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2013 - Week 10: Thoughts after rewatching the game

aaawwwww. They miss me. That's cute.

http://www.seahawks.net/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=79707&start=80&p=1121448&view=show#p1121448
Originally posted by Imfasterthanur:
Awesome choice for a QB comparison.

I tend to stay away from the Webzone after ugly losses, but its nice to hear some perspective amongst our fanbase. I feel better.


Lmao oprah!
Yeah a tight ugly loss, tho wasnt a blow out
Goniners
Originally posted by Jersey9er:
Originally posted by 49erWay:
Maybe some of you guys are right.

Kaepernick can't play.

All those interceptions he threw against Carolina, tons of them, despicable.

No talent to read defenses or go through progressions with 3 to 5 defensive lineman hitting him every pass attempt, despicable.

Just a game manager like Smith, couldn't throw accurate down field while being sacked or with 3 to 5 guys on him in 2 seconds, despicable.

Yep, had nothing to do with the offensive line or game plan.

LOL, as i was reading i remember a quote he said, "Thats ok, I managed the team right to a victory". Thats all no big deal, just remember that Smith quote.

When we beat thr giants wasnt it!? I lmao when i seen that also :D
Win or lose, a good QB always looks like a good QB. When you watch one of the elite QB's of the league, even when they lose, you never get the sense it was their fault. Kaep's not getting better, I think their baby ing him too much. Let the ball fly, sometimes you might have to step a step backwards to go forward. I like what the Colts did last year with Andrew Luck, 40 attempts a game, whatever I'm done.
Originally posted by Empire49:
I'm about as big of a Kap supporter as there is. I've watched this kid since his high school days, as my brother-in-law played against him. I followed him at Nevada and I was ecstatic when we drafted him.

That being said, the guy played a horrible game yesterday. It was ridiculously bad and hard to watch. If Vernon is out, we're screwed. Boldin gets shut down and Kap cannot find anyone else. It's pathetic.


However, the guy is a gifted athlete and I have no doubts he will rebound when he gets his boy Crabs back. It's funny how teams knew he would be looking for Crabtree last year and still couldn't do anything about it. This year they know he'll be looking for Boldin, but the difference is teams are able to stop it. I like Boldin, but I said from the beginning that he is a past-his-prime, slower and older version of Crabtree.

Anyway, I strongly believe if Vance McDonald catches that long bomb that Kap placed PERFECTLY, we win that game. That doesn't excuse the rest of Kap's poor play, but it might give you a little insight on why he doesn't trust any receivers besides Boldin and VD (outside of Crabs, if course).
I hear u bro, but while I agree he has a similar skill-set to KING CRAB, I couldn't DISAGREE with you more as to why somehow teams couldn't STOP KING CRAB, but can magically as u say "STOP" the BULL Antwan BOLDIN (something we couldn't do to save our lives JUST LAST Superbowl!! No??!!)
A Superbowl, where arguably an OLDER CRAB in BOLDEN had just as good, if not a BETTER game than YOUNG CRAB-. To be fair, if anything shouldn't u probably infer that KillerKRABS reminds you of a younger version of the Beast BOLDIN?? Just sayin lol While Boldin is older making him YES, "past his prime" (given ONLY his AGE), Boldin has never been a speed guy even in college at FSU or during his 1st Superbowl appearance with Arizona!! Hes always been very physical, great blocking, great rt runner, yards after contact, and prolific "JUMP BALL" snatching, clutch outside WR with insane catching hands (Yes-like Crabs). But he is JUST AS EFFECTIVE, SKILLED, and COMPLETE at his craft as he has ever been. A Savvy Leader with INSANE HANDS, and although hes a bit slower, which he has never relied on anyhow, he excels at finding the soft spots and reading defenses better than he ever has, characterized by one of his BEST years of his career LAST YEAR in Baltimore Here is the Truth:

Reason 1: Boldin has always had the luxury of being in productive passing offenses with PASSING QBs (Yes Warner and even Flacco), who actually more times than not have a more open Passing attack with balls/attempts thrown his way, whether they are jump ball situations or traditional wheel Rts. After watching many games, including GB and others, it should be painfully obvious that not ONLY is AB outstanding given when given optuntys, but HE HAS been reduced to a "BLOCKING" or GHOST DECOY down the field guy, if not pre-selected as the go to guy in our Flag football "anointed WR" run dominate system. But UNLIKE CRABS, he doesnt have a DF-WR threat or decoy like Moss or DelWalk on the other side of the field to keep defenses honest, thinking, and guessing (let alone atleast a HEALTHY WR core period-hell just got HAM back).

#2: Boldin, UNLIKE CRABS doesn't have the same confident Kaep from last year feeling comfortable with a healthy receiving core. Also, with Kaep being hesitant and not playing as well this year (Having aired it out on a consistent bases last year), hes been for the most part this year reduced to a GAME MANAGER, so passing play are hardly existent, which = less attempts/yards and on field chemistry with Bolden

#3 Boldin, UNLIKE CRABS, didn't have the luxury of playing with a surprising, somewhat unknown commodity in QB Kaep and the READ OPTION last year. Opposing defenses were still attempting to STOP an ARSENAL full of weapons (Kaeps arm and feet, VD, Gore, HAM, and CRABS, MOSS, even Delanie), which provided a lot of 1 on 1 optnty and just more room to operate for CRABS and just opened up the field in general. This Yr, opposing defenses are no longer caught off guard by Kaep or the ReadOption., and TOTALLY GAME PLAN to STOP ONLY 2 threats (AB VD) in Romans Youth football Passing Offense (let alone a DF-WRing threat/decoy like Moss)

CRABS is my FAV player in football and always will be as long as hes a 49er, but PLS lets not make seemingly blanket statements about the only GREAT WR we have donning the Scarlet and Gold right now AND lets avoid putting so much pressure on CRABS, looking for to him to come bk AS SUPERMAN (while getting double covered) to SAVE THIS inept passing attack and all of our problems, bc u may end up mischaracterizing KILLERKRABS abilities in your haste to make sense of our struggling offense. I wudnt blame u tho....sorry for long post....BTW great post
  • GORO
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1. Joe Staley had a 3.7 grade according to pro football focus.
2. Great games by Skuta and Brooks kept this game close.
3. Even if we draft four wide outs I do not believe they will use them properly. Where are the slant plays of the west coast or in the two minute offense where are the side line throws that the packers have perfected that all where common west coast offense plays made famous by the 49ers.
4. Poor coaching job by Harbaugh and Roman. Roman might be a questionable passing coach but Harbaugh should be able to get more out of the passing game.
5. I have to agree that Kaepernick looks for a 1 or two read and then takes his eyes of down field. He looked really good last year against the saints and bears and at times showed he could go through progressions but this year he has regressed. I still support him but this is clearly a concern for us and 49er coaches to correct.
6. Missed opportunities: Mcdonald not bringing in that deep pass, good play by Keuchly. Bowman not intercepting that ball, Whitner it was in your hands you should have secured the ball.
  • GORO
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Originally posted by Marvin49:
Relax.

Kap is was RAW as hell coming out of college. He was considered a project. He wasn't supposed to be ready to play yet.

Kaps number have dived for several reasons and his targets are a HUGE reason why. Not the only one, but a very big one. Kap will be fine. Every single game he plays he's learning. Every mistake teaches a lesson. Most QBs don't hit the scene the way Kap did last year. He is capable of being that guy. Its in there. He just needs to figure out what to do when he's not getting a lot of help. Go look at Tom Brady's number this year.

People like to dismiss it, but don't think the receivers aren't a he part of the problem.

You can't "throw open" every receiver. You especially can't expect that from a guy this early in his career. All the great QBs in the NFL had really bad games early on.


Marvin when Ted Ginn was here did we ever send him deep or on a stop and go route? I cannot recall ever seeing them use him this way. So I have to say that the passing game is vanilla and the game plan is field position and not to turnover the ball. When teams force them to pass they do not have the type of passing game to come from behind with out help from the running game.
  • Buchy
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Reposting this : I've posted a few times on the issues, but may as well make as long and exhaustive a post as I can because it's quiet at work. Long post incoming on what I think the issue is, TLDR - the problem is our type of offense installed by Roman and Harbaugh.


