Play Fantasy Use your Fantasy skills to win Cash Prizes. Join or start a league today. Play Now
Blog Entry

Week 3 vs.Detroit Thoughts and Observations

Posted on: September 22, 2008 1:35 pm
***Take everything with a grain of salt because this was the Lions***

- For most of the game I loved the offensive playcalling but I think Martz got a little conservative late in the game, especially after the onside kick when Arnaz Battle returned the ball to the 12 and we only got a field goal. Still the playcalling was great for the most part.

- I am having a very hard time keeping myself from jumping onto the J.T. O'Sullivan. I really, really want to but it was against the Lions so I guess I am only half way on. He still had a great game yesterday. His passes were crisp and accurate, he didn't throw any stupid passes, he held onto the ball, and best of all he didn't take any sacks when he had the chance to get rid of the ball.

- There is really not much to say about Frank Gore. He is the best player on the team and one of the best, if not the best, running backs in the league. Right now he is leading the league in yards from scrimmage and has 3 rushing touchdowns. He is consistently great. Some people seem to be worried about DeShaun Foster but he is nothing more than an insurance policy if Gore gets hurt.

- None of the receivers were put up great numbers yesterday but that was mostly because JTO was spreading the ball around to 8 different players. I was telling everyone to start Bryant Johnson, Vernon Davis, and Isaac Bruce on their fantasy teams but it looks like I was wrong.

- Every day Vernon Davis looks more and more like a bust. He dropped two sure touchdowns that were catches I could have made. The funniest part is that he was supposed to be a great receiving tight end and sub-par blocker but it is the opposite. Delanie Walker was impressive and made a nice adjustment on his touchdown catch.

- The offensive line was very good. Joe Staley is getting better and better with each game at left tackle and I think by the end of this season he will be considered among the best left tackles in the league by the end of the season. Adam Snyder and Barry Sims were probably the worst among the offensive linemen but they weren't even bad. Eric Heitmann and Tony Wragge were both good. I noticed David Baas in there at one point and he looked good. I wanna see he and Chilo Rachal in at guard with Snyder at RT

- On defense Nolan/Manusky were too conservative for my taste for the third straight week but at least it worked. The Lions may be terrible but they do have two great receivers and they were shut down. It annoyed that when we were playing the prevent defense late in the game the Lions piled on some rushing yards to make it seem like Rudi Johnson did well when in actuality he was stuffed when it mattered.

- Justin Smith was worth every penny we paid him. Through 3 games he has 15 tackles for an average gain of 1.13 yards, 2 sacks, a forced fumble, and an interception. Isaac Sopoaga had a great game with 3 tackles for 0, -1, and 2 yards and continues to have a good season. Aubrayo Franklin needs to be replaced immediately. Both Kentwan Balmer and Ray McDonald has solid performances in the limited time they were in.

- Patrick Willis is still a beast and Manny Lawson played well even though I am not sure he was in the entire game and he needs to be. We really need an upgrade at the other inside linebacker position because Takeo Spikes and Jeff Ulbrich are only both okay and can't really make plays. Maybe Ahmad Brooks can fill that void later in the season. Parys Haralson had a late coverage sack but was putting some pressure Jon Kitna throughout the game and Roderick Green is a great situational pass rusher but the 49ers need a consistent pass rusher and that should be their #1 priority in the draft

- Our secondary is positively great. Everyone in it from Nate Clements to Tarell Brown had a good game. Clements has now held Calvin Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald to a combined 7 catches for 70 yards and 1 TD. In his other two games Fitz has 261 yards a TD while Johnson has 236 and 2 TDs. Walt Harris is looking to be back to his 2006 form. He held Roy Williams to only 2 catches for 18 yards. All bias aside I could argue that so far this season that Clements/Harris is the best CB duo in the league. Michael Lewis and Mark Roman were solid while the back-ups, Dashon Goldson and Tarell Brown showed some potential.

- Some people would worry about Andy Lee if they looked at his average yesterday but they have to realize that 3/4 punts were inside the 20 because he was punting so close to the Lions goalline. Joe Nedney is still booming his kickoffs and I think our kickoff coverage unit is ranked near the top of the league right now. Allen Rossum is a great punt returner but for some reason he has more trouble on kickoff returns. I think Michael Robinson and Delanie Walker should return kickoffs while Rossum handles the punts.
Category: NFL

Since: Nov 16, 2006
Posted on: September 24, 2008 12:19 pm

Week 3 vs.Detroit Thoughts and Observations

Thanks Kyle. I must say though Zak Keasey won that starting spot over Moran Norris. It was one of the closer postion battles in the preseason for the 49ers. Nolan had made a tough call in cutting Norris and tailback Thomas Clayton. I think Allen Rossum will come around. He's had a couple of impressive returns already including a 50 yard return against the Seahawks. It's our coverage units on special teams that need work.

