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Analysis: 2011 49ers vs. 2013 49ers, and why are we faltering?

Originally posted by eastie:
We had the ball with 2 minutes left in regulation and we couldn't do a thing with it. Conservative play calling, a lack of trust in younger/new players has infected the system. Manning throws a pass to his young tight end, who drops a sure catch. The very next play he goes right back to the TE who makes the catch and muscles his way to a first down. Contrast that with our style. Drop a pass and you don't get another pass thrown your way.

Young players sitting on the bench because our coaches don't feel that they're seasoned enough. Look at other teams and they are playing everybody, getting them game experience, while we take a wait till next year approach. We are like a Marty Shottemhimer team. So conservative that we can win most games but not the big ones.

This is exactly it. I'm starting to worry that this staff might be infected with whatever Marty Schottenheimer had. Playing to not lose games eventually comes back to bite you in the ass. At some point you just have to let your guys go out there and make plays, trust them to make plays, whether veteran or younger players, guys like McDonald and James should be getting far more opportunities than they have been.


They have to set Kaepernick loose, let him gain his confidence back, let him be comfortable, stop trying to "protect" him, all it is doing is stifling the offense, by playing not to have risky plays, they are playing to not have plays made period. As I've said before, Carolina set Cam loose earlier this season and they've won a lot of games since then, they've been taking the good with the bad and so far the result has been more positive than expected.
[ Edited by Phoenix49ers on Nov 19, 2013 at 11:48 PM ]
Originally posted by eastie:
Originally posted by BrianGO:
Are people here serious?

We lose a game 10 - 9. We lose 7 yards on a quarterback option on 2nd and short late in the game. People are wondering why we lose?

We lose a game where Fangio rushes three players on a super critical 3rd and 12. THREE PLAYERS. Then the Brooks b******t.


Without this b******t we are 8 - 2, with a quarterback who has a better rating then our last quarterback. With nothing to complain about. Our coaches stupidity and the refs stupidity have cost us the last two games. I can't imagine another interpretation.

We had the ball with 2 minutes left in regulation and we couldn't do a thing with it. Conservative play calling, a lack of trust in younger/new players has infected the system. Manning throws a pass to his young tight end, who drops a sure catch. The very next play he goes right back to the TE who makes the catch and muscles his way to a first down. Contrast that with our style. Drop a pass and you don't get another pass thrown your way.

Young players sitting on the bench because our coaches don't feel that they're seasoned enough. Look at other teams and they are playing everybody, getting them game experience, while we take a wait till next year approach. We are like a Marty Shottemhimer team. So conservative that we can win most games but not the big ones.


You know I want to pick up on this and compare it with a soccer scenario for a second.

Sir Alex Ferguson (former manager f Manchester united) is the most succesful UK soccer manager in history, possibly the most successful worldwide at high level, I'd need to check. He built his career on developing young players. There's a famous quotation from a television pundit made in Fergusons' second or third year at Manchaster united where the pundit said "You won't win anything with kids." Ferguson then went on that season to win the cup, then the league next season and then onto 23 years of mind blowing success.

He's famous for building teams and developing young players. One of the hallmarks was always getting those young players involved, but more than that trusting them. He actually made a point of not punishing them for mistakes, so if they had a terrible game he would still play them the next week. He only switched them out of the team line up after they had a good game.

The net result of this philosophy - 20+ years of continued success for Manchester United and continually winning trophies, even when other teams came in with bigger budgets and buying superstars, his teams always had a number and core of young players he developed and showed faith in.

In short, Harbaugh needs to be doing that along with our FO. There's no point in stock piling 13 draft picks and then not playing or developing the talent we draft. We don't have to throw them into the deep end, but we should be getting them into plays, getting them game time and experience.
We have a 1 read wonder QB who has no idea what he is looking at when he looks at a defense. Plus he is not always accurate. He is always useless in the pocket.
Originally posted by SanDiego49er:
We have a 1 read wonder poster who has no idea what he is looking at when he looks at a defense. Plus he is not always accurate. He is always useless in the posts.
.
Originally posted by Buchy:
You know I want to pick up on this and compare it with a soccer scenario for a second.

