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Off-Season Post #2: Thoughts as we wind down the off-season (Pre-Training Camp)...

Well, I hadn't done one of these in awhile so I figured I'd take a stab at it because I'm bored sparing with Seahawks lunati....err...um....FANS on Seahawks.net. ;-) Sorry in advance for the length.




1) Kaepernick: I always start with the QB. I am very happy with the approach he's taken in the off-season in terms of working his a$$ off and taking only a week off. I am pleased to see him say that he has alot to learn and that he's really working at his craft. He is taking this all seriously and he was already the first guy in and the last guy out.

To be honest tho, I could do without the Dolphins hat thing, but I don't really care that much. It was just a young player mistake (and the mistake wasn't wearing the hat...the mistake is not understanding what the reaction would be), but it was indicative of a larger "problem" (I hesitate to use that word, because I don't think it's that big a deal). Watching his post-game interviews last year showed me that he is simply not that comfortable yet with all of the attention. He doesn't yet know how to handle himself in every situation off the field. Seeing his responses after the Seattle game and after the Super Bowl make it abundantly clear. He doesn't yet understand his own celebrity or how every word, post, or picture will be blown way out of proportion. I watched the video of the ESPN: The Bodies photo shoot and he talks about it in that video. This is all still very new to him.

This won't always be the case. At some point, he's going to be far better at all of this than he is now. Do I wish he were better at it right now? Yes. I would love it if he had walked out of College Football speaking to the media like Peyton Manning. I won't crucify the kid about it though. He'll learn.

Kaep walked out of Nevada every bit as raw off the field as he was on. He has dramatically molded his on the field abilities and he'll do the same off the field. Something tells me he's gonna be on TV. Alot.



2) Draft: I absolutely LOVED the draft. ;-) Now I know we are all prone to really like the picks or team makes and wishing for the best quickly turns to EXPECTING the best which turns to ASSUMING the best. Almost every conversation I have about a draft class on another teams site assumes that their draft class will be one of the best ever. We are no different here. Having said that tho, I can't recall a draft that I enjoyed quite as much as I enjoyed watching this one. I liked Cyprien more than I liked Reid, but that was one of the very few "complaints" I would have. I trust Baalke far more than I trust myself tho. Carradine? Lattimore? Genius. McDonald? Patton? Great picks in need areas. Who knows yet if these picks will work out, but at this point I love this draft class.



3) Crabtree: Ouch. That smarts. Crab was really turning a corner at the end of the year. He was primed to become the player we all thought he could be the day he was drafted. Four 100 yard games in his entire career before the QB switch. FIVE in only 10 games with Kaep including 172 vs the Cards. 2 of those were in the playoffs. My hope is that he can get back at something close to full strength for a playoff run, but more importantly for next year....his last year under contract in SF. I really like Boldin and I think he'll be a big help in filling the void, but he is a different kind of player than Crabtree is. Maybe long term this will be a benefit akin to when Brett Favre lost Sterling Sharpe. I dunno tho...we'll just have to see.

We also need Jenkins or Patton to really step up. Something about Patton tho....something tells me that he's gonna do something this year. I can't put my finger on it....but something is telling me he might just be the guy. Something about the way he runs. Something about his confidence. Something about how eager he was to get started.



4) Free Agency: Its no secret to anyone who has read my posts for the past few years that I was never a huge fan of Dashon Goldson. I do recognize tho that he was a very good player...just not as great as some thought him to be. I think losing Justin and Aldon getting hurt late really exposed both him and Whitner as average coverage safeties. Goldson was fantastic in run support and would hit with the best of them...but as soon as that pass rush slowed down, the Pass D fell apart. Reid strikes me as similar to Goldson in many ways. My hope is that he can develop into a superior coverage player.

I was a fan of Delanie Walker though...drops and all. I wish he could hang onto the ball better, but I really respected Delanie's overall game and all that he contributed to the offense as a "joker" type player. Walkers numbers also spiked when Kaep became the starter. I really like the McDonald pick, but he's not Delanie Walker. McDonald is much more of a classic TE and doesn't have the speed or vertical presence that Walker did. I dunno how this is all going to work yet, but I hope McDonald is able to fill that void. I have my doubts tho.

Sopoaga, RJF? Not a big loss to me. Both underperformed all year. RJF in particular really seemed to regress this year. Part of losing Justin Smith wasn't just that he wasn't in the game....it was the astronomocal difference between Justin and RJF that became very obvious. That's one of the reason I really liked the Carradine pick. Replacing Sopoaga with Dorsey is to me an upgrade. None of us are expecting Dorsey to be the guy he was at LSU (or the guy people THOUGHT he was at LSU). but he really doesn't need to be. All he needs to do is clog up the run.