Introduction

Ok what do we see and know of the Niners offense? It's a run first offense which I don't necessarily have an issue with, but it is worth noting that the rules now favour passing teams particularly with the Pass Interference calls spotted at the point of the foul. We know 2 or 3 calls are given by the Roman down to the huddle for Kap. Kap is then responsible to undertake a pre-snap read and stick with the primary play or audible into the play he thinks is best.

We then run a lot of motion and shifting formations to allow Kap to read the defense before the snap and then audible "Green Green Green" or "Kill Kill Kill".

The reason I state 2 or 3 calls is the "Kill Kill Kill" call you hear from Kap at the LOS prior to read, and occasionally he audibles something else with hand signals. This is where we get nervous on the play clock because he's calling that third play to the team. This one is different from the Kill Kill Kill because that second option is an easy shout, the third one seems to be where he's got to go to the TE's, WR's and the backs to tell them that it's option 3. That tells me that we have a primary play, a secondary play and in some cases a third option, though that third option is rarer.

Now we normally break from the huddle at around 15 seconds, as there's a delay getting those calls in from Roman while he consults whatever he's got in the game plan depending on yards, down and field position. We also have to get our personnel on the field, which I'll talk about first.

So we have 15seconds for the team to get to the line, do our shifts and formations to move the defense around and identify zone or man coverage, Kap to read the defense, identify where the Blitzer is coming from where appropriate and then audible into the right play. That's a lot of things to do correctly in the 10 seconds or so we have after taking the initial formation.

Now I am going to touch on the passing game briefly just now because I have mentioned the power run game, I also have to emphasise once again that our passing game is high school level. We are scheming to get one receiver open, and the others are running decoy routes or blocking for that receiver. Now some people have issues with this and want to go on about Kap missing open receivers. Let me point something out – how many receptions did Crabs have last season compared to the rest of the receiver core? Crabtree had 85 receptions last year, more than twice as many as anyone else – Manningham was second with 42:

http://www.nfl.com/teams/statistics?season=2012&team=SF&seasonType=REG

This is for a number of reasons and not because Crab was Kap's favourite receiver. It was because we schemed him open using Moss, Vernon, Walker as decoys etc. You do not get that kind of discrepancy in numbers without aiming to do so. It was because Crabs is an excellent receiver, can get open and because of our preferred personnel grouping of 2TE's, 2Backs and 1WR where Crab was the WR and I'll cover that below.



Personnel

Now because we are a run first team and run heavy time, we almost always have Bruce Miller on the field as a full back and lead blocker for Gore. We like to run 2 TE sets with 1TE functioning as the blocking TE.

This gives us our typical personnel set of 2TE's, 1 WR and 2 Backs. This means that of those 2 or 3 calls sent down to the huddle, we can only put in plays that match our personnel set.

Now as we are run first, we tend to use a blocking/lead FB an awful lot which means Bruce Miller is on the field very often. In addition, because we often use 2 TE's that means we've got Vernon on the field acting as a receiver, a blocking TE which is normally Celek or McDonald (was Walker) and 1 WR in Boldin.

This is where personnel starts to bleed into play calling, but essentially we value WR's who can block well like Boldin, Crabs, Baldwin as it gives us more scope in the run game and also assists if decide to do a read option play.

As Roman refers to his game plan, he then has to select personnel to match the plays he has lined up for down, distance and field position and then get the appropriate personnel on the field for those calls. Thus the personnel are dictated by the plays, as we are run heavy we've got Miller on the field a lot and thus the play options have to all be those executable with a full back.

Now as soon as we switch out Miller for a second WR, we start giving off the signal that it's a pass play. If we take Miller and Celek or McDonald off for a 3rd receiver it's definitely a pass play.



Problems in Personnel

When we start out with a run call as the primary, and we put the personnel in to match that call, this gives us less scope in the passing game with the 2TE, 1WR, 2 Backs set and thus if the defense shows they're going to stuff the box and we try to audible to a pass play we're in trouble immediately.

Boldin is an intermediate/short possession receiver. Boldin doesn't have the pace to stretch the field and struggles with separation from his cover. This is really where we miss Crabtree because Crabs is excellent at route running, quicker than Boldin, and thus when he makes his break or cut he gets separation because the CB cannot react quickly enough to adjust to the route. Boldin specialises in making catches while covered, but he cannot beat double coverage consistently to do so and throwing it into double coverage is an issue.

Currently, Vernon is our main deep threat and currently doing a role similar to that of Moss last season. The problem is for Vernon to go deep, he has to shed his block or get off the line and thus it takes longer for his route to develop. Remember last year Vernon occupied the middle of the field a lot sitting more in the zone.

People say Moss would not add anything to the offense now are missing the point, it is the threat of someone like him we miss. Remember his TD on MNF vs. the Cardinals? Remember his TD vs. the Pats? However Moss complained about his role on offense for a reason, and I'll come to that in play calling. Remember as well that we did use Ginn as well as a deep threat a few times to stretch the field. Let me ask you now, who on the 49ers receiving core at the moment has that ability??

Miller is an excellent full back, but people also forget that essentially he is playing far more now because Delanie Walker moved on and Walker played in the FB position on a lot of calls. Walker was a substantial part of our offense last year because although he had questionable hands, he was much quicker than Bruce and could get downfield, and he could catch the occasional ball. We lined him up as the blocking TE or as the FB and we immediately got lots of flexibility in the play calling because we could audible between a run play or a pass play and have more threat in doing so.

Teams are not scared of Miller breaking deep from the FB position; they were of Walker though because he had pace and even with suspect hands you can't take a 50/50 that he catches it deep as a defense. It can't be understated how important he was because of that one simple fact. We could audible him from the blocking TE into the FB position and let him lead Gore or we could audible out of a run, let Gore block and put Walker downfield as a pass option. This is why we took Harper off the Seahawks and I'm bummed to have lost him. For our offense to operate as currently is, we need a player with that flexibility to be a FB, blocking TE or potential receiving threat downfield.

Now Harbaugh and Roman have recognised this and that's why Miller is starting to see passes, so that defences respect him in the passing game and to try and take some of the coverage away from Vernon and Boldin.

So in short, on the personnel front we are missing two vital pieces: the deep threat WR and the flexible TE/FB/WR that makes our 2 or 3 play calls more threatening.



Play Calling

As outlined above, Roman calls 2 or 3 play options down to the huddle via Harbaugh, and our personnel are on the field to match/execute. We then commence our formations, motions and shifts to move the defense about to try and reveal what defensive strategies are being used – e.g. man or zone coverage, or where the blitz is coming from.

The type of play we use is dictated by our Offensive philosophy and because Harbaugh is stubborn and wants a "punch you in the mouth" offense, it means our personnel sets and formations are aimed at this physical style.



Problems in Play Calling

Ok beyond the personnel issues above, this is really where I have my issues and why I think Roman should go and Harbaugh needs a kick in the nuts. I've established above for everyone why I think we are struggling, because we miss the deep threat and we miss that Walker type player who can offer us three roles and thus make things harder for the defense. However, the crux of it is that you have to game plan and call plays for the personnel you have. You have to adjust your philosophy because there is no point in continuing with something you do not have the personnel to execute well.

Now here is where I think that Roman starts to go full potato and I am struggling to articulate it because there is so much wrong. Our play book and game plan seems based on the personnel we used to have, not the guys we now do have playing.

There are so many issues here, but let's go back to the beginning. We have our personnel on the field, we've got lined up and we have 10-15 seconds of formation switching and motions to try and fool the defense. Now we have Kap reading the defense and trying to audible into the play he thinks will give him the best chance.

Unfortunately, defenses are now changing their looks at the last second and thus screwing up the audible. Kap is getting roasted on this forum for audibling into the wrong play, when in fact defense are showing him one thing early, waiting for the audible and then switching their look. That's why we're having so many issues with unsuccessful changed plays and why we're sailing so close to delay of game penalties. Opposing defense have opted for the fairly common sense approach of "If you're going to try and do a pre-snap read, we're going to disguise what we're doing and change the look last second".

