• Bret Rumbeck
  • Written by:
    Bret Rumbeck
    Bret Rumbeck has been writing about the 49ers since 2017 for 49ers Webzone and 49ers Hub. He is a Turlock, CA native, and has worked for two members of the US House of Representatives and one US Senator. When not breaking down game film, Bret spends his time seeking out various forms of heavy metal. Feel free to follow him or direct inquiries to @brumbeck.

Bret Rumbeck's Latest Articles

  • By Bret Rumbeck
    Oct 13, 2019 at 7:00 AM 1 comment
    Last Monday night felt like everything was finally right and good with the world. As the sun dropped into the Pacific, the nation watched the San Francisco 49ers dismember the cursed Cleveland Browns. The 49ers' offense could make up running plays in the huddle and gain five or six yards, while the defense spent the evening making quarterback Baker Mayfield look like a second-string junior varsity player. Then, the next afternoon, the anvils began to fall from the sky. Not only did fullback Kyle Juszczyk sustain an MCL sprain, but the team also announced second-year tackle Mike McGlinchey...
  • By Bret Rumbeck
    Oct 6, 2019 at 7:00 AM 1 comment
    It was a bit odd to have a bye week so early in the 2019 season, but it was enough for me to repair my broken fence and look into the San Francisco 49ers' victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers. Below are four Week 3 plays that I found interesting, and how head coach Kyle Shanahan and defensive coordinator Robert Saleh can similarly attack the vulnerable Cleveland Browns. 1st Quarter – 2nd and 5 at the SF 30 (14:29) Last week, I noticed a bit of social media debate on the play above, focusing on why quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo did not wait a bit longer to hit wide receiver Marquise Goodwin on the deep...
  • By Bret Rumbeck
    Sep 21, 2019 at 8:00 AM 0 comments
    The San Francisco 49ers left the Buckeye State with a top-three offense and top-ten defense, feeling ready to take on the cream of the National Football League. Nearly everything was perfect until veteran tackle Joe Staley broke his fibula late in the Week 2 game against the Cincinnati Bengals. It's estimated he'll miss up to eight weeks of football. As noted in previous commentaries, my desire for the 49ers is a top-tier offensive line with three men in reserve with the talent to fill-in for a starter if necessary. The world does not often fulfill such a concrete...
  • By Bret Rumbeck
    Sep 14, 2019 at 7:00 AM 1 comment
    The world does not need another negative review of the San Francisco 49ers' Week 1 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. All week I watched the vultures swooping down from a dead, crooked branch to rip every last scrap from the carcass to feed click-bait articles and artificial television commentary. Indeed, everyone wants to see a team play a perfect football game and blow out the hated opponent. But success like that can be a false leader. Failure, flaw, and struggle can build character and wisdom in younger teams. The 49ers had moments last week they can take into tomorrow's game against the Cincinnati Bengals. I've pulled three instances that head coach Kyle Shanahan and defensive coordinator Robert Saleh can continue and build upon in Week...
  • By Bret Rumbeck
    Sep 6, 2019 at 9:00 AM 2 comments
    The stretch between pro football seasons is a slog. It's bloated with speculation and baseless theories on who might win a Week 4 match-up, despite no team with a final 53-man roster. We've made it nine months without the Sunday afternoon sounds of crunching plastic and cleats kicking up black rubber on a hot artificial surface. More importantly, we have enough substance and fact to make educated guesses as to how the San Francisco 49ers' 2019 season might fare. Faith in the Starting Offensive Line; Fear of the Reserves I don't know if there is a fanbase that has absolute praise for its team's final 53-man roster. The 49ers' roster isn't perfect, and while the 49er executives did make some notable additions to the...
  • By Bret Rumbeck
    Aug 23, 2019 at 8:00 PM 3 comments
    Following a lackluster performance against the Denver Broncos, the projected San Francisco 49er starters will have to maximize 30 minutes of live football to prepare for the opening game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Tomorrow evening, chill the beverages and fill your appetizer plates to the edge because this is the closest thing we'll get to live football for two weeks. Here are a few things to watch for on Saturday evening. Garoppolo Throwing the Route Tree Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo's five-interception practice, followed by a one-for-six performance against Denver drew a wide variety of reactions from the press and faithful fans. Both performances are open to your interpretation; One: Garoppolo has to overcome large and small...
