I was going to post this rant in a different thread, but it is probably better off here.
I don't think the entire blame should fall on Roman's shoulders because the players have to play too. Kaepernick needs to keep his head up when teams are blitzing. This has become a pattern with him. If you get to him early, he starts watching the rush instead of keeping his eyes downfield and trying to beat the blitz. Receivers need to catch the ball (MAINLY YOU VANCE MCDONALD!), and these penalties on offense that completely kill good drives need to stop (Holding on Davis, OPI on Boldin). When the game is tight, backs need to hold onto the ball. It seems that any time there is a tight game like this, the Niners can look back to a key fumble by a RB. I have seen Gore, Hunter, and James all do it at the most crucial part of a game.
But back to Greg Roman's offense. The things I saw today are really disappointing because I feel like we have watched the same type of game for three straight years. If you look back at every loss in the Harbaugh era, the games play out very similar. The Niners have lost a total of 12 games including playoffs. Looking back at the teams they have lost to: Cowboys, Ravens, Cardinals, Giants, Seahawks, Vikings, Rams, Colts, and now the Panthers; the majority of those games were lost because the other team showed up playing the same style of football, and beat the Niners doing it. The defense played well in most of those games, but the offense is what is the scary part. They have averaged just over 13 points per game.
The reason I have such a problem with Greg Roman is because it feels like there really is just no back up plan with the passing attack if it does not go how he expected in the film room. Obviously, I am not able to break down film to see what it is that is trying to be accomplished, but I do know that when you get into passing situations against defenses that have been bringing heavy pressure all game, the best way to expose that is to throw where they are not (pretty simple, right?). We have some of the most capable RBs in the league to throw to out of the backfield, but they are never used. We have two TEs that can move and out muscle smaller defenders, and we now have our receiving corps starting to get healthy. Why is it that the backs, and TEs not named Vernon Davis, are not used more creatively?
In passing situations, it seems like it is always the same. The offense sets up with either a read-option look with 3 backs, who are there solely to block, or it is an empty back set. On one hand, the defense knows that none of the backs are going to be big threats out of the backfield because there is almost ZERO film of that ever happening in three years. On the other hand, your receivers are running routes that take too long to develop, so you put your young QB in a position where he either has to make time to wait for one of his two receiving options to get open, or he takes a terrible sack. A lot of times, that happens on second down, which explains the terrible 3rd down conversion percentages.
As for Kap, I have seen a few things mentioned on this board that are very bothersome. First, I don't think I have ever seen him studying the previous drives on the sideline. This might be overstated, but if that is the case, then I do not know why the coaches do not have him doing this. Today when the Panthers sent pressure right in his face, he might have seen that it was coming from his right over and over, and maybe he finds a hole in the defense from where they just blitzed out of. Again, I could be wrong about that, but it does bother me that other QBs get better as the game goes on, and I never have any hope that ours is going to take us down the field with his arm in the game's last few minutes.
The second thing I saw mentioned was that the read option always has his eyes looking at the line instead of down field. I never noticed it before, but when they run the fake read-option pass plays, he is always staring down the end instead of looking downfield. In order to sell the read option fake, he has no choice but to look down, and I think that is really hindering his ability to make his downfield reads to the receivers. When he drops back and just throws, he can be lethal, but with that fake, he doesn't start looking downfield until the D-Line has already taken two steps toward him. To me, this is another fault of coaching calling plays to put him in that situation, but at the same time, I wonder if it is because they do not trust him to run a pro passing attack yet.
At this point, I think the most realistic thing the team can hope for is to get in as a wild card. It is clear that Seattle has complete control of the division, at this point. The only problem is that the Panthers are now a team in the hunt for the wild card, and the Niners just lost to them. I really wish next week was not in New Orleans.
[ Edited by TheRatMan13 on Nov 10, 2013 at 5:34 PM ]