Effectively we're now putting more pressure on Kap than if we just gave him the calls and let him make it without doing all our shifts and motions first.

As we are a run heavy team and we have no deep threat, only VD and Boldin as real threats downfield, the opposing defences are stuffing the box with 8. Even the Panthers moved to putting 8 in the box though I think that was largely down to VD going off injured. Now when Bruce Miller trots on the field it's almost always a run play as our first option. As pointed out by almost every commentator, follow Bruce Miller and you'll find the ball. Right away we're predictable.

Unfortunately, Roman is also calling run plays at the worst time and not calling run plays when we really should. He seems to have got into this mentality of 3rd and 8 and they're cramming the box and stuffing our runs, put Miller in and lets run it, or 5 yards from the end zone in the super Bowl when we're gashing them and their NT is out injured, let's pass it 4 times. It's some perverse idiocy that when he sees we're getting major success on something, at a critical juncture he deviates from that with a notion that the other team won't expect it.

We were 2nd and 24 in our own 20 against Carolina in the 3rd after a penalty and he calls a run up the gut for one yard and then at 3rd and 23 he calls a screen pass, it's beyond stupid. On 3rd and 1 v Carolina we put Hunter in to run it up the gut without Gore and Miller, the very situation when we should be using them on a short yardage call.

Our point of attack has also been figured out on game plan and you can see good defences swarming to it, normally following Miller.

In fact the only reason our run game has been as good as it is, is simply because of Frank Gore. His patience, vision and ability to cut back and find the smallest gaps is incredible, and he's ably assisted by the fact that Miller is an exceptional blocker but I'll say this, if we had an average running back Roman would have been exposed as worse than useless.

Now for some reason Roman keeps trying to persist with the pistol read option and normally at the worst times. Good defensive teams have figured it out in terms of playing disciplined def, not crashing down on the run, putting a spy on the QB and the scrape exchange and going to zone coverage because we don't play action out of it. Although Kap has scored on the read against Jacksonville, we were lucky in that Gore managed to cut block 2 guys on the first TD.

If the idiot actually started calling play action out of the read option for us we'd be making some nice gains, but no he sticks with the default that defences have figured out using the QB that made it famous. I mean as soon as they see Kap in the read option they are immediately thinking to counter it because he's such an obvious threat. By not including the play action we make it easy for the other team.



Now onto the meat of everyone's gripe at the moment, the passing game. Our passing game is really hamstrung by what I have outlined previously; our personnel groupings and our lack of flexible threat like Walker and lack of deep threat.

Our passing attack worked incredibly well last season, even though it was the same philosophy, simply because of the personnel. We had Walker who enabled us to put 2TE's, 2WR and 1 back on the field and then use plays designed for 2 backs or 3 WRs. His versatility meant that the alternate play options were more varied, and that the play was better disguised.

Further to this, we are actually only scheming to get a designated receiver open who is the first read. That's why Kap is getting labelled as a one read QB, because his first read every time is the designated receiver. Last season it was mainly Crabs and our offense worked because Moss was still considered a deep threat, he ran the clearing route, and the defense had to figure out how to cover Crabs, Moss, Vernon and Delanie or Crabs, Moss, Vernon and Manningham. I referenced Crab's receptions last season and this was indicative of him being the designated receiver on most plays, because he could get separation and had great hands.

Watch our offense now and you'll see the WR's are running decoy routes or blocking where they are not the designated receiver (almost always Vernon or Boldin) and the thing that underlines this is that the receivers are not breaking off routes, coming back to assist Kap or trying to get separation. If they were considered true receiving options they'd be coached to do this. This is why we're struggling so much versus man coverage in the secondary as well, they know they are not the designated receiver so getting open is secondary to their assignment on running a decoy or blocking.

Further evidence of this beyond the tape, is the comments of Randy Moss where he complained about his role last season. He wasn't complaining that Kap never threw to him, he was complaining because he was being used to run a deep decoy and ensure Crabs was in single coverage, i.e. Moss was not 2nd or 3rd read.

A few people on the forum like to post still frames from the games showing open receivers and claim Kap is missing them. In some he is I think, but in most those guys are assigned decoys or Kap is looking to the other side of the field. It's been pointed out a number of times that the timing of when a receiver is open is more important. If a decoy is open after Kap has looked that way then it's too late, Kap will have likely taken off. The only way you can go through reads and come back to WR's is if your pocket holds or you are scrambling. If you are scrambling then you're limited mostly to receivers open on the side of the field you have scrambled to. So that leaves hanging in the pocket....

Finally, and unfortunately our O-Line is actually terrible in pass blocking. If you want to challenge this, I will point you to that Panther's game where Kap was blitzed constantly, had less than 2 seconds before the pocket was breached on almost every throw and was actually sacked by the Panthers on a 3 man rush. That is inexcusable from a 5 man OLine. Pressure was coming down the middle and from the sides. Frankly Goodwin has always been suspect on pass blocking for me, and Iupati seems to have really gone backwards this season, maybe because of injury.

What makes Roman even more potato though is his situational play calling and complete and utter lack of adjustment to what the defense is doing.

We're gashing the Colts in the run game, and the first few carries for Gore of the second half. They can't stop us, but he moves to pass first... with Vernon Davis out with a hamstring injury. Pass first with Boldin, Williams, Patton (no fault he's a rookie) and Moore...

When we had to move the chains against Carolina he was still going for 5 or 7 step drop backs with Vernon off the field and no deep threat whilst the Oline are a revolving door. We ran 2 screens that worked really well, far too late in the game, and he abandoned it after the first success and didn't call it again until our last drive where we start off inside our 1 yard line and he calls a passing play with a 7 step drop and Kap has to throw it away. Then we run Gore up the gut on 2nd and 9 and he barely escapes a safety. Finally we run our second screen to Manningham and we get the first down.

In all our embarrassing and frustrating losses against Seattle, the Rams, the Colts, the Ravens and the Giants Roman has crapped the bed, called things that didn't work and made no adjustments and even moved away from things that were working well. We get heavily blitzed and the OLine shows it can't hold and we don't bring in short, quick screens which will force the defense not to over commit.

The entire world knows that when we pass it's going to Vernon or Boldin, but we don't try and use Vance more. We don't try and use Vance in the red zone and instead keep him as the blocking TE.

In short our offensive scheme has been figured out, good defences will play man on the secondary, stuff 8 in the box and blitz the hell out of us. If we look to go to the read option they switch to Zone coverage knowing we won't do a play action, and they play disciplined on Kap. We bring on 2 WR's and they immediately double up Boldin or Vernon.
[ Edited by Buchy on Nov 12, 2013 at 8:14 AM ]
Originally posted by T-9ers:
Win or lose, a good QB always looks like a good QB. When you watch one of the elite QB's of the league, even when they lose, you never get the sense it was their fault. Kaep's not getting better, I think their baby ing him too much. Let the ball fly, sometimes you might have to step a step backwards to go forward. I like what the Colts did last year with Andrew Luck, 40 attempts a game, whatever I'm done.

You mean Andrew Luck who is suddenly having the same sort of problems now that his best reciever is on IR?

Mighty interesting coincidence there.
  • GORO
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Originally posted by Buchy:
Reposting this : I've posted a few times on the issues, but may as well make as long and exhaustive a post as I can because it's quiet at work. Long post incoming on what I think the issue is, TLDR - the problem is our type of offense installed by Roman and Harbaugh.


Introduction

Ok what do we see and know of the Niners offense? It's a run first offense which I don't necessarily have an issue with, but it is worth noting that the rules now favour passing teams particularly with the Pass Interference calls spotted at the point of the foul. We know 2 or 3 calls are given by the Roman down to the huddle for Kap. Kap is then responsible to undertake a pre-snap read and stick with the primary play or audible into the play he thinks is best.

We then run a lot of motion and shifting formations to allow Kap to read the defense before the snap and then audible "Green Green Green" or "Kill Kill Kill".