Nnamdi? I have no idea what to expect from him. I have the exact same expectation that he might come in and be a Pro Bowl caliber corner as I do that he might not even make the team. I just don't know what to make of what happened to him in Philly.



5) The Pistol/Read Option: So much has been made of the Pistol formation and the Read/Option. My personal opinion is that teams are going to get better at defending the Read Option but that it's not going anywhere. I wouldn't be surprised tho if the 49ers run it only 2 or 3 times vs GB in game 1. The Pistol tho I can see as something we are going to see ALOT of. The formation just allows for so many different variations of plays. Kaep has been running the formation longer than anyone since he went to Nevada with Chris Ault.

Options, play action, passing, power runs....I expect to see it all out of the Pistol this year.



6) The NFC West: SOOOOOOO much has been made of the "power" of the NFC West. I'm not going to go so far as to predict it, but stuff seldom turns out exactly as people expect. I'm thinking the NFC West may not live up to the billing the way so many "experts" expect.

Will Seattle be good? Very likely. Do I see them taking that next step and becoming the best team in the NFL? I don't think so. Why? Two things....#1) Schedule. They have a tough one. #2) They won't be sneaking up on anyone this year. They will be getting everyone's best game every single week. The Niners saw a little of that last year. Things just don't always turn out the way people think. Don't get me wrong now...I think Seattle is a damn good team and has talent all over the roster...but things just have a way of turning out differently than you expect. I really can't wait for week 2.

I suppose the same can be said of the 49ers...that things don't turn out as you thought....but one thing gives me alot of confidence....the team the 49ers fielded last year was FAR different than the one they fielded in 2011...yet they still got further. No longer could they count solely on Special Teams and Defense. They adapted. I expect the same this year.

I don't buy into the Rams. So much is made of their record within the division, but their record outside it was horrible. What's more, three of the architects of the Rams fiascoes last year are now on different teams...Steven Jackson, Danny Amendola, and David Akers. Kaep was also a contributor to some of those woes and he is NOT the same player he was in those games.

Believe it or not, the Cards worry me a bit. I think getting Palmer in Arians offense might be a really good combination...particularly with Fitz. We;ll just have to see if they can keep Palmer upright. That D ain't bad either.



7) Coaching: Despite what people in the Pacific Northwest think, I honestly believe we are lucky enough to have one of if not THE best coaching staff in the NFL. I love the fact that so many fans and media just don't understand the guy. They see him as arrogant and selfish and simply don't enderstand what he's doing. The guy will ALWAYS deflect praise to his players or other coaches. He will ALWAYS take blame onto himself. He will spark controversy with the media just so that they will have issue with HIM, and not his team. He plays the media and fans of other teams like a violin. Where did he learn that? Two people...Bill Walsh and Mike Ditka. Now Mike had a temper on him that got in his way, but he knew how to work the media. He made his mistakes for sure, but Harbaugh idolized Ditka. It shows. Bill Walsh was far more subtle, but probably among the best I've seen. No matter how good his team got, he was able to spin a "me against the world" attitude in his players. Even when they were clearly the best team in the NFL, he'd tell his team that "they WANT you to lose. They want to tear you down".

Harbaugh is a bit of a child of those two strategies. He took some of Bills strategic genius and some of Ditkas blustery fire. When I hear how he's a "douche", or an "A-Hole", it just cracks me up. Most of those people don't get it. It's not their fault tho because some of our own Bay Area media don't get it either...cough...Lowell and Grant Cohen...cough. Harbaugh is playing a game with them and they just don't see it.

It goes far beyond Harbaugh tho. Mark Roman is the most innovative OC we've had in a long time. Vic Fangio is a great DC. Ed Donatell. Tom Rathman. Jim Tomsula. The list goes on and on. This is part of why I love this draft so much. I know that Reid will be coached by Donatell. I know that Tank Carridine will be coached by Jim Tomsula. I know that Marcus Lattimore will get coached by Tom Rathman. Can you think of anyone better?



8) The Future: There is a notion out there that the 49ers are getting older...that their Window might be "closing". That really makes me laugh. ALOT of that comes from wishful thinking from the Pacific Northwest. Frank Gore is in fact getting up there. So is Justin Smith. However, the 49ers made ELEVEN selections in the draft this year. They already have 10 selections NEXT year and possibly another as a compensatory pick for Goldson. SIX of those picks are likely in the first 3 rounds.

