49ers Report: Likely Aldon Absence Puts S.F. in Bind

Aldon Smith's looming suspension hangs heavy over a team looking to finally hoist the Lombardi Trophy after three straight near-misses. Can the defense—also without injured Navorro Bowman—keep up its torrid pace of seasons past?

By
Robert Klemko
· More from Robert·
In 43 games played over the first three years of his career, Aldon Smith has 42 sacks. (AP)
In 43 games played over the first three years of his career, linebacker Aldon Smith has 42 sacks. (AP)

In the impressive shadow of Levi’s Stadium, where construction workers polishing off the team’s new Santa Clara home blasted pop radio tunes, the 49ers made their own music on a fenced-off grass field. Colin Kaepernick was his flame-throwing self, the centerpiece of what coach Jim Harbaugh hopes will be the franchise’s fourth straight trip deep into the postseason. There isn’t much hitting on this side of the bay these days, a departure from previous years (especially under former coach Mike Singletary’s regime). The team, and its title hopes, are bruised enough. 

One vivid memory from watching practice

It’s a two-parter: On Day 1, Wednesday, I watched Colin Kaepernick and backup quarterbacks Josh Johnson, Blaine Gabbert and McLeod Bethel-Thompson fling passes at an elevated ring the size of a basketball hoop sitting in the corner of the end zone 35 yards away. Their collective failure to hit the bottom of the net seemed to frustrate Kaepernick the most. A day later, in team drills, Kaepernick floated a touchdown pass to Quinton Patton in the exact same spot the ring had been. Patton had double-moved cornerback Perrish Cox, and Kaepernick ran downfield to shout at the veteran corner, “Wit’ yo’ bitin’ ass!” 

Some people are just gamers.

How this team can go 12–4

Aldon Smith needs to be on the field. The outside linebacker/once-in-a-generation pass rushing talent is meeting with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell on Aug. 8, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, to discuss his action-packed offseason of felony gun charges, a DUI and an alleged fake bomb threat. Battling for his position are Corey Lemonier and Dan Skuta, who are as unlikely to duplicate Smith’s production as he is to avoid a suspension. Now, the 49ers won five games in a row early last season without Smith (and two of those without ILB Patrick Willis as well), but they were against five of the weakest clubs on the schedule (St. Louis, Houston, Arizona, Tennessee, Jacksonville) and ILB NaVorro Bowman was playing out of his mind last season on a consistent basis; he’s now out with a torn ACL until at least midseason. Essentially, the 49ers need someone unexpected to step up on defense in the first half of the season if they hope to keep pace in the NFC West. Considering their Weeks 4, 5 and 7 opponents (Eagles, Chiefs and Broncos), that someone ought to be a sack artist. OLB Ahmad Brooks is on the downswing as a pass rusher, so the focus rests on Justin Smith returning from shoulder surgery and Patrick Willis at ILB. With those two on the field, hope is not lost.

How this team can go 4–12

If injuries strike, the aforementioned ILB replacement candidates go bust, the new defensive backfield fails to jell and Kaepernick regresses in ways currently unimaginable, this team could conceivably go 4-12. But you still have Frank Gore and an incredible collection of talent along the offensive and defensive lines, making 12 losses really hard to imagine. Worst-case-scenario, to me, would be a nine-win season.

Now, from fantasyland …

A healthy Michael Crabtree rejoins a star-studded Niners offense this season. (AP)
A healthy Michael Crabtree (center) rejoins a star-studded Niners offense this season. (AP)

1. The Kaepernick-Michael Crabtree connection went on hold last season as the receiver underwent surgery for a torn Achilles. Before the injury, it was becoming one of the best QB-WR relationships in football, with Crabtree catching 85 balls and nine touchdowns in 2012. Crabtree is back, and according to offensive coordinator Greg Roman, in the best condition of his career.

2. Running back Frank Gore, 31, saw a dip in production last season and should see another one if offseason upgrades to the passing game pan out. Stay away.

3. In Crabtree’s absence, tight end Vernon Davis became the go-up-and-get-it guy in the red zone, which translated to 13 receiving touchdowns. With Crabtree back and the addition of former Bills WR Stevie Johnson, Davis’s targets and touchdowns should see a drop.

The starters

How I project the lineup, with competitive spots in bold italics:

  OFFENSE   DEFENSE
WR1 Michael Crabtree LE Ray McDonald
LT Joe Staley NT Glenn Dorsey
LG Mike Iupati RE Justin Smith
C Daniel Kilgore OLB Ahmad Brooks
RG Alex Boone ILB Patrick Willis
RT Anthony Davis ILB Michael Wilhoite/Nick Moody/Chris Borland
TE Vernon Davis OLB Aldon Smith* (Corey Lemonier/Dan Skuta)
WR2 Anquan Boldin CB Tramaine Brock/Perrish Cox
WR3 Stevie Johnson CB Chris Culliver/Chris Cook
QB Colin Kaepernick Nickel Jimmie Ward/Perrish Cox
RB Frank Gore FS Eric Reid
FB Bruce Miller SS Antoine Bethea
K Phil Dawson P Andy Lee
 

Best new player in camp

Jimmie Ward, Safety. They’ve thrown the book at the first-rounder out of Northern Illinois and he’s handled it with poise. He’s spent most of his time at nickel corner and safety, and appears to have a veteran’s understanding of each position. His man coverage needs work, but he projects as a reliable fifth defensive back who could spell any of his backfield teammates and avoid getting picked on.

