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Week 17: Thoughts after rewatching the game...

That line Harbaugh had about Akers after the game is the closest thing I've ever seen to Harbaugh complaining about a player. He just doesn't usually do that. I think they're going to try to replace Akers and I think that might be a good idea. Akers, for whatever reason, has turned into a head case. This misses have nothing to do with his skill and everything to do with his mind. He's gone into a funk before. He was fired from the Eagles for going into a similar funk and booting them from the playoffs. We don't want that to happen to the Niners. There's got to be someone on that list of available kickers who can make 5 out of 6 40 yarders.
1. The running game is much less dominant because they are using less Jumbo packages - even when the Jumbos didn't necessarily get a bunch of yards, combined with the outside runs of Hunter, they wore down the opposing D.

2. Goodwin appears to be a liability holding his blocks in both the pass and run game. Inside pressure is killing Gore's primary run lanes - this won't be lost on the play-off teams we will face. The need to get LMJ working on the perimeter more - but that doesn't stop the defense from keying on the inside run lanes when Gore is in the game. Maybe that is why they are running the 3-back pistol more - so Gore and LMJ confront the defense with both the inside and outside threat at the same time.

3. The pass scheme / route combinations are horrible - they often draw coverage right to the primary receiver. The only exception is when they run the underneath crossing routes - but that is predictable as heck now. The ONLY legitimate reason they may be so basic is that they are trying to simplify the QB reads. But is really limiting the passing game's efficiency. Otherwise we need some real improvement in the OC passing scheme development.
Originally posted by bzborow1:
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.

These are my concerns as well. Run to Aldon's side and if a team can go no huddle or pound it and then throw off play action we're in trouble as these deep balls are being caught on us for big gains/TD's. The running game has really dropped off badly and it appears the OL's pass protection is the same as always - good for a max of 2 seconds and then CK is off and running. Like you said, it forces VD to stay in as well. If the running game can't get going against 8+ in the box between the tackles we need to beat a team deeper to hold the LBers and soften them up. But again, that is predicated on the fact that the OL can pass protect for more than 2 seconds and provide a clean pocket.

As to the Niner fans cheering for Alex and the smile on his face...class all the way and one of the more prouder moments as a Niner fan. Good job fans...we ended the season on a very high note!
After Alex Smith completed that one pass to Miller, he and Staley jogged off the field smiling. You can tell that Joe and Alex still have a good relationship (highly documented too)
Originally posted by oldninerdude:
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!)



LOL...no worries.

Yeah...I totally agree on Kaep. He made some incredible throws yesterday. Both TDs were fantastic, there was a scramble and 20+ yard completion to Walker, another play where he checked off his first receiver and hit Walker on another deep pass, and if Walker could catch the damn ball he would have a great TD throw as well.

I am completely behind Kaep, but I think my first paragraph was about last weeks post and discussion more than anything else.
[ Edited by Marvin49 on Dec 31, 2012 at 12:08 PM ]
He need to stop throwing to Moss in the endzone unless he's wide open and he cant really jump anymore.
Originally posted by susweel:
He need to stop throwing to Moss in the endzone unless he's wide open and he cant really jump anymore.
Yeah, but Moss is still tall, and has great hands. Put the ball where only he can get it and it should be a catch. He's still a threat. IMHO.
Originally posted by GNielsen:
That line Harbaugh had about Akers after the game is the closest thing I've ever seen to Harbaugh complaining about a player. He just doesn't usually do that. I think they're going to try to replace Akers and I think that might be a good idea. Akers, for whatever reason, has turned into a head case. This misses have nothing to do with his skill and everything to do with his mind. He's gone into a funk before. He was fired from the Eagles for going into a similar funk and booting them from the playoffs. We don't want that to happen to the Niners. There's got to be someone on that list of available kickers who can make 5 out of 6 40 yarders.