I like your assessment on Joe Staley. He had some key blocks last Sunday and continues to show progress.

I did do a piece on the 3-4 defense a while back. B.Y. made the defense successful because he was able to consistently draw double teams. At least until he tired halfway through the season. So far, we haven't been able to find a consistent producer on the D-line. Isaac Sopoaga and Aubrayo Franklin show flashes of production, but not consistency drawing double teams in 1 on 1 situations. I'm hoping Kentwan Balmer can be that guy. But it looks like he will be a project for the next year or 2, which doesn't help us now. Here's the piece I wrote on the 49ers and the 3-4 earlier this year.

Since: Jul 22, 2008
Posted on: September 24, 2008 12:44 am

Week 3 vs.Detroit Thoughts and Observations

Very nice article. You are right on with just about all of your observations. The only thing I don't fully agree with is about Aubrayo Franklin. He is nothing special I'll give you that but he does his job. He is supposed to sit there with his big fat butt and eat up space and blockers. Know I wish he would collapse the pocket and maybe make a tackle or two but he gets paid to take up space and that's what he does. LOL

Since: Aug 12, 2008
Posted on: September 23, 2008 7:37 pm

Week 3 vs.Detroit Thoughts and Observations

I completely agree with Thrashard. Mike Martz showed the 49er fans that he knows what to do to keep the game secure on Offense. Despite the "Mad Martz" tag, I thought that by running the ball did a lot of good for many reasons. By controlling the time of possession in the second half, the defensive players were able to stay crisp. Containing Roy Williams and Calvin Johnson said a lot about our secondary in Nate Clements, Walt Harris and Michael Lewis (by the way, is Lewis hurt for Week 4?).

Clements is proving to be worth the $80 Million we gave him. Larry Fitzgerald and now Calvin Johnson! Both tier 1 Wide Receivers. He too needs to step up against some unknown WR against the Saints. I agree with you that after watching our boys cover these kind of receivers should give them national recognition.

I don't think that Allen Rossum should only return punts. I know it looks like he has struggled up to this week, but I feel he is waiting to break out of the "slump." M-Rob and Delanie Walker? I really don't know about that. Why did the 49ers pick up Rossum anyways? Special teams is not looking up to par. I liked it when Jak Keasey was on special teams while Moran Norris was the fullback. I still cannot believe we cut him. Plus, another Cortez-esque performance by Joe Nedney is going to start being a problem. He has missed two in two games. When Mariucchi's Niners back in the day ran into the same problem years ago, the 49ers lost the close ones due to poor kicking. We need our Special teams to succeed when needed most.

Andy Lee did a great job on Sunday, straight up. Once again, he is showing his Pro-Bowl antics by nailing the deep punts when needed, and securing several kicks inside the opponent's 20 yard line.

I hope that Joe Staley can continue growing on the line. His transition from right to left tackle is still developing. If JTO can trust our line, he can continue to throw balls where they need to go and have a good game as well as rest of the season.

I think I read in one of Thrashard's posts earlier this year that the 49ers miss B.Y. Our run defense has struggled, and we need someone to step up and hold the line down, fill the holes and come up with key blocks at the line of scrimmage. Justin Smith and Manny Lawson are doing great, but the guys inside need to slow down whomever is coming up the gut.


Since: Sep 4, 2008
Posted on: September 23, 2008 11:20 am

Week 3 vs.Detroit Thoughts and Observations

Well done, I always enjoy your blogs.

I hope your concerns about the run defense are in vain.  I see a couple posts here and there about the defense doing just what is needed and changing the scheme frequently to give the future opponents nothing to work with.  Let's hope that's what this is all about.

Too bad Shockey is hurt, but it is a bonus coming into this week.

Go Niners!! 

Since: Nov 16, 2006
Posted on: September 22, 2008 8:22 pm

Week 3 vs.Detroit Thoughts and Observations

Impressive assessment. However, I wouldn't fault Martz for being conservative. The Lions were never in a postion to threaten the lead. Martz being conservative shows 2 things. 1) he's not all pass and no run, 2) he has the faith in Frank Gore to grind out yardage where he didn't have the same confidence in Kevin Jones with the Lions. It's fundamentally sound football. Build a lead and protect it.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or