Follow The MMQB on Twitter and Instagram @TheMMQB and check in on our training camp tour at #themmqbtour.

Strong opinion that I may regret by November

The MMQB Camp Tour

Keep up with all things training camp as Peter King and The MMQB Tour travel the country.
TRAINING CAMP HUB

I’m certain not to regret this one: NaVorro Bowman should sit out the entire regular season. He’s currently eyeing a midseason return after tearing an ACL during the conference championship game on a play that shook the NFL defensive community the way Tom Brady’s ACL tear rocked the league in 2008. There’s no reason for Bowman to rush a return to a team that figures to be competitive as long as Kaepernick, 26, is the quarterback. Whether the Niners are sitting comfortably atop the NFC West by Week 9 or fighting an uphill battle, the 26-year-old Bowman remains the future of the franchise’s defense.

Something I’ve never seen before

Okay, I didn’t actually see it. But I heard that just before I arrived at camp, general manager Trent Baalke was working with linemen during non-padded practices, getting a workout in the late-July NorCal heat. I don’t imagine many NFL GMs could keep up with the former Bemidji State defensive back.

What I thought when I walked out of camp

Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio is going to earn his money this season. In recent seasons the strength of the 49ers’ defense has been concentrated between the hashmarks: Donte Whitner at safety, Bowman and Willis at inside linebacker and Justin Smith on the line. Whitner’s gone, Bowman’s unavailable, and Smith is coming off an injury. There are plenty of new faces in play, and, as Fangio told me, he’ll have to get creative.

 

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49 comments
Isbonifacio
Isbonifacio

Stevie Johnson, Brandon Lloyd, Carlos Hyde, Bruce Ellington and maybe Marcus Lattimore on offense.

Tank Carradine, Quinton Dial, Jimmy Ward, Antoine Bethea, Chris Borland on defense.  

These are the new personnel the 49ers have added to bolster their roster on both sides of the ball.

Passing, rushing, rushing the passer, stopping the run...the Niners have gotten better in all these areas.  It'll all be proven out on the field but from my perspective as well as from some football experts, defenses will have their hands full facing Kaepernick, Boldin, a healthy Crabtree, Vernon Davis AND all those other talented receivers plus a bruising 235 lb. running back in Carlos Hyde.

Jeff27
Jeff27

49ers offense will be better, defense will probably not be as dominating. This means more points scored, but also (sadly) likely more points given up also.Hopefully, we can continue to score more points than the opposition on a regular basis. No mention is made of Boone's holdout, unless something has changed in the past few days that I hadn't heard about.

jshawaii22
jshawaii22

So when you can't find anything nice to say, call out the grammar police on me!  OK, you win.  


Too bad about Dorsey.  Both teams seem to be losing players on a daily basis.  It needs to stop.   We want to play you healthy, so no excuses from the masses when the 'Hawks win.

jshawaii22
jshawaii22

GS1,  what a Homer!    Not one mention of Seattle or Seahawks in the entire article and you seem fixated on areas that you're dead wrong about.  


Both teams are loaded with talent.  Lots of it.  You have redshirts, so do the 'Hawks.    You have great LB's (when then get on the field this year)  the Hawks have great DB's.  You have a great Oline and an over the hill Gore and a mediocre QB  and the Hawks have Marshawn and Russell, who make up for a not so great OLIne.  That's how it works.    


The teams are soooo close in talent it's scary.    Most of the country knows that it's  1 - 2 in the NFL between the two teams.   You would of beat the Bronco's, too.   It probably wouldn't of been close.  


You are only spewing mud right now, dude.  See 'ya on Thanksgiving night for round #1.     And at least I won't have to go to that dump on the Bay to see the game, but damn the tix are expensive now.  


js

Gs1
Gs1

There is NO DOUBT our depth is deeper then the Seahawks by far. Are these people even attending the 49ers camp before writing this crap? Second year players that redshirted last year, Tank Caradine and Quinton dial are strong, quick and nasty.  They will push Justin Smith & McDonald all year. Our DL depth is so much deeper then Seattle's.They've been giving the best OL in the league all they can handle in camp. Aldon Smith is dominating this camp, again, against the best OL in the league. We have so many quality RBs that two can get hurt in consecutive days and they are STILL going to run all over people's Sh*t.  Jim Harbaugh is actually a better talent developer then Carroll. He's done it without having the luxury of starting from scratch with 'his guys' and done it with one year less time to do so. He did it at Stanford too, outdeveloping Carroll is half the time and without cheating.

