• By Oscar Aparicio
    Jul 26, 2014 at 10:30 AM 3 comments
    After only two days of practice the 49ers received the kind of news every team hopes to avoid during Training Camp. Kendall Hunter, the number two running back in San Francisco, tore his ACL in practice. The 49ers, perhaps more than any team are flush with talent at the running back spot. People will likely look towards second-round pick Carlos Hyde and the recovering Marcus Lattimore as a replacement. However, in 2012 when Hunter tore his achilles, the team played Brandon Jacobs for one game before shifting to then-rookie LaMichael James. In 7 games, James rushed 38 times for 190 yards and a healthy 5.0 yards per carry. Looking at those numbers you would think James is the natural change-of-pace replacement for Hunter. If you listen to us on the...
  • By Oscar Aparicio
    Jun 5, 2014 at 7:26 PM 1 comment
    The Better Rivals team is extremely excited to announce a new logo designed by longtime fan and loyal listener Joce Bossin. It's a logo and story that was about two months in the making. We had several people ask us about the logo on Twitter and Facebook so we thought we would share the thought behind the design here. When we started discussions about the design, we wanted something that tied in our team colors with what we do - a podcast. After several options and iterations, we felt the final logo tells a story about who we are and what we do. The crest design, as opposed to a circle or square, calls back to one of our favorite iterations of the 49ers logo - the alternate 1950s logo. We wanted to imbue rich history of the franchise into the...
  • By Oscar Aparicio
    Sep 12, 2013 at 7:08 AM 0 comments
    What keeps Jim Harbaugh up at night? Probably visions of Pete Carroll's hybrid 4-3 defense. The Better Rivals podcast breaks down what you need to know about Seattle's defense, plus we recap the week 1 win. We also have our first fan "call in"...
  • By Oscar Aparicio
    Nov 19, 2012 at 10:23 AM 4 comments
    49ers fans were shocked this morning to read that Alex Smith has been ruled out of tonight's game against the Bears. Make no mistake: This is a HUGE game because of its playoff seeding implications. If we win the game the 49ers hop right into the driver's seat of the First Round Bye Express with the NFC's second best record. Oh, and did I mention we're talking about Monday Night Football here? Yeah, the pressure is definitely on Kaepernick. If you listen to my podcast or follow me on Twitter (@49WZ_Oscar) you know I'm not sold on Kaepernick being the savior right now. Quite simply he is not as polished as he needs to be, which is entirely expected. He has some lows, which he needs to correct. But he also has some...
  • By Oscar Aparicio
    Sep 8, 2012 at 7:55 AM 1 comment
    In this week's episode of the podcast, Richard and I talked about how the 49ers will attack Green Bay on Sunday and it got me thinking about exactly HOW they were going to do it. Quite simply the 49ers will win with one of their staple routes: the wheel route. The wheel route was one of the 49ers most effective routes in 2011. It was often used as one of Harbaugh and Roman's patented "shot plays," where they intentionally called for a shot down the field. The 49ers ran it out of multiple formations, typically to Vernon Davis. With rookie outside linebacker Nick Perry seeing his first NFL action I would look for Greg Roman and the 49ers to attack Green Bay's rush-happy OLBs and force them into coverage with the wheel route out of run personnel. Below are a few...
  • By Oscar Aparicio
    Apr 29, 2011 at 7:39 PM 2 comments
    The 49ers draft thus far has been...interesting. The team has seemingly drafted three developmental prospects with their first three picks. The last pick for the 49ers this evening, Chris Culliver, seemed like another "facepalm" moment. 49ers.com has Culliver listed as a CB, but that may not be the position he plays in the NFL. NFP has Culliver rated as the second-ranked free safety in the draft. They rated him at a 6.4 D M which means that the player has the potential to be a starter, despite one deficient area. (Interestingly enough, the D and M ratings indicate he has no weakness in any critical factors and lacks...
  • By Oscar Aparicio
    Apr 29, 2011 at 1:33 PM 2 comments
    An interesting tidbit came out of Eric Branch's article detailing the post-pick interview with Trent Baalke. Trent Baalke: At the end of the day, all the teams that were in and around us just wanted to stand pat, so there just wasn't an opportunity to do anything. After the commissioner read out the pick, the collective feeling on our forums was "where is the nearest baby. I want to punch it." There was a contingent of people who wanted Gabbert, and that's understandable. But a whole different group is upset that the 49ers didn't trade down. The problem with trading is that it takes a willing partner to seal the deal. The 49ers were like Steve Carrell in the 40-year old virgin - they had the right...