The reason I state 2 or 3 calls is the "Kill Kill Kill" call you hear from Kap at the LOS prior to read, and occasionally he audibles something else with hand signals. This is where we get nervous on the play clock because he's calling that third play to the team. This one is different from the Kill Kill Kill because that second option is an easy shout, the third one seems to be where he's got to go to the TE's, WR's and the backs to tell them that it's option 3. That tells me that we have a primary play, a secondary play and in some cases a third option, though that third option is rarer.

Now we normally break from the huddle at around 15 seconds, as there's a delay getting those calls in from Roman while he consults whatever he's got in the game plan depending on yards, down and field position. We also have to get our personnel on the field, which I'll talk about first.

So we have 15seconds for the team to get to the line, do our shifts and formations to move the defense around and identify zone or man coverage, Kap to read the defense, identify where the Blitzer is coming from where appropriate and then audible into the right play. That's a lot of things to do correctly in the 10 seconds or so we have after taking the initial formation.

Now I am going to touch on the passing game briefly just now because I have mentioned the power run game, I also have to emphasise once again that our passing game is high school level. We are scheming to get one receiver open, and the others are running decoy routes or blocking for that receiver. Now some people have issues with this and want to go on about Kap missing open receivers. Let me point something out – how many receptions did Crabs have last season compared to the rest of the receiver core? Crabtree had 85 receptions last year, more than twice as many as anyone else – Manningham was second with 42:

http://www.nfl.com/teams/statistics?season=2012&team=SF&seasonType=REG

This is for a number of reasons and not because Crab was Kap's favourite receiver. It was because we schemed him open using Moss, Vernon, Walker as decoys etc. You do not get that kind of discrepancy in numbers without aiming to do so. It was because Crabs is an excellent receiver, can get open and because of our preferred personnel grouping of 2TE's, 2Backs and 1WR where Crab was the WR and I'll cover that below.



Personnel

Now because we are a run first team and run heavy time, we almost always have Bruce Miller on the field as a full back and lead blocker for Gore. We like to run 2 TE sets with 1TE functioning as the blocking TE.

This gives us our typical personnel set of 2TE's, 1 WR and 2 Backs. This means that of those 2 or 3 calls sent down to the huddle, we can only put in plays that match our personnel set.

Now as we are run first, we tend to use a blocking/lead FB an awful lot which means Bruce Miller is on the field very often. In addition, because we often use 2 TE's that means we've got Vernon on the field acting as a receiver, a blocking TE which is normally Celek or McDonald (was Walker) and 1 WR in Boldin.

This is where personnel starts to bleed into play calling, but essentially we value WR's who can block well like Boldin, Crabs, Baldwin as it gives us more scope in the run game and also assists if decide to do a read option play.

As Roman refers to his game plan, he then has to select personnel to match the plays he has lined up for down, distance and field position and then get the appropriate personnel on the field for those calls. Thus the personnel are dictated by the plays, as we are run heavy we've got Miller on the field a lot and thus the play options have to all be those executable with a full back.

Now as soon as we switch out Miller for a second WR, we start giving off the signal that it's a pass play. If we take Miller and Celek or McDonald off for a 3rd receiver it's definitely a pass play.



Problems in Personnel

When we start out with a run call as the primary, and we put the personnel in to match that call, this gives us less scope in the passing game with the 2TE, 1WR, 2 Backs set and thus if the defense shows they're going to stuff the box and we try to audible to a pass play we're in trouble immediately.

Boldin is an intermediate/short possession receiver. Boldin doesn't have the pace to stretch the field and struggles with separation from his cover. This is really where we miss Crabtree because Crabs is excellent at route running, quicker than Boldin, and thus when he makes his break or cut he gets separation because the CB cannot react quickly enough to adjust to the route. Boldin specialises in making catches while covered, but he cannot beat double coverage consistently to do so and throwing it into double coverage is an issue.

Currently, Vernon is our main deep threat and currently doing a role similar to that of Moss last season. The problem is for Vernon to go deep, he has to shed his block or get off the line and thus it takes longer for his route to develop. Remember last year Vernon occupied the middle of the field a lot sitting more in the zone.

People say Moss would not add anything to the offense now are missing the point, it is the threat of someone like him we miss. Remember his TD on MNF vs. the Cardinals? Remember his TD vs. the Pats? However Moss complained about his role on offense for a reason, and I'll come to that in play calling. Remember as well that we did use Ginn as well as a deep threat a few times to stretch the field. Let me ask you now, who on the 49ers receiving core at the moment has that ability??

Miller is an excellent full back, but people also forget that essentially he is playing far more now because Delanie Walker moved on and Walker played in the FB position on a lot of calls. Walker was a substantial part of our offense last year because although he had questionable hands, he was much quicker than Bruce and could get downfield, and he could catch the occasional ball. We lined him up as the blocking TE or as the FB and we immediately got lots of flexibility in the play calling because we could audible between a run play or a pass play and have more threat in doing so.

Teams are not scared of Miller breaking deep from the FB position; they were of Walker though because he had pace and even with suspect hands you can't take a 50/50 that he catches it deep as a defense. It can't be understated how important he was because of that one simple fact. We could audible him from the blocking TE into the FB position and let him lead Gore or we could audible out of a run, let Gore block and put Walker downfield as a pass option. This is why we took Harper off the Seahawks and I'm bummed to have lost him. For our offense to operate as currently is, we need a player with that flexibility to be a FB, blocking TE or potential receiving threat downfield.

Now Harbaugh and Roman have recognised this and that's why Miller is starting to see passes, so that defences respect him in the passing game and to try and take some of the coverage away from Vernon and Boldin.

So in short, on the personnel front we are missing two vital pieces: the deep threat WR and the flexible TE/FB/WR that makes our 2 or 3 play calls more threatening.



Play Calling

As outlined above, Roman calls 2 or 3 play options down to the huddle via Harbaugh, and our personnel are on the field to match/execute. We then commence our formations, motions and shifts to move the defense about to try and reveal what defensive strategies are being used – e.g. man or zone coverage, or where the blitz is coming from.

The type of play we use is dictated by our Offensive philosophy and because Harbaugh is stubborn and wants a "punch you in the mouth" offense, it means our personnel sets and formations are aimed at this physical style.



Problems in Play Calling

Ok beyond the personnel issues above, this is really where I have my issues and why I think Roman should go and Harbaugh needs a kick in the nuts. I've established above for everyone why I think we are struggling, because we miss the deep threat and we miss that Walker type player who can offer us three roles and thus make things harder for the defense. However, the crux of it is that you have to game plan and call plays for the personnel you have. You have to adjust your philosophy because there is no point in continuing with something you do not have the personnel to execute well.

Now here is where I think that Roman starts to go full potato and I am struggling to articulate it because there is so much wrong. Our play book and game plan seems based on the personnel we used to have, not the guys we now do have playing.

There are so many issues here, but let's go back to the beginning. We have our personnel on the field, we've got lined up and we have 10-15 seconds of formation switching and motions to try and fool the defense. Now we have Kap reading the defense and trying to audible into the play he thinks will give him the best chance.

Unfortunately, defenses are now changing their looks at the last second and thus screwing up the audible. Kap is getting roasted on this forum for audibling into the wrong play, when in fact defense are showing him one thing early, waiting for the audible and then switching their look. That's why we're having so many issues with unsuccessful changed plays and why we're sailing so close to delay of game penalties. Opposing defense have opted for the fairly common sense approach of "If you're going to try and do a pre-snap read, we're going to disguise what we're doing and change the look last second".

Effectively we're now putting more pressure on Kap than if we just gave him the calls and let him make it without doing all our shifts and motions first.

As we are a run heavy team and we have no deep threat, only VD and Boldin as real threats downfield, the opposing defences are stuffing the box with 8. Even the Panthers moved to putting 8 in the box though I think that was largely down to VD going off injured. Now when Bruce Miller trots on the field it's almost always a run play as our first option. As pointed out by almost every commentator, follow Bruce Miller and you'll find the ball. Right away we're predictable.