There are no less than THREE very promising candidates to fill in for Gore when he's gone. Justin just re-upped for another 2 years and they have already begun looking for his eventual replacement (Carradine for one). This team isn't going anywhere for a long time. They have a very young nucleus of players (Kaep, V. Davis, Iupati, A. Davis, Staley, Boone, Willis, Bowman, Brooks, Aldon) who are going to be here for quite some time. Crab could be resigned as well. This doesn't even take any of the rookies into account. The future is bright in SF no matter what the upstart in Seattle wants to think.




9) History not on our side: The history of teams that lost the Super Bowl isn't kind. The last team to win it after losing the prior year was Miami in 1972. They were also famous for something else. Strangely enough tho, the team that did it before them was Dallas...and THEY did it in 1971 after losing in 1970. Here's the thing tho and it can't be ignored...at some point everything that has ever happened had never happened before. IE, nobody had ever gone undefeated till the '72 Dolphins. Nobody had thrown TDs in as many consecutive games till Drew Brees did last year. No TE had scored as many TDs in a season till Gronk did.

The point is that history only tells us what has happened before, not what can or WILL happen. No matter what the history books say, the 49ers have as good a shot or better than anyone in the NFL.




10) Last year at the 'stick: She's an old girl. She was never that pretty to begin with....but she's our girl. As excited as I am about the new stadium, I'm gonna miss her. I'm probably going to try to make it to as many games as possible this year...just to say goodbye.

SOOO much history in that building. So much of my childhood, teens and above were spent on Sundays looking at that familiar green turf.

I am so happy that she got to see meaningful playoff games again before she was finished....The New Orleans and GB games in particular will always stand out to me. There is just one more thing left to do.....and that's win her a 6th Lombardi.
[ Edited by Marvin49 on Jul 9, 2013 at 4:47 PM ]
My thoughts exactly. It's like you're in my head. Get out of my head, Marv.

Great post, as usual.
Nice Post!

1) I agree that Kaep's wardrobe issue and response were not ideal, but I don't really care. I'm sure this doesn't happen again, and it becomes a non-issue. The main focus for me this year is seeing if Kaep can become a consistent passer in the pocket, as I believe teams will play him like the Falcons and Ravens did. He did play well in both of those games.

2) I think this years' draft and some of last years' draft will have some impact, but overall, we're still a few years away from seeing major impact. I think I'm higher on McDonald than you are, we'll have to wait and see.

3) Losing Crabs sucks, but it will require Kaep to be less Crabtree-sentric, which will be a good thing long term. Still, tough loss. I do think it's interesting that Vegas didn't change the line at all after he went down. QBs are really the only position that changes things (or an elite talent like Calvin or AP).

4) FA - meh... wait and see. Other than extending Justin, which was great. Man crush there!!

5) I think the Pistol will be used, but as a package like other packages. But I don't think we'll get any super long runs like Minny preseason, Miami, or GB playoff games. I do think he can get some scramble TDs though.

6) I agree that 'what we think' is rarely 'what is', but it's hard to argue that the NFCW isn't really good. And I'm more concerned about the Rams than you are.

7) Top 3 Coaching Staffs in the League... moving on...

8) Future looks bright, if Tank / Dorsey / Dial can replace Justin. Fingers X-ed. Aldon will have to improve his game too (especially without Justin).

9) Not worried about what history says. We are a contender and that's all that matters at this stage.

10) Over/Under number of 'light out' situations
Great summary.

I just want a super bowl championship ASAP because I want our great core rewarded, and to get guys like Gore, Justin, Willis what they have long deserved.

With regards to streaks and what not.....it took us 3 consecutive tries in early '90s to beat Cowboys and win it all.

I'm banking on "third time's the charm" with regards to this being our season, even if we didn't have a singular opponent stopping us.

My guess is that our defense and ST returns closer to 2011 form while our offense will lose a bit initially but pick up later in the season. The 49ers are more trustable when the defense can be relied upon than offense.
nice post Marv!
Good read, Marvin. As for Nnamdi and you don't know what to expect because of the Philly Foldo, I would remind you of the famous Nate the great, the shutdown corner to salvage a ruined SF franchise. He was supposed to do it himself with no help...anywhere. And you know what happened. He never shut down anybody again, because he couldn't cover 5 guys. Nobody could. Hence Nate failed here. Shut down corner? Unh unh. Nnamdi is coming from a very similar situation, basically where he had no real team around him, nor oddly,(considering andy reid), not much coaching. Maybe it was other things, but once Nnamdi hit philly, it was over. I don't know if the guy can still cover, but I bet he can cover if he has front 7 pressure....which you know he will...and help around him in backfield. Last yr, your and my favorite, dashon, was truly a hard hitting tackler, one of the best. What he didn't do , however, was break up passes. He just became great at tackling receivers once they had caught the ball. I was so delighted when he got that big offer from the bucs, that I couldn't stand it. Good luck to buc fans with dashon. Great on drilling a receiver...AFTER he has caught the ball.

