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

I respectfully suggest that the only thing suspect about the defense is that the offense is not carrying their load. A few more offensive PPG (to allow the defense to play with a lead) and a few longer offensive drives (to give the defense more of a blow) seems to me to be the best remedy.

What QB now won't be "feeling" Brooks on the pass rush, after how he bloodied Brees? Brooks is having an All Pro season. Aldon is clearly regaining his stamina and returning to form on the other side. Lemonier is the best back-up pass rusher that the team has had in years, to spell Brooks or Aldon, as necessary. Justin Smith is still Justin Smith. Tomsula is getting excellent performance from Dorsey, Jerod-Eddie and Dobbs, while McDonald heals for the playoff push. Do you doubt that Tomsula will get production from Tank and Dial, as the season rolls on? In Tomsula, I trust.

What TE or slot receivers look forward to have their sacroiliac crushed by Bowman or Willis for a lousy 3-yard catch?

Reid and Whitner coordinate like they have been playing together for years. Yes, Reid has to be smart and stay healthy.

I agree that the CB's are only as good as the pass rush. There are no shutdown corners on this roster. Brown's loss to injury, if it extends into the last few games, will definitely hurt the depth situation, at a minimum. The defense had to adjust to his loss, on-the-fly, in the 4th quarter vs NO, and that wasn't as smooth an adjustment as was needed. Hopefully, a week's practice with Brock and Wright, etc in their new positions will remedy that situation. Can Rogers hold up? Yes, with a pass rush. No, without one. Can Morris contribute, if there is another injury at this position? That would seem to be a big gamble. Will Cox be re-signed, if Brown is going be out for the year? Who knows? I do know that Drew Brees is one of the league's best at running a 2-minute offense and Sean Payton can certainly scheme to get Brees open targets, even if it is Brees 3rd or 4th option on a play. If the Niner offense had moved the ball for only 1 or 2 first downs, late in that 4th quarter in NO, would anyone really be questioning the patchwork defense that was needed to finish that game?

Just for kicks and giggles, let's see how NO plays tonight vs troubled Atlanta, after getting beat-up by the Niner D only 5 days ago.
Originally posted by ram29jackson:
where do you get the amount of plays under center and shotgun stats ? from what site? that's interesting and i'm sure other interesting stats follow that where ever that came from

Pro-football-reference.com. As far as the shotgun snaps, I think that number is important when it comes to CK's development as a drop-back passer vs. taking pistol or shotgun snaps. Mike Shanahan touched on one of the issues today which relates to that, and I thought it was great commentary.

Shanahan said all quarterbacks, particularly passers like Griffin and Kaepernick that played in wide-open systems in college, must work through obstacles in the NFL. He said drop-back passing has been a particular challenge for quarterbacks accustomed to working out of the shotgun formation.

"It takes some repetitions," he said. "It's footwork, it's understanding the strengths and weaknesses of coverages. It's personnel, understanding your concepts. If you've got a concept to the left, a concept to the right, which side are you going to go to? What's your progression? So there's so many different things a quarterback has to master before he becomes one of the top guys in the league."

Read more here: http://blogs.sacbee.com/49ers/archives/2013/11/why-is-colin-kaepernick-struggling-mike-shanahan-has-answers.html#storylink=cpy


He touched on that is DOES have to do with personnel but also stretches beyond that. There is so much CK is still working on, that's why it's hard for him to just instinctively play when he's doing all this "thinking" out there right now. He's learning piece by piece, but when he masters these things, he should become the dominant QB we expect. I think everyone's expectations were just heightened way too soon because of the following:

1) Our personnel was vastly superior with the presence of an elite Crabtree coupled with the speed of Moss, Ginn, a healthy Vernon and Manningham, and Williams helping open things up, making it easier on the QB. And..

2) NFL had not adjusted to the read-option as well as the pistol offense attack. Nor had rule changes been implemented either. And..

3) NFL had no film on Kaepernick yet. Not enough opportunity to study his tendencies and find out how to attack him.
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.

I'm really sick and f**king TIRED of the read option when there are like 8 guys in the box! it's ridiculous. We keep calling plays INTO the hands of the opposing defense INSTEAD of taking what they give us.
[ Edited by defenderDX on Nov 21, 2013 at 6:38 PM ]
Our offensive line just isn't as physical as it has been the past two seasons. The Saints' D kicked our butt on numerous plays at the line of scrimmage which resulted in our running game not getting off like we've been accustomed to seeing the past 2 years.
Originally posted by ninersoul:
Our offensive line just isn't as physical as it has been the past two seasons. The Saints' D kicked our butt on numerous plays at the line of scrimmage which resulted in our running game not getting off like we've been accustomed to seeing the past 2 years.