Sir Alex Ferguson (former manager f Manchester united) is the most succesful UK soccer manager in history, possibly the most successful worldwide at high level, I'd need to check. He built his career on developing young players. There's a famous quotation from a television pundit made in Fergusons' second or third year at Manchaster united where the pundit said "You won't win anything with kids." Ferguson then went on that season to win the cup, then the league next season and then onto 23 years of mind blowing success.

He's famous for building teams and developing young players. One of the hallmarks was always getting those young players involved, but more than that trusting them. He actually made a point of not punishing them for mistakes, so if they had a terrible game he would still play them the next week. He only switched them out of the team line up after they had a good game.

The net result of this philosophy - 20+ years of continued success for Manchester United and continually winning trophies, even when other teams came in with bigger budgets and buying superstars, his teams always had a number and core of young players he developed and showed faith in.

In short, Harbaugh needs to be doing that along with our FO. There's no point in stock piling 13 draft picks and then not playing or developing the talent we draft. We don't have to throw them into the deep end, but we should be getting them into plays, getting them game time and experience.



Great analogy with Man U.

What you said is absolutely right. Instead we keep stockpiling picks for what ? This is not some sort of kids card game to see who has the most number of cards !! Is great to have a lot of picks and if you don't make full use of them it means nothing. What they should be doing is trade up to draft some real talents and to groom them up. But, another core issue here is they are are having problems in picking the right players especially on the offensive side of the ball. So, as far as talent evaluation goes, that needs fixing too that's for sure.
Originally posted by pete98146:
I think you nailed it. Biggest problem is that we lack team speed on offense. When our QB has nobody to throw the ball too, it's hard to win ball games.

How do we know we don't have team speed? Save for the insta-heeve thrown up in the lights of the Superdome, have we even attempted a deep post pattern? We had Randy Moss and never attempted one either. We had Marlon Moore and never tried him. We had Ted Ginn Jr. and never tried him. Why? B/c even with Randy Moss, these plays are not schemed to this AR b/c the coaching staff feels these are low % passes and they know TO's are what typically win/lose you games. HaRoMan are not WILLING to risk anything even if it means defenses will continue to sack 8-10 in the box and play down hill and take your one AR out of the play with tough, physical press coverage at the LOS.
Interesting post for sure, OTC. It is really something to see that we have 5 more turnovers than 2011 altogether, and we still have 6 games to go. Also can't help but notice that 4th quarter passer rating difference.

The thing for me about blaming the receivers is two-fold. One.. it doesn't seem like the receivers (aside from Boldin) get very many throws anyway. So to blame them for "not getting open" or "not being adequate" just feels wrong. If they were getting passes thrown their way and were simply dropping them or not adjusting? Then sure... that's on the receivers. But when they don't get passes their way? How much blame should they take? Are they really not getting open? Because that's not what I am seeing most of the time. The 2nd issue... goes back to this notion of old that says "a GOOD Quarterback makes those better around him. He elevates the average into good!" Been hearing that whopper for years... so why not apply it here?

Another huge difference from 2011 to 2013? Our best offensive pass weapon... Vernon Davis. Remember when he stated publicly that until later in the 2011 season, he wanted to give up, because he had little idea of the playbook and what he was doing. Remember that? Well, 2013 VD sure knows what he's doing now. 2011... we had Snyder and Goodwin ranked in the bottom 5 of all G's and C's. This 2013 offense should be rolling... and it's obviously not.

SF's offense in 2012 was ranked 5th in efficiency. That doesn't happen unless your OC knows WTF he's doing. This guy is taking a ridiculous amount of crap from forum fans.. and he should take SOME.. but he didn't just suddenly forget how to make an offense function. Our receivers are not special or ideal this season... anyone can see that... but I don't think we are terrible across the board, since we do have Boldin and VD. Sick of hearing about Boldin not being open. If Boldin is single covered? He IS open.... same for VD. You double both up? and someone else IS open or you diagnosed the defense wrong pre-snap.
Originally posted by ElephantHaley:
My main reason the offense is struggling is because the PLAYCALLING AND FORMATIONS ARE TOO PREDICTABLE!!! Teams and defenses have figured the "boring 1988 Chicago Bears offense".

