Let’s Hope the Preseason Isn’t a Sign of Things to Come for the Niners

Yes, it’s just the preseason. I know, and supposedly from the preseason you can’t draw any real conclusions. But I don’t buy that.

When the first team offense is going up against a first team defense…you can draw some conclusions.

With optimism that only a true fan could possess, I’ve followed along during this grueling (for me) off-season. Thus far, these are my thoughts:

We can run the ball pretty darn good. We have an absolute stable of running backs at our disposal and our offensive line definitely knows how to run-block. No need to run lots of sweeps or gimmick plays…we’ll be fine between the tackles thank you.

We can’t manage to get a football to land in the ocean even when throwing it from a life-raft in the ocean! Seriously…I have remained optimistic all pre-season about our passing game but now I’m starting to get a little worried.

Our supposed “break-out candidate” Josh Morgan (whom I’ve personally touted to friends as someone whom “you’ll know his name by the time the season is over”) is rarely targeted…and when he is, though some of the passes are not between the numbers…he’s not coming down with catches.

For all of the talented receivers we supposedly had (and I agreed with this statement most of the off-season as well)…nobody is impressing. I would have to say Arnaz Battle is the best option we have right now because of his knack as a possession receiver to get open.

The line is not giving the quarterback enough time on most passing downs, which seems to be part of the problem. However we have to find a way to manufacture some passing yards or the “talented stable of running backs” (see above) will end up being a group of broken down old mules by the bye week.

Hey, if we can succeed at the old “I’m coming right up the gut so try and stop me!” approach, that would be awesome. I don’t see us imposing our will on defenses to that level just yet though. We still have issues with depth on the offensive line and are starting some guys who don’t have a ton of game experience. Teams are going to exploit our inability to throw the ball and stack 8 guys in the box, licking their chops.

And that’s just the offense…

Defensively we aren’t trying to sack the quarterback. We aren’t. We can’t be. If we were, we might, oh I don’t know…SUCCEED or even GET CLOSE every now and then!! Maybe it’s “vanilla” defense, a term which by the way I’m growing to hate.

Then I hear things like “we’re going to have to use scheme to get pressure.” Wasn’t one of the primary changes in the defense upon Nolan’s departure to remove a lot of scheming so that we had a simple, easy to execute defense? What happened to “win the individual battles with sound fundamentals?” Oh I know what happened to it…it was a typical, inspiring thing to say going into training camp.

We better bring a gun to a knife-fight soon.

As it pertains to our secondary, this is what my eyes tell me – so please someone tell me I’ve missed something:

Ultra-soft zones…give, give, give…take shots at the ball and pray you get a turnover before they put it in the end zone.

Are we playing deep quarters all game? It seems like anything in the flat or underneath is just “on the house”. Maybe we’re trying to eliminate the perennial highlight reel, you know, the one with a 49er defensive back getting burnt to a crisp on a long passing play. Hey, at least we’ll look good on SportsCenter! Do they hand out trophies for that?

Although our run defense and run offense are the bright spots so far…and even though that lines up with what Singletary had said we would be… I never thought it was implied that we’d be really good in those areas and, in turn, completely sub-par in all other facets of the game.

Then again, that’s just what we’ve seen. I’m sure we’ll be a totally different football team come the second week of September, you know, in two weeks.

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One Response to “Let’s Hope the Preseason Isn’t a Sign of Things to Come for the Niners”

  1. Brandon says:

    I agree with most of what your blog has stated except I feel that we might be alble to get some push at the line and pressure opposing QBs. I feel that Singletary has kept the defense in its base as to not show anything to other teams this preseason. Also, if plaing soft coverage is creating turnovers like it is right now then why fix what isn’t broken. I know it is against the back ups is the typical response. Honestly, it doesn’t matter who it is against. It is our base defense that we have run all preseason and it has caused a lot of ruckus for opposing teams. Imagine what the starting lineups will do when against a complex defensive design. Our defense will be good.
    The only thing I’m wondering is why haven’t the niners started looking into established free agent receivers like Harrison. Let Crabtree walk and sign someone who has proven they can play to boost your receiving corp.
    As far as the QB position goes, I say give Nate Davis the nod. He is mobile enough to avoid the pass rush that our line consistently doesn’t block and he is then a scrambling threat. I like what Hill has done but come on he isn’t a franchise quality QB. He is good enough to soften the blow of the storm, but he isn’t going to carry us out to safety. Shaun Hill is to the 49ers like the Red Cross was to the hurricane katrina victims. It took him a while to get anything done right and since then he has just hung around to make sure it doesn’t get worse. He isn’t improving the QB situation but its not getting worse either.
    One final thought on the 49ers, get rid of the overpaid under-talented Alex Smith and you might have some money to pay Crabtree to get on the field. I feel that even though he is a diva, he will be better for the teams monotary investment than the waste of millions on Alex Smith. Cut the bum and get someone with talent on the team, because Alex Smith will always be a back up even if he played in the CFL. He played in college against lower tier teams and was able to put up numbers against corners that had no shot of making it into the NFL. Newsflash Alex Smith can compete in the NFL!!!