Archive for the ‘Niner Players’ Category

Aldon Smith to Outside Linebacker?

May 1, 2011

That’s what being said about the #1 pick of the Niners. The San Jose Mercury reports…..”A defensive end for the Tigers, he will converted to OLB, where the 49ers hope he emerges as the pass-rushing threat they so sorely lack. He set a league (Big12) freshman record with 19 tackles for a loss in 2009.”

I am confused (what’s new?) at why the Niners want to annoint  A. Smith as an OLB considering they have four players at that position that seem to present a nice rotation? Those players of course would be Parys Haralson, Manny Lawson, Travis LaBoy, and Ahmed Brooks. Maybe the free agency status of some of these players is what’s coming into play here?  Manny Lawson is a FA and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him go. I believe Travis LaBoy is as well, but I for one sure hope the Niners bring him back. I felt he was a big contributor last year and recorded 5 sacks as a part time player.

Now back to the issue at hand. Aldon Smith was a DE at Missouri and a great physical specimen. 6’5″, 265 lbs, with a wing span bigger than a 747. Why not keep him at DE replacing Issac Sopoaga who delivered an unremarkable 1.5 sacks and 25 tackles in 2010? In contrast, the “other Smith”………..Justin, had 70 tackles and 8.5 sacks. Great teams, even ones who play the 3-4, need to get pressure from their DE’s and Sopoaga just hasn’t been able to deliver in this area.  Thus, teams who found a way to block Justin Smith had a lot of success throwing the ball against the Niners.

Personally, I like Aldon Smith as the third member of the front three of the Niners, with Haralson and Brooks starting as OLB’s , with a lot of Travis LaBoy mixed in. 

MN

Advertisements

A Smith by any other name?

November 8, 2010

With the immergence of Troy Smith, for one game, it would appear that there is the potential that we have seen the last of Alex Smith as a starter for the Niners. The oft injured QB is on the shelf for the foreseeable future and even if healthy, it would be hard for Coach Singletary to go back to him if Troy Smith wins a few games, which our schedule dictates is a possibility. And what a shame. It would have been hard to concoct a worse recipe for disaster than the one that befell Alex.

 Young quarterback drafted #1 by a poor team.

 Unprepared for the NFL by virtue of his college style of offense.

 Named the starter on day one.

 Veritable inexperienced head coach.

 No offensive line.

 No receivers.

 Different offensive coordinator each year with the team.

 Brutal injury to non-throwing shoulder.

 Called out and questioned by his head coach.

 Questioned by some team mates.

 Has to take a pay cut to remain with the team.

 Etc., etc., etc.

Enter another Smith. Does it really matter? It couldn’t be worse.

MJ

Troy Smith for President

November 2, 2010

Well, maybe that’s going a wee bit too far, but it sure was nice watching  a player who played with some passion, determination, and bravado, as opposed to Alex Smith, who just looks like the proverbial deer in the headlights virtually every time he gets the ball in his hands. Seems like Alex’s career with the  Niners is over if that other Smith can deliver any sort of success over the next 8 games of the year. I can’t imagine that Singletary would even think about starting Alex when his shoulder is healthy again, but then again I couldn’t imagine that Coach Sing wouldn’t shake an opposing Head Coach’s hand (Atlanta’s Mike Smith) at the end of a game. It’s also is clearly the end of the line for David Carr, who had a very short career as the number one backup. Why on this big green planet would the Niners sign a guy who a TV announcer said during the Carolina game has no support from the offensive coordinator, nor the Head Coach apparently, to throw the football?  If all of the aforementioned is true, the Niners will clearly be in the market for a quarterback or quarterbacks next season. The “experts” tell us 2011 is a deep college quarterback draft led by Stanford’s Andrew Luck.  Then there’s Nate Davis in the bullpen. Can he become a viable NFL signal caller?  I still wish the Niners had pursued Donovan McNabb in last years off-season, but then again, I wish for a lot of things.

MN

Earth to Alex

September 13, 2010

OK, there’s not enough perfume in all of France to spray on that stinker. There’s so much blame to go around on the field, and on the sidelines, it’s laughable. Sorry to bring out the bulldozer for Alex Smith, but he entirely deserves it. In quarter one he looked very nice. Looking off defenders, going to his second, and even third receiver. Nine for ten completions. The pass to Josh Morgan in the end zone that was called back was a beautiful throw. Smith looked calm, confident, and large and in charge. But the second the tide turned starting with an absolutely horrible 4th and red zone pass to a wide open Moran Norris, and the Niners started circling the drain, so did Alex Smith. Back to the happy feet, aiming the ball, and firing high, which should have contributed to two more interceptions. I am not sure Alex Smith tossed a good ball in the second half, did he? Pete Carroll just dialed up the blitz time after time just begging Smith to make a play. He could not. The calls are already coming for David Carr, but that is pre-mature. Alex Smith and all the Niners have a real chance to put this horrid performance behind them with a win against the defending Super Bowl champions next Monday night. If they can do that, then all will be right back on board. If Alex and his mates serve up another stinker, there could be some real bumpy seas ahead.

