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All22 analysis: Red Zone issues

Originally posted by Adusoron:
Originally posted by jonnydel:
For me, his mental approach to the game has to shift from being a great athlete and a great player to being a great QB. Manning is so great because he doesn't have the physical skillsets and giftings that Kaepernick has. So, he had to know the game inside and out, be perfect with his reads and throwing mechanics and know everything about being a pocket passer; because he didn't have the luxury of being able to take off and run or fire a ball 70 mph down the field. He had to throw with anticipation and good footwork.

Kap has to approach where he's at in his game the same way. It's not about him being a better athlete or training harder. It's not like Walter Payton running his hill to be better. It's knowing everything there is to know about the game, it's understanding everything there is to understand about the offense and a continuing quest for knowledge and sharpening his mind.

I'm not sure he's there yet. I think he's still thinking that if he works harder it's going to happen. It's not about working harder - it's about working smarter. During the offseason, Peyton Manning went down to the University of Alabama to talk with Nick Saban and learn more about football - this is Peyton Manning, seeking out more football knowledge from people. Kaepernick went and trained with Olympic athletes...... While I'm not questioning Kap's work ethic - I'm sure he works as hard or harder than anyone. It's, what is he working on. You'll never see Peyton Manning training with Olympic sprinters - but you will see his bust in Canton....

I hear what you're saying about the experience differences between Peyton and Colin. I too hope that Colin is approaching the mental/student side of the game hard. I tend to think he is because you read quotes from various coaches and commentators saying how hard he works at his job from all angles. For instance:

On 5/30/14, Harbaugh said:

"I thought [Colin] was playing at such a high level it's going to be tough to see incremental growth," Harbaugh said. "But I'm seeing this offseason maybe there's going to be another big inflection point. He has that look. He has that confidence, that knowledge. (He) is in tremendous athletic shape and is throwing the ball with pinpoint accuracy. "I'm expecting an inflection point. I'm expecting him to make great strides." (emphasis added)


...Harbaugh sees a quarterback taking full command of the offense, a re-loaded group with competitive battles at wide receiver and running back. "I think we're going to be darn tough to beat," the 49ers coach said. "We've got some firepower. We've got some ammunition. I'm excited as heck about it."

On 5/27/14, Tim Kawakami observed:
Colin Kaepernick laughed, he barked orders, he threw missiles and when he gestured, his teammates moved wherever he told them to go. Simple summary: The 49ers quarterback was in command out there on Wednesday, in absolute command physically and vocally. This was just one drill, in a May OTA, with no Seattle defensive players anywhere in sight. But Kaepernick's crisp demeanor and easy confidence was something very different and very revealing. At one point, he seemed to take over the entire session, including curtly waving off back-up Blake Gabbert's turn so Kaepernick could throw another Red Zone rocket to Michael Crabtree...


But, as Harbaugh suggested, when a top QB comes into his own, the world opens up. It also helps that the 49ers have provided Kaepernick with a stronger set of receivers just in time for the personal blooming. "Kap said it the other day, he feels that he has a stable of receivers now," Harbaugh said. "Maybe that's the first time that we've said that since we've all been here together. And I concur. It feels that way."


On 6/17/14, Greg Roman stated:
[Q} How much of what adjustments you can do might be affected by maybe because Colin's ready for more?

[A] "That's definitely a factor. It really is his second full year starting, third year, fourth year if you want to make the argument in the system. So, he's seeing things now that he didn't see before. He's right on track."



Some might say that Harbaugh and Roman won't say a negative thing about Colin, but at the same time, Harbaugh expanded a lot on his prior expectations for minimal growth vs. how Colin actually looks ready to make a major jump in performance. Roman' statement that Colin is seeing things heavily implies digestion of the offense, quicker reads, and seeing the field. I guess we'll see.
I guess I don't want anyone to get me wrong in that, I watched a lot of film on Kap through the season and I did see growth in his play. However, there were deficiencies that I never saw improvement on - but that's for another thread. Overall, as far as red zone is concerned. I would like to see him grow where he can throw his receiver open - that is an area he struggled in mightily this year. From watching all the fade route throws he made in the endzone last year to Peyton's, those need a lot of work....
Originally posted by jonnydel:
I guess I don't want anyone to get me wrong in that, I watched a lot of film on Kap through the season and I did see growth in his play. However, there were deficiencies that I never saw improvement on - but that's for another thread. Overall, as far as red zone is concerned. I would like to see him grow where he can throw his receiver open - that is an area he struggled in mightily this year. From watching all the fade route throws he made in the endzone last year to Peyton's, those need a lot of work....

