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Week 17: Thoughts after rewatching the game...

1) Kaepernick: There are always going to be peeps in this forum who thinks the switch to Kaep was a mistake. There are always going to be peeps who think it was the right choice. What happens in the playoffs doesn't really matter in this argument as those who wanted Alex to stay will say "Alex would have won the Super Bowl" or "Alex would have won it too" depending on how the season ends. Kaep peeps will say "it wasn't Kaeps fault" or "See, I told ya" depending on the end of the season. As many of you have said who have argued with me on this point (very politely I might add), it really doesn't matter as the choice has been made and we are riding with it. As such....I don't really want to make any comparisons (but I will...lol). Both QBs have the exact same number of attempts. Alex more passing TDs, but Kaep gets carries in the redzone and has more rushing TDs. Alex is better in the redzone, but 6 of Kaeps last 8 TDs (including his run vs Miami) have come from beyond 20 yards, 4 from beyond 30 and 2 from beyon 40. Alex has a 8.0 yards per attempt based mostly on his very high comp%. Kaep has an 8.3 yards per attempt based on alot more long completions. Alex actually turns the ball over more than Kaep even though that was one of the things people used as a reason to keep Alex in there. Yes, Kaep has had fumpling issues, but that has been an issue with getting the snap and has not popped up in 2 games. Alex DOES have more experience than Kaep....no getting around that one...but up until last year he had ZERO playoff experience.

You can look at numbers all day and make them say what you want them to say. Yes, Kaep has fewer INTs, but he got lucky a few times and Moss helped him out. Alex has more TD's passing, but as I said before Kaep runs them in more and Delanie Walker hasn't really helped him in this regard.

Bottom line here...Kaep is the starting QB. I think it's the right decision and I feel even better about it after yesterday. Some of you will disagree and it's all good. I think we can all get behind Kaep tho hope for the best. ;-)

2) Run Game: I've read people being critical of Kaep because the run game has suffered since he came in....the thought being that he isn't getting the team into the right play. I don't know about that as none of us know what the play calls were at the line. I can say tho that it's pretty normal for Franks numbers to dive at the end of the season. This is one of the reasons that they have been trying to spell him. I think some of this is also the loss of Kendall Hunter. Jacobs played in one game and was completely useless. Its taken the Niners a few games here to get James going, but my hope is that James can provide that same spark that Hunter did.

3) Jenkins: Jeez. I feel bad for the kid. LOL. Finally got a shot to make a big play and he took his eye off the ball. I know peeps are gonna be all over him for lack of production (and I'm not gonna argue this point). I still think he's gonna be a good player, but he needs to do something here in the playoffs.

4) Aldon: I mentioned this several weeks ago in my weekly posts...I'm concerned aboout how much of his sacks come as a byproduct of the guy standing next to him. I still think he's one of the best pass-rushers in the game, but without Justin to eat up blockers, Aldon is getting all of the attention of the other team and he is being neutralized. Some of it is short passes giving him no time to get there. It was disappointing to see him within striking distance of the record with three games and then get shut out for 3 straight games. I also have to give props to JJ Watt. Its unheard of for a 3-4 DE to lead the league in sacks...and he also has an insane number of tackles for loss and batted passes. I love Aldon, but lets give credit where its due...JJ Watt should be defensive player of the year.

5) Justin: Get Healthy. Fast.

6) Crabtree: Its pretty damn rewarding to see im play like this. I have defended him since the beginning and he is finally starting to look like the guy we thought he was at Texas Tech. He's played well all year, but the move to Kaep and his produsction since.has just shown you how much of his production was an issue at QB and not his ability to get open. With Alex, he had 499 yards and 4 TDs in essentially 8.5 games. With Kaep he has 606 yards and 5 TDs in 7.5 games. It becomes even more impressinve as you look at just the last 5 games. Crab has had only a few 100 yard garmes through his entire career including just 1 with Alex this year. He's now had 3 in his last 5 games with Kaep. Bottom line, Crab is the number 1 receiver he was drafted to be with Kaep at QB.

7) Vernon: It wouldn't be fair if I mentioned Crabs spike in production if I didn't also mention Vernon extreme drop in production. I think this is due to a few different factors. I always thought it was interesting how Alex had a problem hitting anyone but Vernon deep. Now it seems that Kaep has the exact opposite problem...he can hit anyone deep BUT Vernon. I think they eventually work this out, but I understand Vernons frustration. He was the man. He was the go-to guy. Now that guy wears #15. I hope they can work this one out in the next few weeks, but I have a feeling Vernon is going to be spending alot of time with Kaep in the offseason. Some of you may not rememer this, but when the Niners first made the switch from Joe to Steve, Rice had some issues catching the ball and his production began to fall off. Why, he was having an issue with the reverse spin on the ball from a left handed QB and because they weren't on the same page. Guess what? They worked it out. Jerry ended up catching ALOT more TDs from Steve than from Montana.

8) Akers: Ouch. I am actually in favor of keeping him, but it wouldn't take much to move me off that position. I just don't like the other guys out there. Something is wrong with him. Its not just his field goals...he's not getting the balls into the endzone either.