Snyder replacing Iupati...hmm...yes, that might be a problem! Though Snyder might do as well pass blocking...definitely doesn't run block as well.
Originally posted by OnTheClock:
One other big thing to consider is the T.O.P.

2011: TOP/per game - 32:08 (ranked 5th in the NFL)
2013: TOP/per game - 29:31 (ranked 21st in the NFL)

I feel like our defensive accomplishments as far as their ranking this year are even that much more outstanding considering we are unable to sustain drives and have to keep putting an exhausted defense back out on the field. Despite our inability to maintain ball control, our defense is ranked 7th in total defense, 4th in points allowed per game, 10th against the pass (4th in opponent passer rating), and 12th against the run.


We broke a record for punts attempted in 2011. That doesn't sound like an offense that is giving it's defense a rest.
Originally posted by BrianGO:
Originally posted by OnTheClock:
One other big thing to consider is the T.O.P.

2011: TOP/per game - 32:08 (ranked 5th in the NFL)
2013: TOP/per game - 29:31 (ranked 21st in the NFL)

I feel like our defensive accomplishments as far as their ranking this year are even that much more outstanding considering we are unable to sustain drives and have to keep putting an exhausted defense back out on the field. Despite our inability to maintain ball control, our defense is ranked 7th in total defense, 4th in points allowed per game, 10th against the pass (4th in opponent passer rating), and 12th against the run.


We broke a record for punts attempted in 2011. That doesn't sound like an offense that is giving it's defense a rest.

If you win TOP and punt a lot what does that indicate to you? That we lost all of our games? No, the 9ers were OK in 2011 but could have been better obviously. TOP on offense indicates the D played fewer minutes whether the team never punted, scoring every possession, or if they only scored occasionally and punted the rest. Your point was a non-point it seems.
Originally posted by dtg_9er:
Originally posted by BrianGO:
Originally posted by OnTheClock:
One other big thing to consider is the T.O.P.

2011: TOP/per game - 32:08 (ranked 5th in the NFL)
2013: TOP/per game - 29:31 (ranked 21st in the NFL)

I feel like our defensive accomplishments as far as their ranking this year are even that much more outstanding considering we are unable to sustain drives and have to keep putting an exhausted defense back out on the field. Despite our inability to maintain ball control, our defense is ranked 7th in total defense, 4th in points allowed per game, 10th against the pass (4th in opponent passer rating), and 12th against the run.


We broke a record for punts attempted in 2011. That doesn't sound like an offense that is giving it's defense a rest.

If you win TOP and punt a lot what does that indicate to you? That we lost all of our games? No, the 9ers were OK in 2011 but could have been better obviously. TOP on offense indicates the D played fewer minutes whether the team never punted, scoring every possession, or if they only scored occasionally and punted the rest. Your point was a non-point it seems.


He said our defense has to deal with being tired because the offense can't sustain drives this year, as opposed to 2011, where it supposedly could. The fact that we broke records for punts attempted in 2011, not only refutes that claim, but turns it upside down and reveals the opposite.

That fact that we had better TOP in 2011 to go along with leading the league in punts, further demonstrates how much BETTER our defense was in 2011. Despite the fact that our 2011 offense constantly punted the ball to the other team, the defense gave the ball right back to us. They did it exceptionally in 2011. Our turnover ratio that year was vastly superior to this year. All the evidence points to a superior defense.
Originally posted by BrianGO:
He said our defense has to deal with being tired because the offense can't sustain drives this year, as opposed to 2011, where it supposedly could. The fact that we broke records for punts attempted in 2011, not only refutes that claim, but turns it upside down and reveals the opposite.

That fact that we had better TOP in 2011 to go along with leading the league in punts, further demonstrates how much BETTER our defense was in 2011. Despite the fact that our 2011 offense constantly punted the ball to the other team, the defense gave the ball right back to us. They did it exceptionally in 2011. Our turnover ratio that year was vastly superior to this year. All the evidence points to a superior defense.