The writers need to get their facts straight, Aldon Smith isn't charged with felony gun charges, they are misdemeanors. He bought them legally, passing the federal gun requirements, that's why they are misdemeanors and not felonies. Aldon will only miss one or two games against weaker teams. With Corey Lemonier (replaced A. Smith for 5 games), redshirts Tank Caradine & Quinton Dial, and a wildcard like Aaron Lynch there's no doubt QBs are going to be running for their lives all season with or without Aldon. And oh by the way, Derrick Brooks is not "downsliding" in his pass rushing because he is coming off his best season asa pass rusher with 8.5 sacks last year. How many Seahawks had 8.5 sacks?

Holland
Holland

We have plenty of depth…..If Rice only gets 2 for beating his wife then Aldon will have time served after missing 5 games voluntarily.

banjoguy
banjoguy

There are a lot of unknowns about this team.  Will Tank Carradine contribute at a high level?  Will Gore have a good backup?  Will the WR retreads perform better than the no-show WR3's and 4's they've had in recent seasons?  Can the offensive line stay upright, or will they continue to succumb to injury?  Can Kaep run a more complex offense?


Aldon Smith is a fine player, but it has been clear that some of his success has been due to double teams on Justin Smith, and quality play in the secondary.  Without J. Smith, Aldon vanishes.  Assuming J. Smith continues his dominant play, there will be opportunities for the guy playing on the other end of the line.  But the thin CB group will give up some plays.

jojo37
jojo37

I think we have a great team! And I still like our defense a lot. Justin Smith was injured most of last season (although nobody knew) and he will be healthy this year. Bowman is out, but there is still a guy named Willis who's better than 27 other ILB in this league. 

In the end it will depend on our offense. If the receivers stay healthy through camp I think our offense should make some noise this year! 9:7 is worst case scenario? I like our chances. :)


FreddieFunStuff
FreddieFunStuff

As a Miners fan, it's nice to see a writer say that the worst-case-scenario for them is 9-7. How many teams would love for that to be the case even after retooling the secondary, having your sackmaster be a moron off the field, and seeing the second best ILB out for at least half the season (I still believe Willis is better)? The only other team on the same level is the Seahawks, so this is going to be a great season!

Phroggo
Phroggo

You hear it all the time, and it's true.  The best defense is a good offense.  And a good offense is one that controls the ball - something the Niners have failed to do with Kaepernick at quarterback.  Controlling the ball, according to Bill Walsh, is getting 22 - 25 first downs per game.  Last season the Niners averaged less that 18 first downs per game so they had to rely on their defense.


The defense won't be as good this season without Bowman and Smith so Kaepernick will have to step up if the Niners expect to be in the mix for the top seed.

barnone40s
barnone40s

Ahmad Brooks is on the downswing as a pass rusher?  Who is this guy?

faaqna
faaqna

Um, no comment on the RB situation? An aging F Gore, an injured L James, K Hunter out for season, a rookie C Hyde, unproven M Lattimore ( still recovering from college injury) are basically the RB's. The Niners have even more depth at ILB with the addition of rookie C Borland. Didn't see much of a drop off when both P Willis was injured for two games, and when A Smith was out 5 games last year. Vic Fangio doesn't get the kudos he deserves. N Bowman will play when he is ready, no sooner, no later.


Phroggo
Phroggo

@jshawaii22

You're making me feel bad, js, and I apologize.  I realize now that I took unfair advantage of you because English is my first language.

Phroggo
Phroggo

@jshawaii22 

"You would of beat the Broncos, too"?  "It probably wouldn't of been close"?  You'll learn proper grammar if you pay attention next year in fourth grade.  

BigSchtick
BigSchtick

@Gs1 It is hard to read the stuff you post.

Deeper than Seattle by far?

Harbaugh a  better talent developer? Based on? Carroll had an advantage as he had to turn the entire roster over and Harbaugh inherited a bunch of pro bowl players?

You are so deep at RB losing players doesn't matter?

Aldon smith is dominating your offensive line so far in camp?

Rant away...

Calci0
Calci0

@Phroggo 

Bill Walsh threw the ball alot more, and thus had more incompletes, and clock stoppages, so he needed more 1st downs to control the ball. These 49ers control the ball by running it and keeping the clock moving thus needing less 1st downs. Now could the team improve on 1st downs, yes. But to make it sound like they weren't doing a good job, just due to not reaching some key number, isn't accurate.  The team relied on their running game.

knightrider
knightrider

@barnone40s I was going to comment about this too. He had his best season statistically in 2013 and hasn't missed a game in two years (when he missed one that year). To assert he's on the downswing, likely because he's a year older, seems like lazy journalism to me.

jshawaii22
jshawaii22

@Phroggo @jshawaii22


Oh,  last time I came to California I spent more time asking "Habla usted Inglés?"  than anywhere else.  I wouldn't brag about my home too much.    There aren't too many of you "English" speaking persons left.  

evileyefleagle
evileyefleagle

@Calci0 

"Bill Walsh threw the ball alot more, and thus had more incompletes, and clock stoppages, so he needed more 1st downs to control the ball."  You sure pulled that statement from a place where the sun don't shine, Calci0.  In Bill Walsh's last regular season as head coach the 49ers averaged 2 more incomplete passes per game than they did last season.