I find myself (along with many of you) calling the plays beforehand, and being right. If a regular fan like me or you can call the plays imagine what a defensive coach with years of experience can do. They probably know the next two or three plays. I don't think Kaep is going to pass out of this slump, he should start running early and often to open things up. I ignored the fact that we were 32nd in the league in passing because it boggles the mind. Are we really that bad?
Mr.Mcgibblets:

SF's offense in 2012 was ranked 5th in efficiency. That doesn't happen unless your OC knows WTF he's doing. This guy is taking a ridiculous amount of crap from forum fans.. and he should take SOME.. but he didn't just suddenly forget how to make an offense function. Our receivers are not special or ideal this season... anyone can see that... but I don't think we are terrible across the board, since we do have Boldin and VD. Sick of hearing about Boldin not being open. If Boldin is single covered? He IS open.... same for VD. You double both up? and someone else IS open or you diagnosed the defense wrong pre-snap.
Read more at http://www.49erswebzone.com/forum/niners/175803-analysis-why-team-faltering-niners/page4/#QCYV1kbRx8D8HB3q.99
Good Morning Mac! This part of your post is something I've been pondering for some time. As a matter of fact, I asked in a post earlier this week whether the play calling was as good as the scheme allows, rather than the play calling not living up to the scheme?

It's not a secret that I don't like the run first nature of this offense, very un-WCO in my oppinion, and the play this year is one reason why. If you trust your QB and receivers, get them the ball often, use the whole field and at least four receivers on ever play, the field opens up. If you use the jumbo package and run up the middle--the field becomes smaller. The latter is OK if you can out-muscle the opponent, but (as Woody and Bo learned many years ago) when you meet a team with as much power as you have the QB and receivers can't find rhythm on the fly.

When I watch great receivers they have one thing in common...they get plenty of targets. This keeps them sharp and they expect the ball. When the scheme and QB only target a receiver four or five times a game it's easy for that player to start just going through the motions and they will drop more passes becuase they are somewhat surprised when they receive one. Rice use to complain about this to Walsh, so I can't imagine what the 9er receivers are going through.

If you are training a QB to count on the run, as Bo did with Harbaugh, then is it any wonder that the QB-grown up-coach uses the same mentatlity? But they are currently in a spot where they can't find enough healthy receivers to play the WCO...no...I take that back. If you start with RB they have Gore, Hunter, James, Dixon and Miller who can all catch the short passes just fine. Then they have perhaps the best TE in the league...so Boldin would be enough to get four guys out there an any given play. If they ran James out wide instead of Miller...speed versus

Enough of my rant! I will be watching Reid with Smith very closely over the next year and a half to see if he develops more...that would indicate limitations to Kaepernick's ceiling under Harbaugh.
Love the thread OTC.

As you know, people are gonna compare both QB's no matter what. I think until Alex retires from the NFL. LOL.

I am taking the same approach that I used with Alex, and use it for Kaep. Unlike many in here, not all, but many, it's hard for them to use the same judgement in regards to the QB.

1. For the love of God, I too, and tired of hearing about Smith not being with us anymore. He isn't and that's that. Now why do I say this. Because it is FACT, that Kaep took over because of his potential and ability to make some of those deep throws that Smith didn't make consistently over his tenure here. Oh wait, besides with VD whom he totally trusted 100%.

2. Kaep takes the world by storm. The excuse we got at the beginning of the season, he's only 10 games old, etc. But no one was talking about 10 games old, when he was helping get us to the SB. Even in the SB, some seemed to have looked over the fact that had it not been for the blackout, we were done. I mean that run back after the half, wow. But most were enamored with how he almost brought us back, completely overshadowing that he looked absolutely horrible in the first half of the SB.

3. Pre-season comes, He played almost 25% of the time. It seemed at least 99% of us, were yelling at the TV at the quick plays or 1 drive and a cloud of dust then the backups. Even in that Game with KC, aww I was sure he'd play the whole first half, but nope...... Now I bring up the pre-season, because there he could of built trust with all the WR's, he could of studied even more about reading defenses etc, in live action, not just practice. I think at times he was even told not to run so he doesn't get hurt. And I remember my quote exactly, "He isn't that much of a seasoned vet, to just turn it on when the season starts."

4. We talked about Kaep not being able to sit in the pocket, read a defense, adjust and get the ball out on time. Remember guys last year, when there were two things I heard. Kaep IS the new Read Option QB. And every analyst, commentator, and network wanted to see one thing. How Kaep would develop staying in the pocket more. I remember Kurt Warner on many occasions saying. I love the read option and pistol, but now lets see him from the pocket, how he goes thru progressions etc.

