichael Fiinley, Rob Gronkowski, etc are going to get the ball, but their OCs/QBs find ways to get the ball to those TEs. Defenses have known about Randy Moss for over a decade. He has to do a better job of getting the ball in the hands of their playmakers. We honestly have enough to be an elite, top 5 offense.
Harbaugh needs to keep his headphone on and listen to the crap Roman is calling. When he sees Kaep grabbing his helmet, Harbaugh needs to hit Roman's mute button
NC--excellent post...and a lot to consider! I agree with almost everything you pointed out and believe (have believed since last year) that the run first would either lack playoff credibility or be so dependent on Gore as to become a negative. Gore has outdone all my expectations, surviving with minimal injury, but with some. If he goes out Hunter goes from being a change of pace back to primary back, and we don't know how that will turn out. But he has outperformed my fears as well.

1 & 2) I agree with the comments on the confidence and rhythm being a fragile balance and that does not apply to Smith alone, but almost all QBs--it's the most difficult position in all of sports. The fact that three of his interceptions have come when returning after CK mishaps is telling.

3) The use of multiple WR packages is a double edge sword. Harbaugh may be sacrificing a bit early to try and get all of them up to speed with Smith. It could be important in the playoffs, particularly given injury issues last season.

4 & 5) Game plan is predicated on establishing the run, but that often takes away from the passing game by placing it in "must pass" situations more often than other offenses around the NFL. Montana pointed this out when he talked about the fewer passes impact on rhythm. I'm not sure what to think of this except that the lack of production in the RZ compared to the Raye offense would indicate it is not a player issue as much as a scheme/play calling problem. Receivers are almost never open as they are for other teams. Watching Eli find wide open receivers 15 yards straight ahead of the center made me acutely aware of this problem. Our receivers are only completely open on difficult throws as the miss of Williams down the sideline...league wide these types of throws are completed under 30% of the time. Smith is one of the top passers on first down passes, but Roman tends to call runs on first downs in critical areas (RZ).

6) This is difficult for me to judge as sticking with something that works might be risky. Walsh use to use plays to set up other plays...which Roman does in the running game, but doesn't seem to do in the passing game.

7) Yes! I have succumbed to calling Harbaugh's offense a WCO offshoot but was never convinced... particularly when he likes very large linemen who can play smash mouth football. Still seems to be a half WCO line with the other half being three yards and a cloud of dust. Boone seems to be able to play either way equally as well...so it's not so much the players ability but getting use to beating up the DL and then having to more nuanced in pass blocking. They are coming around though and may end the year as one of the best lines in the NFL...I hope! The short passing game seems out of place sometimes because of the run game emphasis. If you do not gain a yard in 1st or 2nd, the short passing game becomes the too short passing game. It has to rely on YAC, which has not evolved as of yet.

8/9/10) Plan B is to "let Alex do it" which is not a plan so much as a reversion to Singletary and Nolan's way of coaching. As he gains rapport with the receivers he may be able to take over and beat defenses more readily, but as we saw on the Moss miss, they are not yet in sync. Harbaugh said Smith made the right read but should have thrown the ball high to prevent the interception and I think that's correct...but that is a lower % pass than a lower pass. Still, it would have been less destructive. Perhaps Smith does not trust himself as much due to his finger...will have to wait and see. Players are a bit grumbly but wins tend to take care of that...as Crabtree said..."I can't talk about it, we won."
mad scientist? id say tinkerer because sometimes he f**ks us royally with his retarded ass kaep package or stubborn run plays in succession even when theyre getting stuffed. hes talented but sometimes his decisions are a little ridiculous.
  • Nes49
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Imma give him the benefit of the doubt. Maybe he's just hiding the good sh!t for the playoffs.
Originally posted by LifelongNiner:
It just seems he's trying to do too much. He'd rather do 100 different things as opposed to 5 things that work well in the passing game. ItWe do what works well in the running game consistently, but don't do the same with the passing game. I can't really add much more than what NCommand already stated. That really seems to be the offense in a nutshell. We will roll on bad to average defenses and get shut down by the good ones. And I don't understand how any competent OC can let defenses simply take away playmakers for an entire game. You have to find ways to get them the ball. Defenses have known Frank Gore was going to get the ball for 8 years and he still manages to get his yards. Defenses have known that Antonio Gates, Jason Whitten, Jermichael Fiinley, Rob Gronkowski, etc are going to get the ball, but their OCs/QBs find ways to get the ball to those TEs. Defenses have known about Randy Moss for over a decade. He has to do a better job of getting the ball in the hands of their playmakers. We honestly have enough to be an elite, top 5 offense.