Unfortunately, Roman is also calling run plays at the worst time and not calling run plays when we really should. He seems to have got into this mentality of 3rd and 8 and they're cramming the box and stuffing our runs, put Miller in and lets run it, or 5 yards from the end zone in the super Bowl when we're gashing them and their NT is out injured, let's pass it 4 times. It's some perverse idiocy that when he sees we're getting major success on something, at a critical juncture he deviates from that with a notion that the other team won't expect it.

We were 2nd and 24 in our own 20 against Carolina in the 3rd after a penalty and he calls a run up the gut for one yard and then at 3rd and 23 he calls a screen pass, it's beyond stupid. On 3rd and 1 v Carolina we put Hunter in to run it up the gut without Gore and Miller, the very situation when we should be using them on a short yardage call.

Our point of attack has also been figured out on game plan and you can see good defences swarming to it, normally following Miller.

In fact the only reason our run game has been as good as it is, is simply because of Frank Gore. His patience, vision and ability to cut back and find the smallest gaps is incredible, and he's ably assisted by the fact that Miller is an exceptional blocker but I'll say this, if we had an average running back Roman would have been exposed as worse than useless.

Now for some reason Roman keeps trying to persist with the pistol read option and normally at the worst times. Good defensive teams have figured it out in terms of playing disciplined def, not crashing down on the run, putting a spy on the QB and the scrape exchange and going to zone coverage because we don't play action out of it. Although Kap has scored on the read against Jacksonville, we were lucking in that Gore managed to cut block 2 guys on the first TD.

If the idiot actually started calling play action out of the read option for us we'd be making some nice gains, but no he sticks with the default that defences have figured out using the QB that made it famous. I mean as soon as they see Kap in the read option they are immediately thinking to counter it because he's such an obvious threat. By not including the read option we make it easy for the other team.



Now onto the meat of everyone's gripe at the moment, the passing game. Our passing game is really hamstrung by what I have outlined previously; our personnel groupings and our lack of flexible threat like Walker and lack of deep threat.

Our passing attack worked incredibly well last season, even though it was the same philosophy, simply because of the personnel. We had Walker who enabled us to put 2TE's, 2WR and 1 back on the field and then use plays designed for 2 backs or 3 WRs. His versatility meant that the alternate play options were more varied, and that the play was better disguised.

Further to this, we are actually only scheming to get a designated receiver open who is the first read. That's why Kap is getting labelled as a one read QB, because his first read every time is the designated receiver. Last season it was mainly Crabs and our offense worked because Moss was still considered a deep threat, he ran the clearing route, and the defense had to figure out how to cover Crabs, Moss, Vernon and Delanie or Crabs, Moss, Vernon and Manningham. I referenced Crab's receptions last season and this was indicative of him being the designated receiver on most plays, because he could get separation and had great hands.

Watch our offense now and you'll see the WR's are running decoy routes or blocking where they are not the designated receiver (almost always Vernon or Boldin) and the thing that underlines this is that the receivers are not breaking off routes, coming back to assist Kap or trying to get separation. If they were considered true receiving options they'd be coached to do this. This is why we're struggling so much versus man coverage in the secondary as well, they know they are not the designated receiver so getting open is secondary to their assignment on running a decoy or blocking.

Further evidence of this beyond the tape, is the comments of Randy Moss where he complained about his role last season. He wasn't complaining that Kap never threw to him, he was complaining because he was being used to run a deep decoy and ensure Crabs was in single coverage, i.e. Moss was not 2nd or 3rd read.

A few people on the forum like to post still frames from the games showing open receivers and claim Kap is missing them. In some he is I think, but in most those guys are assigned decoys or Kap is looking to the other side of the field. It's been pointed out a number of times that the timing of when a receiver is open is more important. If a decoy is open after Kap has looked that way then it's too late, Kap will have likely taken off. The only way you can go through reads and come back to WR's is if your pocket holds or you are scrambling. If you are scrambling then you're limited mostly to receivers open on the side of the field you have scrambled to. So that leaves hanging in the pocket....

Finally, and unfortunately our O-Line is actually terrible in pass blocking. If you want to challenge this, I will point you to that Panther's game where Kap was blitzed constantly, had less than 2 seconds before the pocket was breached on almost every throw and was actually sacked by the Panthers on a 3 man rush. That is inexcusable from a 5 man OLine. Pressure was coming down the middle and from the sides. Frankly Goodwin has always been suspect on pass blocking for me, and Iupati seems to have really gone backwards this season, maybe because of injury.

What makes Roman even more potato though is his situational play calling and complete and utter lack of adjustment to what the defense is doing.

We're gashing the Colts in the run game, and the first few carries for Gore of the second half. They can't stop us, but he moves to pass first... with Vernon Davis out with a hamstring injury. Pass first with Boldin, Williams, Patton (no fault he's a rookie) and Moore...

When we had to move the chains against Carolina he was still going for 5 or 7 step drop backs with Vernon off the field and no deep threat whilst the Oline are a revolving door. We ran 2 screens that worked really well, far too late in the game, and he abandoned it after the first success and didn't call it again until our last drive where we start off inside our 1 yard line and he calls a passing play with a 7 step drop and Kap has to throw it away. Then we run Gore up the gut on 2nd and 9 and he barely escapes a safety. Finally we run our second screen to Manningham and we get the first down.

In all our embarrassing and frustrating losses against Seattle, the Rams, the Colts, the Ravens and the Giants Roman has crapped the bed, called things that didn't work and made no adjustments and even moved away from things that were working well. We get heavily blitzed and the OLine shows it can't hold and we don't bring in short, quick screens which will force the defense not to over commit.

The entire world knows that when we pass it's going to Vernon or Boldin, but we don't try and use Vance more. We don't try and use Vance in the red zone and instead keep him as the blocking TE.

In short our offensive scheme has been figured out, good defences will play man on the secondary, stuff 8 in the box and blitz the hell out of us. If we look to go to the read option they switch to Zone coverage knowing we won't do a play action, and they play disciplined on Kap. We bring on 2 WR's and they immediately double up Boldin or Vernon.

Great explanation and good job explaining everything on opponents scouting reports. I have really been disappointed in how they use Mcdonald and think they should have kept Ted Ginn. Ginn would help in the return game and would be the deep decoy to open things up for Boldin and Crabtree.
Member Milestone: This is post number 1,800 for PhillyNiner.
Originally posted by GORO:
1. Joe Staley had a 3.7 grade according to pro football focus.
2. Great games by Skuta and Brooks kept this game close.
3. Even if we draft four wide outs I do not believe they will use them properly. Where are the slant plays of the west coast or in the two minute offense where are the side line throws that the packers have perfected that all where common west coast offense plays made famous by the 49ers.
4. Poor coaching job by Harbaugh and Roman. Roman might be a questionable passing coach but Harbaugh should be able to get more out of the passing game.
5. I have to agree that Kaepernick looks for a 1 or two read and then takes his eyes of down field. He looked really good last year against the saints and bears and at times showed he could go through progressions but this year he has regressed. I still support him but this is clearly a concern for us and 49er coaches to correct.
6. Missed opportunities: Mcdonald not bringing in that deep pass, good play by Keuchly. Bowman not intercepting that ball, Whitner it was in your hands you should have secured the ball.

#3 is a big problem to me. When the line proved unable to pick up the blitz the solution is to dial up quick passes just behind the rush. I saw nothing that developed quick called all day, other than the one slant to Rio. This is just not excusable. Kap should have been in designed two step drops, slants and skinny posts should have been the order of they day and I saw nobody running those sort of routes and Kap was still in deep drops or in the pistol/gun. I havent been as critical of Roman as most but that is all on him.. If your line is having a bad day you help them out. If your QB starts slow you call high percentage stuff to get him rolling, if you lose two damn tight ends you run up the gut with your best player and call play action off it once the D commits. These are simple adjustments that any commentator will call out starting in the second quarter of a game like this, and Roman did none of it. To me that is just hanging you players out to dry.
Injuries are the biggest concern for me over personnel, play calling etc. THe only way this team has a legit chance to make any sort of run in the playoffs is to have all the "stars" healthy and playing full time. That includes Vernon, Crabtree, Aldon, Reid etc.