I'm curious, what deficiencies did you see on which he did not improve (other than the RZ anticipation throws and the RZ fade throws)? Of the deficiencies you see, are they fixable? Is there any part of you that thinks, based upon 2012/2013 film you've studied, that Colin's not going to get much better and not become a top 5 QB from a developed pocket passing/progression reader/anticipation throwing perspective?
Originally posted by jonnydel:
For me, his mental approach to the game has to shift from being a great athlete and a great player to being a great QB. Manning is so great because he doesn't have the physical skillsets and giftings that Kaepernick has. So, he had to know the game inside and out, be perfect with his reads and throwing mechanics and know everything about being a pocket passer; because he didn't have the luxury of being able to take off and run or fire a ball 70 mph down the field. He had to throw with anticipation and good footwork.

Kap has to approach where he's at in his game the same way. It's not about him being a better athlete or training harder. It's not like Walter Payton running his hill to be better. It's knowing everything there is to know about the game, it's understanding everything there is to understand about the offense and a continuing quest for knowledge and sharpening his mind.

I'm not sure he's there yet. I think he's still thinking that if he works harder it's going to happen. It's not about working harder - it's about working smarter. During the offseason, Peyton Manning went down to the University of Alabama to talk with Nick Saban and learn more about football - this is Peyton Manning, seeking out more football knowledge from people. Kaepernick went and trained with Olympic athletes...... While I'm not questioning Kap's work ethic - I'm sure he works as hard or harder than anyone. It's, what is he working on. You'll never see Peyton Manning training with Olympic sprinters - but you will see his bust in Canton....

Totally agree with this. Unfortunately it takes time and the only way to accomplish growth is through reps and study. What gives me hope is how efficient he has been thus far in his infancy in a pro scheme. Any tangible growth should led to even better efficiency and help improve the passing game.
Originally posted by WRATHman44:
I don't agree with this being our only theme; jonnydel and thl have done a great job of providing a lot of in-game evidence for us to consider, and Kap's need to progress is a necessity for the continued growth of this offense, but ome of our route packages are ridiculous, for the situation they are used in, or for any situation, ever. 4 verticals on 3rd and goal from outside the 10 is a give up play. No one is getting open on a vertical at that range, and we rarely attempt contested red zone passes on the outside when the game is not immediately on the line, IIRC.

That sorry 3rd and 5 attempt against CAR you detail earlier (where Crab gets stopped cold), is just sad. We run a route pairing deep middle and shallow middle, likely expecting cover 2, but the sideline concept to the left is also designed to defeat cover 2. When they show man-1, we're hosed. Running concepts to defeat the same coverage on both sides of the field is essentially stupidly flipping a coin and hoping for the best, and the influence of the deep/shallow middle concept is limited by field posistion, even IF they were in cover 2. It's just sloppy. That play should not be in the redzone play list, period, and it should only be used in the middle of the field against a team that runs cover 2 the VAST majority of the time (Chicago), since that is the only coverage that gives away an advantage on this play.

grrrrrr. Rant over

I didn't say only theme. I said theme in regards to kaep specifically. The most important thing concerning kaep is growth in a pro system.

However, I agree that certain route combos are puzzling. That play against Carolina was poorly designed almost to point where I wonder if someone run a wrong route. We have shown better combos/concepts and we really should be wearing them out inside the redzone.
[ Edited by Niners816 on Jul 3, 2014 at 12:46 PM ]
#31 (#6 of POs)

1st & 10
Guard lead left. Pull Boone and Iupati. The blue LB will disrupt this play.


The blue defender shoots the gap as Vance tries to prevent him from getting penetration. Vance ends up pinning the defender against VD. This prevents VD from being able to sustain his block on #91.


VD can't stay with his block because Vance is blocking a defender into VD. #91 is about to break free as Iupati leads through the hole.


#91 stuffs the play.


Gore for +2


2nd & 8
The play looks designed for Crabs (drag route) to have room to run after the catch.


