1) Kaepernick: OK...Since I've gotten so much flack from peeps for making the comparison, I won't do it again here. I too believe that the case has been closed for a long time, but there are still others lurking in the grass who disagree. I'll take you guys at your word that this isn't the case and will expect not to see them spring up should the Niners lose on Feb 3rd. (yeah....right).
Having said that....this kid just has "it". You can see it in the reactions from Vernon and Frank...the guys that were here when it was DARK. One of the biggest compliments you can get is Frank Gore calling you a "Football Player". Thats Frank-ese for "You are one bad mother f*****".
I'll say it again here as I have been since I saw his first start in Chicago. I love the legs. I love the arm. I love his intelligence. I love his work ethic. None of those tho are his best attribute. Its his NERVE.
He doesn't flinch. Ever. NFC Championship Game. Down 17 pts. On the road and the crowd is deafening. Just march down and score. Execute perfectly. No "rocket balls" as Holmgren would refer to Favre when he got amped up. First start on Monday Night against the vaunted Bears D? No Prob. Hottest team in the NFL in their loud house (Saints)? No biggy. Go to New England in Primetime in December? No worries. First playoff game? I'll just set an NFL record. You can just keep lining up these tests and he'll just keep knocking them out of the park.
You need to look no further than #2 on the other sideline to see what I'm talking about. Matt Ryan had a fantastic game, but folded when it counted. He's done it every year he's been in the playoffs.
Kaep was in just his 9th NFL start and you'd think he was a 10 year vet. You can't teach that. Its an attribute that the good ones don't have. Only the GREAT ones do. Mind you, the great ones usually don't have all the physical tools Kaep has.
As I've said before, I'm typically not one to give into hyperbole. I don't usually buy into the hype. This guys tho? I'm baught in. 100%. I don't think he'll be a star. I think he'll be a superstar. Anyone who has talked to me on these boards knows that I'm not given to big statements like that. I honestly believe that tho. Its a great time toi be a Niner fan.
2) Crabtree: I have to give him points for showing up ready to play after the week he had. My hope and expectation is that this is just a learning experience and nothing more. If is real tho and he's guilty of what he was accused of, I'll never be able to root for him. I happen to think tho that he was setup. Some will say they are upset with his fumble at the one. I'm not one of them. Sometimes the defender just makes a good play and I think that's what happened. GREAT play by the DB. I'm just happy that he didn't become the next Earnest Byner.
3) Frank: Ya gotta love that this is all happening before Frank was done. I love that Harbaugh has turned this around in time for Frank to experience this. He's been here for a long time and seen some rough years. He's earned this. You can see it in his face and in his eyes. You can see it in his runs. The best part? He's healthy. He's fresh. He got to this point by being spelled by Hunter and James and he'll be at full strength in 2 weeks. Speaking of James, he's turning into quite a weapon. So quick. So fast. I'm interested to find out what happens next year when Hunter comes back.
4) The "Pattern": I have to be honest...that thing had me spooked. This was the best possible way to break it. I thought the Niners should win, but there was a big part of me that was telling me they wouldn't. Too many people were picking them to win. Too many people were discounting the Falcons. Too many times this season we had been burned just when it looked like the Niners were the best team in the NFL. No more. The Pattern is dead.
5) Goldson/Whitner: It can't all be good. LOL. Poor play in the secondary on multiple occasions. Out of position too many times and broken coverages resulting in points. We can't have that. They have 2 weeks to figure it out though and i trust that they can. It does make me nervous though.
6) Aldon: one thing I'm noticing that I don't like...teams are scheming him out of the pass rush by playing formations that force him to at least bumop a TE or reciever at the line. That greatly delays his rush. I don't know exactly what the thinking is there to have him out there, but I think thats one of the reasons for his drop in production.
7) Read-Option: I was really skeptical in preseason when I first saw Kaep running that stuff. Count me as one of those old school guys that thought the thing would never work in the pros. I was wrong in a big way. Same goes for the Pistol. ALOT of credit has to go to Harbaugh, Roman, and Baalke for seeing this a few years ago. Roman was still at Stanford when he visited Chris Ault at Nevada. I'm sure at some point someone will find the best way to defense it, but I don't think there is any one way that will shut it down completely. I think it's here to stay. Why? It's here to stay because it's viable. You can run multiple runs AND passes from it. This isn't the Wildcat which is pretty much just a run formation. Expect to see the Pistol all over the NFL next year and teams with an even remotely mobile QB will be running that option.
8) "The Cowboy": I just read something that made me real nervous. It was a report that Justin Smith wasn't planning on retiring after this season and that he might want to go 1 more year. Until I read that it had never crossed my mind that he would retire anytime soon. Say it ain't so Justin. I hope you are around for at least 3 or 4 more years.
9) Vernon: I was going to say that Vernon really showed up in this game, but I think thats actually inaccurate. I think he shows up in EVERY game, just not always as a receiver. All those deep passes that Kaep throws? Very often he's back there in protection while Delanie gets to run the route. He also often eats up coverage from the LBs and Safeties creating space for Crabtree and the other WRs. Bottom Line...he never went anywhere. This is pick your poison time. If Vernon isn't being doubled or is covered by a LB, Kaep will find him. Count on it.
10) Here we are agian: Ahhhhhh. ;-) All is right with the world. Playing for the prize again. Relevant again. I was too young to be a fan of the Niners in the 70's or even the early 80's. By the time I became a 49er fan they were already a few SBs into their run. I enjoyed watching them and the SB in '94 was my favorite. I got to see the transition to Steve and got to see that team grow into the team it became.
This is something completely different. This is even sweeter. This is watching every single member of the team get drafted. Watching them develop. Watching them struggle. This is going through coach after coach looking for the next guy to take this team to the mountaintop.
This ride leading up to now and in particular the last 2 years has been the most fun I've ever had as a 49er fan.
Now lets get it. Lets get that 6th Lombardi.
EDIT: It just occurs to me I forgot something important.
11) Defense: HUGE at the end there. Got manhandled early and made the plays they needed to when it counted. Brooks? HUGE plays down the stratch twice patting the ball down. Bowman? That was an incredible play on 4th and 4 at the end. BTW, that was NOT illegal contact. I've watched it 6 times now and it's right at 5 yards. Thats LEGAL. Also when Harry Douglas didn't make the catch that he was credited for? He grabbed Rogers by the collar and pulled him down. Thats how he got open. GREAT stand at the end. I couldn't NOT say that.
MODS PLEASE MAKE THIS OFFICIAL. THANX MUCH.
[ Edited by Marvin49 on Jan 21, 2013 at 9:59 PM ]