Of course the playcalling could have been better. Everyone knew Carolina D-line was legit, so running more sweeps, reverses, screens etc. to make them move around, get tired, change direction etc. you would think would be obvious, rather than running between the tackles, but i guess not. Gore had like 50% of his yards on the 1st series then they did well to limit any big runs.

Our passing game has not looked good in a long time, mainly due to injuries. Remember when everyone thought Kaep could be the 1st 4,000 yd passing, 1,000 rushing QB??? Not a chance.

Defensively again, were fine, so long as were healthy. we have some depth there now which is good.

@ Saints next week should be interesting. Very tough to win in that dome. We could see Arizona tied with us by sunday night.
Originally posted by GORO:
Originally posted by Buchy:
Reposting this : I've posted a few times on the issues, but may as well make as long and exhaustive a post as I can because it's quiet at work. Long post incoming on what I think the issue is, TLDR - the problem is our type of offense installed by Roman and Harbaugh.


Introduction

Ok what do we see and know of the Niners offense? It's a run first offense which I don't necessarily have an issue with, but it is worth noting that the rules now favour passing teams particularly with the Pass Interference calls spotted at the point of the foul. We know 2 or 3 calls are given by the Roman down to the huddle for Kap. Kap is then responsible to undertake a pre-snap read and stick with the primary play or audible into the play he thinks is best.

We then run a lot of motion and shifting formations to allow Kap to read the defense before the snap and then audible "Green Green Green" or "Kill Kill Kill".

The reason I state 2 or 3 calls is the "Kill Kill Kill" call you hear from Kap at the LOS prior to read, and occasionally he audibles something else with hand signals. This is where we get nervous on the play clock because he's calling that third play to the team. This one is different from the Kill Kill Kill because that second option is an easy shout, the third one seems to be where he's got to go to the TE's, WR's and the backs to tell them that it's option 3. That tells me that we have a primary play, a secondary play and in some cases a third option, though that third option is rarer.

Now we normally break from the huddle at around 15 seconds, as there's a delay getting those calls in from Roman while he consults whatever he's got in the game plan depending on yards, down and field position. We also have to get our personnel on the field, which I'll talk about first.

So we have 15seconds for the team to get to the line, do our shifts and formations to move the defense around and identify zone or man coverage, Kap to read the defense, identify where the Blitzer is coming from where appropriate and then audible into the right play. That's a lot of things to do correctly in the 10 seconds or so we have after taking the initial formation.

Now I am going to touch on the passing game briefly just now because I have mentioned the power run game, I also have to emphasise once again that our passing game is high school level. We are scheming to get one receiver open, and the others are running decoy routes or blocking for that receiver. Now some people have issues with this and want to go on about Kap missing open receivers. Let me point something out – how many receptions did Crabs have last season compared to the rest of the receiver core? Crabtree had 85 receptions last year, more than twice as many as anyone else – Manningham was second with 42:

http://www.nfl.com/teams/statistics?season=2012&team=SF&seasonType=REG

This is for a number of reasons and not because Crab was Kap's favourite receiver. It was because we schemed him open using Moss, Vernon, Walker as decoys etc. You do not get that kind of discrepancy in numbers without aiming to do so. It was because Crabs is an excellent receiver, can get open and because of our preferred personnel grouping of 2TE's, 2Backs and 1WR where Crab was the WR and I'll cover that below.



Personnel

Now because we are a run first team and run heavy time, we almost always have Bruce Miller on the field as a full back and lead blocker for Gore. We like to run 2 TE sets with 1TE functioning as the blocking TE.

This gives us our typical personnel set of 2TE's, 1 WR and 2 Backs. This means that of those 2 or 3 calls sent down to the huddle, we can only put in plays that match our personnel set.

Now as we are run first, we tend to use a blocking/lead FB an awful lot which means Bruce Miller is on the field very often. In addition, because we often use 2 TE's that means we've got Vernon on the field acting as a receiver, a blocking TE which is normally Celek or McDonald (was Walker) and 1 WR in Boldin.

This is where personnel starts to bleed into play calling, but essentially we value WR's who can block well like Boldin, Crabs, Baldwin as it gives us more scope in the run game and also assists if decide to do a read option play.

As Roman refers to his game plan, he then has to select personnel to match the plays he has lined up for down, distance and field position and then get the appropriate personnel on the field for those calls. Thus the personnel are dictated by the plays, as we are run heavy we've got Miller on the field a lot and thus the play options have to all be those executable with a full back.

Now as soon as we switch out Miller for a second WR, we start giving off the signal that it's a pass play. If we take Miller and Celek or McDonald off for a 3rd receiver it's definitely a pass play.



Problems in Personnel

When we start out with a run call as the primary, and we put the personnel in to match that call, this gives us less scope in the passing game with the 2TE, 1WR, 2 Backs set and thus if the defense shows they're going to stuff the box and we try to audible to a pass play we're in trouble immediately.

Boldin is an intermediate/short possession receiver. Boldin doesn't have the pace to stretch the field and struggles with separation from his cover. This is really where we miss Crabtree because Crabs is excellent at route running, quicker than Boldin, and thus when he makes his break or cut he gets separation because the CB cannot react quickly enough to adjust to the route. Boldin specialises in making catches while covered, but he cannot beat double coverage consistently to do so and throwing it into double coverage is an issue.

Currently, Vernon is our main deep threat and currently doing a role similar to that of Moss last season. The problem is for Vernon to go deep, he has to shed his block or get off the line and thus it takes longer for his route to develop. Remember last year Vernon occupied the middle of the field a lot sitting more in the zone.

People say Moss would not add anything to the offense now are missing the point, it is the threat of someone like him we miss. Remember his TD on MNF vs. the Cardinals? Remember his TD vs. the Pats? However Moss complained about his role on offense for a reason, and I'll come to that in play calling. Remember as well that we did use Ginn as well as a deep threat a few times to stretch the field. Let me ask you now, who on the 49ers receiving core at the moment has that ability??

Miller is an excellent full back, but people also forget that essentially he is playing far more now because Delanie Walker moved on and Walker played in the FB position on a lot of calls. Walker was a substantial part of our offense last year because although he had questionable hands, he was much quicker than Bruce and could get downfield, and he could catch the occasional ball. We lined him up as the blocking TE or as the FB and we immediately got lots of flexibility in the play calling because we could audible between a run play or a pass play and have more threat in doing so.

Teams are not scared of Miller breaking deep from the FB position; they were of Walker though because he had pace and even with suspect hands you can't take a 50/50 that he catches it deep as a defense. It can't be understated how important he was because of that one simple fact. We could audible him from the blocking TE into the FB position and let him lead Gore or we could audible out of a run, let Gore block and put Walker downfield as a pass option. This is why we took Harper off the Seahawks and I'm bummed to have lost him. For our offense to operate as currently is, we need a player with that flexibility to be a FB, blocking TE or potential receiving threat downfield.

Now Harbaugh and Roman have recognised this and that's why Miller is starting to see passes, so that defences respect him in the passing game and to try and take some of the coverage away from Vernon and Boldin.

So in short, on the personnel front we are missing two vital pieces: the deep threat WR and the flexible TE/FB/WR that makes our 2 or 3 play calls more threatening.



Play Calling

As outlined above, Roman calls 2 or 3 play options down to the huddle via Harbaugh, and our personnel are on the field to match/execute. We then commence our formations, motions and shifts to move the defense about to try and reveal what defensive strategies are being used – e.g. man or zone coverage, or where the blitz is coming from.

The type of play we use is dictated by our Offensive philosophy and because Harbaugh is stubborn and wants a "punch you in the mouth" offense, it means our personnel sets and formations are aimed at this physical style.



Problems in Play Calling

Ok beyond the personnel issues above, this is really where I have my issues and why I think Roman should go and Harbaugh needs a kick in the nuts. I've established above for everyone why I think we are struggling, because we miss the deep threat and we miss that Walker type player who can offer us three roles and thus make things harder for the defense. However, the crux of it is that you have to game plan and call plays for the personnel you have. You have to adjust your philosophy because there is no point in continuing with something you do not have the personnel to execute well.