Phroggo
Phroggo

@Calci0


Spoken like someone who has no idea what the hell they're talking about.  The Niners had 286 first downs last year; their opponents had 284.  If you're controlling the ball you have a bigger edge in first downs than that.


Last season the Niners had the ball for 30 minutes and 35 seconds per game while their opponents had it for 29 minutes and 25 seconds.  I don't know what you were watching, but that's not ball control.


Rationalize much?  

Phroggo
Phroggo

@jshawaii22

Yes, js, California is a very hospitable place for those of you who have trouble with English, so please keep coming.  The California GDP is greater than that of Russia because we're so good at fleecing tourists like you.

Calci0
Calci0

@evileyefleagle @Calci0 

This discussion is about TIME OF POSSESSION!!!!!! Averaging two more incompletes. 

" NFL teams have 40 seconds timed from the end of the previous down, or 25 seconds after the ball is declared ready for play"

So that's either 1:20 seconds lost or 50seconds lost. Either way, that could in turn affect the TOP numbers. I pulled that from knowing the rules.....  I've been a 49er fan for years, so why people are taking this, like I'm criticizing Walsh?!? He was the reason the team became the team of the 80's, 90's (yeh I know Cowboys fans disagree). But this is a discussion about time of possession, that originated because someone is trying to fault Kaepernick for something the team while it could improve on, isn't deficient in.  FACT is the team had the ball more than their opponent, which is in direct disagreement with the idea Kaepernick is at fault for something......

Calci0
Calci0

@Phroggo @Calci0 

Why people can't respond with tact?!? Oh well, I can get my point across without going that route.

Fact is the 49ers while not top of the pack, were 13th/14th (depending on the site). Still in the top half of the league. Your statement was they have failed to control the ball which is false. They were 13th/14th, again, not tops, but far from how they are labeled above. And the difference between 2nd and 14th is less than 2mins. Not controlling the ball to me means the opposing team has the ball more, which factually is not the case.

jshawaii22
jshawaii22

@Phroggo @jshawaii22


Hawaii has always been #1 for fleecing tourists and I've been in and out of that for years, so it means nothing to me.   Try again.  



Your costs, except maybe rental cars, which for some reason are expensive are downright cheap, compared to the resort areas out here.


js

evileyefleagle
evileyefleagle

@Calci0 

No it's not a time of possession discussion.  It's a ball control discussion

I believe Phroggo started this discussion by criticizing the 49ers ability to control the ball with Kaepernick at quarterback.  And that's certainly true.  The 49ers only had two more first downs than the opposition last season.  That's not controlling the ball, that's giving it up too often.  Controlling the ball is getting two dozen first downs a game, not 17.  Controlling the ball is piling up those first downs in successive drives to keep the opposing defense on the field, getting them tired, and scoring.

Then you came along with the inane rationalization that, "Bill Walsh threw the ball alot more, and thus had more incompletes, and clock stoppages, so he needed more 1st downs to control the ball."  He had a whopping total of two more incomplete passes per game his last season, which ended in a Super Bowl victory.  His team had FIFTY more first downs than the opposition.  That's ball control and that's what the 49ers have been lacking with Kaepernick at quarterback.

I believe Phroggo's point is correct.  That the 49ers will have too many key pieces of their defense missing most of the season (Dorsey, Bowman and Smith) so they will need to do a better job of controlling the ball if they want to be in the mix for the top seed.  Perhaps Kaepernick has it in him - we'll see.      

Phroggo
Phroggo

@Calci0 

You're absolutely right, Calci -Zero, I tend to respond with fact, not tact.  If facts bother you, tune in to a fact-free zone like the Fox News Channel.


Fact is, if you've got the ball 35 seconds more than half the time and the other team has the ball 35 seconds less than half the time, you're not controlling the ball.  Nobody is.  And if your defense is weakened due to injury, you need to control the ball.


What I'm saying, and you're disputing, is that the Niners need to improve on that half-minute advantage this season or they won't be competing for the top seed.


And, by the way, your comment that Bill Walsh's teams had a lot more incomplete passes so they needed more first downs to establish ball control is pretty high on the stupid list.        

Phroggo
Phroggo

@jshawaii22 

When you graduate from Hertz and Holiday Inns to limos and luxury spas then we'll really getcha!

Calci0
Calci0

@evileyefleagle @Calci0 

And what does having more 1st downs get you?!? More Time of Possession. You get a fresh set of downs, and you get to keep the clock in your favor, thus it's a TOP discussion....  The top team in the league had the ball 32:40 a tad over 2 mins more than the 49ers. You guys are making it sound like if we get more 1st downs we'll be averaging 35+mins with the ball?!? Be realistic. Since 2003 no one has had it for more than 33:51. AND since 2002 only the NY Giants have won a SB while leading the league in TOP, which as you guys are alluding to is so important. Ignoring again the FACT that Seattle wasn't even in the top 10 (and higher than the 49ers) And Denver was just 4 spots lower than the 49ers......
And for some reason you also ignore the FACT even after I posted that those two more incompletes lead to more time lost due to clock stoppage, so to regain that TOP lead more 1st downs were needed. 



