• 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
    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...
  • By Bret Rumbeck
    May 4, 2020 at 8:00 AM 1 comment
    The NFL offseason is a wild duality of celebration and sadness. Last week, 32 teams drafted 255 new players into professional football, while many veterans decided it was time to walk away from the game. Unfortunately for the San Francisco 49ers, the team and the millions of fans had to say good-bye to 13-year veteran tackle Joe Staley. The 'will-he-won't-he-retire' rhetoric surrounding Staley seemed to be mild up until a few days before the draft. I'm guessing 49er management knew Staley's intentions before the draft and put together a plan even Hannibal Smith would applaud. General manager John Lynch was able to drop back in the first round and obtain a blue-chip defensive linemen Javon Kinlaw. He waited until the third day of the draft...
  • By Bret Rumbeck
    Apr 23, 2020 at 7:00 AM 0 comments
    The NFL Draft has evolved from a hotel conference room event into a sentient being. Instead of a smoke-filled room and chalkboards, the draft is a four-month affair, filled with mock drafts and hours of television content, ending in a room of giant plasma screens and a floor jammed with people. It is and will continue to be a pinnacle life moment for 255 young men who have the distinction of celebrating with family, friends, and a massive global audience. The draft, in its purest form, is more of a Las Vegas-style table game for 32 NFL teams. Key veterans have retired, been traded, or signed with a new team. The free-agent talent has all but gone, and that leaves general managers investing millions of dollars and future success into a lucky handful of...
  • By Bret Rumbeck
    Apr 14, 2020 at 7:00 PM 0 comments
    There is no group within any sport whose success is as dependent on effective communication as the offensive line in football. Physical skill and effort can make a great runner or receiver, but when five or six of us are involved, no amount of talent can replace the ability to understand one another. Bill Walsh. 1985 San Francisco 49ers Playbook. We have reached the point in the professional football offseason where experts and hack writers flood fans with speculative commentary. I often wonder when the mock drafts and trades get old, but apparently, the kids love it. Maybe there are a few of you floating around the ether bored to tears with the guess-the-win-total for the 2020 San Francisco 49ers. Frankly, all fans should...
  • By Bret Rumbeck
    Mar 17, 2020 at 7:00 AM 6 comments
    Between 2014 and 2018, the San Francisco 49ers achieved a dismal win-loss record of 25-55. The only reward from the dark stretch of football were high draft picks to try and rebuild a broken franchise. During that time, the team was able to build up a formidable defensive line through the NFL Draft. The 49ers selected a defensive lineman in three straight drafts, starting with Arik Armstead in 2015. It took some time, along with adding two menacing defensive ends, for the world to witness the full potential of the 49ers' defensive line. The NFL, unfortunately, is not a fantasy world where the roaring success and triumphs last for decades. No sir. The average player lasts for just over three seasons, and great players will...
  • By Bret Rumbeck
    Mar 5, 2020 at 7:00 AM 2 comments
    It's been a cruel truth to accept, but San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan has not put a need on high-quality interior linemen, specifically his guards. Long gone are the days of a mauling, 310-pound guard with a full cage bullring facemask, a fat neckroll, and the flexibility of hardened adamantium. Shanahan's run game is not a grinding, power system that demands the guards crush every defender in their path. We live in an era of the zone run, where the running back doesn't have a designated hole to run through, and the offensive linemen block an area or head to the second level. Shanahan would rather have a guard with brains and athleticism. Both are more valuable assets in a zone system than a guard who resembles a brick...
  • By Bret Rumbeck
    Feb 1, 2020 at 10:29 AM 0 comments
    Earlier in the week, I had a text exchange with two highly respected gentlemen. One asked a fair question: "How much will Shanahan adjust for Sunday? What can he modify?" In three seasons of crunching film, I've watched head coach Kyle Shanahan stick with staple plays and make slight adjustments to others. He's also called concepts and route combinations that look brand new to me. A reporter asked Shanahan about installing a game plan and putting it together during his press conference on January 24, 2020. "No one ever really saves a play. There's not the magical playbook. It's just tying your guys...
  • By Bret Rumbeck
    Jan 30, 2020 at 9:20 AM 0 comments
    The worst-to-first story is a standard plotline to a thousand feel-good films. The opening scene shows an unorganized team with ragged uniforms and one player more interested in picking dandelions than making plays. The coach is reading the paper, while the parents can hardly muster the effort to applaud. The film begins its climb when a new coach takes a leadership role. He makes immediate changes, and the team starts to come together. They all learn from their mistakes and end up becoming the darling of the league the next season. This year's 2019 San Francisco 49ers are the subject to that film, illustrated best by the transformation of their defense. Last season, the 49ers' defense made watching football difficult. The team could hardly generate...
  • By Bret Rumbeck
    Jan 24, 2020 at 7:00 AM 3 comments
    Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens Brown paper packages tied up with strings These are a few of my favorite things. 'My Favorite Things.' Williamson Music. 1959. Rodgers, Richard & Hammerstein, Oscar. The San Francisco 49ers' offense was a joy to watch in 2019. Gone were the days of a collective stomach drop each time quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo dropped back and lofted a ball through the afternoon air. This year, the 49ers' offense had nerves of iron and souls of lightening. Garoppolo and the ten men in his huddle proved they could win games decisively or when the 49ers' defense was playing sluggish...
  • By Bret Rumbeck
    Jan 16, 2020 at 7:00 AM 1 comment
    The 2019 San Francisco 49ers have found ways to win 14 football games by any means necessary. If the defense was having a tough day, the 49ers' offense picked up the slack. If the offense was sluggish, the 49ers' defense would provide a spark or shut down the opposing offense. Special teams also played a key role, only allowing punt returners to gain 5.7 yards per return on 23 attempts. In the 49ers' victory over the Minnesota Vikings in the 2019 NFC Divisional playoff game, the offense's lopsided game plan proved to work. Head coach Kyle Shanahan called 47 runs against 19 passes. The strategy allowed the 49ers to dominate time of possession, racking up 21 first downs and control the pace of the game. The passing game was...
  • By Bret Rumbeck
    Jan 10, 2020 at 7:00 AM 0 comments
    Should a flying DeLorean ever arrive crashing into the driveway of an old San Francisco 49er fan's home, I'm guessing he or she would ask to go back and watch legendary quarterback Joe Montana play a night game at Candlestick Park. The old guard, the men, and women who'd bring red wine and grilled chicken into the stadium on a foggy night, still yearn for the day the 49ers revive the West Coast Offense and hoist another Lombardi Trophy into the night sky. Fortunately, new and old 49er fans are lucky to have head coach Kyle Shanahan calling plays from the shadowed sidelines of Levi's Stadium. Shanahan has been a masterful play-caller for the 49ers, especially after quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo took the reins of the offense. In his first...
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