I hate to be the one to start rumors but there was a fan yesterday who told me his son has cancer (or some other serious medical condition) and is struggling financially right now? He even went so far as suggesting that he may be taking some payoffs particularly in the Rams games. I have no idea if ANY of this is even remotely true but it did raise an eyebrow...how one goes from the NFL record books to this while Harbaugh continues to stay with the guy who's cost us so much? If Harbaugh can replace a passing leader QB on a whim but stay with a consistently poor FG kicker who also costs us on kick offs? And if he IS hurt, again, why not rest him? Odd...

Conspiracy theorist can take over from here...LOL
Originally posted by Marvin49:
LOL...no worries.

Yeah...I totally agree on Kaep. He made some incredible throws yesterday. Both TDs were fantastic, there was a scramble and 20+ yard completion to Walker, another play where he checked off his first receiver and hit Walker on another deep pass, and if Walker could catch the damn ball he would have a great TD throw as well.

I am completely behind Kaep, but I think my first paragraph was about last weeks post and discussion more than anything else.
Yeah, I understand, and don't disagree with what you said. I just think its irrelevant now.

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.


Why can't they switch up #46 and #85 so that VD is getting the receptions and Walker blocking more? Walker has had no problem with connecting with Kap and VD did OK in the Bears game (6 rec 83 yds 1 TD) so to me it has to be play calling.
And on a TE side note I wish Walker and VD would stop jumping up in the air to catch a ball that would otherwise land squarely in their chest. I know Alex tended to throw high or low, but these guys are getting themselves killed out there


I'm open I'm open
Originally posted by oldninerdude:
Originally posted by susweel:
He need to stop throwing to Moss in the endzone unless he's wide open and he cant really jump anymore.
Yeah, but Moss is still tall, and has great hands. Put the ball where only he can get it and it should be a catch. He's still a threat. IMHO.


Well, I think it would help if the ball was actually thrown up high to him.
Every game seems to have the same things happen: Ginn f**ks up on special teams, Akers missed a field goal (or 2), and Delanie Walker drops a pass. All 3 can and should be fixed before their first playoff game.
Originally posted by NCommand:
Originally posted by GNielsen:
That line Harbaugh had about Akers after the game is the closest thing I've ever seen to Harbaugh complaining about a player. He just doesn't usually do that. I think they're going to try to replace Akers and I think that might be a good idea. Akers, for whatever reason, has turned into a head case. This misses have nothing to do with his skill and everything to do with his mind. He's gone into a funk before. He was fired from the Eagles for going into a similar funk and booting them from the playoffs. We don't want that to happen to the Niners. There's got to be someone on that list of available kickers who can make 5 out of 6 40 yarders.

I hate to be the one to start rumors but there was a fan yesterday who told me his son has cancer (or some other serious medical condition) and is struggling financially right now? He even went so far as suggesting that he may be taking some payoffs particularly in the Rams games. I have no idea if ANY of this is even remotely true but it did raise an eyebrow...how one goes from the NFL record books to this while Harbaugh continues to stay with the guy who's cost us so much? If Harbaugh can replace a passing leader QB on a whim but stay with a consistently poor FG kicker who also costs us on kick offs? And if he IS hurt, again, why not rest him? Odd...

Conspiracy theorist can take over from here...LOL
Sorry, NC, but the part about "particularly in the Rams games" sounds like a load of fertilizer, the organic kind.
Originally posted by sincalfaithful:
Hopefully as we go into the playoffs we can work a 1-2 punch with Crabs and Vernon
Marvin noted the difference in Smith vs Kaep in targeting Vernon. I think it has to do with the way each throws. Smith has more touch and arc and so can throw over defenders better than Kaep. This is better for the inside routes that tight ends usually run. Remember when Vernon got his clocked cleaned in Seattle? Kaep's throw was on a line and high so Vernon had to jump and then couldn't defend himself.
Originally posted by Marvin49:
Originally posted by oldninerdude:
Originally posted by susweel:
He need to stop throwing to Moss in the endzone unless he's wide open and he cant really jump anymore.
Yeah, but Moss is still tall, and has great hands. Put the ball where only he can get it and it should be a catch. He's still a threat. IMHO.


Well, I think it would help if the ball was actually thrown up high to him.

yes it would help but I have seen him on some of the high throws not even jump for the balls.