5. Which brings us to the Kaep now. Because the league spent this offseason, on how to at least try to contain the read option, and pistol formation. Last year, many may not remember but when Kaep took over, and got us the long yardage, all we'd hear is see, see, the QB makes the WR's better. Gotta have a QB that can get u the ball. Which of course is true, but the difference between QB's was time of possesion. Smith was a 75yd drive 8 minutes off the clock, and maybe the ratio (pass 35yds, run 40yds), Kaeps was more of 75yd drive, 3 minutes off the clock, (25yd run, and 50yd bomb)... And many loved it. Not because both were ineffective, but as Faulk said, we have been accustomed too, and love the high yardage games. That's just what we like to see. ** Many of us, even said that Kaep scored too quickly. But honestly when u cant figure a guy out, what do u think would happen.

6. Playcalling suspect at times, but we still see, delay of games, bonehead penalties, etc. As u said some of the same 2011 problems are still here. Only diff is, Kaep doesnt have the same support system, and the league spent an offseason on how to make those running QB's into more of a passing threat. It's not all on Kaep, but I mean other QB's lose their weapons, and if ur only throwing to the other WR's 5 % of the time, is it really because u cant trust them, or because you'd always rather go to the security blanket. Even when they both (Boldin & VD are covered). Let me see him take some shots with the other WR's consistently, then let me judge if they suck or not. For example Ted Ginn.... (yeah he's doing well with the Carolina, but how many teams was he on till he got to be where he is.) We passed the ball to him plenty when he was here, and he had his fair share of drops. So im not beating myself up over him not being here. And he left us with the impression that he just wasnt good as a WR.

7. Overall, Kaep is becoming a True NFL QB. The one that a franchise needs to make things work. He does need time, especially if they are now trying to turn him into a dual threat. WE know he has the burners, but how many true running QB's have made it to the SB and won. Each running Qb that has gone, has also had the ability to be a pretty damn good pocket passer. So if Kaep is taking longer to develop into a pocket passing QB, then I just say, something should of been done in the pre-season. Many issues we are seeing now, or should i say, many didnt want to see in the pre-season. He will be better, and I think he will rise to the occasion, I just hope it's not total progress, after we have lost the punishing defense, and great running game. The seasons not over yet, so Go Niners, I still have faith.
Thought this was interesting, and on point with the topic. Our second best scoring WR in fantasy football leagues is a guy who hasn't had even one target through 11 weeks of football...Osgood! http://games.espn.go.com/ffl/leaders?slotCategoryId=4&proTeamId=25
[ Edited by ltrain on Nov 20, 2013 at 7:49 AM ]
Originally posted by Jersey9er:
Love the thread OTC.

As you know, people are gonna compare both QB's no matter what. I think until Alex retires from the NFL. LOL.

I am taking the same approach that I used with Alex, and use it for Kaep. Unlike many in here, not all, but many, it's hard for them to use the same judgement in regards to the QB.

1. For the love of God, I too, and tired of hearing about Smith not being with us anymore. He isn't and that's that. Now why do I say this. Because it is FACT, that Kaep took over because of his potential and ability to make some of those deep throws that Smith didn't make consistently over his tenure here. Oh wait, besides with VD whom he totally trusted 100%.

2. Kaep takes the world by storm. The excuse we got at the beginning of the season, he's only 10 games old, etc. But no one was talking about 10 games old, when he was helping get us to the SB. Even in the SB, some seemed to have looked over the fact that had it not been for the blackout, we were done. I mean that run back after the half, wow. But most were enamored with how he almost brought us back, completely overshadowing that he looked absolutely horrible in the first half of the SB.

3. Pre-season comes, He played almost 25% of the time. It seemed at least 99% of us, were yelling at the TV at the quick plays or 1 drive and a cloud of dust then the backups. Even in that Game with KC, aww I was sure he'd play the whole first half, but nope...... Now I bring up the pre-season, because there he could of built trust with all the WR's, he could of studied even more about reading defenses etc, in live action, not just practice. I think at times he was even told not to run so he doesn't get hurt. And I remember my quote exactly, "He isn't that much of a seasoned vet, to just turn it on when the season starts."

