Tag:NFL
Posted on: August 25, 2011 7:17 pm
Edited on: August 25, 2011 8:22 pm
  •  
 

Doyle Gets It Wrong...

http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/story/
15482665/blood-spilled-at-games-bec
ause-of-alcohol-sales-must-stop


Banning alcohol is not the solution. It is the typical trap that rule makers fall into time after time...punish the guilty by punishing the innocent. Well, it's the wrong message. This topic came up on the 49ers forum (not surprisingly), and here are my comments transferred from my forum post.

So here is a recap of the supposed changes.

-No more tailgating after kickoff. This means no tailgating after the game either.

-There will be DUI checkpoints set up between the stadium exits and the freeways.

-49ers/Raiders exhibition games will now be postponed until further notice.

-Season ticket holders could have their rights revoked if their tickets makes it into the hands of a troublemaker.

If anyone has ever been to Candlestick, it was already a pain getting out of the stadium after games. Most of the time, we would tailgate after the game and let traffic die down. So without this option, I think I would rather stay home and watch it on 55" of Samsung Hi-Def. I didn't make it to any games last year, but I did go to 3 in 2009 and probably a total of 10 games in the last 10 years. So these rules are disappointing to say the least.

Checkpoints outside of the stadium will make a bad situation worse. So you can imagine if traffic sucked prior to this change, then how bad will traffic exiting the stadium be now? I do understand that DUI's need to be kept in check, but this move doesn't necessarily target the "bad" element. It will include your white and blue collared professionals as well.

49ers/Raiders exhibition games will be back.

I don't know if punishing season ticket holders sends the right message either. This is especially the case for underperforming teams like the 49ers who need this revenue. If the season ticket holders themselves are constant troublemakers, then boot them. However, you can't expect season ticket holders to police the tickets they sell.

I believe the solution lies in technology.

-Teams should make is standard to require a valid drivers license or state ID when entering the stadium.

-Teams should be able to scan these ID's and sync up with police computers. If the subject has warrants out for their arrest, then they should be turned away and/or arrested on the spot. To take it one step further, police officials on the spot would further screen individuals with violent backgrounds on record and kick them out. Stragglers would be kicked out after kickoff and once the 4th quarter ends, allow tailgating for those who wish to wait out traffic.

-Teams would need to pay for police officials to manage the program. Scanning ID's would not do much to significantly slow the pace of entering the stadium. Minors would be exempt as long as they are accompanied by an adult.

This would ensure that "bad" elements stay out of the stadium and forced back into the parking lot or arrested. If they are not arrested, then they would be forced to leave after kickoff. I guarantee that once word gets out that police are arresting people with open warrants at the gates, then a lot of the bad element will stop showing up.

if you do these things, then you're sending the right message. We don't want people in our stadium who are criminals and/or are prone to violence.


Category: NFL
Posted on: April 28, 2010 3:57 pm
 

The Rest of the NFC West - 49ers Fan Perspective

I think 49ers fans, for the most part, are happy with the 49ers' draft. There are 3 potential day 1 starters in Davis, Iupati and Bowman. The others, Mays (Dime and Quarter packages), Dixon (goal line, short yardage, clean up), Byham (blocking TE), and Williams (PR, #4 or 5 WR) could contribute right away as role players. We gave up our 5th round pick for Ginn, who will be used primarily at KR.

There is also a lot of talk on how our NFC West counterparts did as well. I must say for the most part, the entire NFC West probably had the best draft as a division. Let's look at our opponents.

Arizona Cardinals

#26) Dan Williams, NT, Tennessee
#47) Daryl Washington, LB, TCU
#88) Andre Roberts, WR, Citadel
#130) O'Brien Schofield, DE, Wisconsin
#155) John Skelton, QB, Fordham
#201) Jorrick Calvin, DB, Troy
#233) Jim Dray, Stanford

I'm a fan of Williams. I wouldn't have mind one bit if we used our #17 pick on him instead of Iupati. Williams will be a solid NT and it will be interesting to see how Iupati stacks up against him. Some considered Washington to be better than Sean Witherspoon. Washington will strt right away in place of Dansby. I've talked about Roberts on another post. He's my favorite "lesser" known WR's. He is a good PR and he probably has the best hands in the draft. Schofield is good wher ethey got him. He has good upside if he can overcome his injury. He tore is ACL before the Senior Bowl. Skelton has a good arm and a quick release. The Cards did well. I'm still penciling them in as a favorite to win the NFC West even without Warner. They filled their holes on defense (and possibly improved it). It's going to be more of a run-based team with the ability to stretch out with 3 good WR's on passing downs. The first 3 picks will be significant contributors this year.