The orange boxes show which WR is supposed to occupy which defender and clear the underneath for Crabs to run into. The blue defender diagnoses this play well.


The blue defender is not about to be fooled by Gore on a deep route, especially when he knows ET is back there.


Crabs slows down a bit prior to the pass being thrown. To maximize this play, he needs to go full stride and have Kap hit him in stride. Crabs for +2


3rd & 6
Kap on a QB draw.


Kap takes the snap and fakes a dropback. Gore gets a bit caught up behind the line of scrimmage and will not be able to properly provide a block. VD has identified his block.


Gore can't lead block when he's not ahead of Kap. Goodwin, Staley join the convoy of blockers as they release to the second level. VD has whiffed on his block and that defender will help stuff this play. The blue DLman will do a good job chasing this play down from behind.


Kap for +4. Bring on the FG unit.
#32 (#7 of POs)

1st & 10
f**k that play.


Done.
[ Edited by thl408 on Jul 3, 2014 at 1:04 PM ]
The design of the crabs drag is kinda of puzzling (I've watched it like 20+ times in the gif ) I guess I just don't like gore being asked to be the down the field threat and Vance's route needs to be a few yards deeper to occupy his defender. I agree though to max out that play he needed to be hit in stride, but even then it still only a 4-5 yard play.

Perhaps a better route combo would have been meshing boldin and crabs, having vance take a corner and gore taking the seam. With the mesh, there might have been a chance to rub a receiver open.
[ Edited by Niners816 on Jul 3, 2014 at 1:22 PM ]
Originally posted by thl408:
#32 (#7 of POs)

1st & 10
f**k that play.


Done.
Perfectly stated....f**k that play and f**k Seattle.
Originally posted by WRATHman44:
I don't agree with this being our only theme; jonnydel and thl have done a great job of providing a lot of in-game evidence for us to consider, and Kap's need to progress is a necessity for the continued growth of this offense, but ome of our route packages are ridiculous, for the situation they are used in, or for any situation, ever. 4 verticals on 3rd and goal from outside the 10 is a give up play. No one is getting open on a vertical at that range, and we rarely attempt contested red zone passes on the outside when the game is not immediately on the line, IIRC.

That sorry 3rd and 5 attempt against CAR you detail earlier (where Crab gets stopped cold), is just sad. We run a route pairing deep middle and shallow middle, likely expecting cover 2, but the sideline concept to the left is also designed to defeat cover 2. When they show man-1, we're hosed. Running concepts to defeat the same coverage on both sides of the field is essentially stupidly flipping a coin and hoping for the best, and the influence of the deep/shallow middle concept is limited by field posistion, even IF they were in cover 2. It's just sloppy. That play should not be in the redzone play list, period, and it should only be used in the middle of the field against a team that runs cover 2 the VAST majority of the time (Chicago), since that is the only coverage that gives away an advantage on this play.

grrrrrr. Rant over

Yes, play design is definitely a point of failure on some of these failed attempts. I just don't see stacked WRs like in the cut ups of DEN that jonnydel posted. Defenses are coming with man coverage. That's nearly a given. I'd like to see the 49ers stretch out the defense horizontally since when in the RZ, or specifically, inside the 10, there isn't much that can be done vertically. Two man route combo near the sidelines to get a 2v2 situation. Instead, the 49ers love going 3x1 to get the 1v1 isolation.

Kaps' main two ways to get RZ TD passes are the back shoulder fade and playaction near the goal line to an open VD. The third way is on a scramble drill. None of these ways are post snap read of the defense, find the open guy on the concept side. I think I only counted 1 TD pass where he threw to the concept side for a TD (first Rams game, corner route to VD). Is this because Kap isn't confident in reading the concept side? Is this why HaRo goes 3x1 to get that "easy read" man on man isolation on the backside WR?
Originally posted by thl408:
Yes, play design is definitely a point of failure on some of these failed attempts. I just don't see stacked WRs like in the cut ups of DEN that jonnydel posted. Defenses are coming with man coverage. That's nearly a given. I'd like to see the 49ers stretch out the defense horizontally since when in the RZ, or specifically, inside the 10, there isn't much that can be done vertically. Two man route combo near the sidelines to get a 2v2 situation. Instead, the 49ers love going 3x1 to get the 1v1 isolation.