MN

It’s all about Alex Smith

September 11, 2010

Well, I guess it’s been suggested by just about everyone that Mr. Smith is really the major key to the Niners making the move to playoff status this year, or not. I concur, you just can’t win in the National Football League without a good quarterback. Coach Singletary and Coach Raye tell us Alex Smith is “good to go.” He’s playing with more confidence and swagger. He also has a very formidable arsenal of weapons to go to war with….. Davis, Crabtree, Gore, Westbrook, Morgan and Walker. We’ll soon see if this year is really going to be Alex Smith’s coming out party. It needs to be because the team will be out of party hats and streamers for him, if it isn’t.

It is encouraging though that despite the host of opinions on whether Alex Smith will make it or break it in 2010, at least the Niners have a starting NFL Quarterback who is in the discussion. How’d you like to be an Arizona Cardinals fan and the year after a future HOF Quarterback retires, your first round, number ten pick in the draft who should be ready to take over, gets summarily cut from the team because he just can’t play.

Oh, by the way, Matt Leinart would have been the overall number one pick in the 2005 NFL Draft and picked by your San Francisco 49ers had he come out after his junior year and back to back NCAA football titles at USC. It was reported that Leinart didn’t want to get drafted by the Niners because they were so bad, so he decided to return to Trojanville to go for the three-peat. So, the Niners picked Alex Smith and the rest is……well you know.

MN

Don’t just watch Alex Smith on Sunday

October 30, 2009

Pay close attention to those big guys in front of him………………..The Colts have a quick and active defense featuring sack master Dwight Freeney that will really want to rain on the little success parade that Alex Smith started against the Texans. The Niners offensive line has been anything but the perceived strength that most of us thought it would be coming into 2009. Right tackle has been a revolving door of Snyder, Pathos and Sims. Chilo Rachal has regressed at right guard and seems to be just trying to maul his opponent, instead of using technique and smarts. The result has been too many bad plays by #62. Eric Heitmann seems to be having a solid season at center so far. On the left side, guard David Baas seems slow coming off the ball to me? Maybe that very nasty pectoral injury from last year is still nagging him? The Niners best offensive lineman, Joe Staley, continues to grow at his position and has been pretty effective all year long, especially in pass protection.  The aforementioned line’s lack of execution against Houston really exposed Shaun Hill’s deficiencies when he gets pressured to make plays. He just isn’t a quick or mobile guy and that fact, plus being down 21 points at half time,  led to the grand re-entrance of Mr. Smith.  The aforementioned Mr. Smith fared much better because he’s just quicker on this feet and much better able to throw on the run than Mr. Hill. After that beautiful Smith pass to V. Davis for the first Niner TD, the line kinda perked up and played a much better game in the second half. Let’s sure hope that carries over to the battle in Indy where line play on both sides of the ball will determine if the Niners are competitive in this game, or fall abruptly to 3 and 4.

MN

Now that wasn’t pretty was it?

October 12, 2009

The formerly anointed way new and improved Niners looked anything but against the Falcons. That game was ugly with a capital UGH! What is really surprising me about this team is the play of, or more correctly lack of such, from the offensive line. This was gonna be a real strength for the Niners coming into 2009 wasn’t it, even with some questions at RT? Joe Staley poised for the Pro Bowl. Two young, big and tough offensive guards in Baas and Rachal. A very solid and under recognized center in Eric Heitmann, now fully recovered from his major 2007 injury.

The O-Line in general has not played well with the exception of some nice run blocking for Frank Gore in the Seattle game.  What in the heck has happened? Staley continues to perform well at left tackle, seldom allowing his man to have an intimate visit with Shaun Hill. Heitmann also seems to be handling the middle of the field well. The other three or four………….seem to be the issue? David Baas looks slow coming off the line, one who gets consistently clogged up in line traffic to this amateur observer. Chilo Rachal came on very strong in ’08 when Coach “hit them in the mouth” made him a starter. This year he has gotten out quicked and beaten on the line of scrimmage a number of times, including against Atlanta on the interception that Shaun Hill threw in the opening stages of the game. Right tackle is a revolving door. Adam Snyder is on and off the field due to bad play, or getting banged up again.  Tony Pashos is showing why Jacksonville wasn’t interested in meeting his contract demands. Running to the right just doesn’t seem to be much of an option.