Seattle Seahawks

#6) Russell Okung, OT, Oklahoma St
#14) Earl Thomas, SS, Texas
#60) Golden Tate, WR, Notre Dame
#111) Walter Thurmond, CB, Oregon
#127) E.J. Wilson, DE, North Carolina
#133) Kam Chancellor, FS, Virginia Tech
#185) Anthony McCoy, TE, USC
#236) Dexter Davis, DE, Arizona St
#245 Jameson Konz, WR, Kent St

I saw all the analysts raving about the Seahawks draft and can't understand what all the hype is all about. Let me add that the Seahawks had a very, very good draft. However, the Seahawks have a lot of holes to fill so it's much easier declare that the Seahawks filled their needs through the draft expecially when the talent level was low to begin with. My favorite pick is Okung. The Seahawks were lucky to get him at #6. Golden Tate was also a steal for him. I think he has the chance to be special even if he doesn't have the measurables. He has good ball awareness and he is a good returner. I'm on the fence about Earl Thomas. He's going to be a ball hawk. I don't why's he's listed at SS. I still think he is on the small-ish side and think he's more of a late first round guy, so it borderline where they took him. He'll be fine as a FS though where he doesn't have to take a pounding. Thurmond's upside is off the charts, but for a guy that relies on agility and cutting, he sure tore a lot of ligaments. I don't foresee him making any impact in the first couple of years. I though Henderson was a bit of a reach. However, Chancellor was a steal where they got him. He has upside at SS. The Seahawks nabbed 2 starters and Tate will be a solid contributor in year one. The Seahawks are still a work in progress. I don't see more than 6 or 7 wins out of them this year as they try to string their system and roster together.

St Louis Rams

1) Sam Bradford, QB, Oklahoma
33) Roger Saffold, OT, Indiana
65) Jerome Murphy, CB, S. Florida
99) Marty Gilyard, Cincinnati
132) Michael Hoomanawanui
149) Hall Davis, DE, La-Lafayette
170) Fendi Onobun, TE, Arizona
189) Eugene Sims, DE, West Texas A&M
211) Marquis Johnson, DB, Alabama
226) George Selvie, DE, S. Florida
254) Josh Hull, LB, Penn St

The Rams also had a very good draft. They kicked it off by taking a franchise QB. Bradford seems like the real deal, but he was surrounded by a lot of talent in College. It will be a couple of more years before the Rams will be able to properly stock Bradford with the tools to win. Saffold was my favorite pick. They now have options with Barron...move to Guard or let him go. Murphy and Gilyard were excellent where they were drafted. hall davis was another solid pick. I'm not sure where Selvie fits. The Rams are playing the #'s game. They had a lot of late picks and hope to hit on a couple. They are still another couple of years away from competing, but 4 or 5 wins is not out of the realm.

All the NFC teams turned out very good drafts. I still think the Cards are still 10 win capable and will be the 49ers greatest challenge. It will come down to the 49ers/Cards matchups this year to decide which on takes the NFC West. The Seahawks are at least another year away from competing and the Rams another year after that.

Category: NFL Draft
Posted on: April 15, 2010 8:06 pm
Edited on: April 15, 2010 10:20 pm
 

Irish Dawg's 2010 Collaborative Mock - 49ers

Hello Everyone. Here are the reults for the 49ers in Irish Dawg's 2010 Collaborative Mock Draft. The philosophy I took with the 49ers is an 8-8 team with a front office that needs to bring in impact players to help make the playoffs. This is the same front office regime since 2005, so it's do or die now. Another losing season for the 49ers may spell the end for the current front office and even HC Mike Singletary. The 49ers under Nolan/McCloughan have taken calculated risks on talent over character over the years. Vernon Davis (immaturity), to Antonio Bryant (insubordination), to Tarell Brown (minor brush ups with the law) are a few examples. I tried to take the same approach. Here are the results.

http://www.cbssports.com/mcc/blogs/
entry/13992344/14213465?tag=header;quickLinks


1st rd, #13 - Anthony Davis, OT, Rutgers - My feeling is that the 49ers are very high on Davis. Davis has the talent to be the best OT in this year's draft, even over Okung and Bulaga. Character issues dealing with motivation and immaturity have gradually knocked Davis out of the top 10 and possibly even lower on some teams boards. However, the 49ers felt Crabtree was the second best player in the 2008 draft. Davis may not be that high up the 49ers board this year, but I'm thinking that the approach is similar in terms of how he is ranked. Davis' issues are the kind that Singletary excels in dealing with. I don't have any idea how Davis interviewed with the 49ers, so this will be the x-factor come draft day. Why didn't I wait until #17 to draft Davis? Seattle trade out of #6 and still needed an OT at #14. Davis doesn't really fit the zone blocking scheme, but there was still the risk of losing him to Seattle. There is the possibility that current LT would move back to RT if Davis excels at LT.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NiL8DSVAUJQ

