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On the Road to the Superbowl: Areas of Improvement

^^^ from my daughter on her birthday today...good girl! LOL
Originally posted by ace52:
I think our team is in a better shape health-wise heading into the playoffs this year compared to last, so this may be our best shot at getting #6. Having said that, there are a few things that are of real concern IMO:
1) Offensive playcalling/philosophy: Roman would always show flashes of brilliance in parts of games, creating some plays that produced great results, and then, for some inexplicable reason, shy away from them for the rest of the game. In the first quarter of the AZ game, he showed great creativity in the play-calling, and had the Cards playing on their heels by attacking them with plays like the reverse to Patton. Then, with the 17-0 lead, Roman went into the "cruise control" mode for 2.5 quarters, and his play-calling became more predictable, until the final couple of drives in the 4th quarter. He has to keep attacking teams with an aggressive, creative play-calling for the full 60 minutes. When you play not to lose against people like Rodgers, Manning, etc., more often than not you end up losing.
2) Defensive philosophy: I'm just a fan, with no access to the coaches' film, but from what I could see from the broadcast, Fangio's reluctance to move away from the 4-man rush, and his tendency to have our DBs play off-coverage, once again resulted in letting the opposing team have great success passing the ball against us. I could understand Matt Ryan gouging us for 350 yards, but Carson Palmer (who I don't believe is in Ryan's class, let alone Rodgers') also dropped >400 on our D? I saw Floyd/Fitz having a clean release several times, running free right through our secondary to a vacant spot in the zone and making a catch. This defensive strategy has to change, or the top-tier QBs that we will face will kill us. IMO, our pass rush must improve (and if we have to blitz in order to achieve that, than so be it), and our corners must play tighter coverage, and jam the receivers to throw off their timings.
3) Willingness to adjust: I think our coaches can sometimes be a bit arrogant, in that it seems that they would go into a game saying "this is what we're going to do, and you can't make us change our plan". It seemed like they continued to run Gore right up the middle, into the strongest part of that Cards #1 run D, even though that strategy yielded little success. Why not try attacking the edges more with the faster Hunter/LMJ? Sometimes, going "strength vs strength" may not work, then we should be humble enough to go away from that.

Even though there are some concerns, I definitely think this team is talented enough, and resilient enough, to win it all. We probably have one of the toughest roads any team has had to travel to win a Lombardi trophy (if everything plays out as expected, we would have to beat GB w/ Rodgers, CAR, SEA (in their homes), and DEN with a record-setting Manning), but if we can do it, people will be talking about the 2013 49ers for a long time to come. Plus Harbaugh and Kap will be in the driver's seat heading into their contract extension talks next year if they can win #6 this year, so they should be fully motivated to do so.

Originally posted by NCommand:
Fans, the best part of playing a top-notch team is that every single weakness becomes glaringly obvious. This is just highlighting concerns (there are positives to many of these BTW and almost all of them can be corrected).