LOL...better TOP means the offense in 2011 sustain drives longer or had many more drives...but by its very nature means the other offense was on the field less, meaning our defense was on the field less...meaning just what he said. He did not say our offense was super efficient and it wasn't. Many field goals and many punts but still more TOP than this year. CK is lightening in a bottle and it worked last year...hasn't worked as well this year. That's OK but to deny the obvious seems a bit stubborn...no?
Originally posted by BrianGO:
Originally posted by dtg_9er:
Originally posted by BrianGO:
Originally posted by OnTheClock:
One other big thing to consider is the T.O.P.

2011: TOP/per game - 32:08 (ranked 5th in the NFL)
2013: TOP/per game - 29:31 (ranked 21st in the NFL)

I feel like our defensive accomplishments as far as their ranking this year are even that much more outstanding considering we are unable to sustain drives and have to keep putting an exhausted defense back out on the field. Despite our inability to maintain ball control, our defense is ranked 7th in total defense, 4th in points allowed per game, 10th against the pass (4th in opponent passer rating), and 12th against the run.


We broke a record for punts attempted in 2011. That doesn't sound like an offense that is giving it's defense a rest.

If you win TOP and punt a lot what does that indicate to you? That we lost all of our games? No, the 9ers were OK in 2011 but could have been better obviously. TOP on offense indicates the D played fewer minutes whether the team never punted, scoring every possession, or if they only scored occasionally and punted the rest. Your point was a non-point it seems.


He said our defense has to deal with being tired because the offense can't sustain drives this year, as opposed to 2011, where it supposedly could. The fact that we broke records for punts attempted in 2011, not only refutes that claim, but turns it upside down and reveals the opposite.

That fact that we had better TOP in 2011 to go along with leading the league in punts, further demonstrates how much BETTER our defense was in 2011. Despite the fact that our 2011 offense constantly punted the ball to the other team, the defense gave the ball right back to us. They did it exceptionally in 2011. Our turnover ratio that year was vastly superior to this year. All the evidence points to a superior defense.

You are trying to say that I'm implying we were able to sustain drives consistently in 2011 and not now. But that's not the case, not what I'm saying at all. Sure, we had our moments, but we were terrible on third downs. First and second downs were better for us, but regardless, we played the field position battle game a lot more than many of us would have desired.

What I'm actually saying it our defense this year is better than they're given credit for. Our team could not sustain drives in either year, yet this year, despite spending more time on the field overall, our defense is still doing well.

Our average starting field position in 2011 was the 34. This year it's the 31. Still very, very good. Ranked 3rd in the NFL. Also, we're #1 in the NFL with drives started inside the opponents 20 yard line, with 6.
[ Edited by OnTheClock on Nov 21, 2013 at 7:17 PM ]
Originally posted by dtg_9er:
Originally posted by BrianGO:
He said our defense has to deal with being tired because the offense can't sustain drives this year, as opposed to 2011, where it supposedly could. The fact that we broke records for punts attempted in 2011, not only refutes that claim, but turns it upside down and reveals the opposite.

That fact that we had better TOP in 2011 to go along with leading the league in punts, further demonstrates how much BETTER our defense was in 2011. Despite the fact that our 2011 offense constantly punted the ball to the other team, the defense gave the ball right back to us. They did it exceptionally in 2011. Our turnover ratio that year was vastly superior to this year. All the evidence points to a superior defense.

LOL...better TOP means the offense in 2011 sustain drives longer or had many more drives...but by its very nature means the other offense was on the field less, meaning our defense was on the field less...meaning just what he said. He did not say our offense was super efficient and it wasn't. Many field goals and many punts but still more TOP than this year. CK is lightening in a bottle and it worked last year...hasn't worked as well this year. That's OK but to deny the obvious seems a bit stubborn...no?


Both offense and defense determine TOP. It's not just one or the other. If the defense forces a three-n-out on every drive, they have to punt it back to us, obviously that is going to help the offenses TOP.

The offense controlling the ball is the other 50% of the reason for TOP. If the offense leads the league (and sets a record) for punts, that tells me that the defense had to get it right back to them. Low and behold, our defense forced a ton of turnovers that year, it might also have been close to a team record.