1st rd, #17 - Taylor Mays, SS, USC - This was my first controversial pick. I think most of the GM's that participated in this mock feel that Mays is grossly overrated and that I reached on him early. I can understand the positioning of some teams. I also feel that Mays can have the best and quickest success in the right system. I believe the way that the 49ers have utlized Michael Lewis the last two years typifies what Mays would be asked to do. Mays quite possibly would be more successful than Lewis do to the difference in athleticism. Coincidentally enough, Mays and Lewis are similar in size. Lewis is a very large SS as well. If the 49ers really draft Mays, it will be with the intention of moving him to SS. Lewis is in the final year of his contract, so Mays would not need to start right away. This goes against the immediate impact player philosophy I described above but with two picks in the first round, I can see a team taking more chances on a project with great athleticism. It's a luxury pick. And let's be realistic, was Mays performance in 2009 really that bad? He made some great plays and he made some poor ones. The poor ones seem correctable with good coaching and the 49ers secondary coaches have done well grooming FS Dashon Goldson and CB's Shawntae Spencer & Tarell Brown in recent years.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RWroHILuG-I&feature=fvst

2nd rd, #49 - Perrish Cox, CB, Oklahoma St - If there was a truely great controverial pick, it was this one. Cox has great talent. I think he was one of the best returners (if not the best), in this years draft crop. He also has immense talent as a CB. I feel that Cox has shutdown ability. This combination of talent at CB and return ability really attracted me to him. Also, CB's were flying off the board at this point. From a talent perspective, I do not think any CB drafted after this spot is better from a pure talent standpoint. Now on to the negatives. Cox has major character issues. He had repeated discplinary issues. He also has 3 kids and was popped for driving on a suspended license. I did research the insubordination and disciplinary issues. I felt that a strong locker room (which the 49ers have) along with Singletary as coach would help. What I admittedly missed on is the 3 kids and driving infraction. Had I caught this, I would've passed as I dont' think that's what Singletary would approve of. The general consensus was that I reached on him...and I agree. Cox could've probably been had anywhere between rounds 3-6 because of character concerns.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ma_n9K3stn8

3rd rd, #79 - Jon Asamoah, G, Illinois - This was a rather "safe" pick, but BPA at #79. However, it was also very much needed. The team hasn't committed long-term to Baas. It's possible that Baas breaks out in 2010, but he will also be an UFA. Asomoah is the second best Guard prospect available. John Jerry's name is being mentioned as well, but he is also a Tackle. Asomoah seems to have the mentality that a Singletary coached team would want. He plays with nastiness. Asomoah is also very intelligent and a good locker room personality. Asomoah may be able to play both G spots. he would compete against Baas right away.

4th rd, #113 - Andre Roberts, WR, Citadel - I was questioned about taking Roberts a little early. However, at the rate that WR's moved off the board in the 2nd and 3rd rounds, I thought Roberts was good value in the middle of the 4th round. Bigger names like Taylor Price, Carlton Mitchell, Marty Gilyard, Jordan Shipley and Jacoby Ford were all off the board. Roberts one true greatest asset is his hands. His greatest knock is the lower level of competition. He had a good showing at the combine. Roberts performed well at the Senior Bowl, which the 49ers like to see. This also alleviates some of the lower level of competition concerns. Plus, his final college production #'s are just astounding. His value as a punt returner combined with his hands may even get him drafted earlier.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=An5rP_BiEdg

5th rd, #145 - Micah Johnson, ILB, Kentucky - Going into the 5th round, things tend to get a little more muddled in terms of valuing prospects and where they whould be drafted. You start seeing players here that should have been gone in the 3rd round or a player that may not even be drafted. Micah Johnson could swing on either side of that pendulum. Johnson has been plagued by injury throughout his entire collegiate career. He may developed into a 3rd round prospect without all of his setbacks. At the same time, some teams may just knock Johnson off their big board altogether. The reason I drafted Johnson is that he reminds me a little of Takeo Spikes, except not as athletic. The 49ers need a big, strong LB to matchup with the FB and Johnson has these traits. The 49ers also drafted Scott McKillop in the 5th round last year. He's shown some flashes, but Spikes' replacement still remains unsettled. Plus, 49ers love those SEC players.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PGUlgQ2Q_Sw

6th rd, #182 - Antonio Coleman, OLB, Auburn - Another SEC player and an outstanding pass rusher. 49ers re-signed Ahmad Brooks for two more years, but Manny Lawson is on the fence. The 49ers did well in tieing for 3rd in sacks for 2009. However, those sacks came in bunches and the 49ers have not established an elite pass rusher. Those sacks were by committee. Coleman was a dominant force in the SEC. Coleman is Auburn's #3 all-time sack leader. A minor injury hobbled him in 2009. He will be a project as a 3-4 OLB, but the skillset is there...especially with his pass rushing skills.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PxZIk6FTwis

6th rd, #207 - Crezdon Butler, CB, Clemson - This was the 49ers' comp pick. This was more of an insurance policy if Cox doesn't get his head on straight. I don't think CB is the weakest position on the 49ers in terms of talent, but it is the position that gets hit the hardest by injury every year. Butler was part of a defense that ranked 15th in the nation last year. he was the CB that QB's avoided so he didn't put up guady statistics. The challenge will be much tougher in the NFL. He has decent size (6' & 195 lbs) and speed (4.4 40 range).