1981 49ers had 31 more 1st downs than the 2013 team. With 100 more pass attempts!!!!!! 317 to 286..... Prime example of my point!


1984 more 1st downs more Only 79 more passes. Much better efficiency.


1988 40 more 85 more passes. 

 


But this is getting away from the main point, that the 49ers are somehow deficient in TOP, when the numbers factually show otherwise, and when the facts show that the two teams in the SB, also didn't have the TOP stats shows the impact isn't as important as claimed.

Calci0
Calci0

@Phroggo @Calci0 

Not comprehending that if you are throwing the ball more, even completing 65-70% still leaves you with a good amount more incompletes than running the ball, that's fact.And that you don't put together that throwing the ball more leads to more clock stoppage when you don't complete the pass, thus needing more 1st downs to control the clock tells me you are just here to debate, an don't want to bring logic in..... And I NEVER disputed that the team shouldn't improve on the time they have the ball. Just the comment that Kaepernick has faulted the team in that area. Also the SB Champs Seattle were 17th in TOP Denver 10th with 17 seconds more than SF. But according to some, that's not good enough to get it done?!? Hmmmmmmm. Just the facts.....

Phroggo
Phroggo

@Calci0 

You're the type of gal, Calci, that can't see the forest because the trees are in the way.  You look at stats and have no idea what you're looking at.


The 1981, 1984 and 1988 Niners were Championship teams.  The 2013 Niners were not.  The championship teams controlled the ball by piling up more first downs than the opposition.  What these stats are telling us is quite obvious: If you want to win the championship, pile up the first downs; get 30, 40, 50 more than the opposition rather than a measly 2.  You seem, for some reason, to be fixated on keeping the clock running so don't forget that few plays that result in first downs, whether passes or runs, also shut the clock down between plays.


Yes, lack of ball control is an indictment of Kaepernick's play to date. I'm sorry if he's your hero, but he appears to be a big-play quarterback rather than the possession types the Niners have won their championships with.  What they need to be a contender this season is better ball control because the defense looks like it might not be as good.

Calci0
Calci0

@Phroggo @Calci0 

I've run into many "Know-it-All's" in my life, and for the most part they are the same. No matter how much information you give them that shows them their error they'll continue to pound away even when they know they are wrong.


You mention 1st downs like they are what solely gives the defense rest. SOOOOO many other factors come into play. And I can't wait for the comeback on this one.


Denver had 435 1st downs vs 286 for the 49ers and averaged a whooping 17seconds more TOP. That clearly shows just because you pile up 1st downs doesn't mean you are dominating in ball control. And they played in the SB!


Seattle had 307 1st downs vs 286 (a tad more than 1 per game over the 49ers) and averaged 24 seconds LESS TOP than the 49ers and WON THE SB! So explain. You commented earlier that only having the ball 35 more is not controlling the ball. Yet Seattle had the ball 3 secs less then their opponents.So either way there is no special number to 1st downs that will bring you a title.


What good are all the 1st downs if it doesn't result in a large positive TOP gain. 


So to clear things up. All I stated was Kaepernick's play to date, has not harmed possession/ball control like you claimed. Sports players aren't hero's to me , but nice attempt at deflection.

evileyefleagle
evileyefleagle

@Calci0

It's not surprising, Calci, to hear you admit that you've met a lot of people who know more than you.  I'm sure you've got to be good at something, but football knowledge isn't one of them.

I believe all Phroggo said was that the 49ers would have to establish better ball control to be a contender this season because their defense won't be as good, due to the absence of several key players.  He hadn't said anything about time of possession.  He then quoted Bill Walsh's goal of establishing ball control by getting 22 - 25 first downs per game.  That's when you stepped in with that unbelievably stupid comment that Walsh needed more first downs to establish ball control because he threw more often and had a lot more incomplete passes, which stopped the clock.  That's pure rationalization and reveals more than a little football ignorance.  I remember Walsh talking a lot about ball control, but not time of possession.  Another ball control factor that Walsh harped on was the giveaway/takeaway ratio - a stat in which Seattle led the league last year.  The 49ers were seventh. 

Fact is, if you want to win the Lombardi Trophy you need to sustain more drives than the opposition.  You need to separate yourself from the opposition by getting more than two measly first downs than you allow.  If you've only got a margin of two first downs, something is either wrong with your offense or your defense.  First clue - it wasn't the defense last season.

You say Kaepernick's not your hero.  OK.  If hero worship isn't blinding you to the flaws in Kaepernick's performance it must be football ignorance again.  Fact is, his performance has not been good enough.  He hasn't won.  And I think Phroggo's suggestion that he needs to work on controlling the ball by sustaining drives to be a contender this season is accurate.