4. We talked about Kaep not being able to sit in the pocket, read a defense, adjust and get the ball out on time. Remember guys last year, when there were two things I heard. Kaep IS the new Read Option QB. And every analyst, commentator, and network wanted to see one thing. How Kaep would develop staying in the pocket more. I remember Kurt Warner on many occasions saying. I love the read option and pistol, but now lets see him from the pocket, how he goes thru progressions etc.

5. Which brings us to the Kaep now. Because the league spent this offseason, on how to at least try to contain the read option, and pistol formation. Last year, many may not remember but when Kaep took over, and got us the long yardage, all we'd hear is see, see, the QB makes the WR's better. Gotta have a QB that can get u the ball. Which of course is true, but the difference between QB's was time of possesion. Smith was a 75yd drive 8 minutes off the clock, and maybe the ratio (pass 35yds, run 40yds), Kaeps was more of 75yd drive, 3 minutes off the clock, (25yd run, and 50yd bomb)... And many loved it. Not because both were ineffective, but as Faulk said, we have been accustomed too, and love the high yardage games. That's just what we like to see. ** Many of us, even said that Kaep scored too quickly. But honestly when u cant figure a guy out, what do u think would happen.

6. Playcalling suspect at times, but we still see, delay of games, bonehead penalties, etc. As u said some of the same 2011 problems are still here. Only diff is, Kaep doesnt have the same support system, and the league spent an offseason on how to make those running QB's into more of a passing threat. It's not all on Kaep, but I mean other QB's lose their weapons, and if ur only throwing to the other WR's 5 % of the time, is it really because u cant trust them, or because you'd always rather go to the security blanket. Even when they both (Boldin & VD are covered). Let me see him take some shots with the other WR's consistently, then let me judge if they suck or not. For example Ted Ginn.... (yeah he's doing well with the Carolina, but how many teams was he on till he got to be where he is.) We passed the ball to him plenty when he was here, and he had his fair share of drops. So im not beating myself up over him not being here. And he left us with the impression that he just wasnt good as a WR.

7. Overall, Kaep is becoming a True NFL QB. The one that a franchise needs to make things work. He does need time, especially if they are now trying to turn him into a dual threat. WE know he has the burners, but how many true running QB's have made it to the SB and won. Each running Qb that has gone, has also had the ability to be a pretty damn good pocket passer. So if Kaep is taking longer to develop into a pocket passing QB, then I just say, something should of been done in the pre-season. Many issues we are seeing now, or should i say, many didnt want to see in the pre-season. He will be better, and I think he will rise to the occasion, I just hope it's not total progress, after we have lost the punishing defense, and great running game. The seasons not over yet, so Go Niners, I still have faith.

Nice post. Especially agree with the bolded.

Kap must become a better pocket passer. He must make better decisions and learn how to take what defenses give him. He also needs to trust his receivers and let them make the plays. All of these things, if he incorporates into his game, he will become a better QB. His athleticism is top notch but that alone won't make him a great QB or make him a successful QB in this league. I think what we're seeing with Kap is that he's at a point in his development where he is trying to take his game to the next level. It's not going to happen over night, he has struggled and likely will continue to struggle this year but ultimately, I think he will get it and progress eventually. Many people, including myself, hoped he would've been farther along in his development and while Kap has been pretty underwhelming, jumping off the bandwagon, crying for AS back, or screaming for a new QB is a bit premature.

And yes, I too wondered why he didn't take a healthy amount of snaps during the preseason.
[ Edited by NeonNiner on Nov 20, 2013 at 8:37 AM ]
  • kem99
  • Veteran
  • Posts: 585
Aren't you forgetting a few things....

1. The 2011 defense created a ton of turnovers, which led to points, kept the other team from scoring, etc. This year has been better than 2012 but not on par with 2011 in terms of creating turnovers.

2. The 49ers had an easier schedule in 2011 coming off another losing season and snuck up on some teams. Remember, going into 2011, it was generally expected that the 49ers would be among the worst teams in the league again with Alex Smith starting at QB. The 49ers are certainly not sneaking up on anyone now. In fact, they have to take every team's best shot.

3. Somewhat related to #2, the NFC was a disaster in 2011 other than the 49ers. Now its the best division in football, including Seattle being 10-1, whereas the 49ers would be leading the NFC East and tied for first in the NFC North.