Nice post and appreciate your thoughts/comments as well dtg_9er. Good stuff...
Originally posted by NCommand:
I'd like to point out some major concerns about Roman here before the Alex-haters turn this into their thread (save the Alex thread for criticisms there, please):

First off, after analyzing every game of Roman's tenure, I've never been sold on him. That said, I also have kept perspective and remember that we are only 1.5 years into the WCO installation but I wanted to highlight all my concerns/positives in one place and see what others think/notice:

1. Confidence & Rhythm - The best way to get a QB into the game and in rhythm is to pass early on esp. to the receivers he feels comfortable with. Every team does this. And while we DO come out passing predominately to start every game (not sure if plays are scripted or not) we have NOT been targeting VD at all and Roman seems to be destroying the few chances Alex has to get into a rhythm with the WildKreap and pulling Alex late in games such as the Giants. That doesn't bode well for either category for your starting QB.
2. WildKreap - Many posters have been highlighting Alex's play immediately after Kaep has entered the game and now, some of the long-term effects. Alex is no fool and he has seemed like a totally different person the past two games and with his fragile ego, confidence, etc. Alex is starting to look shaky, less confident, less sure of his abilities, etc. Roman took the ball out of Alex's hands twice against the Hawks at the end, played ultra conservative (even on the back-to-back running plays) and gave the Hawks two chances to tie it. And Alex looked pissed to me. I'm just going to say it...I think Roman's offense and play-calling is hindering growth for both Alex AND Kaep at this juncture. Kaep is not taking quality NFL QB snaps. He's taking college snaps.
3. WR Packages - It seems like all these packages and minimal chances seem to affect the timing of both Alex AND the receivers. They are just a bit off. Receivers are used more for decoys or to run block down field. We stick with guys such as Walker who drop passes left and right (which, I guess is everyone, really) and don't seem isolate the "hot" receiver or even put one in position to get "hot."
4. Game Plans, In-Game and Half-Time Adjustments - The offense we run is a college-like offense where the passing game is predicated on one primary receiving option...and that's it. One guy will be designed to get the ball and the other 10 players play a role in making that play successful. When that primary option is covered well, we have no plan B, time for progression reads and Alex is forced to scramble and try to make something happen...typically rolling as far to the sideline as possible in hopes someone will come open. He often times takes a short sack or makes a poor decision (gets blasted). He rarely throws it out of bounds now. He has done well avoiding many would-be sacks and picking up yards with his legs.
5. First Down Production - Was through the roofs the first 5 games and has dropped off significantly (equated to two poor games) as I'm sure the DC's are honing in on Roman's tendencies and predictable sets/packages. In general, its getting easier and easier to see what the play will be based on the formations and packages he runs out there. In fact, I'm seeing a base set of plays and trends and its the same handful of plays. RZ and EZ plays tend to be atrocious as well as many 3rd down plays; he is constantly having his WR's running well short of the 1st down marker. Coaching issue?
6. Sticking with What Works - The Jets and the Hawks game was the first time I've seen Roman find something that worked, scraped his original game plan and stuck with it to the end. This gives me hope. But my concern is that when a roll-right, pass back to VD play works, or VD seam route, fly sweep, middle or outside the T-screen pass, slant, exploiting the middle of the defense with Gore/Hunter successfully, Roman never goes back to it. When he sees a play against the Giants where we isolated Moss 1on1 why not come back to it and make Moss the PRIMARY target the next time? Roman is sticking with what DOESN'T work more than anything like continuing to use Walker in the passing game, the WildKraep (which is now getting Kaep beheaded and at risk for serious injury and doesn't bode well for confidence in his PASSING ability).
7. The Anti-WCO - This is anything BUT a WCO. If this was a WCO, we'd have two consistent, big and physical WCO-type WR's. We rarely run slants, post patterns. rarely use VD to exploit soft zones in defenses, rarely use the FB/HB in the passing game, rarely run picks, screens, attack with the slot WR. In fact, we are the ANTI-WCO more than anything. It's run to set up the pass mostly, by using big physical OL, traps, whams and in the passing game, sideline deep passes and wheel routes. It's Ravens West with college-like "receiver package" sets.
8. Plan B - Let's just be honest, we don't have one.
9. Players comments - Suggest that they all know, even Gore, that they will get minimal chances each game so they have "to make the most of each opportunity."
10. Ingenuity - While Roman seems to excel at creating mismatches in the running game (Gore called him a "genius" in this area and the best OC he's ever played under) he is equally poor in the passing game IMHO.