So no, punting the ball to the other team does not help your TOP. But forcing them to punt to you, or causing a turnover, certainly does help TOP. I think its pretty clear our defense was the main cause of our high TOP in 2011.
Originally posted by OnTheClock:
You are trying to say that I'm implying we were able to sustain drives consistently in 2011 and not now. But that's not the case, not what I'm saying at all. Sure, we had our moments, but we were terrible on third downs. First and second downs were better for us, but regardless, we played the field position battle game a lot more than many of us would have desired.

What I'm actually saying it our defense this year is better than they're given credit for. Our team could not sustain drives in either year, yet this year, despite spending more time on the field overall, our defense is still doing well.

Our average starting field position in 2011 was the 34. This year it's the 31. Still very, very good. Ranked 3rd in the NFL. Also, we're #1 in the NFL with drives started inside the opponents 20 yard line, with 6.


That is great, and I agree, as a point to make for the year 2013.

So why compare with 2011? It insinuates that we had superior ball control in 2011, which does not seem to be the case.

But I agree, that this year, our defense has to make up for a lot of shortcomings on offense. Although not nearly as much as it had to do in 2011.
Originally posted by BrianGO:
Originally posted by OnTheClock:
You are trying to say that I'm implying we were able to sustain drives consistently in 2011 and not now. But that's not the case, not what I'm saying at all. Sure, we had our moments, but we were terrible on third downs. First and second downs were better for us, but regardless, we played the field position battle game a lot more than many of us would have desired.

What I'm actually saying it our defense this year is better than they're given credit for. Our team could not sustain drives in either year, yet this year, despite spending more time on the field overall, our defense is still doing well.

Our average starting field position in 2011 was the 34. This year it's the 31. Still very, very good. Ranked 3rd in the NFL. Also, we're #1 in the NFL with drives started inside the opponents 20 yard line, with 6.


That is great, and I agree, as a point to make for the year 2013.

So why compare with 2011? It insinuates that we had superior ball control in 2011, which does not seem to be the case.

But I agree, that this year, our defense has to make up for a lot of shortcomings on offense. Although not nearly as much as it had to do in 2011.

It's just another way to show how many similar variables exist. I disagree about the shortcomings though. I think when you weigh the "type" of shortcomings along with the number of them, it comes out much more even than one would think. some might even argue we've had to overcome more this year than in 2011, but it depends heavily on a variety of factors, and how you look at it -- many opinions.
[ Edited by OnTheClock on Nov 21, 2013 at 7:28 PM ]
Originally posted by BrianGO:
Both offense and defense determine TOP. It's not just one or the other. If the defense forces a three-n-out on every drive, they have to punt it back to us, obviously that is going to help the offenses TOP.

The offense controlling the ball is the other 50% of the reason for TOP. If the offense leads the league (and sets a record) for punts, that tells me that the defense had to get it right back to them. Low and behold, our defense forced a ton of turnovers that year, it might also have been close to a team record.

So no, punting the ball to the other team does not help your TOP. But forcing them to punt to you, or causing a turnover, certainly does help TOP. I think its pretty clear our defense was the main cause of our high TOP in 2011.

If the offense can not extend a possession it doesn't matter how many 3 and outs the D forces...the TOP would come out equal. I think you are trying to put words in folks posts and interpret towards your own agenda. The fact that the niners were not efficient in 2011 in the RZ or on 3rd downs does not negate the advantage TOP gives the D in rest and durability. No one said the offense in 2011 was wonderful or even better than 2013. They are very different but many of the same problems exist so it's fun to analyze the whys and wherefores!
Originally posted by OnTheClock:
I know there is tremendous debate going on about the plethora of problems we've been facing this year, and consequentially I see a lot of bickering, finger-pointing, and fighting all over the place about a variety of issues, but none more prevalent than the issue of QB play (is anyone surprised?). Nothing will change the fact that our former QB, Alex Smith is on another team. We have who we have, and Colin Kaepernick has struggled. There is no way around that fact. That's the simple truth. The not-so-simple truth achieved here though is this one question: WHY? Many individuals have thrown out every reason in the book for it, but unsurprisingly, it's something we've all heard before. Are these excuses? Or are they reasons? -- The answer lies somewhere in between, but I want to touch on what I feel is something important to consider before you make any firm decisions.


"EXCUSE": We are losing games because there is no one to throw to and the OL can't protect.