Every great team has a very effective offensive line. The Niners thought they had finally build one, or at least 4/5th’s of one. So far, that’s certainly not what has been seen on Sunday.  Hopefully the bye week will allow the Niners to get their offensive line back in some semblance of order. With the next fives games against Houston, Indy, Tennessee, Chicago and Green Bay, they had better.

MN

See, I told you Crabtree would sign!

October 9, 2009

Yep, missed that one, sure did. I thought that “knucklehead” would actually sit out the whole year. Hmmmm, think that Braylon Edwards to the Jets thing  might have doused a deal with the guys in green and white, and made Crabtree’s agent look quickly for that signing pen?  It will be interesting to see how the “Jets thing” all plays out. Back to the ‘tree. OK, he’s a roster player now, so he can be relieved of his former knucklehead moniker. Who knows, we all may be calling him “the man” in a couple of weeks.

A couple of things came to my small mind after the announced signing.  One,  it’s very fortuitous that Crabtree will be able to be around, and learn from, Isaac Bruce, who is almost certainly in his last year as an active player. Bruce is one of the very, very best who’s ever lined up at the WR position, and hopefully can make a big impact on Crabtree’s techical skills and mental approach to the NFL game.

Secondly, we should not expect too much of the young man this year. Aside from showing up after four real games, rarely does a wide receiver come into the NFL have a huge season in year one. Look at the year one stats of players like Larry Fitzgerald, Andre Johnson, and Calvin Johnson for example, and you’ll see what I mean. NFL DB’s tend to welcome new WR’s to the league in a very rude manner.

Hopefully Crabtree will get a solid footing in the NFL this year and grow into a true force for the Niners at the WR position.  The Niners have really not had a real, true, number one receiver, since the that Owens guy left town. Josh Morgan and Michael Crabtree just might turn out to be a very formidable duo in the years to come.  As the Church Lady used to say on Saturday Night Live…………………..”isn’t that special.”  Yeah……………it sure would be!

MN

Crabtree working out with……..

September 10, 2009

Ex-Niner Quarterback, and current ESPN talking head, Trent Dilfer. This is apparently occurring at San Jose’s Valley Christian High School.  I wonder how these two got together? No matter though, Crabtree is staying in shape, and it’s a good sign I guess that he is in the Bay Area, instead of being in Texas, or some other foreign geography. It was reported on ESPN radio that Dilfer said Crabtree just looks great, with a capital “G.”  Dilfer threw a whole bunch of passes to Crabtree and told his colleagues at ESPN that “he didn’t have a ball hit his chest once.” Also, no mention what-so-ever of any issues Crabtree’s foot.  He ran fast, made every cut, and jumped well. Dilfer might not have been the greatest passer in the history of the NFL but he is a very smart football guy. He knows his X’s and O’s big time. Thus, Dilfer saying that Crabtree looks big time in these workouts should count. But it isn’t going to count one little bit if Crabtree doesn’t sign a contract and get in the game. 

MN

The Niner DB’s

September 2, 2009

Even with the season loss of savvy vet Walt Harris, I like the Niner DB’s. I think this group will have a much bigger impact on the team than we’ve seen  in many years. They have considerable depth and experience, plus some new guys that have not really had the chance to show what they can do…………….yet. Three starters are set it, so it seems. Nate Clements at one corner, and Michael Lewis and Dashon Goldson at the safeties. The battle rages at the other CB slot opposite Clements between Dre’ Bly (4th in the NFL in int’s for active players) and 3rd year man Tarell Brown.  The Niners probably will carry 8 DB’s on the current roster with Allen Rossum listed primarily as a return man (although he did get on the field as a DB in the exhibition season).  Shawntae Spencer is pretty much a lock to make the team, and I think third round 2008 draft pick Reggie Smith is, as well. That probably leaves Marcus Hudson, free agent Eric Green, rookie Curtis Taylor, and former starter Mark Roman to battle it out for the remaining two active roster spots. I can’t see the Niners keeping Roman, so it should be between the remaining three with Curtis Taylor currently in the pole position.

Clements is not the shut down corner he might have been in his days in Buffalo, but still can play at a pretty high level on most Sunday’s. He always gets the opponents toughest receiver, and is a great open field tackler.  Some thought Bly would slide right in opposite Clements, but that is surely not the case. Tarell Brown continues to make plays and is just quick on quick with big league recovery speed. This guy might have been a number one pick had he not had some off field problems and tough injuries at Texas. Even if Brown does not start, he’ll play a whole lot. Dashon Goldson brings some swagger and ‘tude the secondary and seems to have a real knack for being right where the ball is. Lewis is a solid veteran player. No Ed Reed’s here, but safeties who can play both the pass and the run.

I am hoping that the defensive scheme of the Niners in ’09 features more blitzing from the DB’s. I believe they have the personnel to do this, and that would provide more help to a front three that are not exactly QB chasers.

MN