Let's take a quick look and what we need to improve upon to win the Superbowl:
  • Gore - is it safe to say he has zero top end speed now and appears to be losing his burst/explosion through the line (that quick first-step burst); to the edges? And catching has dropped for the third straight year. This is more of a point to note we need to start intergrating more Hunter/James into the immediate fold (save Gore). Gore is STILL the heart and soul of this team; best vision ever between the Tackles. We have the weapons to combat these issues AND give Gore some breathers to keep him fressher/quicker late in games and into the playoffs.
  • DL - still gets pushed back a good 3 or 4 yards against power running teams; still struggle up the gut esp. in short yardage and in the RZ.
  • OL - still gets pushed back a couple yards in short yardage; some pass protection issues and Goodwin may becoming weaker by the game.
  • Burning Timeouts - still an issue
  • Rogers - call it scheme but it's safe to say he not only couldn't give up bigger cushions (esp. on 3rd downs) but be slower in his breaks; lazy and 1/2-ass effort esp. on tackles.
  • Predictable Play Calling - usually we run on first down for nothing and sometimes he changes it up to second downs. We only use an intermediate passing game (handful of deep balls all year long).
  • First Down Production - still, this down IS our entire offense. We live in 2nd and very longs.
  • Touch Pass - do we not run enough outlets for CK or practice enough for CK to work on his touch passes? 90mph fastballs to Crabtree, Miller x2, Gore, etc.
  • CK - tunnel vision/touch pass/look to check-downs; it appeared to be first read (AR1 and 2) all day long again and he struggles pulling the trigger at times (hesitates) esp. on the short receivers where they are initially open. Take it esp. on first downs!
  • Redzone Offense Production/Play calling/System - how much freedom is CK given to change play calls? Is he "allowed" to overrule a poor play call?
  • The Others - is it sacreligious to use the following in the passing game?: Manningham, McDonald, Hunter, James, Gore, Baldwin, Boldin from the slot, Patton, etc.
  • Homefield Advantage - do we have one?
  • Refs - still hate us?
  • Fangio/Prevent-a-win Defense - off-coverage when we're not getting a pass rush or up by 10, trouble with TE's (esp. the 2nd TE), etc.
  • Pass rush? Wherefore art thou?
  • Execution/rhythm offense - short yardage, goal line situations, receivers wide open, etc.
  • Mental Game - this team has a way of getting the worst (legit) penalties at the worst times. Why do we always shoot ourselves in the foot?
  • Return Man - sure would be nice to have one, eh?
  • Screen passes or "explosive plays"?
  • Finishing games/Killer instincts!
  • How will we adjust without Miller?
  • Our coaches are too f**king stubborn ~ Fred Flintstone

All these still issues...
Originally posted by NCommand:
Originally posted by NCommand:
Fans, the best part of playing a top-notch team is that every single weakness becomes glaringly obvious. This is just highlighting concerns (there are positives to many of these BTW and almost all of them can be corrected).

Let's take a quick look and what we need to improve upon to win the Superbowl:
  • Gore - is it safe to say he has zero top end speed now and appears to be losing his burst/explosion through the line (that quick first-step burst); to the edges? And catching has dropped for the third straight year. This is more of a point to note we need to start intergrating more Hunter/James into the immediate fold (save Gore). Gore is STILL the heart and soul of this team; best vision ever between the Tackles. We have the weapons to combat these issues AND give Gore some breathers to keep him fressher/quicker late in games and into the playoffs.
  • DL - still gets pushed back a good 3 or 4 yards against power running teams; still struggle up the gut esp. in short yardage and in the RZ.
  • OL - still gets pushed back a couple yards in short yardage; some pass protection issues and Goodwin may becoming weaker by the game.
  • Burning Timeouts - still an issue
  • Rogers - call it scheme but it's safe to say he not only couldn't give up bigger cushions (esp. on 3rd downs) but be slower in his breaks; lazy and 1/2-ass effort esp. on tackles.
  • Predictable Play Calling - usually we run on first down for nothing and sometimes he changes it up to second downs. We only use an intermediate passing game (handful of deep balls all year long).
  • First Down Production - still, this down IS our entire offense. We live in 2nd and very longs.
  • Touch Pass - do we not run enough outlets for CK or practice enough for CK to work on his touch passes? 90mph fastballs to Crabtree, Miller x2, Gore, etc.
  • CK - tunnel vision/touch pass/look to check-downs; it appeared to be first read (AR1 and 2) all day long again and he struggles pulling the trigger at times (hesitates) esp. on the short receivers where they are initially open. Take it esp. on first downs!
  • Redzone Offense Production/Play calling/System - how much freedom is CK given to change play calls? Is he "allowed" to overrule a poor play call?
  • The Others - is it sacreligious to use the following in the passing game?: Manningham, McDonald, Hunter, James, Gore, Baldwin, Boldin from the slot, Patton, etc.
  • Homefield Advantage - do we have one?
  • Refs - still hate us?
  • Fangio/Prevent-a-win Defense - off-coverage when we're not getting a pass rush or up by 10, trouble with TE's (esp. the 2nd TE), etc.
  • Pass rush? Wherefore art thou?
  • Execution/rhythm offense - short yardage, goal line situations, receivers wide open, etc.
  • Mental Game - this team has a way of getting the worst (legit) penalties at the worst times. Why do we always shoot ourselves in the foot?
  • Return Man - sure would be nice to have one, eh?
  • Screen passes or "explosive plays"?
  • Finishing games/Killer instincts!
  • How will we adjust without Miller?
  • Our coaches are too f**king stubborn ~ Fred Flintstone