  

Phroggo
Phroggo

@evileyefleagle 

I think you're spot on, evil one, relative to the football ignorance factor in Calci.

The way she downplays Seattle's edge in first downs seems to reflect that.  It's apparently impossible for her to realize just how important an additional 21 first downs could have meant to the Niners last season.  Just one (instead of none) touchdown drive against the Panthers in that home loss would have given the Niners home field advantage throughout the playoffs.  Just one more first down on that last drive against the Saints and they would have tied for the Division with the Seahawks and won on the second tie breaker (Division record) because the Hawks had two losses within the Division.  So just one first down here and a half dozen there puts the NFC Championship Game at Candlestick and sends the Seahawks to the frozen tundra in the wild card.  

Calci0
Calci0

@evileyefleagle @Calci0 

He hasn't won..... You are right he hasn't won the SB, but to act as if playing in a SB and in a Conference final is peanuts shows me your lack of football IQ.I don't believe Kaepernick is perfect, and of course he could improve, heck Brady can improve, Manning, Brees, any number of actual SB winning QB's have areas they can improve in and have flaws. But to hear it as if Kaepernick has been limping along and slowing the 49ers down is far from the truth. There are quite a few games the team road his back to victory in. No where did I say Kaepernick is just fine the way he is. I'm just not as down on him as you two seem to be. How many other QB's can claim a 4-2 Playoff record in their 1st 2 years starting?!? With both losses one score games.

But back to the point, that just shows me for some reason it's not clicking. Ball control is keeping the ball, PERIOD doesn't matter how many 1st downs you get, you want to have the ball more than the other team.It's funny how you ignore the clearly posted stats I gave, only to regurgitate the same stuff.


I'll post it again:
Denver had 435 1st downs vs 286 for the 49ers and averaged a whooping 17seconds more TOP. So ball control wise they are about equal. TOP and Ball control are one in the same..... If you are controlling the ball you are controlling the clock....... If you are controlling the clock, your defense is on the field less.


And you two are so high on 1st downs yet, did Denver win the SB? Nope, how about NE who was 2nd? SD was third in 1st D's. Saints 4th, Philly 5th.


The NY Giants won in 2011 and were 10th! Baltimore in 2012 were 15th! 2010 Packers were 13th! 


And since neither of you two produced any evidence of your claims here:


" In his book, Building A Champion, the former Bengals coach stated that he had specific goals set for each game, such as scripting 15 plays to open the game, "25 first downs" and "control the ball with short passing and selective running."    "

Key word was "AND"!!!!! Not you have to have 25 1st downs to control the ball. But that he'd control the ball with a short passing game and running the ball.  Slight me all you want with you comments, I know the game of football, and I do my research.


And throwing the ball more does have a correlation with more incompletes, and thus clock stoppage. That's simple football knowledge. If you stop the clock more often due to in-completes, then to overcome it you need more 1st downs.


Two incomplete passes on 1st and 2nd down burn off what maybe 10 secs. Two runs for no gain can can burn a minute easy. You guys again are just latching onto the Walsh comments as if I'm critiquing him, which is far from truth. Just simple math. The WC offense is and was a genius system!

evileyefleagle
evileyefleagle

@Phroggo

About our friend, Calci, you sure sent her off on a tangent, Phroggo.  Now you've got her looking up stats on all the teams in the league and she's really confused.  She says Seattle "only" had 307 first downs and still can't comprehend how much the 49ers could have used an additional 21 of those.

She's completely lost focus and it's your fault.  We're only talking about the San Francisco 49ers here and how their fortunes would improve if Colin Kaepernick could somehow acquire the ability to better sustain drives by piling up the first downs and getting the defense tired.  She asks, "what are you controlling? The Clock?"  No, sweetie, the ball.


I do give you credit, though, for making a dent in her football ignorance.  She has apparently read up on Bill Walsh and his goal of 25 first downs per game to establish ball control.  And she admits you do that by running and passing.

She, hopefully, will come to realize that the best way to keep your opponents from scoring in the NFL is to keep your hands on the ball.  And the best way to do that is to pile up the first downs.  She's wondering what all those first downs did for Denver and that illustrates how the main point of all this shot right over her head - that if the 49ers had all those first downs they'd have another trophy in their case.

Calci0
Calci0

@Phroggo @evileyefleagle 

One less fumble by a running back, one less drop by a WR, one less int by Kaepernick, one more int by the def, one more stop by the def, one more broken tackle by Gore/Hunter/Kaepernick/WR/TE, one less missed tackle by the def. etc, etc........ The football world you guys live in must be awesome. Key in on 1st downs all you want so you can save pride, FACT is, any number of things could have swung the 49ers season. Your lack of knowledge makes you think 1st downs are the only factor that played a role in the way the season finished. All your talk of 1st downs (I'll live you your world for a moment) and "if"
Kaepernick had thrown the ball an inch higher, and Crabtree scored the winning TD, you aren't on here talking about 1st downs........ But I know people like to be the Armchair QB/Monday Morning. You don't want to be proven wrong, so no matter the information presented, you'll continue to beat your 1st down drum.....


