Posts Tagged ‘49ers’

There is a significant difference between doing what is honest and doing what is right.  Significant may be a stretch, so between you and me, we can probably agree that some circumstances may lead to the separation of those two ideas: honesty and moral right.  My generation of football witnessed the death of an illusion, the end of an era of looking the other way, the conclusion of what some would suggest “the greatest good” winning in the end.  Football’s celebrated violence is now incredibly controversial, with concussions leading the way as the poster child for our beloved, barbaric sport.  For whatever reason, this usually splits casual observers and fans into two camps: pro-players or pro-league.  The pro-players stance is really simple: players make BILLIONS of dollars for the league and should be supported more; owners and particularly Roger Goodell (because people cannot figure out he represents the owners) should support players better with health care and make the league safer.  On the contrary, the pro-league stance suggests players do not HAVE to play football and if they do they should play it safely.  The NFL places no restrictions on if players can use “safer” helmets and if they really cared about safety they would wear all of their equipment (which they don’t), wear safer equipment (which they don’t), and should listen to team doctors upon injury.  Brian Urlacher says eff that!   One thing that is missing from this conversation is the potential avalanche created by fear, not fear of losing money or permanent injury but both.  It’s the fear of replacement.

This takes us to the Monday Night Football extravaganze between Da Bears and the 49ers featuring Colin Kaepernick and Jason Campbell.  Somewhat surprisingly, Kaepernick played phenomenally against a very good Bears defense and dominated from beginning to end.  Inevitably this one game success leads to a quarterback controversy in the media.  “I usually tend to go with the guy that has the hot hand and we have two quarterbacks that have a hot hand,” Harbaugh said after Monday’s 32-7 victory.  WOAH!  That’s not the media, that’s the head coach!  Legit quarterback controversy after one game!  That seems a bit rushed especially since Alex Smith has been…very good in his last two starts (25-27, 304yds, 4TDs/0INTs – injured in the second game) and good all season.

Loss of job from injury + what have you done for me lately.  That’s a huge blow for someone who was built up from mediocrity/instability in the organization.  Thoughts of Smith’s playoff win over the Saints and his carving up the Green Bay defense this season seem like years ago.  How does this all relate to concussions?  Last week, prior to being taken out the game, Smith stayed in the game SIX MORE PLAYS after being concussed and experiencing blurred vision.  He threw a touchdown pass to Michael Crabtree on his final play of that game without being able to see straight.  I am far short of being a medical doctor but I cannot imagine the injury risk of being hit again after already suffering a concussion.

What drives players is competition, especially those who are not comfortable in their situations.  Who knew that the world would spin so quickly for the fourth rated passer in the NFL and all the talk of supporting Alex Smith who fade after Kaepernicks’s first completed 10-yard out route against the Bears.  Harbaugh unnecessarily brought drama on the NFL’s best team and it remains to be seen if Kaepernick can sustain this success. (Remember Vick coming in for Kevin Kolb against the Packers a couple of years ago and lighting the world on fire?  Or how about giving $10 million guaranteed to Matt Flynn after one great game?)

What remains true is that players will continue to put themselves in harm’s way because tomorrow cannot be guaranteed.  Shameful really but the sport is also a business, and business is just business.

Earlier this week, the 49ers emerged as a one of the teams interested in signing former Indianapolis Colt’s superstar quarterback Peyton Manning. Reportedly, the 49ers worked out Manning, with Jim Harbaugh leading the work out. This new development was quite surprising because the 49ers have maintained the public stance that they intended on re-signing Alex Smith, the quarterback that “led” them to the NFC Championship game.

So, what does the 49ers’ interest in Manning say about the 49ers’ view of Smith? I posed this question to ALL II because he has been an ardent supporter of Smith. The result was a lengthy and a sometimes hostile discussion in an email chain.

Cheeks: 49ers have emerged as the third team in the Peyton sweepstakes. Allen, you still think that the 49ers truly believe that A. Smith is good enough to lead them to the Superbowl? Their interest in Peyton indicates otherwise.

