I Can’t Get Behind This Team

Sep 15, 2007 at 9:01 AM


Look. I stayed up until 2:00 in the morning east coast time to watch Monday's game. It was exciting. I love the fact that Smith defeated Leinert, the guy most 49ers fans wished we had drafted. I loved watching Patrick Willis get a hand in on virtually every tackle. I loved that, for the first time since the Seifert era, when the opposing quarterback tossed a pass there was some genuine doubt about which team would come down with it. But I'm not going to get emotionally invested in this team. Not yet.

The win came against the 5-11 Cardinals, and it was a last second win that we would have lost if the Cardinals player had knocked the ball out of the end zone. The win is important because there's always that chance that we make significant strides during the season, but as of right now, we're just as lousy as the Cards. For every bright spot, there's a downside. Some of them are coaching decisions. Others are talent issues. But until they're by-and-large addressed, I'm not going to throw myself behind this team just so I can have my hopes dashed and my dreams of a playoff season destroyed.

Here are my reasons. First, it's a shame that Patrick Willis is going to have to spend this season making up for Derek Smith's continuied abominable performance. Remember the play where Willis busted up the middle, sent the running back stumbling backwards, and then chased Leinert into the corner of the end zone? Well, two other defensive linemen joined pursuit of Leinert, and the three defenders all had clear paths to Leinert and were moments away from forcing him to throw it out of bounds. But wait, the running back that Willis sent backwards initially, recovered, and headed to the flat, as though slipping out for a screen. The running back leaked out right in front of Derek Smith, who decided to ignore the running back right next to him and pursue Leinert from 10 yards away, even though Leinert was already cornered. So Smith charged into the end zone, as if we needed 4 out of our 11 defenders cornering Leinert, and of course, Leinert dumps it off to the running back, who runs for 15 yards. Smith doesn't even consider covering the running back until the ball leaves Leinert's hands.

It's ridiculous that Nolan has Smith in there at all. He's been a poor tackler for at least two years, and he's never had good instincts. And as Monday's game proves, he's not even the cerebral player Nolan claims he is. It's infuriating that difference-makers like London Fletcher and Takeo Spikes were available for dirt cheap this offseason and we chose to stick with Smith.

Next, I've just about had it with Vernon Davis. The guy's worse than Eric Johnson. The Teddy Ginn of tight ends. Superb athlete, but not a natural football player. Celebrating your five yard catches is obnoxious whether you're wearing a 49ers jersey or not. He's about three times as likely to drop a pass, fumble the ball trying to break tackles, or get a taunting penalty as he is to get a first down. At this point, I wish we had coughed up the money to sign Eric Johnson to a long-term deal and spent the pick on someone else. Perhaps a middle a linebacker to replace Smith.

Next, what is Ashley Lelie doing on the bench? We finally have three good receivers, and what happens? We bury one of them behind Taylor Jacobs, who is a year away from NFL Europe. Did the coaches watch the preseason tapes? Lelie was unstoppable. He's fast. He's polished. He stretches the field. Do the coaches know that he was a 1,000 yard receiver at Denver? I ask rhetorically, but I'm somewhat serious. Our coaches are very likely the only people in the nation who believe that Taylor Jacobs is better than Ashley Lelie. This is the world we live in.

Next, I think we're overmatched when it comes to the offensive coordinator. One play in particular did it for me. The quick pass out to Jackson, who is not known for his run-after-the-catch ability, so he could go one-on-one with Adrian Wilson, who is widely hailed as one of the more agile, physical safeties in the game. Was there any doubt that Wilson would come up and tackle Jackson for no gain? If you see a safety covering a wide receiver, your coaching instincts should tell you to send the receiver deep where the safety's coverage skills will be exposed. I don't understand how you can be an offensive coordinator in the NFL and think that Darrell Jackson is going to overpower Adrian Wilson in limited space.