Now here is where I think that Roman starts to go full potato and I am struggling to articulate it because there is so much wrong. Our play book and game plan seems based on the personnel we used to have, not the guys we now do have playing.

There are so many issues here, but let's go back to the beginning. We have our personnel on the field, we've got lined up and we have 10-15 seconds of formation switching and motions to try and fool the defense. Now we have Kap reading the defense and trying to audible into the play he thinks will give him the best chance.

Unfortunately, defenses are now changing their looks at the last second and thus screwing up the audible. Kap is getting roasted on this forum for audibling into the wrong play, when in fact defense are showing him one thing early, waiting for the audible and then switching their look. That's why we're having so many issues with unsuccessful changed plays and why we're sailing so close to delay of game penalties. Opposing defense have opted for the fairly common sense approach of "If you're going to try and do a pre-snap read, we're going to disguise what we're doing and change the look last second".

Effectively we're now putting more pressure on Kap than if we just gave him the calls and let him make it without doing all our shifts and motions first.

As we are a run heavy team and we have no deep threat, only VD and Boldin as real threats downfield, the opposing defences are stuffing the box with 8. Even the Panthers moved to putting 8 in the box though I think that was largely down to VD going off injured. Now when Bruce Miller trots on the field it's almost always a run play as our first option. As pointed out by almost every commentator, follow Bruce Miller and you'll find the ball. Right away we're predictable.

Unfortunately, Roman is also calling run plays at the worst time and not calling run plays when we really should. He seems to have got into this mentality of 3rd and 8 and they're cramming the box and stuffing our runs, put Miller in and lets run it, or 5 yards from the end zone in the super Bowl when we're gashing them and their NT is out injured, let's pass it 4 times. It's some perverse idiocy that when he sees we're getting major success on something, at a critical juncture he deviates from that with a notion that the other team won't expect it.

We were 2nd and 24 in our own 20 against Carolina in the 3rd after a penalty and he calls a run up the gut for one yard and then at 3rd and 23 he calls a screen pass, it's beyond stupid. On 3rd and 1 v Carolina we put Hunter in to run it up the gut without Gore and Miller, the very situation when we should be using them on a short yardage call.

Our point of attack has also been figured out on game plan and you can see good defences swarming to it, normally following Miller.

In fact the only reason our run game has been as good as it is, is simply because of Frank Gore. His patience, vision and ability to cut back and find the smallest gaps is incredible, and he's ably assisted by the fact that Miller is an exceptional blocker but I'll say this, if we had an average running back Roman would have been exposed as worse than useless.

Now for some reason Roman keeps trying to persist with the pistol read option and normally at the worst times. Good defensive teams have figured it out in terms of playing disciplined def, not crashing down on the run, putting a spy on the QB and the scrape exchange and going to zone coverage because we don't play action out of it. Although Kap has scored on the read against Jacksonville, we were lucking in that Gore managed to cut block 2 guys on the first TD.

If the idiot actually started calling play action out of the read option for us we'd be making some nice gains, but no he sticks with the default that defences have figured out using the QB that made it famous. I mean as soon as they see Kap in the read option they are immediately thinking to counter it because he's such an obvious threat. By not including the read option we make it easy for the other team.



Now onto the meat of everyone's gripe at the moment, the passing game. Our passing game is really hamstrung by what I have outlined previously; our personnel groupings and our lack of flexible threat like Walker and lack of deep threat.

Our passing attack worked incredibly well last season, even though it was the same philosophy, simply because of the personnel. We had Walker who enabled us to put 2TE's, 2WR and 1 back on the field and then use plays designed for 2 backs or 3 WRs. His versatility meant that the alternate play options were more varied, and that the play was better disguised.

Further to this, we are actually only scheming to get a designated receiver open who is the first read. That's why Kap is getting labelled as a one read QB, because his first read every time is the designated receiver. Last season it was mainly Crabs and our offense worked because Moss was still considered a deep threat, he ran the clearing route, and the defense had to figure out how to cover Crabs, Moss, Vernon and Delanie or Crabs, Moss, Vernon and Manningham. I referenced Crab's receptions last season and this was indicative of him being the designated receiver on most plays, because he could get separation and had great hands.

Watch our offense now and you'll see the WR's are running decoy routes or blocking where they are not the designated receiver (almost always Vernon or Boldin) and the thing that underlines this is that the receivers are not breaking off routes, coming back to assist Kap or trying to get separation. If they were considered true receiving options they'd be coached to do this. This is why we're struggling so much versus man coverage in the secondary as well, they know they are not the designated receiver so getting open is secondary to their assignment on running a decoy or blocking.

Further evidence of this beyond the tape, is the comments of Randy Moss where he complained about his role last season. He wasn't complaining that Kap never threw to him, he was complaining because he was being used to run a deep decoy and ensure Crabs was in single coverage, i.e. Moss was not 2nd or 3rd read.

A few people on the forum like to post still frames from the games showing open receivers and claim Kap is missing them. In some he is I think, but in most those guys are assigned decoys or Kap is looking to the other side of the field. It's been pointed out a number of times that the timing of when a receiver is open is more important. If a decoy is open after Kap has looked that way then it's too late, Kap will have likely taken off. The only way you can go through reads and come back to WR's is if your pocket holds or you are scrambling. If you are scrambling then you're limited mostly to receivers open on the side of the field you have scrambled to. So that leaves hanging in the pocket....

Finally, and unfortunately our O-Line is actually terrible in pass blocking. If you want to challenge this, I will point you to that Panther's game where Kap was blitzed constantly, had less than 2 seconds before the pocket was breached on almost every throw and was actually sacked by the Panthers on a 3 man rush. That is inexcusable from a 5 man OLine. Pressure was coming down the middle and from the sides. Frankly Goodwin has always been suspect on pass blocking for me, and Iupati seems to have really gone backwards this season, maybe because of injury.

What makes Roman even more potato though is his situational play calling and complete and utter lack of adjustment to what the defense is doing.

We're gashing the Colts in the run game, and the first few carries for Gore of the second half. They can't stop us, but he moves to pass first... with Vernon Davis out with a hamstring injury. Pass first with Boldin, Williams, Patton (no fault he's a rookie) and Moore...

When we had to move the chains against Carolina he was still going for 5 or 7 step drop backs with Vernon off the field and no deep threat whilst the Oline are a revolving door. We ran 2 screens that worked really well, far too late in the game, and he abandoned it after the first success and didn't call it again until our last drive where we start off inside our 1 yard line and he calls a passing play with a 7 step drop and Kap has to throw it away. Then we run Gore up the gut on 2nd and 9 and he barely escapes a safety. Finally we run our second screen to Manningham and we get the first down.

In all our embarrassing and frustrating losses against Seattle, the Rams, the Colts, the Ravens and the Giants Roman has crapped the bed, called things that didn't work and made no adjustments and even moved away from things that were working well. We get heavily blitzed and the OLine shows it can't hold and we don't bring in short, quick screens which will force the defense not to over commit.

The entire world knows that when we pass it's going to Vernon or Boldin, but we don't try and use Vance more. We don't try and use Vance in the red zone and instead keep him as the blocking TE.

In short our offensive scheme has been figured out, good defences will play man on the secondary, stuff 8 in the box and blitz the hell out of us. If we look to go to the read option they switch to Zone coverage knowing we won't do a play action, and they play disciplined on Kap. We bring on 2 WR's and they immediately double up Boldin or Vernon.

Great explanation and good job explaining everything on opponents scouting reports. I have really been disappointed in how they use Mcdonald and think they should have kept Ted Ginn. Ginn would help in the return game and would be the deep decoy to open things up for Boldin and Crabtree.