At the 3:00 mark, Alex talks about the "primary receiver" not being open initially on the INT to Moss. I believe this is more proof that Roman's offense is designed specifically for one primary receiver and if the defense covers it well (like the Giants/Hawks) we don't really have a plan B which is why we look so lost in ad libbing (Crabtree esp.).

http://www.49ers.com/media-gallery/videos/Press_Pass_Alex_Smith/8e06c26f-b85c-42db-9629-7faec79e2ee0

Anyway, again, don't want to make this an Alex-hater thread but to highlight some real concerns I have with Roman and this offense.

With the 49ers off this weekend it was good to watch the other games and see the various offenses at work. Wow, to your points above:
1. The 49ers offense seems stunted in comparison to the execution of other teams even using rookie QBs -- Luck, RG, and Wheeton.
2. Other QBs seem much more willing to throw into tight coverage - even Sanchez. While he made some weak and bad throws, he also threw a few dart right through coverage to his guy - Keller TD example.
3. Other QBs do not look lost after their primary is taken away, they seem to go quickly to a viable check down alternative.

While ASmith may be limitation, the design of the offense also seems to be a real limitation for all the points made in this thread.

Ouch - that seems like a big issue to fix mid-season. I was hoping that was going to be fixed in the off season.
I have a question.



What the hell are they doing in practice?

There should be non-stop QB to WR drills, emphasizing the mid/deep over the shoulder throws/catches.
Originally posted by HearstFan:
With the 49ers off this weekend it was good to watch the other games and see the various offenses at work. Wow, to your points above:
1. The 49ers offense seems stunted in comparison to the execution of other teams even using rookie QBs -- Luck, RG, and Wheeton.
2. Other QBs seem much more willing to throw into tight coverage - even Sanchez. While he made some weak and bad throws, he also threw a few dart right through coverage to his guy - Keller TD example.
3. Other QBs do not look lost after their primary is taken away, they seem to go quickly to a viable check down alternative.

While ASmith may be limited, the design of the offense also seems to be a real limitation for all the points made in this thread.

Ouch - that seems like a big issue to fix mid-season. I was hoping that was going to be fixed in the off season.

It's hard to watch at times. I try to keep perspective and remind myself that we're only 1.5 years into the minimum, 3 year WCO project BUT, this doesn't look ANYTHING like a WCO to me in any way. I know we have highlighted videos of Harbaugh and esp. Roman harping on not turning the ball over, taking the sack, how the TO's-to-Wins/Losses is the strongest correlated stat in the NFL, etc. but at some point, you need to take the reigns off and stand by your QB to "call" the game or play without fear. There just seems to be SO many factors, including Alex himself, that are playing into this fail at times as I've already highlighted. And I didn't even touch on pass protection and the receivers themselves (trust/chemistry together).

As to the poster who asks what the heck we are doing in practice? I have no idea given that the media isn't allowed in to see but for all the secrecy, I don't see a need for it b/c it's not like we're running an elaborate offensive scheme here (at least not in the passing game).
[ Edited by NCommand on Oct 22, 2012 at 11:35 AM ]
Originally posted by NCommand:
Originally posted by HearstFan:
With the 49ers off this weekend it was good to watch the other games and see the various offenses at work. Wow, to your points above:
1. The 49ers offense seems stunted in comparison to the execution of other teams even using rookie QBs -- Luck, RG, and Wheeton.
2. Other QBs seem much more willing to throw into tight coverage - even Sanchez. While he made some weak and bad throws, he also threw a few dart right through coverage to his guy - Keller TD example.
3. Other QBs do not look lost after their primary is taken away, they seem to go quickly to a viable check down alternative.

While ASmith may be limited, the design of the offense also seems to be a real limitation for all the points made in this thread.

Ouch - that seems like a big issue to fix mid-season. I was hoping that was going to be fixed in the off season.

It's hard to watch at times. I try to keep perspective and remind myself that we're only 1.5 years into the minimum, 3 year WCO project BUT, this doesn't look ANYTHING like a WCO to me in any way. I know we have highlighted videos of Harbaugh and esp. Roman harping on not turning the ball over, taking the sack, how the TO's-to-Wins/Losses is the strongest correlated stat in the NFL, etc. but at some point, you need to take the reigns off and stand by your QB to "call" the game or play without fear. There just seems to be SO many factors, including Alex himself, that are playing into this fail at times as I've already highlighted. And I didn't even touch on pass protection and the receivers themselves (trust/chemistry together).