The sad thing is if you put more energy into understanding the game than you do at trying to insult people on the internet, you might finally realize the point I'm getting at. Keep coming up with hypothetical comebacks. 1st downs aren't the only marker for success, or the stats (FACTS) I've given you would show those teams leading in 1st downs winning the SB.......
Where did the THIRTY 1st downs a game get the Broncos? the 24 1st downs must have won NE, and the Chargers something. Stop thinking there is some exact science to football!

evileyefleagle
evileyefleagle

@Calci0

Keep studying your football long enough and you'll eventually realize that 2 more first downs than the opposition through the entire season greatly reduces your chances for a Lombardi trophy.

I see you've studied enough that you now know that 25 first downs a game will allow you to control the ball AND you do that by running and passing. 

Calci0
Calci0

@evileyefleagle @Phroggo 

It's when the "she" "her"comments come in that I know you guys are grasping at straws.What's funny is you guys think 21 more 1st downs matter when the season came down to an inch of height on a ball thrown to the endzone. Oh and all those 1st downs got Denver 2nd place, and as per you that means they didn't win anything.... It also means per game their defense got 17 more seconds of rest, man I bet that really recharged their tanks....... If Seattle controlled the ball so well why was their defense on the field longer than their offense? Hmmm maybe multiple other factors played a part in them winning the SB..... The sad thing is you can't comprehend that controlling the ball means you are controlling the clock.


http://www.sportsdefinitions.com/american-football/Ball-control.html

" The ability of a team to keep possession of the ball for long periods of time."

TIME?!? But isn't that in relation to a game clock?!?

 "keep your opponents from scoring in the NFL is to keep your hands on the ball."

Huh, so in all my years of watching football, by keeping your hands on the ball, the clock doesn't factor in to the desire to retain possession?!? Pretty sure the longer you hold the ball the less time the other team has with it.... 


Since you may have forgotten:

"And a good offense is one that controls the ball - something the Niners have failed to do with Kaepernick at quarterback."

Failing to do it would result in under 30mins of possession..... Which is not the case. The 49ers HAVE controlled the ball. And as I've stated they can improve in that area. This started with disputing his thought that the 49ers failed in this aspect. 

" And a good offense is one that controls the ball - something the Niners could improve on with Kaepernick at quarterback."

Had that been the comment, I'd have just read it and carried on... 

Calci0
Calci0

@evileyefleagle @Calci0 

Just admit it..... What exactly are you controlling?!? The clock....... And the fact is even with more 1st downs the Seattle offense held the ball less than the 49ers, and still won the SB. As stated below, if you know football, you know it's not an exact science. No where have I said 1st downs aren't a deciding factor, just that they aren't the ONLY factor, and that other variables can come into play.  Don't play with the words to make them fit your idea. The quote clearly states "control the ball with short passing and selective running." Controlling the ball is controlling the clock. Short passes have a better chance at being completed, and thus keeping the clock moving, along with running the ball. Controlling the ball means controlling who has the ball, and if you have more TOP, you are controlling the ball. If the 49ers had gotten 16 more 1st downs over the course of the year, that does not guarantee anything.....


My team is the 49ers. I'm still salty they lost last year. But I'm not going to hang my coat on "if" we had more 1st downs, we'd have a 6th Lombardi Trophy. When I know "If" alot of other things were different not only would the 1st down numbers change so would outcomes of games. "If" Crabtree was healthy all last season, we probably score more TD's, we probably have less int's (TO's), more 1st downs, more TOP, other players receive better defensive match-ups they can exploit.

Phroggo
Phroggo

Yes, you should have just read it and carried on, old gal, because that first comment that Bill Walsh needed more first downs to control the ball because he passed so much betrayed your ignorance. And each comment since just dug that big hole of ignorance a little deeper.

Bill Walsh's definition of ball control of 22-25 first downs a game is good enough for me. And the fact that you dispute that revealed your magnificent ignorance from the beginning. You might find someone who accepts your definition of ball control, whatever that is, but you'll have to look long and hard. If you've really been watching the Niners since the Walsh era, you'd know just from watching that last year's Niners were deficient in the category of first downs gained and allowed. First clue - plus 2 doesn't do it.

In today's NFL there is one winner each year and 31 losers. Kaepernick will remain among the losers unless he can overcome his inability to sustain drives. He has the physical potential to do that. His mental ability is questionable at this point in his career. He appears confused out there at times and wastes too many timeouts as a result. That's not a good sign and it makes you wonder whether or not he'll ever pull himself out of the loser's bracket. But, if he can overcome his confusion and learn to read defenses like Montana and Young, he'll wreak havoc in this league.

evileyefleagle
evileyefleagle

@Phroggo 

Congratulations, Phroggo, you've got Calci doing some studying.  She's looked up the West Coast Offense, that's progress.  And she's now recognized Bill Walsh's goal of establishing ball control by getting 25 first downs per game.  Yet that number seems to be going in her ears, hitting something solid and bouncing right back out.