  • By Oscar Aparicio
    Mar 29, 2011 at 1:38 PM 1 comment
    It's no surprise that the 49ers need a cornerback, a pass-rushing outside linebacker and a quarterback. One school has players that could fit two of those positions for the 49ers - The University of Texas. Today is the Longhorn's pro day and a couple players made some improvements to their 40-yard dash time, potentially making them appealing picks for the 49ers. Aaron Williams, a late first/early second round pick, improved his 4.52 combine time to 4.44. Williams is big, aggressive corner and could fit very well into Vic Fangio's attacking defense which often leaves CBs on an island. It's possible that if Miller slips to the 49ers at #7, they could go after Williams in the second round....
  • By Oscar Aparicio
    Jan 9, 2011 at 8:35 PM 6 comments
    There is a lot of speculation out there that Vic Fangio will be the new defensive coordinator for the 49ers. It's a move that makes a lot of sense: Fangio has a quarter century of experience coaching defense. He coached in both the USFL and the NFL on the staffs of Jim Mora and Dom Capers. His foundations in pressure package 3-4 defenses might just be what the 49ers need to move from good to great. What would a Fangio defense look like? For that we can turn to CheeseheadTV.com. The site posted an in-depth look at Capers' Cover 7 in advance of the Packers-Eagles game. It's a really detailed, but excellent, article on the various packages Capers uses to flex his...
  • By Oscar Aparicio
    Jan 7, 2011 at 5:19 PM 3 comments
    Here are some thoughts on the Harbaugh coaching hire just after the press conference: • If we are going to bash the 49ers and Jed York for looking like a hapless front office incapable of landing their number one coaching prospect, we have to compliment them on how this ended up. The 49ers got their man and did it while staying true to the front office structure they wanted (a GM overseeing a head coach) AND, if the reports are true, are going to pay him less than some other suitors. They are even going to be paying Harbaugh less than Pete Carroll, the new-old arch nemesis. The 49ers seemingly didn't blink and people have got to give credit where credit is due. • It's also clear that Harbaugh, true to reports that emerged before he was openly courted by...
  • By Oscar Aparicio
    Jan 6, 2011 at 7:48 AM 4 comments
    We move on to day 2 of Harbaugh watch, and some more interesting news is coming out from the various beat reporters that cover the 49ers. Matt Maiocco is reporting that the 49ers and Harbaugh had a deal in place, but Harbaugfh said he would listen to the Dolphins out of respect. It sounds like Harbaugh's window dressing for a pretty good negotiating tactic. He's trying to get the most out of any suitor, but at the very least I hope the 49ers are a legit contender and not just some pawn in the larger Harbaugh-to-the-NFL circus. Albert Breer...
  • By Oscar Aparicio
    Jan 5, 2011 at 7:29 PM 1 comment
    This is just getting ridiculous. I have been attached to Twitter (@49erswebzone) for the latest updates and even made my girlfriend read me Jim Harbaugh stories while I was cooking to make sure I didn't miss anything. In short - I've bought into the hype. Yes, I want Jim Harbaugh as the next 49ers coach. I want him because he's proven he can turn a program around. I want him because he believes in the Bill Walsh philosophy of coaching. I want him because he can develop quarterbacks. So - here go some thoughts about Harbaugh, via a blog, as he negotiates with Jed York, since we know he is really calling the shots. If new GM Trent Baalke was really in charge we wouldn't have interviewed head coaching candidates before the GM hire. But...
  • By Oscar Aparicio
    Dec 26, 2010 at 8:46 PM 6 comments
    It was an interesting interaction to watch: Troy Smith was sitting on the bench with his QB coach on his left, and Ted Ginn standing off to his right. Head Coach Mike Singletary was standing in front of the quarterback and informed him that he would be benched in favor of the other Smith. Troy Smith then went off on a tirade, gesticulating wildly, seemingly telling he head coach to shove it. Ginn, the started to run interference, literally. The former Buckeye wide receiver started rubbing a towel in T. Smith's face only to get swatted away by the agitated QB. Sing finally walked away and T. Smith remained the starter for another two series. I was the third time 49er fans have seen this painful exhibition. Sing, challenging his starting quarterback by threatening a...
  • By Oscar Aparicio
    Dec 22, 2010 at 4:52 PM 9 comments
    Jason LaCanfora, the same guy who reported that Alex Smith was going to start week 12, is reporting that TROY Smith will be the starting quarterback in the do-or-die game against the St. Louis Rams. According to Matt Barrows, Singletary said he's told the quarterbacks which one is going to start but is not releasing that information. I almost looked past this weak attempt at gamesmanship except for one critical fact: Sing has yet to tell Mike Johnson who is going to start. [quote=Mike Johnson]No, we have not finalized [the...
