• 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
    Nov 21, 2020 at 10:00 AM 3 comments
    Nobody likes the always-the-victim mentality. We all know that person and his/her endless tales of woe, discord, and pain. The San Francisco 49ers are not complaining, but they are the unfortunate victim of the never-ending fallout of this rotten year. Indeed, the New York Jets are winless, but the 49ers had the potential to dominate the NFC again this year. As they tormented Odysseus, the fates felt it necessary for the men in scarlet red and gold to suffer. The amount of misfortune that's happened to the 49ers has been entirely out of their control. They cannot control a sticky artificial surface any more than they can prevent a rogue defensive lineman rolling up on quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo's foot. There is an upside to the misery....
  • By Bret Rumbeck
    Nov 13, 2020 at 6:00 PM 0 comments
    All football energy flows through the Great Magnet, and he has decided the San Francisco 49ers will endure more than their fair share of pitfalls and anguish this season. The 49ers began Week 9 already a hobbled franchise and were further undercut when wide receiver Kendrick Bourne tested positive for COVID-19 last Wednesday. Shortly after, tackle Trent Williams and wide receivers Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk also landed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list. Only fools attempt to defy the negative energy that has gripped this rotten year. I'm not privy to head coach Kyle Shanahan's game strategy, but the laundry list of players out last...
  • By Bret Rumbeck
    Nov 5, 2020 at 8:00 AM 0 comments
    The San Francisco 49ers were riding a little higher entering the Week 8 match-up against the Seattle Seahawks. Back-to-back wins against the Los Angeles Rams and New England Patriots gave the vibration that the 49ers had found a groove on both sides of the ball. The offense could put points on the board, albeit without throwing downfield, and the defense was finding ways to make stops. But, as usual, these gains came crashing to a halt once the 49ers entered the eerie silence of CenturyLink Field. The 49ers' offense looked flat and lost, while the defensive line generated a pass rush that would hardly damage a loaf of jelly bread. On top of quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo's poor performance, he suffered another high ankle sprain and will be...
  • By Bret Rumbeck
    Oct 31, 2020 at 12:00 PM 0 comments
    A few weeks ago, I ran into a San Francisco 49ers fan on the street. We did not know one another but quickly bonded over the intersecting 'S' and 'F' on our jackets. "What's with that defense this year?" my new friend asked. "Well, they lost a few guys – Bosa and Thomas. Blair is still on IR, and Sherman hasn't played since Week one," I responded. "But they were so good last year! Their defense got them to the Super Bowl! I don't get it," he said. Our street conversation was the day after the 49ers were embarrassed by the Miami Dolphins, and fans were looking to hold an immediate requiem for a soulless team. Over the past two weeks, the 49ers' defense has generated five turnovers, held two quarterbacks to under 200...
  • By Bret Rumbeck
    Oct 30, 2020 at 6:00 PM 0 comments
    A few short weeks ago, the San Francisco 49ers were not an exciting football team to watch. Injuries, a lack of talent, and overall terrible play made the 49ers look like a hideous phantasm of men. Back-to-back losses in Weeks 4 and 5 filled me with anxiety that almost amounted to agony each time game day rolled around. But successive wins against the Los Angeles Rams and New England Patriots, due to nearly flawless offensive line play and a dominant ground attack, have infused a spark in the almost lifeless 49ers. Here are some highlights from Week 7, and a few areas the 49ers still need to improve as they take on the Seattle Seahawks this weekend. 1st Quarter – 1st and 10 at the NE 34 (11:47) One of...
  • By Bret Rumbeck
    Oct 24, 2020 at 5:00 PM 0 comments
    This year has given the San Francisco 49ers' defense a series of body blows. It's suffered season-ending injuries to star players, causing the defensive roster to become as thin as wet tissue paper. But defensive coordinator Robert Saleh has found a way to scrape together wins, holding the Los Angeles Rams to under 200 yards passing and just over 100 yards rushing. The secret to Saleh's success starts with a stout, powerful, and speedy defensive line. Defensive line play is not a factory line counting output numbers. If a star player isn't racking up tackles and sacks, the Twitterverse might shout that the player isn't producing or isn't worth the money. Great defensive line play is not all about statistics and is often...
  • By Bret Rumbeck
    Oct 24, 2020 at 7:00 AM 0 comments
    San Francisco 49ers' head coach Kyle Shanahan and I probably have very little in common, except a critical Xennial lesson learned in the late 1980s: if the game isn't working, take it out of the console and blow on it. The 49ers' offense was in dire need of a reset going into Week 6 against the Los Angeles Rams. There has been little sync and fluidity, except for the two wins against both wretched franchises from New York. Here's how the 49ers can take the right parts of their win, along with areas that need improvement, and springboard into Week 7. Use Tempo and Short Plays to Build Garoppolo's Confidence 1st Quarter - 1st and 10 at the LAR 24...