  • By Bret Rumbeck
    Aug 10, 2019 at 10:36 PM 3 comments
    Sitting 28 players for the first preseason game is a bit shocking, but finishing the game with 18-penalties for 216 yards and squeaking out a victory is something of a football unicorn. When asked about the penalties after the game, San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan said, "Anytime you have a game where you have 18 penalties, and the other team has five, you should look at it hard, and it's very hard to win that way." He went on to note he and the coaching staff would review the tape to see if any were penalties the team could control. I expect to see flags for illegal shifts or twelve-men in the huddle throughout the preseason. But the 49ers' ugly evening evolved from silly mistakes to pointless flags throughout the game. Left...
  • By Bret Rumbeck
    Aug 10, 2019 at 9:26 PM 0 comments
    Earlier in the week, San Francisco 49ers' head coach Kyle Shanahan noted he'd prefer having just two preseason games to evaluate players. His comments foreshadowed an injury-laden game. The 49er injuries started early in the game when tackle Shon Coleman was carted off the field with an ankle injury. Coleman was seeing his first live-action since the end of the...
  • By Bret Rumbeck
    Aug 10, 2019 at 8:44 AM 1 comment
    Preseason football is the best and worst of times. It's a flirtatious wink that football is back, or at least, better football is just a few weeks away. Plus, it's interesting to see a journeyman or undrafted free agent come out of nowhere to create a spot on the final 53-man roster. On the flip side, fans are stuck watching mistake-laden football, especially during the second half. Like many other teams, the San Francisco 49ers will not play some of their star veterans tonight. But we will get to see the team stretch its legs against a new opponent, along with testing new schemes or ideas. Here are a few things I'm watching for this evening. Offense Assuming head coach Kyle Shanahan limits most of the projected starters to a...
  • By Bret Rumbeck
    Aug 2, 2019 at 8:00 AM 3 comments
    Professional football coaches often find themselves at the center of a debate with no beginning or end. Frenzied fans on one side may heap accolades on the coach's philosophy, style, and scheme. At the other end is an equally radical group ready to pounce at any scent of an error - a bad draft pick, wrong trade, or call in the red zone. Skip social media and find a barstool in a football-hungry town; I guarantee you'll overhear people discuss this very topic. The greyed truth is somewhere in the middle of the endless debate, as no coach finishes an NFL career with every play call being perfect, and every roster move...
  • By Bret Rumbeck
    Jul 26, 2019 at 8:00 AM 2 comments
    The San Francisco 49ers have won a total of ten games and had flashes of success during the Kyle Shanahan era. No player, coach, or executive is hanging his helmet on these small accomplishments. Therefore, everyone in the organization comes to 2019 training camp under some pressure or with something more to prove. I have no doubt quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo wants to prove to himself, the 49ers and the fans that he is a franchise quarterback. Veteran cornerback Richard Sherman played well last season but did not pick off a pass. He's not under pressure to make the team, but I have no doubt he's putting pressure on himself to improve his overall play from 2018. Here are five 49ers heading to Santa Clara under pressure to perform or with something to...
  • By Bret Rumbeck
    Jul 17, 2019 at 10:00 AM 0 comments
    The San Francisco 49ers enter the 2019 season with a questionable interior offensive line. The upside: starting guards Laken Tomlison and Mike Person, along with starting center Weston Richburg, will all keep their roles with the first-team offense this season. Consistency and communication are intangible assets that can overcome deficiencies in combined skill. The downside: the projected interior starters are average players, and the 49er brass did little to bring in new talent to deepen the roster. It was an odd strategy considering head coach Kyle Shanahan saw firsthand what happens when terrible reserve linemen fail to play at the same level as the starter. There are thousands of reasons general manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan...
  • By Bret Rumbeck
    Jun 21, 2019 at 9:00 AM 2 comments
    In the depths of the cavernous Twitter-takes dungeon, there is a secret room where some hot takes actually became a reality. Somewhere, someone is mining through cat memes, facepalm gifs and arguments over fast-food restaurants looking for that shining moment where he/she correctly predicted how well linebacker Fred Warner's first NFL season would be. Warner proved to be a diamond in the rough for the 49ers, starting all 16 games his rookie year, playing 1,060 snaps and racking up 124 combined tackles – ranking him 12th in the NFL. One of Warner's best games last season was in Week 1 against the Minnesota Vikings. He led all defenders with 12 combined tackles, had one tackle for a loss, one pass defended and forced a fumble. Warner played every...