Man, post this in every thread and send a copy to Roman....it is like the bible of how we are defended this year and why.
  • GORO
  • Veteran
  • Posts: 1,802
Originally posted by PhillyNiner:
#3 is a big problem to me. When the line proved unable to pick up the blitz the solution is to dial up quick passes just behind the rush. I saw nothing that developed quick called all day, other than the one slant to Rio. This is just not excusable. Kap should have been in designed two step drops, slants and skinny posts should have been the order of they day and I saw nobody running those sort of routes and Kap was still in deep drops or in the pistol/gun. I havent been as critical of Roman as most but that is all on him.. If your line is having a bad day you help them out. If your QB starts slow you call high percentage stuff to get him rolling, if you lose two damn tight ends you run up the gut with your best player and call play action off it once the D commits. These are simple adjustments that any commentator will call out starting in the second quarter of a game like this, and Roman did none of it. To me that is just hanging you players out to dry.


I was screaming how come we do not pass 3 or 4 straight times to get Kaep in any rhythm like Walsh use to do? Why is it so important to run then pass or pass then run, sure balance looks good on paper, but if you pass early and are successful then things open up for the running game.
  • SoCold
  • Veteran
  • Posts: 48,705
Originally posted by Marvin49:
Ug. That was rough.

1) Kap: CAREER regular season statline as a starter - 16 starts, 244 comp, 412 att, 59.22 comp%, 3275 yards, 7.94 YPA, 19 TDs, 9 INTs, 90.82 QB Rating. This will be the last time I track the career #'s. We now have a 16 game regular season statline. My goal was always to have some kind of statistical basis to compare his performance to other QBs over their first 16 starts. Here are a few statlines from some players in their first year as a starter....

Tom Brady: 18 TDs, 12 INTs, 2843 yards, 86.5 Rating. In fact, Brady didn't have a rating over 90 till his 4th season as a starter.
Drew Brees: 17 TDs, 16 INTs, 3284 yards, 76.9 Rating. Year 3 was his first season with rating over 90. In fact, he had a 67.5 rating in year 2.
Aaron Rodgers: 28 TDs, 13 INTs, 4038 yards, 93.8 Rating.
Carson Palmer: 18 TDs, 18 INTs, 2897 yards, 77.3 Rating

You might be asking why I chose these four players in particular. The obvious answer is that they are three of the best QBs in the NFL and another who was once thought to be among the best. That is part of it. The more compelling reason tho is that while they are three of the best in the NFL, they all also didn't start as rookies. They all had at least a full year with their teams to learn the system before they took over. Rodgers in fact didn't take over as a starter till his FOURTH year in Green Bay. I bring all this up not to say that Kap WILL be as good as all of those guys. My point here is that he is far from a finished product.

That leads me to yesterdays game. It was rough. He didn't play well. He was pressured all day and lost Vernon early, but he didn't play well either. The 49ers have an issue with a lack of quality pass catchers. When Vernon is out, defenses just bracket Boldin and the passing game is toast. That's completely true...but the fact that Kap seems incapable of adapting and having even a decent passing day is alarming. Yes...Niners were also down 2 TEs so all of the sudden they had to play Adam Snyder at TE. Yes, The Panthers D is damned good. Yes, it appears that the Panthers were changing their look very late on the playclock to prevent Kap from changing the play at the line. Watch the game again and you will see the FS bail out deep very late. All of this is true. He still has his part to play.

When Crab and Vernon are back at full health, things will be different. Defenses won't be able to completely shut down the passing game simply by doubling Boldin. The problem is that there is no guarantee that will happen this year. Kap needs to be able to be productive despite the situation. The line needs to block better, the receivers need to play better and the OC needs to call better plays, but Kap has his part to play in this.

To those calling for Kaps head tho and saying we never should have let Alex go, etc....you're loony tunes. We got spoiled last year by Kaps early performance. Kap is still a galactically physically gifted QB. He's still a very smart kid and he's still willing to work his a$$ off to get better. We need to chill. He'll be fine.


2) Eric Reid: OK, now I'm concerned. Two concussions this early in his career? That makes me worry that he's going to be one of those guys that ends up out of the game very early and simply keeps getting concussions. I hope I'm wrong...but my bet is that he's not playing in New Orleans.


3) Vernon: Jeez....when he's not in there, its ugly. The THREAT of him is enough to loosen up a defense. When he's out, its pretty much over. When I saw him walking into the locker room yesterday, I was pretty sure the 49ers wouldn't score another point. I hate being right sometimes. The 49ers really underrated the importance of Delanie Walker last year. If they had known they would struggle like this, my bet is that they would have found the money to resign him. I think that was a mistake by Baalke. Yes, Delanie had problems catching the ball, but his presence in the offense challenged a team vertically. He created space. McDonald at this point is unable to do that. McDonald may eventually be a good TE, but he is simply a completely different player than Walker.


4) O-Line: Some credit has to be given to the Panthers defense, but the Niners O-Line was horrible is pass protection. There were a few times that Kap could have gotten the ball out earlier, but he was under siege all day. It seemed they were doing fine run blocking, but that pass protection was horrible. Anthony Davis in particular seemed to struggle. They also had trouble all day with the blitz.


5) Gore: Still plugging away. One of the few bright spots. As we seem to say every time they lose....why did they stop running the ball? His patience running the ball was something to behold. Watching some of those plays over again...watching him wait for a block or seem top find a cutback lane where there wasn't one....his vision is insane.


6) "Twin" Teams: This isn't new. We all know that the 49ers struggle badly against teams that are built like they are. The question is why. Teams that can stand up to their physical style always seem to be able to "out physical" them. Big time passing offensive teams tho with all world QBs? In the last 2.5 years, they've beaten the Saints twice, the Packers 3 times, the Patriots, and the Falcons (when they were good). This is why I think we have a shot in New Orleans. If both Reid or Vernon are out tho....it might be ugly.


7) Aldon: Some are going to make some point out of the 49ers being 1-3 with him and 5-0 without him. Total statistical anomaly. It means nothing. Skuta played very well yesterday so I'm not saying Aldon playing few snaps was the problem. In fact the entire defense played very well. They really only gave up one drive and even that one was a hair away from ending in an INT by Bowman.


8) WR: I'm not going to go into these guys performances again. Same story all year. Vernon out. Boldin doubled. Nobody else making a play...tho Manningham did show some signs of life...tho looked a bit rusty. That's to be expected. What I really want to talk about here tho is what I saw in Seattle and what I've seen ALL YEAR in Seattle. What do I see? Not superstar receivers. What I see is WRs making insane plays on a regular basis. Diving catches. Prayer catches on the sideline. Miracle catches in the endzone. That Golden Tate catch was nuts. Doug Baldwin has made several of these this year. Wilsons WRs have bailed him out all year. With the exception of a few catches by Boldin, that is NOT happening in SF. The case could be made that perhaps Kap isn't putting the ball in a position for his guys to make those plays. I'm not sure what it is. I just see Wilsons guys doing that week after week and I don't see it happening in SF. To any Seattle fans reading this...this isn't meant as some excuse. Its jealousy.


9) Ahmad Brooks: I had to at least give him a shout out. He had himself a great game. So did Skuta. They were not at fault in this one.


10) Greg Roman: I know what peeps on here are gonna say...and are already saying. Many of you want him on the first bus out of town. Your complaints aren't entirely unjustified. He got away from the run again when it was working. In his defense tho, The Panthers started to do something they haven't done all year. They started to put 8 in the box. That is a formation Kap SHOULD have been able to pass from. The problem was that he couldn't find anyone. He didn't have any time back there. It's easy to criticize the OC when stuff doesn't work, but he also was calling those run early that DID work. It's become popular to hate Roman on this site and he certainly deserves some of the blame here, but losing 2 TEs, having a serious lack of receiving talent, a QB who is not playing well, and an O-Line unable to protect will make any OC look pretty bad.


Looks like their will be 11 pints this week instead of 10....

11) Our new playoff reality: Is the division completely out of reach? No. Do the 49ers need to proceed as if it is? Yes. Seattle is no longer the team to have our sights on. We need to be looking at the NFC South. We need to be looking at the NFC North. We could now be competing with the Saints, Panthers, Bears, and Lions for those 2 Wild-Card spots. Losing to the Panthers hurts because that could be a tie-breaker late in the year. This season tho is far from over. As bad as this looked, the Niners are still 6-3 with only 2 "difficult" games left on their schedule. They are still getting some guys back here in fairly short order. The season is not lost.

k