49ers Happy Hour!

BACK TO WORK

That’s back to work for me too.  These pages found on the top will be a running blog of thoughts and ideas.  I don’t intend to go into much detail here, just quick hits.

Go ahead and hit me up here in the comments too, and add as u like.

Draft- Niners hit all positions.  I was underwhelmed by their first selection, Ward, Safety out of Northern Illinois  The more I heard about him, the more I liked.  Another versatile defender, who will try out as the nickel.  Carlos Hyde is a homerun.  Ellington is the little speedy guy we all want.  Not half bad.  Now can the Niners actually develop a receiver?

Free agency- No major problems, Jonathan Goodwin, former Niners center, just left town to rejoin the New Orleans Saints.  Looks like they’ve groomed players to replace him.  Whitner for Bethea, no problem.  Steve Johnson picked up in trade, nice.

Aldon Smith and others who have made the news for the wrong reasons have been scary to me and many fans.  Something for me to go into detail later.

Navarro Bowman and his recovery put a grey cloud over the first half of the season much like the Crabtree injury did last year.  There are players to fill in.

Overall, the offense is loaded.  I have expected more creativity out of the coaching staff, and more growth from Kaepernick and the young receivers.

Looking forward to a great year.

6/3/2014

 

 

Surprising 4-1 Niners travel to Detroit to face undefeated Lions

No one expected this match-up in week six… The Lions are one of two undefeated teams (the reigning Super Bowl Champ Packers the only other) in the NFL.  The San Francisco 49ers are 4-1.  I sure didn’t expect it.  The Niners’ 48-3 romp over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers was very unexpected.  At this point in time, the Niners amazingly have the ability to strike fear into the tough, scary, rocking Lions.  Let me tell you why…

Going into the game last week between the Niners and the Bucs, it looked like an even match-up.  The line was -3 favoring the Niners at home.  Josh Freeman had uneven games and hadn’t put up great numbers… his touchdown to interception ratio was 3-4 but he was completing more than 67% of his passes going into the game against the Niners.  The Bucs had a reputation as a very physical team on all levels.

I personally did not expect the Niners to be able to beat a tough NFC South team that has hung with the 2009 Super Bowl Champ Saints very well in the last few years… Bucs are 3-3 since 2008 against the Saints.

What the San Francisco 49ers have been able to do well in the last two weeks especially is to run the ball and stop the run.  Add to that the ability to keep Alex Smith upright for 6 quarters straight.  The Bucs did not register 1 sack against Smith last week.  On the season the Bucs have 10 sacks to their opponents 9 after the Niners game… the Niners registered 3 sacks against Josh Freeman who is considered to be a mobile, big quarterback who is difficult to bring down.  Rookie Aldon Smith had 2 sacks and Justin Smith had 1.  The Buccaneers only ran the ball for 86 yards all game.  Keep in mind that LaGarrette Blount was out of the game in the second half due to injury, but in the first half, he only ran for 34 yards.  The week before against the Colts, he ran for 127 yards.  Frank Gore continued to have success against the Bucs running for 125 yards on only 20 carries for an average of 6.3 yards per rush.  Frank also put the ball in the end zone as did 3rd string running back Anthony Dixon.

The Niners passing game has been stagnant.  OR HAS IT?  That is a great question.  Alex Smith is just not asked to do very much.  He is not passing the ball 35 to 40 times a game (which is the norm in the NFL now).  Instead, he passes the ball on only around 33% of the Niner’s offensive snaps.  When QB Smith does pass the ball, he seems to have lulled the defense’s secondary to sleep, because he is ranking #3 in the NFL in passer rating so far this year.  In the game against the Bucs, Smith had passing TDs of 26 yards to Delanie Walker and 23 and 14 to Vernon Davis with the latter one which Davis beat his defender by 4 steps and was able to coast into the end zone and catch an under-thrown fade route pass by Smith.  See nfl.com where Alex Smith ranks here http://www.nfl.com/stats/categorystats?tabSeq=0&statisticCategory=PASSING.  The most impressive stat to me is how many sacks Alex has taken this year while still passing efficiently.  No one in the league has a better TD to Int ratio… the only player on par with Alex Smith in that stat is Aaron Rodgers who is 14-2 to Smith’s 7-1.  Of players who have been sacked as many times as Smith (14 times on the season and none against the Bucs) no one compares to the ability to take a hit and deliver the ball in comparison to Smith this year.  Look at Ben Roethlisberger who has 8 touchdowns to 6 interceptions while taking 15 sacks so far this year.  Look at the presumed savior for the Cardinals, Kevin Kolb who has 5 touchdowns to 6 interceptions while taking 16 sacks so far.