  • By Bret Rumbeck
    Oct 15, 2020 at 9:14 PM 1 comment
    I thought the Super Bowl hangover was a football fable, but watching the 2020 San Francisco 49ers now has me as a true believer. And the 49ers' hangover is not the bleary-eyed, dry-mouth, dull-headache hangover. No, good friends, this is the hangover you had Thanksgiving weekend when everyone from back home was legally old enough to hit the downtown bars. You remember that night – it started innocently with a pint of Guinness, and then someone from 3rd period English bought a round of off-label vodka shots. While the drinks between 8 p.m. and closing time were a blur, the last drink of the night was a whiskey sour with a girl you've known since second grade. The series of bad decisions mixed with rail alcohol resulted in a...
  • By Bret Rumbeck
    Oct 4, 2020 at 10:04 PM 6 comments
    Fun fact: the San Francisco 49ers have three first-round draft picks starting on their offensive line. On paper, at least, that should mean the team has enough talent to have a productive ground game and provide time for the quarterback to read a pass progression. The 49ers' offensive line should be quicker than its opponents, beating them to the punch on each play. Somehow, that's not the reality for this year's 49ers. For three weeks, the 49ers' offensive line has played just well enough to escape a heavy criticism and scornful looks. However, the truth began to emerge from the darkness last week against the New York Giants. The 49ers looked good, pounding a soulless franchise into the artificial turf, but the run game...
  • By Bret Rumbeck
    Sep 26, 2020 at 8:00 AM 2 comments
    The San Francisco 49ers had their bounce-back game in Week 2 after a successful trouncing of the woeful New York Jets. Both sides of the ball looked far more polished, with only a handful of errors sprinkled throughout the game. However, nothing sums up the 49ers' win more than a meme that made the rounds of Twitter on Sunday afternoon. Young Gamora: Did you do it? Thanos: Yes. Young Gamora: What did it cost? Thanos: Everything. Though 'everything' still seems too light a word to describe the outcome. Defensive end Nick Bosa and defensive lineman Solomon Thomas suffered season-ending knee injuries within moments of each other. Their combined loss will...
  • By Bret Rumbeck
    Sep 17, 2020 at 8:00 AM 0 comments
    The start of the 2020 NFL season has not been kind to the San Francisco 49ers. During the first half of the Week 1 game against the Arizona Cardinals, tight end George Kittle suffered a sprained knee and went into the locker room early. He finished the game but had no catches in the second half. On September 16, 2020, the 49ers kept him out of practice and noted he would likely not practice on Thursday or Friday. Shortly after the Kittle news, the team announced that cornerback Richard Sherman would miss three...
  • By Bret Rumbeck
    Sep 10, 2020 at 9:00 AM 0 comments
    A long time ago, I thought the most unprecedented event in the sports world was Game 3 of the 1989 World Series getting pushed back ten days due to an earthquake. Sports will find a way to endure - through earthquakes, war, a global pandemic and if professional football is played before a couch-bound audience. The San Francisco 49ers will play sloppy football Sunday, but the other NFL franchises will join them. Remember it's been nine months - if not longer - since players were on the field in a live football contest. Forty-Niner head coach Kyle Shanahan will have his men ready for Sunday afternoon, even if the game turns into a sludgy swamp of mental errors, blown coverages, and missed assignments. Indeed, the other 31 coaches in the league are...
  • By Bret Rumbeck
    Sep 1, 2020 at 8:00 AM 0 comments
    The smashmouth running strategies of professional football might be a long memory. But football never strays too far from its roots. Even twenty years into the 21st century, an NFL offense still relies upon a foundation of a swift running back weaving through a small gap between his linemen. Don't forget what took the 2019 San Francisco 49ers to within minutes of a Super Bowl title: a high-powered run game and their stout defense. Even with veteran Jerick McKinnon spending another year on injured reserve, the 49ers finished the regular season with 2,305 total rush yards, 23 touchdowns, and averaging 144.1 yards per game. Veteran running back Raheem Mostert was a jack-of-all-trades for the team. He led the team in rush yards, touchdowns,...