Kaps' main two ways to get RZ TD passes are the back shoulder fade and playaction near the goal line to an open VD. The third way is on a scramble drill. None of these ways are post snap read of the defense, find the open guy on the concept side. I think I only counted 1 TD pass where he threw to the concept side for a TD (first Rams game, corner route to VD). Is this because Kap isn't confident in reading the concept side? Is this why HaRo goes 3x1 to get that "easy read" man on man isolation on the backside WR?

I totally agree on the more balance sets. I would like to see us come out in tight gun set 2x2. Stack boldin and crabs on one side and VD and SJ on the other. This alignment gives you all of the two man route combos and also gives you the opportunity to run mesh concepts to stretch horizontally if wanted. This form looks very enticing.
Originally posted by Niners816:
The design of the crabs drag is kinda of puzzling (I've watched it like 20+ times in the gif ) I guess I just don't like gore being asked to be the down the field threat and Vance's route needs to be a few yards deeper to occupy his defender. I agree though to max out that play he needed to be hit in stride, but even then it still only a 4-5 yard play.

Perhaps a better route combo would have been meshing boldin and crabs, having vance take a corner and gore taking the seam. With the mesh, there might have been a chance to rub a receiver open.

It's all about matchups. By coming out in a 12 personnel( 1 back 2 TE) they're able to keep the Seahawks in a base defense to pass against. By lining up VD out wide it forces either man coverage on crabtree for a LB, or in zone, you have the RB clearing the underneath zone for Crabtree's crossing route. It's - by design, a win-win for the offense. But, Seattle does a good job of zone discipline and only carrying the receivers to the edges of their zones to maintain a sound defense.
Originally posted by thl408:
Originally posted by WRATHman44:
I don't agree with this being our only theme; jonnydel and thl have done a great job of providing a lot of in-game evidence for us to consider, and Kap's need to progress is a necessity for the continued growth of this offense, but ome of our route packages are ridiculous, for the situation they are used in, or for any situation, ever. 4 verticals on 3rd and goal from outside the 10 is a give up play. No one is getting open on a vertical at that range, and we rarely attempt contested red zone passes on the outside when the game is not immediately on the line, IIRC.

That sorry 3rd and 5 attempt against CAR you detail earlier (where Crab gets stopped cold), is just sad. We run a route pairing deep middle and shallow middle, likely expecting cover 2, but the sideline concept to the left is also designed to defeat cover 2. When they show man-1, we're hosed. Running concepts to defeat the same coverage on both sides of the field is essentially stupidly flipping a coin and hoping for the best, and the influence of the deep/shallow middle concept is limited by field posistion, even IF they were in cover 2. It's just sloppy. That play should not be in the redzone play list, period, and it should only be used in the middle of the field against a team that runs cover 2 the VAST majority of the time (Chicago), since that is the only coverage that gives away an advantage on this play.

grrrrrr. Rant over

Yes, play design is definitely a point of failure on some of these failed attempts. I just don't see stacked WRs like in the cut ups of DEN that jonnydel posted. Defenses are coming with man coverage. That's nearly a given. I'd like to see the 49ers stretch out the defense horizontally since when in the RZ, or specifically, inside the 10, there isn't much that can be done vertically. Two man route combo near the sidelines to get a 2v2 situation. Instead, the 49ers love going 3x1 to get the 1v1 isolation.

Kaps' main two ways to get RZ TD passes are the back shoulder fade and playaction near the goal line to an open VD. The third way is on a scramble drill. None of these ways are post snap read of the defense, find the open guy on the concept side. I think I only counted 1 TD pass where he threw to the concept side for a TD (first Rams game, corner route to VD). Is this because Kap isn't confident in reading the concept side? Is this why HaRo goes 3x1 to get that "easy read" man on man isolation on the backside WR?
I agree wholeheartedly from what I've seen on film as well. There's almost an inordinate amount of isolation fade/back shoulder throws which Kap has not shown me a great aptitude for. However, this may be due to a lack of anticipatory throwing on Kap's part - as the red zone requires anticipation because everything is so condensed; and we all know how Harbaugh likes to at least make sure he gets 3 instead of a pick.
Originally posted by jonnydel:
It's all about matchups. By coming out in a 12 personnel( 1 back 2 TE) they're able to keep the Seahawks in a base defense to pass against. By lining up VD out wide it forces either man coverage on crabtree for a LB, or in zone, you have the RB clearing the underneath zone for Crabtree's crossing route. It's - by design, a win-win for the offense. But, Seattle does a good job of zone discipline and only carrying the receivers to the edges of their zones to maintain a sound defense.