She said that last year's performance wasn't to your liking, but she's apparently OK with it.  She's obviously quite satisfied with less than 18 first downs per game but I sure hope the team isn't, because that number will likely keep them in the loser's bracket.

She has further displayed her football ignorance by indicating the interception on Kaepernick's last pass last season might have been a score if it had been an inch higher.  What she apparently doesn't realize is that pass should have never been thrown.  That play should not have been run.  If the 49ers had scored on that play and converted the point, they would have had a one point lead with 30 seconds to play.  That's too much time to leave on the clock for a team with a good quarterback and a good kicker.  Throwing into the end zone and into double coverage, from the red zone, on first down with the game on the line and a good supply of timeouts available is one of the dumber things a guy can do.  And when, after the fact, the guy says he would do it all over again, it makes you wonder if there's any hope.


Calci0
Calci0

@Phroggo 

Well when you interpret things to your liking, there is no way you'll ever open up to the truth I guess. I find it funny you somehow think getting more 1st downs has nothing to do with doing so because you want to keep the ball and thus keep the clock running. You keep prancing around the idea the two are intertwined. Why did Walsh want 25 1st downs? Because he knew that meant his offense was constantly accumulating time of possession, and thus not allowing the other teams offense to be on the field trying to score.  And it's sad you are blinded by your attempt at being cool by trying to mock me with the female comments, that you are showing your clear lack of knowledge on the game.

 "West Coast Offense:

  • Stretch out the defense out horizontally as well as vertically, forcing slower linebackers and safeties to cover quick receivers.
  • Control time of possession with the football by utilizing a short passing attack that is an extension of the running game.
  • Take what the defense gives you.
  • Make the defense adjust to you.
  • Create mismatches with speed, size, and 5 receivers.
  • Throw on any down and distance to keep the defense guessing.
  • Quick precise 3 step and 5 step drops by the quarterback to take the place of running the ball
  • 7 step drop passes are used on shallow crossing and deep ins and comeback routes"

Notice point #2

 Beat around the bush all you want. You said Kaepernick failed at ball control, and you were wrong! He had been in control on a positive ball-control offense, it just wasn't up to your liking. And again no where have I said improvement isn't needed.  Is he as good as he can be? No, but last I checked he is just now coming into his 3rd year starting..... Can he be better, YES! And I hope he does improve on his play this year. But I won't go so far as to say he failed at ball-control. And I don't have the doom and gloom outlook, knowing what he had to go through with his offensive options last year.


One thing I'll for sure agree with is if he gets to the level of Young and Montana reading the game, then the sky is the limit. But Both Montana and Young were given time, how bout we do the same for Kaepernick..........

Calci0
Calci0

@evileyefleagle @Phroggo 

Why are you two genuises online going over game theory when obviously you have all the answers. You guys must be GM's in disguise. Nothing better than the arm chair QB's that know everything, and are all about pointing out the flaws in the pro's that actually play the game. You are both right, there probably is no hope for a QB that's gone 21-8 his 1st two years starting, and lost both a SB and NFC championship by one score each. I forgot Brees, won the SB his 1st 2 years starting, same with Manning, Rodgers also won his SB within his 1st two years of starting..... Oh wait they didn't. Bet they made some mistake along the way.


Why hasn't Harbaugh hired you two? Better yet, why isn't Harbaugh working for you two, obviously you have all the answers (you've told yourselves that so much you believe it). And my oh my. Wilson who was 15-24 (minus the 51 yard extremely busted play) for 164 is going to march down the field in 30 secs. If that's the case our D needs alot more work than I thought!


What's sad is you two obviously don't listen (except to yourselves). I said and have done so repeatedly that Kaepernick didn't fail. I also said I know he can improve, but obviously it's been too much info to retain. But thanks for the lesson guys, I now understand TOP is unimportant (as per the two two guys online....) and is in no way tied to 1st downs. 

Phroggo
Phroggo

@evileyefleagle

Now you've done it, evil one, you've called Calci's hero, Kaepernick, stupid and that'll probably cause her to lose more sleep.  I notice she's been posting in the wee hours.

NicolasMartin
NicolasMartin

@Calci0 @Phroggo I don’t wish Kaepernick ill, but I can’t see any of the potential that Montana and Young fulfilled. He has the physical skills but hasn’t displayed their mental aptitude. As for time, look at Montana’s stats from the game he became the starter in, I think, his second season. He developed much faster than Kaepernick. Young was also phenomenal. Among young NFL QBs, the Colt’s luck seems much more likely to develop into a first-rate player than Kap does. (Bill Walsh, you are missed.)

Calci0
Calci0

@Phroggo @evileyefleagle 

Exhibit 1145-b that a certain individual is here to troll. Bothers me none, I find you two's fictional posts entertaining at this point.

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