  • By Bret Rumbeck
    Aug 19, 2020 at 2:00 PM 0 comments
    NFL linebackers are a rare breed of human beings. With endless reserves of grit and awareness, these fearless men send themselves on violent missions to halt running backs in their tracks. Along the way, linebackers must fight off lead blockers and see through collapsing creases in an offensive line to make a play. The 2020 San Francisco 49ers are fortunate to have a deep linebacker corps, with three of the better players at the position in professional football. Below is a projection of the linebacker corps for this year's 49ers. First Team Fred Warner - Mike I remember my shock when the 49ers selected linebacker Fred Warner as the 70th pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. Indeed, he was not the top linebacker in the...
  • By Bret Rumbeck
    Aug 14, 2020 at 7:00 AM 2 comments
    Reserve defensive linemen are a critical cog in a professional football team's overall success. These men play 20 snaps or more on a Sunday afternoon and may find themselves on the field in a must-win situation. An organization might skate by on a subpar second-team offensive guard, but it cannot have below-average second-string defensive linemen. Last season, the San Francisco 49ers began with a stellar group of second-string trench men but had a noticeable drop in talent after veterans D.J. Jones and Ronald Blair ended up on the injured reserve list. If you want proof, re-watch former defensive lineman Anthony Zettel's 15-play performance in Super Bowl LIV, and you will see how badly the 49ers could have used Jones for those moments. General manager John Lynch...
  • By Bret Rumbeck
    Aug 13, 2020 at 7:00 AM 1 comment
    Football fans and film junkies often find themselves in separate camps on a variety of football-related issues. Should a team have a stronger pass game or a pounding ground attack? When building a roster, should a team start with skill players or linemen? How about drafting a punter in the fourth round of the draft? During the offseason, one question I heard asked was if the 2019 San Francisco 49ers were a better defense due to its ball-hawking secondary or bludgeoning defensive line. There's enough evidence to compare the 2018 49ers' defense with the 2019 version and craft a lengthy thesis supporting the secondary or the defensive linemen. For me, the significant uptick in defensive line play places me...
  • By Bret Rumbeck
    Aug 7, 2020 at 7:00 AM 2 comments
    It's an odd feeling going into NFL training camp with no visual indicators of how players look. A global pandemic forced the NFL to cancel its offseason schedule and the preseason. Instead, the San Francisco 49ers started the 2020 season with nasal swabs and virtual meetings before moving into strength and conditioning. The first padded practice isn't until next week, and the world will not see live football until Thursday, September 10, 2020. The starting offensive line for this year's 49ers is nearly set, though the battle for the reserve positions could be exciting camp battles. Here are the 2020 projected starters and back-ups. Trent Williams - Left Tackle General manager John Lynch's acquisition of All-Pro left tackle Trent...
  • By Bret Rumbeck
    Jul 2, 2020 at 5:00 PM 0 comments
    The seven-man pass protection in today's NFL seems a little foreign, considering how much the tight end position has evolved over the last 20 years. Today's hybrid tight end, a man built from DNA spliced from a sprinter, basketball player and professional wrestler, has an integral role in the passing attack. A generation ago, San Francisco 49ers tight end Brent Jones finished his career averaging 36.3 receiving yards per game. Flash twenty-five years in the future and tight end George Kittle is averaging 65.4 yards per game over his first three seasons. Head coach Kyle Shanahan's system is firmly rooted in the West Coast Offense, even mimicking some of Bill Walsh's old...
  • By Bret Rumbeck
    Jun 17, 2020 at 7:00 AM 0 comments
    Too often, a new coach press conference is full of bluster. This new leadership will increase win totals and playoff appearances, and ultimately fill the stadium to the brim with fans. These promises often remain empty, and fans are begging for another fresh start after two or three losing seasons. Over three years ago, Jed York, Kyle Shanahan, and John Lynch emerged from behind a soda machine in the 49ers' press room. Camera shutters fired like gentle machine guns as the stage settled and creaked. The scene had become commonplace at 4949 Centennial Boulevard. The San Francisco 49ers had just finished the 2016 season with two wins and were in a freefall into the depths of pro football mockery. Another lousy season meant another new...
  • By Bret Rumbeck
    May 18, 2020 at 5:00 PM 1 comment
    The evolution of professional football from decade to decade is a conversation that never ceases to leave me in awe. Equipment gets stronger and lighter, while athletes eat and train better. The result is a faster game, though football's rudimentary foundations remain unchanged. San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan's mastery of professional football has given him many labels, including soothsayer and genius. Predicting the outcome of a play is impressive, but for me, Shanahan's modifications to the original West Coast Offense is his most remarkable accomplishment. In the 1982 49ers playbook, the late...
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