  • By Oscar Aparicio
    Dec 16, 2010 at 10:11 PM 28 comments
    Dear Jed York, The San Francisco 49ers are an embarassment. This once-proud franchise is now officially a laughingstock and you, as team president, need to take action. A division title was not an absurd expectation going into this season. The 49ers play in the NFL's worst division and the mere fact that they could win the division at 7-9 is all the proof you need. The 49ers didn't have to be elite, they simply had to be the best of the worst. And yet, the 49ers find themselves assured of a losing record for the 8th straight year. In the face of a decade of ineptitude, your playoff declarations are laughable. I envoke the coaching ghost of Jim Mora Sr. when I say, "You want to to talk about playoffs?!" If your aim is to ensure the world is...
  • By Oscar Aparicio
    Nov 30, 2010 at 12:36 PM 3 comments
    I'll admit it - I was happy as a hypochondriac at CVS with an unlimited budget during the 49ers' thrashing of Arizona on Monday night. The ease with which the offense moved the ball up and down the field was reminiscent of the times when, you know, the 49ers were known for having an offense. And the defense stymied the Cardinals, literally pummeling the Cardinal's will to score. So how the hell did this team get shut out at home last week? This is the real question for the Troy Smith led 49ers team. Why the apparent roller coaster from week to week? Part of the answer lies in the run game. If the 49ers start off with a strong running game, the rest of the game is more likely to fall into place. Looking at the first half rushing performances over the...
  • By Oscar Aparicio
    Nov 15, 2010 at 9:41 PM 2 comments
    The 49ers lack discipline. How do I know this? Well, I have eyes, for starters. I'm sure anyone who saw the game this weekend saw several 49ers plays be called back due to penalty. Or, alternatively, they saw several Rams' drives extended due to penalties. (As an aside, this whole "protect the quarterback" is simply getting ridiculous. If Travis LaBoy "roughed" Sam Bradford then Jay Cutler should file assault charges against every defender the Bears play this season. But I digress...) The 49ers have a startling number of penalties this season. To date they have 77 penalties for 657 yards. Projected over a 16 game season this amounts to 138 penalties for 1168 yards. The record for most number of penalties in a year is held by the Chiefs, with 158. In...
  • By Oscar Aparicio
    Nov 5, 2010 at 10:29 AM 12 comments
    I had to get up relatively early (well, for me anyway) to take a friend to the airport this morning. I threw on the Sirius NFL Radio station and went about my drive, enjoying the Austin skyline at sunrise. The announcers were talking about the top 100 and how Jerry Rice was number one. "Cool!" I thought to myself. I can totally agree with that. Jim Brown was number two, Lawrence Taylor was number three, and Joe Montana was number four. The first quarterback listed? I'll take that, I thought. Then, I heard it. "Bill Walsh went from Dan Fouts in San Diego to Joe Montana and Steve Young? Either he has some crazy luck having three hall of fame quarterbacks fall in his lap or he had something to do with it." The caller continued, "I just have to...
  • By Oscar Aparicio
    Nov 3, 2010 at 10:08 AM 3 comments
    Troy Smith played the best complete game by a 49ers quarterback this season. He wasn't perfect, by any stretch. Some of his throws were inaccurate. Denver has an atrocious pass defense, ranked near the bottom of the league in defensive DVOA by Football Outsiders. And if Brian Dawkins picks off the prayer... um I mean throw... that Smith launched to Delanie Walker, we might all be singing a different tune. When it counted, Troy Smith did the things that a starting quarterback should do. He made the right reads, allowed the receivers to continue running after the catch with well placed throws, and he created opportunities when the play broke down. You can read his stats in various...
  • By Oscar Aparicio
    Oct 28, 2010 at 5:45 PM 10 comments
    Let's be real, Brandon Lloyd may be at the top of the NFL as a receiver this season, but no one here looks at him as "The One That Got Away." As a matter of fact, I remember the absolute euphoria amongst the fans when the 49er received a 3rd (in 2006) AND a 4th round pick (in 2007) for the notoriously ball-shy rapping wonder called B.Lloyd. To be fair - anyone who saw Lloyd play saw the potential. In fact, he made one of the most amazing catches I've ever seen in a game against Seattle. (Just watch the first 38 seconds of the clip below to see the catch.) But, at the end of the...
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