All these still issues...

Why do we get pushed up front against power teams? Smith and McDonald are solid. So is it the NT? Haven't had a solid NT since Sop's career year in 2011.
Originally posted by FunkNinerFlex:
Originally posted by NCommand:
Originally posted by NCommand:
Fans, the best part of playing a top-notch team is that every single weakness becomes glaringly obvious. This is just highlighting concerns (there are positives to many of these BTW and almost all of them can be corrected).

Let's take a quick look and what we need to improve upon to win the Superbowl:
  • Gore - is it safe to say he has zero top end speed now and appears to be losing his burst/explosion through the line (that quick first-step burst); to the edges? And catching has dropped for the third straight year. This is more of a point to note we need to start intergrating more Hunter/James into the immediate fold (save Gore). Gore is STILL the heart and soul of this team; best vision ever between the Tackles. We have the weapons to combat these issues AND give Gore some breathers to keep him fressher/quicker late in games and into the playoffs.
  • DL - still gets pushed back a good 3 or 4 yards against power running teams; still struggle up the gut esp. in short yardage and in the RZ.
  • OL - still gets pushed back a couple yards in short yardage; some pass protection issues and Goodwin may becoming weaker by the game.
  • Burning Timeouts - still an issue
  • Rogers - call it scheme but it's safe to say he not only couldn't give up bigger cushions (esp. on 3rd downs) but be slower in his breaks; lazy and 1/2-ass effort esp. on tackles.
  • Predictable Play Calling - usually we run on first down for nothing and sometimes he changes it up to second downs. We only use an intermediate passing game (handful of deep balls all year long).
  • First Down Production - still, this down IS our entire offense. We live in 2nd and very longs.
  • Touch Pass - do we not run enough outlets for CK or practice enough for CK to work on his touch passes? 90mph fastballs to Crabtree, Miller x2, Gore, etc.
  • CK - tunnel vision/touch pass/look to check-downs; it appeared to be first read (AR1 and 2) all day long again and he struggles pulling the trigger at times (hesitates) esp. on the short receivers where they are initially open. Take it esp. on first downs!
  • Redzone Offense Production/Play calling/System - how much freedom is CK given to change play calls? Is he "allowed" to overrule a poor play call?
  • The Others - is it sacreligious to use the following in the passing game?: Manningham, McDonald, Hunter, James, Gore, Baldwin, Boldin from the slot, Patton, etc.
  • Homefield Advantage - do we have one?
  • Refs - still hate us?
  • Fangio/Prevent-a-win Defense - off-coverage when we're not getting a pass rush or up by 10, trouble with TE's (esp. the 2nd TE), etc.
  • Pass rush? Wherefore art thou?
  • Execution/rhythm offense - short yardage, goal line situations, receivers wide open, etc.
  • Mental Game - this team has a way of getting the worst (legit) penalties at the worst times. Why do we always shoot ourselves in the foot?
  • Return Man - sure would be nice to have one, eh?
  • Screen passes or "explosive plays"?
  • Finishing games/Killer instincts!
  • How will we adjust without Miller?
  • Our coaches are too f**king stubborn ~ Fred Flintstone

All these still issues...

Why do we get pushed up front against power teams? Smith and McDonald are solid. So is it the NT? Haven't had a solid NT since Sop's career year in 2011.