  • By Bret Rumbeck
    May 31, 2019 at 8:00 AM 2 comments
    Philosophically, has your defense changed at all with the change at defensive line and the talk of more wide-nine? Has anything changed from your standpoint about what you want to get accomplished? "No. We might look different, but philosophically, the overall foundation of the defense hasn't changed." Robert Saleh. May 29, 2019 Since the San Francisco 49ers hired defensive line coach Kris Kocurek, the rumblings of a "new" wide-9 defense have been floating through the sports page and Twitter timeline. The wide-9 technique is not a new addition to defensive coordinator Robert Saleh's defensive...
  • By Bret Rumbeck
    May 24, 2019 at 8:00 AM 4 comments
    Organized Team Activities (OTAs) mark a significant shift on the professional football calendar. The draft feels like it was months ago, and teams have moved beyond over-hyping the 2019 schedule. The San Francisco 49ers enter the 2019 season with five offensive linemen who played the bulk of the 2018 season together, building a bond and learning how to communicate in loud, raucous stadiums. There's no point in the coaching staff creating artificial position battles; last year's first-team earned the right to come back and start this fall. Here are my projections, including the back-up linemen. First-Team Left Tackle: Joe Staley At some point in the distant future, someone will write a comprehensive history of the 49ers...
  • By Bret Rumbeck
    May 4, 2019 at 7:45 AM 24 comments
    Four years ago, former San Francisco 49ers' general manager Trent Baalke selected punter Bradley Pinion in the 5th round of the 2015 NFL Draft. The 49ers already had a capable punter in Andy Lee on the roster, but Baalke decided Lee's services and his 46.4 average yards per punt were no longer needed in the Bay. Just when the groans about the Pinion pick had been lost to the memory hole, general manager John Lynch selected punter Mitch Wishnowsky from Utah in the fourth round of the 2019 draft. Most fan and expert reactions were a justified balance between angry and confused. It was as if Lynch forgot the 49ers' defense struggled to remain consistent and healthy in 2018,...
  • By Bret Rumbeck
    Apr 15, 2019 at 7:00 AM 1 comment
    If we distill down the complicated nuances of building a professional football roster, it may look something like this: Identify where the roster lacks talent or depth. Meet with a potential player to fill the void. Offer a hefty paycheck. Sign said player; pose for a photo giving the new player a laurel and hearty handshake. See the improvements in September. When stripped down to its bare essentials, it appears as if anyone with a Twitter handle, and an opinion could find success as a professional football general manager. It does feel a bit like the new regime at 4949 Centennial Boulevard has made building a championship roster a lot more difficult than necessary. Rather than find...
  • By Bret Rumbeck
    Mar 24, 2019 at 1:21 PM 5 comments
    Sometimes it's hard to tell when fan anger reaches its zenith, but it's a dead heat between two situations. The first is after a bad San Francisco 49ers' loss. The second begins as a slow, building wave in late December and crashes down with rage and violence immediately after free agency opens. In the age of the internet, anyone with a dial-up modem is now qualified to be a pro football general manager or a coordinator. I'm just as guilty as the next fan for being overly critical of specific plays, players and team transactions. Since Christmas, 49er fans have been sharing loud opinions on who the team should sign once free agency officially opened. We all found ourselves in different camps supporting different star players, (read: Odell...
  • By Bret Rumbeck
    Mar 7, 2019 at 5:15 PM 3 comments
    We are just mere days away from the start of NFL free agency. If you're not excited about it, be happy some of the endless guessing and wild fantasies that each free agent is the supposed savior of the San Francisco 49ers will soon cease. As stated in two previous commentaries, the 49ers need high-end free agent talent to fill gaps in nearly every position group. Again, an edge rusher is the first priority, though it seems more likely general manager John Lynch will fill that need through the draft rather than skim the free agent pool. Two years ago, the 49ers began to rebuild the linebacker...
  • By Bret Rumbeck
    Feb 21, 2019 at 9:28 PM 2 comments
    Maybe I buried the lead in my previous commentary about why the San Francisco 49ers need to begin rebuilding the secondary. Much like a fifth-grade essay, I will put my main thought up front. I am in full support of the 49ers drafting or signing a highly talented edge rusher. There are 152 articles each day stating the 49ers' need for an edge rusher. I have no interest in finding new nouns and adjectives to describe why Nick Bosa should become a 49er. Fortunately, general manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan are not myopic and realize they have other position groups to build, including the interior offensive line. Tackles Joe Staley and...
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