9) Ginn: I hope you enjoy the next few games because they will be your last as a 49er. He's on the roster to return punts and nothing else and he hasn't had a big return all year. Add to that the bobbles and that one he let bounce at the 20 yesterday...SMDH. Look for Niners to draft someone or give James alot of practice there.

10) Playoffs: Well, after all of the argument of not wanting a new QB in there learning when these games were really important, look where we ended up. 5-2 with Kaep as a starter and the second seed in the playoffs. Yes, we got lucky that the Vikings beat the Pack, but bottom line is we ended up exacly where we likely would have ended up with Alex. Now we have a young QB with 7 games of experience and still get the week off.

MODS: CAN YOU MAKE THIS OFFICIAL? THANKS.
[ Edited by Marvin49 on Dec 31, 2012 at 11:07 AM ]
Look forward to reading these every week, I disagree about Akers though, if the guy is injured and it seems like he is, we need to bring in someone else, he has already cost us 2 regular season games, we can't trust him in the playoffs.
Kaep is still learning. Still a ways to go. He left the pocket early on several occasions. On one of them he was able to complete a pass but on others he had to throw it away. He needs to get more confidence in the OL to give him protections, BUT, the OL needs to do a better job of holding the front of the pocket so he can step up. We don't know how often CK is actually changing the play but apparent audibles are not as productive as they will need to be in the playoffs. All part of the learning experience, I guess. I am still not convinced.

D really misses Justin Smith. Seattle and now AZ made most of the running yardage through the space Justin used to dominate. It was distressing to see how often Aldon Smith was pushed out of the hole by a TIGHT END. Where was all that FREAKISH strength we have been hearing about? Aldon looks very ordinary without Justin taking all the attention. Also, did anyone else notice how many times the TE or RB managed to cut him and send him head over heels? Shouldn't he be able to use his athleticism to jump over those cuts? From what we have heard about Justin's injury and how that kind of thing affects strength to push against an opponent, this area of the team does not appear to be playoff ready. Smith may be tough but without a portion of his triceps being able to push he will not be the same guy.

VD continues to be held in to block while CK looks down the field. Harbaugh has changed the offensive focus and Vernon's production suffers for it. That will have to change if the passing game is to succeed in the playoffs. Defenses will double Crabtree and without a dependable short option the team will get one-dimensional.

Not a lot to add comfort from this game. To see the offense struggle against AZ's defense is troubling. Yes, the defense may be the strength of the team but they are not that good. There may have been a lack of confidence spilling over from the Seahawk game but good teams don't react that way.

Agree with most of OP.
I don't think Harbaugh replaces Akers, but I think it's possible that Akers may blow a game for us.
My week isn't complete without reading a Marvin review after a game.
Hopefully as we go into the playoffs we can work a 1-2 punch with Crabs and Vernon
Good read man! I'm proud of our guys for taking care of business on our end and getting that #2 seed. Only team that scares me are the SheCocks but we would have them at home so we should be good there.
A couple points....

Vernons lack of production started three games prior to Ck being the starting qb.

Since Ck has become the starter he has the 2nd most completions over 25 yards of any qb in the lg.

Anyone else getting more and more excited about Lamichael James?
Good post as usual.

Here's my input.

1). RJF played better and I feel he can really improve - ONLY if he can continue to get more playing time. You can't get better by not playing.

2). The war is won in the trenches and Aldon is not getting sacks because Justin isn't there to occupy blockers. Another reason to get a better DLine rotation.

3). Delaine had a solid game - not great but better than many he's had this season. I didn't notice - Did he have any drops yesterday?

4). Akers is a HUGE question mark and frankly, I don't really know how to address it. If these FA kickers were worth anything - they'd be playing for another team. Maybe hypnosis?

5). Ginn scares me. It seems, IMO, that he doesn't care, I don't feel any fire & passion from him. I hope he doesn't blow it in the playoffs.

6). Props to Kap on that 2nd TD pass to crabs - perfectly thrown.

7). Crabs is improving every week. It seems he is running with more power & strength.

8). Play calling was better as the game progressed. It will need to get a lot better for the playoffs.

9). HUGE props to the Niner Fans who gave Alex a standing ovation. That was real Class!

Thanks again Marv!
Originally posted by LasVegasWally:
.

3). Delaine had a solid game - not great but better than many he's had this season. I didn't notice - Did he have any drops yesterday?



Couple of thoughts:

I pretty much agree with your comments on QB.
Gore doesn't always drop in production..see years 2010 and 2007? I didn't go further back than that.
Re: Vernon, his hands have always been suspect...possible that the way Alex drops it in there is softer on the hands than Colin? Makes catching the ball a lot easier. Re Crabs: I think Colin is willing to take a bit more risk on throwing to Crabs and because of that Crabs plays a little harder for Colin.
Originally posted by natrone06:
Originally posted by LasVegasWally:
.

3). Delaine had a solid game - not great but better than many he's had this season. I didn't notice - Did he have any drops yesterday?