7th rd, #224 - Ekom Udofia, NT, Stanford - Udofia is projected to be a rotational player at best. However, his strength and size are his best attributes. These are similar traits to 49ers current NT, Aubrayo Franklin. Franklin had a breakout year yet the team has not committed him to a long-term deal. franklin was also a 6th round pick leading me to believe that Udofia is capable of a similar career path. There are reports that the 49ers are bringing him in for a workout.

Before the draft, I had identified the top needs as RT, LG and KR/PR. Lower priority needs for depth and long-term replacements for other positions include CB, SS, ILB, NT, and C. I walked away from this mock draft feeling pretty good about addressing those needs and prioritizing them accordingly. Davis and Asomoah would compete right away at RT and LG respectively. At the same time, Cox and Roberts would provide immediate help in the return game. Mays, and the other remaining selections address positions that do not have immediate needs, but will in the near future.

There were certain philosophies I tried to maintain last year while Scot McCloughan was the GM. I had read that McCloughan didn't feel particularly comfortable drafting CB's in the first round. He also likes "larger" RB's. He feels that the NFL is a "big man's" game. However, McCloughan is gone. If McCloughan were still calling the shots this year, I would've guessed that Haden and Spiller would be far down on the big board. But McCloughan isn't with the team anymore and to be quite honest, I haven't a clue on how his replacements may act on draft day. They could very well take Haden or Spiller.

With regards to "questionable" character, my feeling is that Singletary will take a chance on talent over character provided they are more closely related to immaturity instead of criminal issues. That's why I would predict Davis will could be drafted and miscalculated on Cox. Anyways, let me know your thoughts.

Posted on: February 15, 2010 5:30 pm
 

49ers Offseason Priorities

Congratulations to the 49ers for finishing 8-8. It was the first time since 2003 that the 49ers didn't finish below 0.500. Boo to the 49ers for not making the playoffs since 2003. Coming into the 2009 season, I felt that the team was finally moving in the right direction. Nolan did some good things, but his progress had stagnated after 2006. 2009 marked the first season where GM Scot McCloughan had full control over the team. However, the front office wasn't the only change. Playmakers stepped up on both sides of the ball. For the first time in a long time, I can say with confidence that there is a solid core of players that the 49ers can add to. The front office went conservative for 2009. I expect them to make some more noise in free agency for 2010.

I have offered some thoughts below as to what I think the team will do this offseason.

QB - Singletary seems committed to Alex Smith as the starter for 2010. However, there was some caution in Singletary's wording. Singletary's general philosophy is to "get better at every position". So he committed to Smith without committing. Common sense tells us that the 49ers aren't in a position to draft and groom another QB after Nate Davis, given the way Davis played during the 2009 preseason. The expectation is to win the division for 2010. So Smith is most likely the starter. If a QB is drafted, you probably won't see one drafted before the 6th or 7th round. Shaun Hill will most likely be gone. Another journeyman may be brought in. To the 49ers, this isn't an area of great perceived need and the draft class for QB's this year isn't a strong one. Priority - Low. No immediate needs.

RB - Gore will continue to be the centerpiece on offense. The majority of the middle part of the 2009 season was used by the offense to adjust to more of a spread/shotgun type passing attack to suit Smith's strength's and minimize his weaknesses. During this time, Gore was lost in the shuffle. There are questions as to whether Gore can succeed in the new offense. I don't feel the team will try to move Gore. Gore showed his pass catching abilities in Martz's offense in 2008. He also displayed good top end speed evidenced by his long runs last year. The bigger question is "where does Glen Coffee fit in the new offense?" Coffee is more of a grinder between the tackles. He has similar timed speed to Frank Gore, but is not as explosive as Gore. Coffee's hands are still relatively untested. Coffee was a 3rd round pick in 2009 and still undeveloped as a RB. It difficult to envision the 49ers giving up on a 3rd round pick so early, so I don't think there will be much of a change here. There is speculation that the 49ers might grab a playmaker at the position. C.J. Spiller's name continues to be brought up. If Spiller falls to #17, I don't see why the 49ers take him as an irresitably best player available as they did with Michael Crabtree last year. Priority - Low. No immediate needs.

WR - This was a position of relative weakness going into the 2009 offseason. Fast forward one year and now it's a postion of strength. Crabtree showed why he has top 10 talent. He stepped in mid-season after missing 5 games, preseason and training camp and still put 625 yards and 2 TD's. The expectation will be much higher for 2010. Morgan could be the 49ers' best deep threat but he needs to conentrate and catch the ball better. This team still underutilized Jason Hill and Brandon Jones. This is a very young, but extremely talented core of WR's. Battle may be the odd man out and I don't see team making major changes here. Priority - Low. No immediate needs.