First, take a look at the 2011 49ers team, as far as the cast we had:
QB Alex Smith
RB Frank Gore / Kendall Hunter / Anthony Dixon / Moran Norris / Bruce Miller
WR Crabtree / Morgan* / Braylon Edwards* / K.Williams / B.Swain / T.Ginn* / Joe Hastings
TE Vernon / Delanie
OL Staley / Iupati / Goodwin / Snyder / A.Davis
Notes* Morgan went on IR after week 5, and Braylon was hurt early on, and cut after week 10. Ginn got hurt in the playoffs.

Then, look at what we have had for the 2013 49ers team:
QB Colin Kaepernick
RB Frank Gore / Kendall Hunter / Anthony Dixon / LaMichael James / Bruce Miller
WR Anquan Boldin / Mario Manningham* / Kyle Williams* / Jon Baldwin* / Quinton Patton* / Kassim Osgood / Crabtree*
TE Vernon / Vance McDonald
OL Staley / Iupati / Goodwin / Boone / A.Davis
Notes* Mario didn't play until mid-season, Williams was cut after week 10, Baldwin didn't play until week 4, Patton's been hurt since week 4. Crabtree's on PUP

Looking at the rosters, the receivers that started the most games in each year respectively were: Crabtree/Williams/Ginn in 2011, and Boldin/Williams in 2013. The other primary difference is Delanie in 2011, and Vance McDonald in 2013. The overall difference in collective talent between the two groups is minimal, but slightly in favor of 2011. However, the talent and performance of the offensive line in 2011 is slightly worse than the 2013 group. Frank Gore is still running well, and the defense has been outstanding this year statistically. Both of those were the case in 2011 as well so those variables are not under scrutiny. Here are the primary stats that I think we should look at:

2011 (16 games)
Turnovers: 10
Sacks allowed: 44 (including a FRANCHISE RECORD NINE TIMES on Thanksgiving vs. Baltimore)
Snaps taken under center: 804
Snaps taken in shotgun: 314
4th quarter passer rating: 92.7

2013 (10 games)
Turnovers: 15
Sacks allowed: 24 (on pace for about 38 sacks)
Snaps taken under center: 305
Snaps taken in shotgun: 291
4th quarter passer rating: 39.6

What is my point in all this? In 2011, we had atrocious weapons and our line couldn't block. But our defense played well. Despite the record, people still also complained about terrible calls by Greg Roman. This year we have all the same things occurring. We won 13 games in 2011 and were 4-1 against winning teams. This year, we're 6-4 and are 1-4 against winning teams. What's the big difference-maker in all this? Turnovers and timely plays on offense in the 4th quarter. We've barely passed mid-season and we've already passed the 2011 turnover mark, yet have no offensive jump statistically to compensate for that. 4th quarter passing has been abysmal and there has been little confidence in our ability to make a comeback for even a field goal when we trail late. This makes us even easier to attack.

CONCLUSIONS:
1. We lack and/or do not utilize team speed on offense. Even a slight boost in weapons would help us; if we can at least get as good or a little better weapons than we had in 2011 we could do a lot more on offense
2. The biggest improvement needed is QB play. There are too many turnovers being committed -- better decisions need to be made. When a QB is not seeing things that are right in front of him or making the decision that seems to be the obvious choice, 99% of the time it's because of one of the following two things: he's thinking, not looking. (Ever been so engrossed in thought that although your eyes are open, you're not really actually seeing what's in front of you? That is what I'm talking about).

What I believe happened: I think the league adjusted to the pistol/read-option scheme to the point where it cannot be the primary focus of our attack anymore. Essentially, we are starting over almost completely from scratch with Kaepernick, and he's practically becoming a rookie all over again as he is forced to learn to play NFL-style QB in this league. He's THINKING instead of using instincts because HE HAS NO INSTINCTS developed yet. He looks like a rookie because he has had to start from square one in a massive amount of areas. This is why he looks so lost and so horrendous out there a lot of times. THIS is why Roman was quoted saying that Colin "still [has] the element of 'I'm seeing this for the first time'.." hindering him.

What I think we should expect: I believe the 49ers are going to have a rough road ahead in terms of the passing offense, and it might not be until late next season before we see legitimate, consistent improvement there. Sure, it may be sooner, but based on what our situation seems to be right now, I would not be surprised if it took that long, or even longer. Our defense and running game will help carry us for the most part and will likely do the majority of the work for us in winning games, but personally, I'd say we should expect things to stay really, really rough passing-wise at the VERY LEAST until playoff time at the absolute earliest (which I know we all hope is when it starts to click).

Alex is that you? ?