LOL. My thought exactly. Uh...yeah...a BIG one on a perfect throw in the endzone.
Originally posted by dj43:
Kaep is still learning. Still a ways to go. He left the pocket early on several occasions. On one of them he was able to complete a pass but on others he had to throw it away. He needs to get more confidence in the OL to give him protections, BUT, the OL needs to do a better job of holding the front of the pocket so he can step up. We don't know how often CK is actually changing the play but apparent audibles are not as productive as they will need to be in the playoffs. All part of the learning experience, I guess. I am still not convinced.

D really misses Justin Smith. Seattle and now AZ made most of the running yardage through the space Justin used to dominate. It was distressing to see how often Aldon Smith was pushed out of the hole by a TIGHT END. Where was all that FREAKISH strength we have been hearing about? Aldon looks very ordinary without Justin taking all the attention. Also, did anyone else notice how many times the TE or RB managed to cut him and send him head over heels? Shouldn't he be able to use his athleticism to jump over those cuts? From what we have heard about Justin's injury and how that kind of thing affects strength to push against an opponent, this area of the team does not appear to be playoff ready. Smith may be tough but without a portion of his triceps being able to push he will not be the same guy.

VD continues to be held in to block while CK looks down the field. Harbaugh has changed the offensive focus and Vernon's production suffers for it. That will have to change if the passing game is to succeed in the playoffs. Defenses will double Crabtree and without a dependable short option the team will get one-dimensional.

Not a lot to add comfort from this game. To see the offense struggle against AZ's defense is troubling. Yes, the defense may be the strength of the team but they are not that good. There may have been a lack of confidence spilling over from the Seahawk game but good teams don't react that way.

Agree with most of OP.

Agreed, and there are two areas that appear will kill us in the playoffs. The first is the fact Aldon Smith has gone from defensive player of the year candidate to an ordinary Joe when he hasn't been able to hide behind Justin Smith. The Seahawks did it, the Cardinals as well, so you know what's coming in the playoffs and the 49ers need Aldon Smith to wake up. Perhaps he is getting fatigued in his first full year? He also seems to be completely missing that exceptional burst he played with earlier in the year. The second area of concern is who is going to make up for Crabtree in the playoffs? The Giants and Seahawks wrote the script so we know what's coming there as well. Teams will double Crabtree and force the Niners to win with somebody else. What's even more troublesome for the offense going forward is that the o-line can't pass protect, forcing Vernon to stay in a LOT more than he should be to block.
[ Edited by bzborow1 on Dec 31, 2012 at 11:41 AM ]
Don't forget Kap has only had 7 games basically and a number of rushing td's.
Well, Marvin, its an interesting read, but I'm a little disappointed this week.

Your discussion of Kaepernik is really just a comparision of him and Alex and not really an analysis of Kaep's performance in the game against Ariz. That comparison is interesting, but has to go under the category of "old news" or "moot point." Kaep is the QB now. Why bring up the comparison? Its not relevant anymore, except for those posters who were angry about the change and haven't been able to get over it. Time to move on. Its a new day, and new era, with a new QB.

With that said, I have to say how impressed I was with some of the throws Kaep made. That TD throw to Crabs in the flat, with Peterson all over him, was a great throw, and I'm not sure there are other QBs who could have thrown it as well. Same goes for the first TD throw to Crabs. Kaep was running left and made a perfect, on the money throw to Crabs for the TD. If Walker had some hands, we'd have three great TD throws to be talking about today.

On the other hand, Kaep's throw to Moss in the endzone was not good. Too far inside and easy for Peterson to break up. If Kaep would have put it high and outside, or to Moss's back shoulder, it would have been a TD. That throw was a mistake, and not the first one Kaep has made with Moss in the endzone. This needs work, and is a little surprising, given all we've heard about how great Moss has been communicating with his teammates and using his experience, etc.

Still, Kaep and Crabs have it going on, and pose a huge threat to opposing defenses. Moss and Walker contribute to the passing attack as well, but we need to see more production out of VD and Jenkins. I'd like to see what LMJ could contribute to the passing attack as well. He's got great speed in the open field--get him the ball!

And if Ginn wants to stay around, he needs to do something as a WR. His performance on ST against Arizona was pathetic--that first punt, after the D played really well, put the offense back against their own endzone and put huge pressure on the Niners--all cause Ginn was scared to catch the punt? Or badly misread it and equally badly misplayed it.

Akers--Harbaugh's got a problem here. Does he replace Akers in these next two weeks, or stick with him and hope he can address the problem? Is there anybody out there who would be better? Is there anybody out there who could help Akers regain his form from last season?

Really Akers' performance is the difference between last year and this year--specifically those two St. Louis games which he could have, and should have won. I'm hoping he can fix whatever is bothering him--when he's on, he's as good as anyone.

And to whatever fan treatened him on twitter--great move (not) to put even more pressure on a guy who's struggling with the pressure. (Really, whoever did that shows that whatever he lacks in intelligence as a fan, he makes up for with stupidity!)