Crabtree: His first yr where he really puts it together for us and he's gone...for a while, maybe less than 9 mos. We'll see. As for really missing him, I don't think so. Anquan's ridiculous and patented 3rd down jumpball sidline catches on the first down marker are going to make a lot of folks forget crbs. Are we a better team with crbs? Absolutely, but without him and with Anquan, PLUS his supporting cast, I think we forget Crbs. Just an opinion.

Kap, coaching , Draft, FA...outstanding all the way around. If , if, something befalls kap, we even improved our QB backup. Amazing.

Future: I don't think the past has anything to do with the present or future. Players, good players, great players and great coaches do. You didn't really expect us to win the entire enchilada after 10 seasons mostly below .500, and none above....did you? If so, it wasn't realistic. 72 Dolphins, Cowboys...all past history. Then last yr,, Harbaugh's second, we come within a gnat's eyelash of winning SB, once again losing due to coaching...roman in this case, harbaugh in NFCC game for not watching coughlin have his PRs either get out of the way of punts or just fair catch. JH never thot about it but coughlin had seen that mud, wind, wet, before in the stick and knew what to do. JH hadn't . So there were 2 close calls from a team that had averaged 5- 6 wins for the previous 10 seasons. I think we just all got a taste of what is to come, and let's hope JH and roman have their mistakes behind them....not forgetting Tomsula, or Rath et al, either. Bet Coach H never has ball on 9 yd line with 4 plays to win and can't stick it in. He learned. We all suffered, but he learned.

I'd worry about not repeating in SB but:

We have the consensus best RB tandem in nfl....best OL too, and it just got better.

We have best front 7 in all football...and it just got better.

Besides Nnamdi we got Reid , our #1 pick, and he is good. It will take a while but by game 8 or so, the guy will be money. We also brot in half of the UDFAs in football and gave them all a look at DB. We have enough talent now....I just don't know who is going to be top dogs.

Kap is probably one of top 8 QBs and will be better this yr. Why? Well he worked his butt off this summer and offseason AND

we now have Anquan, Vernon, vance, LMJ, kyle, hunter, frank, AJ(maybe), Mario if he returns, celek if kap wants....all that has to happen is for roman to utilize ALL these guys, so next time on 9yd line, we got 8 guys who have already caught passes. Think about that for a moment. Of course, I am assuming roman has improved and learned, but mangini may very well be the genius addition by JH to fix the every 3rd game that roman took a powder on...and that included the last 4 plays of SB. Superb, genius move by JH.

In sum, Marvin, I see nothing but a better team show up for kickoff. Maybe I'm all wet, but I just don't think our guys are going backwards. We jettisoned those guys, dashon and delanie, et al. And this team with 11 picks is as you say younger, not older. Better yet we have as mentioned 10 picks NEXT yr and we haven't even played a down in 2013. This team, Marvin , is going places, history be damned. We are better...everywhere, and most important our coaches are more seasoned....which we desperately needed.

I'm out.
[ Edited by pasodoc9er on Jul 9, 2013 at 8:07 PM ]
Shouldn't expect anything less from you sir!

Couple things I'm wondering:

2.) About your opinion of Cyprien over Reid. I remember you mentioned in you "Offseason Thoughts #1" Thread that what most of our draft picks had in common was that they had longer arms. I'm wondering if Cyprien also had long arms, but were shorter compared to Reid's. What specifically did you see in Cyprien that made you favor him and why they drafted Reid instead (I remember you saying that that more you look at Reid the more it made sense)?

On a side note about Reid, my father (Niner fan since the 80's) also loved the draft. Out of all the draft picks, he was most impressed with Reid because he said Reid reminded him very much of Ronnie Lott. He's stated that a number of times since then.

7.) Do you think that we've already started addressing the eventual departure of Roman and Fangio? When Fangio leaves, how likely will it be that Mangini will step in? As for Roman, do you think that Harbaugh will be more active play-calling like Shanahan and Payton?
7) not to take away from your opinion, but I think Harbaugh more resembles his own idol and former College coach Bo Schembechler much more then Ditka or Walsh, but thats just my personal opinion.
I think you need to mention that the Niners have a strong back up QB situation. It is my understanding Colt McCoy is the clear cut #2 qb and that is good news for niners fans. If CK7 goes down Colt can take over with very little drop off.