4. The 2011 team didn't throw the ball any better than this year's team. Smith had plenty of pedestrian passing games throughout the season. They did run the ball better (Gore was 2 years younger with less carries than he has now), the defense was a little better and forced more turnovers and the special teams were exceptional (whereas this year, they've been very good at times and not so good at other times).

5. Put all the rest of it aside, the 2011 team managed to win close games. For example, in 2011, the 49ers went to Detroit to face a red hot Lions 5-0 team in their dome and the 49ers pull out a victory on the last play of the game with Smith's pass to Walker, who just gets into the endzone. This year, 49ers go to New Orleans, have the lead late, sack Brees and recover a fumble to probably seal the game but its wiped out by a penalty and the Saints go on to win.

6. There's a reason no losing SB team has made it back in so long and many don't make the playoffs. There's a certain funk teams seem to be in where something is just a little off the entire season and more guys have down years that breakout seasons. That's the history the 49ers were fighting going into 2013 and we are seeing it play out in front of us.

We can microanalyze Kaep, the playcalling, Roman, the run defense, the pass defense, Harbaugh, Mangini, Fangio, LMJ, Crabtree's injury, Kyle Williams, etc. but if the 49ers get 1 more FG against Carolina and the penalty isn't called on Brooks, they're probably 8-2, on a 7 game winning streak and everybody's happy. The real difference is not finding a way to pull out games against Carolina and New Orleans like the teams in 2011 and 2012 generally did.
Excellent thread.
Originally posted by kem99:
Aren't you forgetting a few things....

1. The 2011 defense created a ton of turnovers, which led to points, kept the other team from scoring, etc. This year has been better than 2012 but not on par with 2011 in terms of creating turnovers.

2. The 49ers had an easier schedule in 2011 coming off another losing season and snuck up on some teams. Remember, going into 2011, it was generally expected that the 49ers would be among the worst teams in the league again with Alex Smith starting at QB. The 49ers are certainly not sneaking up on anyone now. In fact, they have to take every team's best shot.

3. Somewhat related to #2, the NFC was a disaster in 2011 other than the 49ers. Now its the best division in football, including Seattle being 10-1, whereas the 49ers would be leading the NFC East and tied for first in the NFC North.

4. The 2011 team didn't throw the ball any better than this year's team. Smith had plenty of pedestrian passing games throughout the season. They did run the ball better (Gore was 2 years younger with less carries than he has now), the defense was a little better and forced more turnovers and the special teams were exceptional (whereas this year, they've been very good at times and not so good at other times).

5. Put all the rest of it aside, the 2011 team managed to win close games. For example, in 2011, the 49ers went to Detroit to face a red hot Lions 5-0 team in their dome and the 49ers pull out a victory on the last play of the game with Smith's pass to Walker, who just gets into the endzone. This year, 49ers go to New Orleans, have the lead late, sack Brees and recover a fumble to probably seal the game but its wiped out by a penalty and the Saints go on to win.

6. There's a reason no losing SB team has made it back in so long and many don't make the playoffs. There's a certain funk teams seem to be in where something is just a little off the entire season and more guys have down years that breakout seasons. That's the history the 49ers were fighting going into 2013 and we are seeing it play out in front of us.

We can microanalyze Kaep, the playcalling, Roman, the run defense, the pass defense, Harbaugh, Mangini, Fangio, LMJ, Crabtree's injury, Kyle Williams, etc. but if the 49ers get 1 more FG against Carolina and the penalty isn't called on Brooks, they're probably 8-2, on a 7 game winning streak and everybody's happy. The real difference is not finding a way to pull out games against Carolina and New Orleans like the teams in 2011 and 2012 generally did.

Hey all long time follower... I thought it would be a great time to chime in.

You make an excellent point about the notion of being that close to 8-2 considering how the past two weeks have transpired. Heartbreaking losses I know. I've always believed that whenever a ball game is decided so closely, it becomes apparent that the loss wasn't because a lack of talent. It's more so the execution and game scheming when it really comes down to it. As much as hurts to lose in such a manner, it opens up a new realization for Harbaugh and Co: they can't call a conservative game plan versus formidable competition. Hopefully they'll learn from these past two weeks and really make some progressive changes moving forward. I'm very interested to see how they'll respond in the final stretches of the season...the 49ers just need to get hot at the right time. The 49ers were 6-4 in 1988, finished the season 10-6..and won it. Not saying by any means that's whats going to happen but crazier things have happened.