Originally posted by ace52:
I was devastated by this loss, so much so that I didn't/couldn't post anything yesterday after the game. I was just too stunned by another heart-wrenching loss.
However, with some time to reflect, I think we are going to be OK next year. Our team still has a lot of talent, and our players play with a passion and intensity that will win most of the games that they will be in.
Still, to take the next step up toward becoming a SB champion, the Niners will need to work on a few areas. I would like to see the team do these things in this coming off-season:
1) Kap must improve: I don't want to see him go to Atlanta to work on his strength/athleticism. His athleticism is off the charts (for a QB) already. I would like to see him stay right here in the Bay Area, and I would like to see JH work with him in a QB clinic, if you will. During the season, a head coach has to divide his time between so many other things, so he probably won't have the time to do significant 1:1 work with his QB. Time should not be an issue in the off-season. Also, I think that JH should invite another expert to come to this "clinic" to work with him and Colin, because another set of eyes may bring a more objective view that JH himself may lack. Heck, I would like to see Jim reach out to Steve Young, who still cares enough about the team that if the Niners ask nicely, and pay him well for his time, will probably agree to come and help out the young 9er QB. Jim and Steve can really work with Colin on developing his pocket presence, more touch on his passes (he still throws the ball too flat sometimes, with not the right amount of arc to beat tight coverage). They should work with him on reading defenses, throwing under pressure, and throwing in the red zone with pressure in his face.
2) Baalke is a frugal GM, and that is good in general. However, if there is a stand-out WR with deep threat speed, and/or CB in the free-agent market, I hope that he will not hesitate to go after them even if they may be expensive, as long as they don't break the bank, so to speak. SEA made some free-agent signings this year (Avril, Bennett) that ended up helping them out a lot. Draft picks are great, but sometimes even outstanding rookies will make mistakes that a good vet won't make (see Reid whiffing on Lynch yesterday, for example).
3) I love Bowman, but I'm not sure if/when he can be back at 100% after that horrific injury. We need to keep Wilhoite (a very good LB, IMO), and go after a stud LB in the draft as an insurance policy in case Bowman can't return as the Bowman that we all know and love.
4) Let Lattimore gradually work himself into the starting RB role. I love Frank, but I think he is in the twilight of his career. Let him tutor Lattimore this coming season while splitting the carries with him, and later on, hopefully Frank will become a RB coach with the Niners.
5) The OL needs some upgrades. They have never been that good in pass protection, and for a line that is supposedly great at "mauling people" in the run game, they have not been able to consistently open holes for our RBs when going up against good defensive fronts. I would definitely keep Staley and Boone. The Niners should consider upgrading the other positions along the line, or at least have an open competition for them.
6) Try to keep Boldin. Enough said.
I think you have covered the bases pretty well. I agree that Kaep needs to go to a clinic to learn how to put touch on a ball and better reading of defenses. Still he is good enough to get us to the championship and to the Super Bowl. He needs to keep growing and improving.
We need improvement on our backfield as well. Rogers needs to go and we need an infusion of blood and size and speed to the backfield. I hope we keep Culliver, Brock, Cox, and Rogers. I think we need a free agent CB and a good draft of 1-2 CBs and one SS.
Dline seems to be doing well, and our LBs are very productive. Hope Bowman can come back in good health. We have a good backup in Wilhoite.
I think your views of the oline are good as well. Goodwin's time has come and Iupati is another man who has to come back from a significant injury. So perhaps our first draft priority will be David Yankey from Stanford who could step in to Iupati's position.
We also need Lattimore to step up and I think we could use another big back to do some grinding work for us.
Then of course there is the ever lingering question of whether Roman tends to freeze up in tight games. Is it time to change up the OC position?
It should be an interesting offseason for us.
[ Edited by Ninefan56 on Jan 20, 2014 at 11:57 AM ]