TE - What a year for Vernon Davis. Davis had always been amazing talent, but it had to be the right set of circumstances for him to live up to that potential. 2009 was a phenomenal year for Davis. I don't expect a repeat 13 TD season, but Davis will still be one of the leagues elite TE's. Delanie Walker proved to be a mismatch for defenses at the expense of playing time for Morgan and Hill. The 49ers have no shortage of receivers in the passing game. Walker does need to improve blocking. There is some speculation that the team will bring in a 3rd TE as a blocking specialist. This does not come as a surprise as the team needs to improve short yardage and goal line blocking. Priority - Medium. Blocking specialist needed.

O-line - This could be considered the greatest crutch on offense in 2009. The 49ers have admitted there were problems and Singletary said that there would be offseason changes. RT was the most glaring weakness. Adam Snyder is no more than a backup at the position. LG David Baas was merely average at best. In his defense, he played injured much of the season with Plantar Faciatis. Baas will most likely be back as he will be a restricted free agent. The big question is how the team plans to address the RT position. Will it be via free agency or draft. There are a slew of OT's in the first round that would make solid RT's. However, teams do not typically spend first round draft picks on RT's. The 49ers have two picks in the first round so thye could afford the luxury of doing so. However, if GM McCloughan is truely savvy, then he will address RT in free agency before the draft. Priority - High. RT upgrade is a must. LG upgrade would enhance this unit.

D-line - The defense starts with NT Aubrayo Franklin. Franklin had a quietly good year. At the same time, he isn't exactly a best kept secret. Franklin is an unrestricted free agent and the 49ers will most likely use the franchise tag on him. The 49ers front office has locked up young players to long term contracts in recent years. It's somewhat troubling that Franklin wasn't given an extension before the season ended. This leave me to question the 49ers' intentions with regards to Franklin. Prior to the Senior Bowl, there were rumors that the 49ers were interested in Alabama NT Terrence Cody. The 49ers place a lot of stock in Senior Bowl players. I am under the impression that the 49ers opinion on Cody has changed for the worse since Cody showed up out of shape (or overweight). However, it has to raise an eyebrow that the 49ers are possibly looking at a younger replacement for Franklin. Justin Smith is an excellent 3-4 DE. Sopoaga and Balmer are average on the other side. Priority - Medium. Long term solution at NT is needed.

LB - Patrick Willis is arguably the best ILB in the league right now. Takeo Spikes is playing at a high level next to Willis. The 49ers may have uncovered a gem in Ahmad Brooks. Manny Lawson and Parys Haralson are effective if not dominating. The ILB's are solid. However, the 49ers have yet to find Spikes' future replacement. Top reserve, Scott McKillop may be limited as a special teams standout and a career backup. It still remains to be seen if he can replace Spikes long term. The team lacks an elite OLB to rush the passer. The team may be wise to target a top free agent pass rusher to boost competition. Priority - Medium. Elite pass rusher and long term replacement is needed for Spikes.

CB - This unit received quite a shake up throughout the season. $80 million man Nate Clements was benched as a starter and then ultimately injured. Singletary believes that Clements still has much to offer as a CB. For this reason alone, I think that Clements will be back at starting CB. Shawntae Spencer has locked down the other side. Tarell Brown is an effective nickel corner. Veteran Dre Bly stepped up his play late in the season. it will be difficult for the 49ers to re-sign him. It has become a passing league. The 49ers struggle in pass coverage and cannot afford to be caught short in CB's. Expect a high profile signing or draft pick here. Priority - Medium. One more top flight CB is needed.

S - Dashon Goldson stepped into the full time starter role and provided the safety position with an infusion of much needed turnovers. Goldson needs to improve on his coverage, but the potential is certainly there. SS Michael Lewis struggled with concussions early in the season. With the league placing additional emphasis on concussions, the 49ers will need to address the position. Mark Roman is not the long term answer. He is much more suited to a limited role. 2008 3rd round pick Reggie Smith flashed playmaking ability in the preseason, but he needs to turn the corner here. Otherwise, the team will need to invest heavily for 2010. Priority - Medium. Long term solution at SS must be found.

Returns - This area was the most painful to watch. Singletary did some good things throughout the season, but returns were horribly mismanaged. There was no answer after Allen Rossum was cut. Michael Sprulock was not given a chance. Opportunities were fumbled and bobbled by Jones. Morgan proved to be the best return man but the team does not want to use a starting WR here. Singletary stated that the return game will see emphasis in the offseason as well. Whether it be free agency or draft, something drastic needs to be done here. Priority - High. Return specialist needed.

