1) OLB Pass Rushers - Parys Haralson and Darious Fleming injuries - OLB debth is very thin. Our pass rushers don't get the same rotation that they did in the past. They are gassed and not as effective. We have a huge problem at OLB pass rusher I think. If we get another injury or somebody goes down we are in big trouble.
2) Special Teams - Not so special this year. We just had to have all that extra RB, WR and DL depth of guys who never play. Plus Brandon Jacobs, Jenkins and LMJ who don't play. And we absolutely had to keep Dixon. Who is buried so deep on the RB depth chart he doesn't contribute. To top it off he is a subpar, slow special teams guy. You can't tell me there wasn't room for Cartwright and Colin Jones both. Now we are paying the price big time. We are sorry we cut them both now. Akers who is normally rock solid has been in a terrible slump this year if you exclude the 63 yarder record. Other than that one I think he is far worse this year. Ginn has been hurt and hasn't had the explosive plays. We were a defense and special teams formula team last year. Our special teams dropoff has been one of the most dramatic I've seen in the NFL in years. From an A to a C- / D+ in one season. That's horrendous. It was partially why we won so many games.
3) QB Situation - Alex is good ahead with a run game and tremendous defense. But to put the game on his shoulders is tough. He has done it a few times. New Orleans in the playoffs, the Eagles last year, several other come from behind wins and a few in his career. But throw and throw and throw doesn't play to his strengths or the teams strengths. Kaepernick is a very raw 2nd year player who is not ready for full time duty. He makes some bad decisions which I think will put us in a bad position if he is the full time starter. It's still a QB driven league. And I just don't see either of them competing with Rodgers, Eli, Matt Ryan in the playoffs. What if we get behind? Alex once in a while has come from behind even in pressure situations like the playoffs. But not everytime. And no way I believe Kaep is ready in a playoff situation like that. Not even regular season.
4) Head Coach / Offensive Coordinator - Maybe they are overthinking this Kaepernick / Tebow Time thing. You just complete a 60 yard pass and you take your starting QB out to go to a QB rotation?.... Come on. You lost all your continuity with that. And got an 11 yard sack and made a FG attempt much harder. It just doesn't make sense. Too much QB rotation, double reverses, trick plays, gimmick plays. Our offense is best when we stick to the fundamentals.
5) Frank Gore - Why do we go away from him in so many games? It's just pass, pass, pass, and more pass. And look at the stat sheet and wonder why we didn't run Gore more? History has shown when we run Gore, control the clock, keep other teams on the bench, it helps our defense and our offense too. Our whole team is more of a powerhouse with that. I can't imagine why we go away fom it? It just doesn't make sense. Goes to coaching too. Maybe too much cute stuff. And not enough of what made us 13 - 3 last year.
6) Kaepernick - Hugely effective early in the year. It seems that the game film has caught up to him now. Teams gameplan for him now. And at least excellent defensive teams like the Giants have figured it out. I expect this effect to continue. He was unknown before. Now he is known. They have a gameplan and a strategy for him. His road will be much tougher now. Plus you could actually argue he messes up our continuity sometimes. Like complete a 60 yard pass, rotate the QB's. take an 11 yard sack and make a FG much tougher.
7) The 79 - 3 illusion - I think the Bills and the Jets are as bad as any teams you can meet. And we played them when they were playing especially bad. I don't read much into that at all. I think those are awful teams and the results may be overblown.
8) Accurate QB's who are moblie or have time to throw pick us apart - Our biggest problems were the Vikings and Giants. One being mobile. The other being one of the most accurate and underrated QB's in football despite winning 2 Super Bowls. I think this goes back to the OLB thinness and problems there. But we have seen we can be picked apart there.
This is just not a 13 - 3 good team. I think we can do pretty well. But the OLB pass rusher problems and huge special teams problems lead me to believe a lot more losses are coming. We can still run Gore a lot and play defense. But the thing is our defense is not quite as good this year IMO. Pass rushers at OLB are very thin. And our special teams which would win so many close games for us has dramatically dropped off. It's a bad special teams. It not only won't win games for us. It will lose them. The coaching is too gimmicky. Too many tricks and too much QB rotation. Pound Gore and play defense would be our best bet. But with our awful special teams and OLB being thin I don't think we are even as good at the basics. I'm not completely convinced we are even as good as 4 - 2. We might be a little worse than that.
[ Edited by SanDiego49er on Oct 15, 2012 at 12:50 PM ]