Nor do I understand the continued obsession, and it is an obsession at this point, with rolling Alex Smith outside the pocket. You know how announcers always trumpet facts like, "Donovan McNabb actually completes 70% of his passes when he gets outside the pocket?" I'd love to hear the stats on Smith. "Smith completes 12% of his passes on designed rollouts."

This team was so close to being good. Letting Petersen and Carter go because Nolan wanted to switch to the 3-4 was beyond stubborn. Both players are superior pass-rushers to Lawson and Banta-Cain. Imagine a 4-3 defense of Young-Sopoaga-Franklin-Carter, Petersen-Willis-Fletcher, and Clements-Harris-Lewis-Roman, with Spencer, Banta-Cain, Moore, Lawson, and Douglas coming off the bench.

That, my friends, is a defense, and we had the cap space to do it. We might beat the Rams. We'll get slaughtered in Pittsburgh.
The opinions within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.


0 Comments

  • No Comments

Facebook Comments



More San Francisco 49ers News



Joe Staley explains why conditioning changes may be reason behind 49ers' injury woes

By David Bonilla
Sep 16

Is recent history repeating itself? The San Francisco 49ers have already lost two starters for the season in cornerback Jason Verrett and running back Raheem Mostert. In addition, a report surfaced today that linebacker Dre Greenlaw will undergo core muscle surgery and miss six to eight weeks. The early losses have to remind players, coaches, and fans of the nightmare that was 2020 when the 49ers suffered through one of the most injury-plagued single seasons in two decades. Even in 2019, when San Francisco earned a trip to the Super Bowl, it had to endure several in-season injuries



49ers' John Lynch: Nick Bosa is going to get better this season, Aaron Banks will become a difference-maker

By David Bonilla
Sep 24

Nick Bosa certainly doesn't look like he's coming off a devastating knee injury. Instead, he seems like he's picking up from where he left off during his 2019 NFL Rookie of the Year campaign. Bosa has three sacks through two games this season and is again proving to be a force on defense. And maybe we haven't seen anything yet. "Nick's just — we all know it — he's a difference-maker when he's out there," general manager John Lynch said this morning on KNBR's Murph & Mac show. "We missed him in a big way when he was gone last year. He's a difference-maker. I don't care who's out there. I mean, [the Packers have] got an All-Pro in David Bakhtiari, who's not playing, and Bakhtiari would have his hands full with Bosa. And that's not a slight



'Anyone who's back there can thrive': Alex Mack not worried about 49ers' RB situation

By David Bonilla
Sep 16

As if the season-ending injury to starting cornerback Jason Verrett was not disappointing enough, the San Francisco 49ers lost another key player during Week 1's victory over the Detroit Lions. Raheem Mostert's 2021 campaign is over. The running back suffered a knee injury and will undergo season-ending surgery. That's a tough loss on each side of the football, and San Francisco still has 16 more regular-season games to play. "Just to say, Raheem is such an awesome dude," center Alex Mack told 95.7 The Game's Damon Bruce, Ray Ratto, and Matt Kolsky on Wednesday. "It's been great to join this team and get to know him. My heart goes out to him. I hope he gets healthy and gets back quick." Mostert is scheduled to become a free agent after this



'We have a lot of guys who can step up': George Kittle shares honest thoughts on 49ers' injuries

By David Bonilla
Sep 16

Next man up, as they say. The San Francisco 49ers are being tested early this season. Earlier this week, the team learned that it was losing starting cornerback Jason Verrett for the season after the defender suffered a torn ACL during Week 1. After that, it was revealed that the 49ers would be without running back Raheem Mostert for the remainder of the year. He will undergo season-ending knee surgery. That's a significant contributor on each side of the football. Another significant loss was revealed today. However, that one is not believed to be season-ending. More on that in a moment because before that report surfaced, All-Pro tight end George Kittle shared his thoughts on the injury issues that seem to be plaguing the 49ers early. Yes, every team deals with


Featured

More by Brett Pahler

More Articles

Share 49ersWebzone