Look at Matt Stafford’s numbers.  Stafford completes the ball at 63.6% compared to Smith’s 65.9%.  Both quarterbacks have an identical relatively average yards per pass of 7.7.  Remember Smith has been sacked 14 times this year, while Stafford has only been sacked 6 times.  Stafford’s TD to INT ratio is 13 to 4 while Smith’s is 7 to 1.  I look at this in two ways.  1.  Smith is not asked to do so much… Does that not mean that Stafford will naturally take more focus from pass rushers? Sure. 2. It also means that Stafford does not have the ability to lean on his defense and running game the way the Niners can.  Furthermore, Stafford has a freak of a wide receiver in Calvin Johnson who is the quickest to 9 touchdowns ever in a season at 5 games.  Look at the San Francisco 49ers whole team and this is a great match-up.  The Niners are near the top of the league in red zone defense and are number 2 in the league in points allowed per game.  see http://espn.go.com/nfl/statistics/team/_/stat/total/sort/totalPointsPerGame/position/defense

The Niners have not allowed a 100 yard rusher for 27straight games… by far the longest streak in the NFL… If Jahvid Best expects to help the Lions by busting off long runs like his 88 yard touchdown against the Bears last week, forget it.  The Niners will continue this streak.  The Bears have been giving up 135.6 yards per game of rushing this year including the Monday night game against the Lions.  The Niners have a great front 7.. they may be the best in the NFL.  I have said this about the Niners’ front 7 before.  The Niners are only giving up 76.4 yards rushing per game.  Best will not beat the Niners this week.

What the Lions really do well is rush the passer and throw the long ball to Johnson.  The Niners secondary has picked off opponents 3 times in the last 2 games.  We are not talking about Andy Dalton or Tavaris Jackson now.  We are talking about Michael Vick and Josh Freeman.

What is really interesting is that the Niners and the Lions have been leading the NFL in takeaways all year long.  Going into week 5, the San Francisco 49ers lead the NFL in the give/take stats for the year.  The Niners are + 10 in turnovers on the year after forcing 3 turnovers against the Bucs including a PICK 6.  The Lions regressed last week as Matt Stafford threw one pick in the only turnover of the game.  The Lions are at a +7 now going into the game with the Niners.  See http://espn.go.com/nfl/statistics/team/_/stat/givetake

 

Things that scare me about the Lions… the pass rush.  Alex Smith has not seen a pass rush as good as the Lions this year… there is not a better pass rush in the NFL.  Running the football and quick WCO passing can defeat this pass rush along with an improved Niners Offensive Line… Don’t let me kid you, I don’t have that much faith in the O-line, but they are playing better after allowing no sacks against the Bucs.  What else?  Yeah Matt Stafford to Calvin Johnson… I don’t believe that anyone can stop that combination this year.  I am not of the opinion that the Niners’ secondary has improved so much that they will shut them down.  C’mon tho football fans, the Bears only allowed 1 TD between that pair last week and the Bucs allowed 2 TD passes from Alex Smith to Vernon Davis last week.  You never know what can happen.  Smith and Davis have been a very prolific combination for a long time;  longer than Stafford and Johnson have been hooking up.

If you look at my recent post “49ers looking like favorite to win NFC Garbage I mean NFC West”, (http://shawnkfrazier.com/?p=126) you will see my prediction of the Lions winning 23-16.  NOW I WILL CHANGE THAT PREDICTION and call the NINERS WINNERS OVER THE LIONS 24-21.

see http://shawnkfrazier.com/?p=126 for previous Niners vs Lions predictions (pre Bucs vs Niners)

GO NINERS!

The Fraz…

PS… From last week on his Bucs game vs Our Niners…  “Flat start. Flat finish. Flat middle. Everything,” coach Raheem Morris said. “We didn’t even get off the plane this time.”

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