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Are the Niners better than they were last year?

I think we're probably about the same. We forced more turnovers and had better special teams last year. Also, we did a much better job of minimizing our own QB's ability to affect the game's outcome, which is sadly the #1 ingredient in our formula for winning. Our run offense is better this year though and the offensive line in general is better. The run defense has fallen off a bit, but we've made up for it in an improvement of passing coverage even if we have dropped off a bit in pass rush.
[ Edited by TinyHandsBigHeart on Oct 26, 2012 at 11:06 PM ]

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Originally posted by ninermedic:
Originally posted by nickbradley:
We have an elite running game. A historically elite one.

Agreed. I simply mean offense big picture, to include our inconsistent passing game.

our running game is beastly but we still have to improve the offense, if teams start to realize that thats all we can do its gonna slow us down. when we brought in harbaugh and roman i was so excited to see a real offense but so far its been bottlenecked by stupid play calls and smith not throwing to open receivers til theyre 10 feet ahead of someone
Alex did not look sharp against the NYJ
Originally posted by Young2Rice:
Our running game has gotten better. #1 in the league.

Defense is probably a wash. Less turnovers but #1 in yards per game, #1 passing D and #2 PPG.

Special teams regressed. Akers missed a few kicks already after a great start and the coverage has been sketch.

you mean passing right?
Originally posted by defenderDX:
Alex did not look sharp against the NYJ

Sharp? No.. I'd agree with you. But people are saying he had a bad game against the NYJ. Now that, is a poor assessment.
Originally posted by nickbradley:
Originally posted by hondakillerzx:
not even gonna disagree with u there man. smith needs to man up and roman needs to start calling some deeper passing routes

Teams game-plan for Vernon Davis, and only Moss and Williams get separation.

I call for more screen plays; we don't do nearly enough. We have like 38 running backs on this team, let's do it. It will slow down the pass rush and force safeties to focus on the middle of the field. That should allow someone like Moss to break out.
I really hope Moss and Williams are working with Smith closely in practice. If they could get on the same page we'd probably average 14 more points a game. Seriously.

Also, not sure why we need to throw more screens? Its not like we are having issues with the pass rush this year. I'm not anti screen, but I dont think the lack of screens are a big issue in our lack of production.
More screens for Hunter, yes please.. and definitely want Alex to better connect with Kyle W on those deep ones. Just take a little off those passes and Kyle can run under them, Alex. It isn't as if you have a Devery Henderson or Lance Moore that can burst very well and attack the ball.
Originally posted by NinerPrideinNJ:
Great article by Maiocco:

My response:

With improvement in some areas and decline in others, this team is no better than last year's and may, in fact, be a little bit worse.

It's hard to tell if Smith has progressed or regressed. After looking sharp against GB, DET, NYJ, and BUF; his recent performances against NYG and SEA indicate that the confidence and poise that were cornerstones of his turnaround under Harbaugh are waning. He seems to be forcing things (perhaps to keep Kaepernick on the bench) and panicking in the pocket like he had done so often before 2011. The passing game should have been vastly improved with a second year under Harbaugh and co. and a revamped WR corps. Yet it continues to sputter and be inconsistent. Smith's performance in Arizona will certainly be worth monitoring, as it may answer a few questions and foreshadow what's to come down the road.

The run game has definitely improved, but as a whole, this offensive unit can not seem to capitalize on opportunities and gain/build on leads when they should. They're lacking the "make-a-play-when-they-need-one" element. But then again, they did much of this last season, letting teams hang around for far too long despite physically dominating them.

On the defensive side of the ball, the secondary's play/coverage has improved a considerable amount, which has helped make SF the number one passing D in the league. Conversely, the pass rush and rush defense have regressed. The rush D is still pretty good (holding opponents to under 100 yards a game) but the pass rush is really struggling to put QB's on the ground. Opposing QBs are flushing out of the pocket and making plays when coverage can no longer hold up. With the expected and understandable decrease in turnover ratio, the 49ers were going to have to make up for it with a formidable pass rush and better secondary play. So far, only one of those has come to fruition. And while a solid secondary is great, a fierce pass rush is more valuable as it can help mask deficiencies in the secondary.

Lastly, special teams, as Matt noted, have taken a significant dive--mainly in terms of coverage. I'm sure there are other contributing factors, but this team is really missing Blake Costanzo.

Your thoughts, as well as thoughts on my response, are greatly appreciated.

Blake Costanzo but also Colin Jones on the coverage units. Jones was so fast he was always the first or one of the first guys down the field and covering the opposition kick returner.
Originally posted by ninermedic:
Remember that the knock on our offense was that we were only scoring because we got short fields, whether because of turnovers by the defense or returns by special teams. We all knew the crazy turnover margin wouldn't hold up, so could the offense improve enough to drive down the field and put up points?

In 2011 our turnover margin was +28; in 2012 it's +2.

In 2011 we averaged 23.8 points a game while the offense gained on average 310.9 yards a game.

In 2012 the offense is gaining 376.4 yards a game (much greater than last year) and scoring 23.6 points--nearly the same as last year, points-wise--showing that the offense has improved enough to score in spite of not getting those short fields consistently. And that's including a couple of real stinker games, too.

The major questions this offseason were about our offense. As a whole they aren't an "elite" unit but they have improved enough to not rely solely on the defense to put them in scoring position, which is something we can agree is a good thing.

Nice stats to see there. Hope it can continue and the offense can just become more consistent week-to-week, especially against really good defenses taking away Vernon and our comfortable stuff we like to do.
Originally posted by dtg_9er:
I know this is petty, but can you edit this to correct years indicated? I believe you meant the second line to read this year?

yea. I will when I get off mobile

Good point and this is why I like this year's team in the playoffs more than last year's. Overall more solid and much more depth.

Yeah. I will when I get off mobile

One thing for sure - our OLine has made huge strides. Much better than last season.
I want a pass rush! We just NEVER blitz so we can increase our pass defense.

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