ALL II: For the foolish people that make these kinds of assertions all the time, it is worth reminding YOU and others that interest in another entity does NOT mean lack of belief in what is there. I just got into an argument about Obama not closing Guantanamo Bay and how this indicated that his preferences changed on the issue. This logic is pretty friggin stupid. Not closing Gitmo indicates opposition from people in the organization (government) but it has NO bearing on preference changes. Similarly, interest in Manning – to me – indicates that believe Manning can lead the team to the Super Bowl. It DOES NOT mean that the team doesn’t think Smith can lead them to a Super Bowl, perhaps that one can do so in a more immediate fashion.  That said, I think Peyton ends up Denver where the organization is clear that they do not believe Tebow can lead them to a Super Bowl. Also, the 49ers got amazingly close to a super bowl with crappier receivers so I doubt the organization is wavering in its belief in Smith.  Jeez….”indicates otherwise”…do better. As if you cannot have belief in two people….as if Peyton is going to play another 7 years!?  GTFO

Cheeks: Awww…You mad because your Boo is not getting any respect?…Here is where your analogy falls short. In order for Obama to get things done, he needs the support and approval from people in the organization. He can be staunch advocate of something but if he can’t get others to support his cause then his cause will be rendered ineffective. So, in the situation that you cited, it would be misguided to infer Obama’s preference. For the 49ers, the power dynamics are vastly different. Jim Harbaugh holds a lot of sway in that organization and when it comes to quarterbacks, you would think that he has the ultimate say. Anything that involves bringing in a quarterback to replace his purported darling (i.e. Alex Smith) would be strictly his call. So, for the 49ers to go after Manning–and for Harbaugh to be the one running the workouts–I think indicates that he has some doubts about Alex Smith.

Look at the other teams that we know for sure had interest in Manning. Seattle, Washington, Arizona, NY Jets, Miami, Denver, Tennessee & KC. It is widely believed around the league that those teams weren’t particularly fond of their quarterback and were looking to upgrade if possible. So, if that was the case for those teams then why can’t I assume that the 49ers also are not fully sold on their quarterback? Teams typically go after a quarterback of Manning’s caliber with health issues when they aren’t completely sold on their quarterback (See the Brett Favre situation). If it is incorrect to interpret a teams’ interest in Manning as an indictment of their current quarterback, then why the hell aren’t teams like the Bears, Lions, & Falcons going after Manning? The quarterbacks for those teams have not led their team to a Superbowl and the teams are comprised of Superbowl caliber talent. The reason is because those teams truly believe that their current quarterback is capable of leading their team to a Superbowl.

Manning will not play 7 more years but I assure you that the 49ers will NOT re-sign A. Smith if they sign Peyton.

Also, the low-key nature with which the 49ers have pursued Peyton is very suspicious.

EIC (aka Bunker): New York Giants – Superbowl Champions.

ALL II: The 49ers like Alex Smith. Coach Jim Harbaugh has repeatedly expressed his affinity for Smith. Taking a look at another veteran quarterback would threaten the relationship between the two, but Manning is a special case. Looking into a four-time MVP quarterback and future Hall of Famer doesn’t qualify as a personal affront to a quarterback with one winning season on his resume. The assumption here is that Harbaugh has communicated the team’s intentions to Smith, either directly or through Condon, and that the 49ers feel comfortable in their ability to move forward with Smith if Manning does not come to San Francisco. (http://espn.go.com/blog/nfcwest/post/_/id/61101/manningwatch-five-thoughts-on-49ers)

Cheeks: What else do you think Jim Harbaugh would say?! You think that if he had some doubts about Smith that he would express them to Smith? C’mon Allen. Like you like to say: DO BETTER!! Communicating with Smith is the prudent thing to do because it is not a certainty that they will land Manning. Manning is a special case yet the Lions, Bears, and Falcons are not interested but the 49ers are and they have not re-signed Smith. I’ll leave you with this: ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS.

ALL II: I think you are absolutely misevaluating the actions as they relate to the question: Do the 49ers think Smith can lead them to a Super Bowl?  Dealing with Manning indicates: we think Manning can do that.  It may be a difference in certainty but that should not be confused with believing he cannot.

EIC: As the only one who has access to Peyton Manning’s agents. The 49ers, while expressing interest are merely doing their due diligence as a franchise. One 49er source said, if we didn’t look into it, it would be tantamount to malpractice and outright irresponsibility.

Cheeks: “Difference in certainty” essentially implies that the 49ers have some doubts. They believe that Peyton can lead them to a Superbowl but aren’t completely sure that Smith can. And I go back to what I said earlier. What else did you think that Harbaugh would tell Smith?

Yes. Not looking into Peyton is certainly tantamount to malpractice and outright irresponsibility when Alex “Average” Smith is your quarterback. Lol

ALL II: Dude, a friggin four time MVP and someone widely considered as a top five greatest QB ever is a unique situation even if you have an above average QB.

Cheeks: A QB that is coming off 4 neck surgeries and is 35 years old is only a unique situation for teams that have doubts about their QB.

ALL: Absolutely not…again, ignoring the body of work.