Kicking - Andy Lee and Joe Nedney are the constants and good at what they do. Priority - Low

To summarize, the 49ers need immediate upgrades at RT and returner. then they will need to address long-term needs at NT, ILB and SS. The core of a good team is there. The final pieces need to be put into place. This may be the end of the line for McCloughan so he will need a big offseason and an even bigger finish for 2010
Category: NFL
Tags: 49ers, nfl
 
Posted on: May 9, 2009 5:09 pm
 

49ers 2009 Offseason Review

When Coach Mike Nolan was hired in 2005, it was supposed to signal an end to the Donahue era and its losing ways. The hiring of Nolan also marked the second time in three years that the 49ers were tasked with rebuilding. The Nolan era was dotted with many turbulent highs and lows. Nolan used the #1 overall pick in 2005 on Utah QB Alex Smith. From Nolan’s perspective, Smith was to be the franchise QB of which to build the team around. Smith’s ride through his first four years in the NFL has been bumpy as well. Saddled with four offensive coordinators in four years mixed in with some injuries, Smith never developed into the franchise QB that the team and its fans projected him to be. But the 2005 draft did bring some good fortune. Frank Gore was plucked in the third round of what may be considered the best steal of the 2005 draft.

Throughout the years, Nolan mixed his erratic drafts with his erratic free agent signings. Some free agent signings were more exciting than others. In 2005, Nolan threw a hefty contract at LT Jonas Jennings to protect Smith’s blind side. Jennings proved to be ineffective in that role as injuries kept him off the field for much of the past four years. 2006 brought CB Walt Harris to the team. Harris is aging, but continues to play at a high level as proven by the only Pro Bowl appearance in his career (2006). In the case of the above, Jennings was the signing that brought more excitement over Harris, but Harris proved to be more productive over the past three years.

So what was the result of Nolan’s efforts the past 3 1/2 years? 

2005 – 4-12; first year of rebuilding.

2006 – 7-9; progress with Norv Turner as offensive coordinator.

2007 – 5-11; regressed with the loss of Turner.

2008 – 2-5; fired after week 7.

We now head into the Scot McCloughan/Mike Singletary era. So one might ask “Wasn’t McCloughan the GM for Nolan as well?” The answer is “yes” and “no”. McCloughan was acting GM but he never had the authority of a traditional GM. Nolan had final say on all personnel matters. Did McCloughan have input? Sure. But McCloughan had to fight really hard to convince Nolan that a certain player should be had. The most popular example is LB Patrick Willis. McCloughan really had to sell Willis to Nolan. Had it not been for the persistence of McCloughan, Willis may not have been a 49er today. But give Nolan some credit. The current regime of McCloughan and Singletary were brought together by Nolan.

The combo of McCloughan and Singletary ushers in a new era. But this one does not require a roster overhaul from top to bottom. The biggest news for the 49ers this offseason was signing new Head Coach Mike Singletary to a 4 year extension. Let’s back up for a minute. Almost halfway through the 2008 season, Nolan was fired and Singletary assumed status of Interim Head Coach. After the season, Jed York (son of John and Denise), was promoted to President, therefore overseeing entire football operations. There are good things happening here. First off, we must be careful not to lump young Jed into the same category as his father. John spent many years growing up while enjoying the presence of his uncle, Eddie DeBartolo. Jed shares a passion for football in the same way that DeBartolo does, unlike father John. Some question that Singletary is responsible for the 49ers turnaround. Well, let’s view it this way, the 49ers started 2-5 under Nolan and finished 5-4 under Singletary. Singletary’s first loss should be credited to a Nolan-esque gameplan, which remained in place when Nolan was fired mid-week. So the personnel remains unchanged and Singletary prepares the gameplans for the last 8 games where his record is really 5-3 in those games. Nolan’s defense ranked #23. It was an improvement of 9 spots over the course of 3 ½ years. Singletary raised it 10 spots to #13 in only nine games. Singletary brought discipline back to the team. I would strongly suggest that “yes”, coaching had a lot to do with the turnaround.

This offseason is the first offseason that GM Scot McCloughan gets to place his personal stamp on the team. There is no Nolan to look over his shoulder. McCloughan now fits the mold of a more traditional GM and not a lame-duck puppet under a head coach with full authority. McCloughan’s general message for 2009 was to keep the core of a roster that won 4 out of the last 5 games intact. McCloughan did mention that he would make upgrades as long as he didn’t have to overspend or reach on a player. This makes sense since the team is not in full rebuild mode. Now let’s not confuse this for being cheap as McCloughan has stated that the Yorks have been very generous with their pocketbook. If the right player came along, I’m confident that McCloughan would spend the money.

The 49ers spent the early part of free agency, and the time leading up to it, re-signing their own players. After the team re-signed ILB Takeo Spikes, and KR Allen Rossum, there were only a few glaring needs. Singletary had stated from the beginning that he wanted “more sacks”. That was open for interpretation. The other “sore” spots from last season were RT and FS. Also for a team looking to take the next step, they needed to bolster depth.

Free Agent Losses – Of the more notable names, DB Keith Lewis, LB Tully Banta-Cain, TE Billy Bajema, DT Ronald Fields, RB DeShaun Foster, OT Jonas Jennings, WR Bryant Johnson, QB J.T. O’Sullivan and CB Donald Strickland were either released or not asked to return. Most were picked up by other teams. Jennings was the biggest cut, but it was expected due to injuries and lack of contribution. Singletary expressed his pleasure with Strickland and Bajema was a fan favorite as a dedicated blocker. But both were made better offers from other teams. Out of the above, Johnson and Fields are the only players to land a starting job somewhere else. Ironically enough for Fields, it is with Denver, where Nolan is now running the defense. Many of the above players were mainly role players for the team. Jennings was oft-injured and Johnson never challenged for a starting spot. I penalized the 49ers for not making a stronger effort to re-sign Field, Strickland or Bajema. For the losses, I give the 49ers a B+.