I'm not sure TBH. But we certainly struggle against power backs for some reason. Perhaps with a 3 man DL (Brooks/Aldon on the edges), inside is where we are getting hammered and wear down?
[ Edited by NCommand on Jan 5, 2014 at 5:54 PM ]
Alright peeps...lets improve on these for this game...round 2!
It's still all about the Red Zone to me.

If we score TD's there these games aren't even close.
Originally posted by LasVegasWally:
It's still all about the Red Zone to me.

If we score TD's there these games aren't even close.

Yup!

Against GBI can't believe we tried that playaction to Vernon again when they had just done it against AZ the game before. Then the very next play was similar. We have to STOP GETTING TWO FG to start the frigging game. 6-0 means squat! We need to come out fast and strong when playing on the road! Fans begin to lose a bit of hope if you start out 14-0 (or 3) or 10-0 going into the second, third quarters.
Originally posted by NCommand:
Fans, the best part of playing a top-notch team is that every single weakness becomes glaringly obvious. This is just highlighting concerns (there are positives to many of these BTW and almost all of them can be corrected).

Let's take a quick look and what we need to improve upon to win the Superbowl:
  • Gore - is it safe to say he has zero top end speed now and appears to be losing his burst/explosion through the line (that quick first-step burst); to the edges? And catching has dropped for the third straight year. This is more of a point to note we need to start intergrating more Hunter/James into the immediate fold (save Gore). Gore is STILL the heart and soul of this team; best vision ever between the Tackles. We have the weapons to combat these issues AND give Gore some breathers to keep him fressher/quicker late in games and into the playoffs.
  • DL - still gets pushed back a good 3 or 4 yards against power running teams; still struggle up the gut esp. in short yardage and in the RZ.
  • OL - still gets pushed back a couple yards in short yardage; some pass protection issues and Goodwin may becoming weaker by the game.
  • Burning Timeouts - still an issue
  • Rogers - call it scheme but it's safe to say he not only couldn't give up bigger cushions (esp. on 3rd downs) but be slower in his breaks; lazy and 1/2-ass effort esp. on tackles.
  • Predictable Play Calling - usually we run on first down for nothing and sometimes he changes it up to second downs. We only use an intermediate passing game (handful of deep balls all year long).
  • First Down Production - still, this down IS our entire offense. We live in 2nd and very longs.
  • Touch Pass - do we not run enough outlets for CK or practice enough for CK to work on his touch passes? 90mph fastballs to Crabtree, Miller x2, Gore, etc.
  • CK - tunnel vision/touch pass/look to check-downs; it appeared to be first read (AR1 and 2) all day long again and he struggles pulling the trigger at times (hesitates) esp. on the short receivers where they are initially open. Take it esp. on first downs!
  • Redzone Offense Production/Play calling/System - how much freedom is CK given to change play calls? Is he "allowed" to overrule a poor play call?
  • The Others - is it sacreligious to use the following in the passing game?: Manningham, McDonald, Hunter, James, Gore, Baldwin, Boldin from the slot, Patton, etc.
  • Homefield Advantage - do we have one?
  • Refs - still hate us?
  • Fangio/Prevent-a-win Defense - off-coverage when we're not getting a pass rush or up by 10, trouble with TE's (esp. the 2nd TE), etc.
  • Pass rush? Wherefore art thou?
  • Execution/rhythm offense - short yardage, goal line situations, receivers wide open, etc.
  • Mental Game - this team has a way of getting the worst (legit) penalties at the worst times. Why do we always shoot ourselves in the foot?
  • Return Man - sure would be nice to have one, eh?
  • Screen passes or "explosive plays"?
  • Finishing games/Killer instincts!
  • How will we adjust without Miller?
  • Our coaches are too f**king stubborn ~ Fred Flintstone

Season is over...time to be objective. Did we improve on any of these? How many? Are we seeing the same exact issues?