Hrmmm. Mixed feelings on this one...
1) Kap: CAREER regular season statline as a starter - 12 starts, 194 comp, 324 att, 59.87 comp%, 2569 yards, 7.92 YPA, 16 TDs, 7 INTs, 92.47 QB Rating. There has been a discussion here on the 'zone as to the "fault" of Kaps numbers this season. Has he regeressed? Have teams figured him out? Can his receivers not get open? I think the answer is "yes". Its clear that his receivers are getting very little separation. That in turn has made him a bit more wary of letting the ball go. Teams have learned to trap him in the pocket and play press man all day. He needs to learn to defeat it. He also needs his horses back. He didn't need to put up big yards yesterday, but it was clear he was a bit scattershot. Some of it wasn't his fault and I'll go into that later, but some of it IS his fault. He needs to play better.
2) Vernon: I give him all kinds of credit for being out there and giving it everything he has, but he's not healthy. His presence makes a HUGE difference even while he's hurt and they need him in there, but he's clearly not the same Vernon right now. That sideline pass was not perfect by Kap but it was catchable...and he barely tried. Thats not criticism BTW because the effort for that ball might have aggrivated the injury. The ball close to the goal-line was another ball that he just seemed really gimpy on that leg. I dunno if he'd have been able to go get it if healthy, but you have to wonder. He seems just fine tho running in straight lines as evidensed by the 64 yard TD. He still has the speed to stretch the D, but he's struggling with that leg. I just hope he can get close to 100% at some point in the not too distant future.
3) Reid: Let me first start off by saying I already like this kid better than I ever liked Goldson. Smart. Good instincts. Hits with his shoulder. Getting better every week...but the missed tackles are driving me nuts. LOL. Too many arm tackles. He's a big strong kid with LONG arms...there is no reason he should be missing the tackles he's missing. I love the big hits, but he's gotta be a better tackler than he is right now. I like that he seems to be getting a bit more aggressive every week (that was one of my very early criticisms in the preseason...played tentative). Perhaps as he gets more comfortable his tackling will improve (I seem to remember Goldson having a similar issue), but right now he just misses way too many.
4) Brock: Yeah, Nnamdi ain't getting his job back. This is two weeks in a row that Brock has looked really good and he looked really good early in the preseason as well. In the past I've always remembered Brock as the guy who gave up the TD to Manningham when Brown got hurt in the NFC Championship game after the 2011 season. I have to start looking at him differently tho just as I've adjusted my view of Kyle Williams. He is playing very, very well and just seems so much better than Nnamdi.
5) Wilhoite: Gotta give him a shout out for stepping up now twice in place of Willis. Very solid game. The Texans are going to move the ball on the ground if you only play 7 in the box. Thats just gonna happen. He limited that damage tho and played very well.
6) Pass Rush: A bit concerned here. Not getting a ton of pressure right now, but it's understandable considering Aldon is still out. Lemonier looks kinda stiff and is too easily pushed beyond the pocket. The 49ers are being forced to blitz more often than they have in the past but teams have thus far been unable to capitolize on that. Something to watch going forward.
7) Surviving the Crucible: This opening 5 weeks was always going to be a challenge. It became even more so when Crab, Vernon, and Willis got hurt and Aldon went into rehab. While I'd have loved to get through at 5-0 or 4-1, 3-2 really isn't so terrible. The schedule gets a whole lot easier here for a stretch and that will give some guys time to get healthy. Right now, all the Niners need to do is survive these games. They don't need to be pretty. Eventually the horses will start coming back and this team will look very different in week 16 than they do in week 6. We sit only 1 game back of the division lead and Seattle still has to come to our house. With all that has gone wrong, the 49ers fate is still in their hands.
8) Defense: This defense is still elite. When the offense can sustain a drive or 2 and not turn it over and give the D a short field, they can stay rested and dominate. That they have done so the last two weeks without both Willis and Aldon just speaks volumes. The Rams are not a very good team and the Texans are struggling, but 14 points in 2 games is 14 points in 2 games. Moreover, 8 of those points were a result of yet another short field off a turnover. Otherwise, we'd be looking at SIX points in 2 games. Despite lopsided losses in weeks 2 and 3, the 49ers defense currently sits 5th in yards per game and second in passing yards per game. They are 20th in rush yards per game, but ALOT of that is due to constantly playing 7 men in the box and because they wore down in weeks 2 and 3 because the offense couldn't sustain anything. On a per carry basis, they are tied for 7th in the NFL only allowing 3.7 yards per carry. In total yards per play they rank 4th. The next thing people would bring up is the most important stat...POINTS per game. Believe it or not, the 49ers currently rank 12th. This is despite scores by the Seahawks, Colts, and Rams late in games when the D was worn down and the O was turning the ball over. It was 12-3 late against Seattle despit the O doing nothing. It was 13-7 vs the Colts despite the O doing almost nothing. Bottom line, if the offense had produced more in weeks 2 and 3 we might be looking at the highest ranked defense in the NFL. Where has the 49ers D gone? Nowhere. Its just fine thank you.
9) Special Teams: OK, I wanna know who spiked the coolaid on those coverage units. WOW. Signing all those players specifically for Special Teams has really paid off.
10) Offense: This is where I'm uneasy. I'm uneasy because for 2 weeks now I'm really not sure what I'm seeing. I really like the recommitment to the run game and Gore looks like a younger man. It looks alot like what the 49ers looked like under Alex Smith...but I'm not sure if what we are seeing is what we can expect from them the rest of the season or if its just what we are going to see on a very short week (Rams) and against possibly the best D in the NFL (Texans). Is this the same O they will roll out vs the Cards? I really don't know. Perhaps as some guys start coming back we see it start to open up again. I just don't know. Should be fun to watch tho. :)
[ Edited by Marvin49 on Oct 7, 2013 at 12:20 PM ]