Free Agent Additions – The most notable free agent additions were DE Demetric Evans, QB Damon Huard, WR Brandon Jones, FB Moran Norris and OT Marvel Smith. McCloughan had set the expectation that there wasn’t going to be a free agent “splash” signing with the 49ers. That changed with the last minute signing of Smith only one week before the NFL draft. Smith will assume the RT job. His health will determine his success at the position. But for years, Smith was a dominating OT for the Steelers. Norris will assume the starting FB gig. It’s a much needed homecoming for him and the team. The rest of the additions will play valuable roles but are not expected to start. Jones was brought in to add a vertical threat to the passing game. Evans was one of the better free agent defensive linemen in free agency. He will rotate in as 3-4 DE and as a DT against multiple receiver sets. Huard is not a threat to either Alex Smith or Shaun Hill. Marvel and Norris are upgrades at their respective positions. I penalized the 49ers for signing an injury risk in Smith. I give the 49ers a B- for the additions.

Returning Players – WR Isaac Bruce, QB Alex Smith, ILB Takeo Spikes, OLB Parys Haralson and KR Allen Rossum are the most notable names. Smith was in danger of being cut but restructured to stay with the team. The fans are tired of hearing it, but Smith may still be our QB of the future. If he doesn’t make something out of this year, then it will be his last. Haralson developed into the team’s top pass rusher. Spikes re-signed for two more years and will hold down the Ted LB spot next to Willis. Rossum gave the 49ers their most electrifying runner in years. All three re-signings were good for the team. Bruce contemplated retirement but eventually decided to return. His solid play and veteran leadership (along with Spikes) is an unquantifiable value-add. I penalized the 49ers for not re-signing the players in the losses section. I give the 49ers a B here.

2009 NFL Draft – With the above changes made, the 49ers entered the draft with no immediate needs. The draft would be used for long-term assets. The strategy that McCloughan implied was to take the best player available and not reach for a position of need. Since there were no immediate needs, this strategy would be easy to accomplish. The 49ers stuck true to their word and took the best players available. Texas Tech WR Michael Crabtree, Pittsburgh LB Scott McKillop, Ball State QB Nate Davis and LSU DT Ricky Jean-Francois were steals where they were drafted. Fresno State TE Bear Pascoe and LSU FS Curtis Taylor were taken with good value. The only questionable pick is RB Glen Coffee because he was projected to be a third or fourth round selection. The 49ers took Coffee with their third pick after trading away their second and fourth picks the day before. In exchange, the 49ers will receive the Panthers’ 2010 first round pick. Coffee has quite a college resume and fits the 49ers style of running, so ultimately, this was a good pick for the team. The move to acquire an additional first round pick next year is a good one since this year’s draft is not as strong. I penalized the 49ers for Coffee. There were other comparable backs here. I give the 49ers a B+.

Rookie Free Agent Signings – The most notable signings here were Ohio State OT Alex Boone and Purdue RB Kory Sheets. Both Boone and Sheets come with good potential. But they also come with high character concerns. Rookie free agents are low-risk and aren’t expected to make the team. But Boone and Sheets were considered mid-round picks. They are solid developmental players that have the upside to become starters. I penalized the 49ers for taking player with high character risks here. It was a good move for the team and I give them a B here.

Overall, the 2009 offseason brings a sigh of relief from the tense moments of the Nolan era. Free agency and the draft were played wisely by McCloughan. The foundation is solid on both lines. There are no glaring weaknesses. Crabtree elevates the WR position. Coffee will spell Gore and the running game should be more effective. The defense remains virtually intact from last year and should benefit from the stability it enjoyed in the last half of the season. If the 49ers win 10 or more games this year, than McCloughan will have done more than save his job. He will be regarded as solid talent evaluator and gain some respect as a GM. However, if the team takes another step back, McCloughan will be under fire.

Category: NFL
Tags: 49ers, NFL
 
Posted on: August 17, 2008 1:43 pm
Edited on: August 17, 2008 2:27 pm
 

49ers Rookie WR Josh Morgan

WHO IS THIS GUY?! I mean, I know who he is and where he came from...but...WHO IS THIS GUY?!

I can't remember the last time I've seen a 49ers' WR get open or behind a defense since Terrell Owens. Morgan has been the 49ers' top receiver in the first 2 preseason games. He 's making the big plays. Alright, I must admit. It is STILL preseason. I must'nt get too excited here. BUT I CAN'T HELP IT! Us 49er fans haven't had much to get excited about the last few years. The signing of Isaac Bruce and Bryant Johnson has been the 49ers biggest news regarding the WR position *yawn*. Now this Morgan guy breaks out 2 games in a row. I mean is he that good? Only time will tell.