The battle for #3 qb will be interesting. I actually think the Niners will only keep CK7 and McCoy on the roster and have the 3# qb be on the PS.
Originally posted by LoneWolf:
7) not to take away from your opinion, but I think Harbaugh more resembles his own idol and former College coach Bo Schembechler much more then Ditka or Walsh, but thats just my personal opinion.

That is actually very true. I'm sure some of his father is in there as well. My overall point tho was that reminded me of Walsh and Ditka in terms of how he handles the media.
Originally posted by leon49:
Shouldn't expect anything less from you sir!

Couple things I'm wondering:

2.) About your opinion of Cyprien over Reid. I remember you mentioned in you "Offseason Thoughts #1" Thread that what most of our draft picks had in common was that they had longer arms. I'm wondering if Cyprien also had long arms, but were shorter compared to Reid's. What specifically did you see in Cyprien that made you favor him and why they drafted Reid instead (I remember you saying that that more you look at Reid the more it made sense)?

On a side note about Reid, my father (Niner fan since the 80's) also loved the draft. Out of all the draft picks, he was most impressed with Reid because he said Reid reminded him very much of Ronnie Lott. He's stated that a number of times since then.

7.) Do you think that we've already started addressing the eventual departure of Roman and Fangio? When Fangio leaves, how likely will it be that Mangini will step in? As for Roman, do you think that Harbaugh will be more active play-calling like Shanahan and Payton?

I can't even really tell you exactly why I like one player over another. With Cyprien it just looked to me like he fit the part. Really athletic. A striker. Got downhill in a hurry.

Reid BTW has LONG arms as well and is very smart. I like Reid...I just liked Cyprien a bit more.

As for the second part of your question my answer is "most definitely". When they lose Roman or Fangio I'm pretty sure they already have a plan to replace them. On D, maybe Donatell? Mangini? On offense there are a ton of candidates. Jeep Chryst? The Oline coach he brought from Stanford (his name is escaping me). Rathman?

Harbaugh is nothing if not prepared for almost anything.
Originally posted by NinerBuff:
Nice Post!

1) I agree that Kaep's wardrobe issue and response were not ideal, but I don't really care. I'm sure this doesn't happen again, and it becomes a non-issue. The main focus for me this year is seeing if Kaep can become a consistent passer in the pocket, as I believe teams will play him like the Falcons and Ravens did. He did play well in both of those games.

2) I think this years' draft and some of last years' draft will have some impact, but overall, we're still a few years away from seeing major impact. I think I'm higher on McDonald than you are, we'll have to wait and see.

3) Losing Crabs sucks, but it will require Kaep to be less Crabtree-sentric, which will be a good thing long term. Still, tough loss. I do think it's interesting that Vegas didn't change the line at all after he went down. QBs are really the only position that changes things (or an elite talent like Calvin or AP).

4) FA - meh... wait and see. Other than extending Justin, which was great. Man crush there!!

5) I think the Pistol will be used, but as a package like other packages. But I don't think we'll get any super long runs like Minny preseason, Miami, or GB playoff games. I do think he can get some scramble TDs though.

6) I agree that 'what we think' is rarely 'what is', but it's hard to argue that the NFCW isn't really good. And I'm more concerned about the Rams than you are.

7) Top 3 Coaching Staffs in the League... moving on...

8) Future looks bright, if Tank / Dorsey / Dial can replace Justin. Fingers X-ed. Aldon will have to improve his game too (especially without Justin).

9) Not worried about what history says. We are a contender and that's all that matters at this stage.

10) Over/Under number of 'light out' situations

Don't get me wrong...I really like McDonald. Long arms and good doped for his size. Looks to be a good athlete as well.

My point is just that he's different from Walker. He's more of a classic TE than Walker was. It'll be different. Maybe it'll be better. Dunno. Just saying he's a different type of player.
Great post. There are only two errors that I feel the need to mention here:

1) When last year was David Akers a member of the Rams?
2) The SF OC is Greg Roman, not Mark Roman.

Other than that, great post! Thanks.
[ Edited by longtime49erfan on Jul 9, 2013 at 8:13 PM ]
Originally posted by longtime49erfan:
Great post. There are only two errors that I feel the need to mention here:

1) When last year was David Akers a member of the Rams?
2) The SF OC is Greg Roman, not Mark Roman.

Other than that, great post! Thanks.

Never but he sure as hell didnt help us beat them.
Originally posted by Marvin49:
On offense there are a ton of candidates. Jeep Chryst? The Oline coach he brought from Stanford (his name is escaping me).

Mike Solari
[ Edited by leon49 on Jul 9, 2013 at 8:23 PM ]