As to the poster who asks what the heck we are doing in practice? I have no idea given that the media isn't allowed in to see but for all the secrecy, I don't see a need for it b/c it's not like we're running an elaborate offensive scheme here (at least not in the passing game).


Agree again. I have posted this before:

Phil Simms says it himself - that he played afraid of making mistakes under Parcels. It wasn't until Bill literally told him in the tunnel before a game -- "Just throw the damn ball. I don't care if you have 4 interceptions - just let it go." Phil says after that he started to really play and blossom into a good QB.

ASmith needs that as well. If the 49ers can get some security int he division and ahead in games, instead of going conservative, they need to sling it and see if they can get this passing game going.

The crazy part is, when Smith has nothing to lose - or maybe I should say the game is on the line -- and he starts turning it loose, he actually does well. Those two throws to VD at the end of the Saints playoff game were amazing lasers into tight windows. Yet, when Smith plays afraid to make a mistake, and then tries to make something happen on one play, it doesn't go well. It has to be a mentality that the offense employs ALL GAME.

PLAY LETHAL -- not afraid, not afraid of your own mistakes. Have to have the attitude you can get it back - hell with last INT.
I hope roman spends the entire off season reviewing, studying offensive pass plays and schemes so as to build a better feel for that part of the game regardless of the starting qb.
Originally posted by GoldandGarnet:
I have a question.



What the hell are they doing in practice?

There should be non-stop QB to WR drills, emphasizing the mid/deep over the shoulder throws/catches.

THIS!!!

However, my guess is they work on running plays non-stop. Our run game is beyond dominant. The only team that can stop it is the Niners.
Originally posted by HearstFan:
Agree again. I have posted this before:

Phil Simms says it himself - that he played afraid of making mistakes under Parcels. It wasn't until Bill literally told him in the tunnel before a game -- "Just throw the damn ball. I don't care if you have 4 interceptions - just let it go." Phil says after that he started to really play and blossom into a good QB.

ASmith needs that as well. If the 49ers can get some security int he division and ahead in games, instead of going conservative, they need to sling it and see if they can get this passing game going.

The crazy part is, when Smith has nothing to lose - or maybe I should say the game is on the line -- and he starts turning it loose, he actually does well. Those two throws to VD at the end of the Saints playoff game were amazing lasers into tight windows. Yet, when Smith plays afraid to make a mistake, and then tries to make something happen on one play, it doesn't go well. It has to be a mentality that the offense employs ALL GAME.

PLAY LETHAL -- not afraid, not afraid of your own mistakes. Have to have the attitude you can get it back - hell with last INT.

Wow, I was not aware of that Phil Simms example but it is so critical, like you pointed out. In the off season, Alex essentially gets counseling on how not to give a %$^& about what others think and even adopts a little Harbaugh swagger. But if your own coach and/or OC are "demonstrating" the opposite of trust, isn't that counter-productive? That said, it's such a chicken-or-the-egg issue in that if Roman doesn't have confidence in his OL pass protecting for more than 3 seconds on a consistent basis (for the mid range and deeper routes) or his WR's ability or he hasn't had enough time to implement everything why should he divert from the one thing that is proven already to work...the running game. Granted we did prove we could pass against GB, Detroit, Bills but not so much against the Vikings, NY's & Seattle.

So we CAN. We at least know that much. But it seems like we are all or nothing re: the passing game. Either everyone is on or everyone is off.
  • sfout
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Just wondering "aloud" to the members of this board.......Panthers owner Jerry Richardson has essentially put Ron Rivera on notice for the final 10 weeks of the season with the firing of GM Marty Hurney. Suppose Rivera is shown the door, what are the odds of our own Greg Roman being a lead candidate for the job?
Originally posted by sfout:
Just wondering "aloud" to the members of this board.......Panthers owner Jerry Richardson has essentially put Ron Rivera on notice for the final 10 weeks of the season with the firing of GM Marty Hurney. Suppose Rivera is shown the door, what are the odds of our own Greg Roman being a lead candidate for the job?

Good question...whatever is best for the team.

Can we have Roman create the running game plan? And Harbaugh or Alex call the passing plays? LOL. Then if one side becomes dominant against an opponent (Jets) we can just run it down their throats. If we are dominating a team in passing (Packers/Lions/Bills), we can stick with it? Hmmmm