I recall in April, many of us 49er faithful were hoping to see the 49ers land on of the top WR in this year's NFL draft (Devin Thomas, Early Doucet, James Hardy, DeSean Jackson, Malcolm Kelly, just to name a few). Many of us were disappointed when the 49ers passed on a receiver early. Maybe this was the plan all along.

I know Morgan had some off field issues at Virginia Tech, but is he that talented? I'm hoping that he provides us the kind of spark that we need for the regular season. I'll keep my fingers crossed.

I've always said that a team should draft based on it's own thought processes and strategies and not what the general public thinks. Could Morgan be a 6th round gem? Maybe the 49ers knew something about Morgan that no one else did...

...again, only time willl tell and I can't help to be excited about that.

Category: NFL
Posted on: July 14, 2008 6:28 pm
Edited on: July 16, 2008 4:39 pm
 

Memo To Brett Favre: Fool Me Once, Shame On You..

 

...Fool Me Twice, Shame On Me.

OK. You have a 38 year QB who's taken your club to countless playoff games, 2 Super Bowls (winning 1 of them). In 2007, you surround him one of the top offensive lines in the league, playmaking WR's, a solid running game (Thanks to Ryan Grant), and a top 5 defense. All this to make one final run for a Super Bowl before the next generation of QB's take over. Why was this such a tough decision Brett? You have to feel good about finishing where you did last year. 2007 was a significant improvement over 2006 and there is no reason to feel that would not be a Super bowl favorite this year. But you couldn't make up your mind.

Here what your haste has cost you. 1) Your starting job in Green Bay. 2) Your relationship with management. What a way to go out.

I hate to be the one to say this, but I'm with management on this one. It's not easy replacing someone with Brett Favre's production, but you have to start somewhere. 3 years ago, it almost happened. In 2005, there was speculation that Favre would retire. At that time, he was unsure setting the Packers up every postseason where they must ask themselves "is this the year Brett Favre retires?" In anticipation, the Packers spend their 2005 1st round draft pick on Aaron Rodgers. The Pack could've had some budding young talent with that pick...WR Roddy White, CB Marlin Jackson, DE Luis Castillo, OG Logan Mankins, (all players that started last year and all players who could've played a role with the Packers this year). Fast forward to 2008. Aaron Rodgers has spent the last 3 seasons riding the bench where he may have been a starter elsewhere. I understand management's decision to back Rodgers. They have invested a lot in him.

Since we are on the topic of draft picks, let's talk about 2008, which is Favre's supposed year of retirement. The Packers gave him an opportunity from February through March to decide whether or not he should come back and play for 2008. As outlined above, the answer is relatively simple. By walking away, Favre is giving up a legitimate shot to win it all in 2008. That doesn't sound very Favre-like. I'll get to this a little more later. What Favre ends up telling the Packers (let me remind you that he had 60 days to come to this decision) is that he is retiring. So what do the Packers do? They prepare to move on without him. They spend a 2nd round pick on Brian Brohm (one of the top rated QB's in this year's draft) and a 7th rounder on Matt Flynn of LSU. The fact that the Pack spent a 2nd round pick on Brohm says it all. 1) The Packers aren't 100% confident in Rodgers no matter what they state in public. 2) They need that extra insurance policy if Rodgers doesn't make it through the whole season. No team would risk a 2nd round draft on a QB if they didn't need one. If Favre comes back, the Packers will have 4 QB's on the roster. it looks like the 7th rounder gets cut due to a #'s game...wasted draft pick. If I was management, I would be PO'd to hear Favre is coming back after making all these offseason adjustments. Favre has been the face of this franchise since '92 (along with the great Reggie White) but at some point in time, Favre must realize that football is a team sport and it's not all about him. Yes, he is the Iron Man and he HAS laid it all on the line with uncountable consecutive starts in football. But football is complicated. Every year Favre decides to allow the team to speculate about his retirement could damage the club's future, the Rodgers pick demonstrates that.

Time to hang it up for good Brett. If you unretire, there might be a chance that you start sometime during the regular season (when Rodgers gets pulled due to performance or injured). You also affected the career of 7th round pick Matt Flynn, who gets cut before ever playing a preseason snap and may never play again. You've already dangled that carrot in front of Rodgers for 3 years, how many more should it be? Now you ask the Packers to cut you because you feel "unwanted"? I think the Packers have done a good job of catering to you over the last 10 years. Why would they want to cut you? You would be a cap hit for the next 3 years. If you really want to play, start negotiating with other teams and politely ask one of them to trade for you. The Packers deserve at least that.

So there you have it. I personally think older veterans retire and unretire just to skip OTA's and minicamps. If Brett was doing that, then it backfired this time around. Like I said above. It seems very un-Favre-like to retire when you have a solid playoff caliber team like the 2007 Packers.

 

Category: NFL
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com