I get the matchups and trying to isolate crabs on a LBer. I guess I would have liked alittle more depth on Vance's route and perhaps ran the play to the wider side of the field. However, I'm assuming they were trying to take Sherman out of the equation. Unfortnately, you have to give Seattle a ton of credit for really sound defense. Also concerning franks clearing route maybe this could have been a time for a hunter or james to really blast through zone. Maybe a little more speed could have given crabs more room on the drag.

In your opinion, had VD and vance been flipped do you think Seattle gives us the same look. If they did, perhaps having VDs speed could have occupied the defender longer that eventually made the play.
[ Edited by Niners816 on Jul 3, 2014 at 4:04 PM ]
Originally posted by jonnydel:
I agree wholeheartedly from what I've seen on film as well. There's almost an inordinate amount of isolation fade/back shoulder throws which Kap has not shown me a great aptitude for. However, this may be due to a lack of anticipatory throwing on Kap's part - as the red zone requires anticipation because everything is so condensed; and we all know how Harbaugh likes to at least make sure he gets 3 instead of a pick.

This is so true. I know thl408 and I have talked how kaep has shown (not always, but enough to be concerning) the trait of not even looking at the concept side on 3x1 sets. He really seems to love taking the back shoulder/isolated backside. So either he really needs to get better in his fade back shoulder stuff or really start to work the concepts. This is an area I would love to see improvement In.
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Originally posted by thl408:
Originally posted by WRATHman44:
I don't agree with this being our only theme; jonnydel and thl have done a great job of providing a lot of in-game evidence for us to consider, and Kap's need to progress is a necessity for the continued growth of this offense, but ome of our route packages are ridiculous, for the situation they are used in, or for any situation, ever. 4 verticals on 3rd and goal from outside the 10 is a give up play. No one is getting open on a vertical at that range, and we rarely attempt contested red zone passes on the outside when the game is not immediately on the line, IIRC.

That sorry 3rd and 5 attempt against CAR you detail earlier (where Crab gets stopped cold), is just sad. We run a route pairing deep middle and shallow middle, likely expecting cover 2, but the sideline concept to the left is also designed to defeat cover 2. When they show man-1, we're hosed. Running concepts to defeat the same coverage on both sides of the field is essentially stupidly flipping a coin and hoping for the best, and the influence of the deep/shallow middle concept is limited by field posistion, even IF they were in cover 2. It's just sloppy. That play should not be in the redzone play list, period, and it should only be used in the middle of the field against a team that runs cover 2 the VAST majority of the time (Chicago), since that is the only coverage that gives away an advantage on this play.

grrrrrr. Rant over

Yes, play design is definitely a point of failure on some of these failed attempts. I just don't see stacked WRs like in the cut ups of DEN that jonnydel posted. Defenses are coming with man coverage. That's nearly a given. I'd like to see the 49ers stretch out the defense horizontally since when in the RZ, or specifically, inside the 10, there isn't much that can be done vertically. Two man route combo near the sidelines to get a 2v2 situation. Instead, the 49ers love going 3x1 to get the 1v1 isolation.

Kaps' main two ways to get RZ TD passes are the back shoulder fade and playaction near the goal line to an open VD. The third way is on a scramble drill. None of these ways are post snap read of the defense, find the open guy on the concept side. I think I only counted 1 TD pass where he threw to the concept side for a TD (first Rams game, corner route to VD). Is this because Kap isn't confident in reading the concept side? Is this why HaRo goes 3x1 to get that "easy read" man on man isolation on the backside WR?

Keep in mind if you are going to read any passing concepts in the red zone you need good pass protection and a QB who can pretty much throw blind. Even rub routs take time to read if they give you a man look and suddenly rotate a zone to the rub route concept side. Point is that defenses like the Ravens and Seadderall will use a lot of pressure schemes to make young QB'S like Colin to be one read and go quarterbacks in the redzone. They don't necessarily blitz all the time but they can slant or dog the defenses to screw up the pass protections. This year's O-line has to do better at pass protection in the redzone if this year's offense wants to improve their red zone performance from last year.