Thank you Mr. Moneybags.

ZIP IT

Cheeks: Absolutely not ignoring the body of work. I’m taking everything into consideration. The quarterback situation of the teams that were/are interested is telling.

ALL II: If you could not read between the lines of the Manning people and the positive support for Smith, I don’t know what to say.

Cheeks: 49ers like Smith but they have doubts hence the pursuit of Manning. Fair?

EIC: (Allen just cursed and said “that’s what the fuck I been saying”)

ALL II: NO! Pursuing Manning does not indicate doubt. For instance, I have no doubt that Westbrook is a great point guard but if I could get Chris Paul I would at least have the conversation

EIC: Allen to say that the 49ers have no doubt about Smith you’d be silly. Get it together. I don’t see the Pats, Saints, Panthers, Giants, Ravens, etc. hitting up Manning…wanna know why? They don’t have doubts about their Quarterback. Alex Smith is a pretty doubtful/unknown quantity.

Thus I have to agree with Cheeks as to why they are going after the 2nd best Manning.

Cheeks: Thank you Brian. Allen, suck it! By the way, having a conversation is different from running someone through a workout for the purposes of signing them.

ALL II: All the same to me…no real threat. I certainly am not putting Smith in the elite zone but I am saying it is fundamentally different than Denver, Tennessee, and Seattle.

The End

Pregame Show
All the talk about Ray Lewis is overdone. He no longer is playing at an elite level!!…Sigh.
First Quarter

13:05: Two consecutive first down completions to Boldin on inside breaking routes. The color commentator, Mike Mayock, asserts that Boldin is one of the best receivers at working the middle of the field.

4:17: Smith hands the ball of to Ginn for a first down gain to the left. This is the third or fourth unconventional running play run by the 49ers. So far, the plays have been effective.

1:59: The 49ers commit an offside penalty for the second consecutive kickoff. Jim Harbaugh is livid.

1:00: Seemingly, the Ravens’ passing game plan is to attack the middle of the San Fran defense (behind the linebackers and in front of the safeties). The Ravens have attacked that area five times and have completed four passes. All have gone for first downs.

Second Quarter

13:55: Significant play. Smith completes a deep pass to Ted Ginn for a touchdown but the touchdown is negated by a penalty on Frank Gore for a chop block.

6:50: The 49ers fail to convert on another 3rd down. The Ravens defensive line is dominating the the 49ers offensive line. Gore has been unable to find holes to run through (he is consistently hit in the backfield before he has the opportunity to make a move) and Smith has not been given sufficient time to scan the field.

5:58: Another significant play. Flacco throws the ball deep to Torrey Smith and is picked off but the interception is negated by a blatant defensive pass interference (the defensive back held down Smith’s left arm).

2:51: The Ravens fail to convert a redzone opportunity into a touchdown. At one point, they had a first and goal at the one yard line. Two failed runs and a quarterback draw later, they are forced to settle for a field goal. What a remarkable effort by the 49ers’ front-7 to stuff the Ravens. 6-3 Ravens.

00:11: LaDarius Webb intercepts Alex Smith on a deep pass down the sideline to Braylon Edwards when the 49ers were in field goal range. An excellent job by Webb to turn around and find the football. It always infuriates me when cornerbacks fail to turn around and find the ball (inexplicably, most do not bother to turn around).

Third Quarter

7:30: 52 yard field goal. Score is tied at 6-6.

Fourth Quarter

14:56: Flacco throws an eight yard touchdown pass to Dennis Pitta. Flacco completed a pass to seven different receivers and converted on four third down conversions on the 76 yard drive. A very well-executed drive.

13:35: Smith is sacked for the 7th time and is unable to convert another third down. The 49ers are 2-9 on third down so far. Complete and utter domination by the Ravens’ defensive line.

3:10: 39 yard field goal. 16-6 Ravens.

2:59: Suggs sacks Smith to give the Ravens nine sacks on the day. Ties the Ravens’ franchise record for most sacks in one game.

1:15: Ted Ginn drops a first down pass on fourth down. Turnover on downs and effectively seals the game for the Ravens.

Final Score: Ravens, 16 — 49ers, 6.

Recap/Analysis: Few things went right for the 49ers’ offense tonight. From start to finish, the Ravens’ defensive line controlled the line of scrimmage. The D-line consistently penetrated the 49ers’ offensive line and made contact with the 49ers’ running backs in the backfield. Furthermore, the Ravens’ defense easily pressured Smith with a mixture of blitzes and four-man pressures. For the first time in awhile, I felt sorry Alex Smith.