Blog Entry

Week 4 @New Orleans Thoughts and Observations

Posted on: September 28, 2008 8:48 pm
Edited on: September 29, 2008 8:19 am
I might as well get this out tonight because I am so mad right now if I don't get this off of my chest I might explode.

- The third down play calling was getting on my nerves for most of the game.  Instead of trying quick passes, because the offensive line wasn't playing well, Martz had J.T. O'Sullivan performing 7 step drops.  I don't even want to get started on the red zone play calling so I won't but suffice to say it was very bad

- JTO just had an awful game.  All season he has been holding onto the ball too long, I would estimate that at least 8 of the 19 sacks we have allowed are completely his fault with a few more partly his fault, but at least in other games he was making plays.  Today he just wasn't doing anything except throwing inaccurate passes nowhere near his receivers.  The worst part about him taking the sacks is that is makes it seem like the 49ers offensive line is terrible, which it isn't.  He padded his stats in garbage time to make it look like he did well but those two red zone interceptions cost us a game that we were still in at the beginning of the 4th quarter.

- It can't be said enough that Frank Gore is the best player on the 49ers.  He can run, he can catch, he can block, and he is a team leader.  Through 4 games he has 525 yards from scrimmage (369 rushing, 156 receiving).  He seemed like he might be having that fumbling problem early in the season but he has fixed that.  I honestly see no problem in his game.

- I have said for a while that Arnaz Battle has the ability to be a good receiver if given the chance, today he proved that.  He is a great possession receiver, 12 of his 15 catches have come for first downs, and he is clutch.  Isaac Bruce had another solid game but Bryant Johnson was quiet.  Josh Morgan is talented but he needs to develop, same thing with Jason Hill.

- Introducing Vernon Davis, the invisible man!  Coming in at 6'3'', 250 pounds of pure muscle with blazing speed, Davis has an uncanny ability to do absolutely nothing!  But, in all seriousness, he isn't doing anything.  Delanie Walker, a 6th round draft pick I believe, is doing just as good as Davis.

- While Joe Staley continues to do well at left tackle the rest of the offensive line is average at best.  Adam Snyder and Eric Heitmann both had okay games but Tony Wragge and Barry Sims were terrible.  Hopefully Chilo Rachal is developed by next season and David Baas comes on strong but we would still need help at center and right tackle.  I have said all along that Snyder should be playing right tackle but the coaches seem like they would rather watch him struggle at guard.  I hope that by the end of the season the starting offensive line will be Staley, David Baas, Eric Heitmann, Chilo Rachal, and Adam Snyder.  That would give us the best offensive line of the players on our roster, I believe, but we still would need upgrades at center and right tackle.

- Another games, another day when I complain about Nolan, and I am now convinced it is him, being way too vanilla.  In my preview of the game I said that if Nolan doesn't blitz and allows Drew Brees to sit back there all day that we would get picked apart and it happened.  I don't care who the receivers are, give Brees enough time and he will find an open man.  Nolan doesn't seem to realize that our defensive line is nowhere near dominant enough to get pressure on a QB by themselves, and you would think that after 3 games of them not doing it he would have.

- Despite the defensive line not being as dominant as I would like to see Justin Smith is still looking like a good signing.  For all intents and purposes it seems like we are playing a 4-3 defense now so Isaac Sopoaga had a solid game as well but he is by no means a dominant defensive tackle.  Other than those two we could use an upgrade at every other position on the defensive line.  Neither Aubrayo Franklin, Ronald Fields, or Ray McDonald are good enough starters and would all be better off as back-ups.  Parys Haralson and Roderick Green are good situational pass rushers off the egde but neither is starting material either.  Kentwan Balmer is developing nicely and looks to be ready to start soon enough

- I cannot begin to explain how angry I am that Manny Lawson is not playing many defensive snaps.  What part of him being one of the best defensive players on the team does Nolan not understand?  If Lawson's injury on that kickoff turns out to be serious I am going to be so angry.  Patrick Willis is having another All-Pro season.  He had two tackles for a loss (9 total tackles), one QB pressure that forced an incomplete pass, one knocked down pass, and a fumble recovery.  Takeo Spikes definitely has his best game of the season, especially towards the beginning of the game, but he still wasn't great.

- The only players in the secondary that played well were Michael Lewis and Nate Clements.  Lewis was all over the field making tackles, knocked down two passes, and that forced fumble was beautiful.  Clements locked down whoever he was covering and made two tackles for a loss.  Looking at that long catch by Henderson is really looked like, in my opinion, that Nate thought he had inside help because he stayed outside.  When he realized Roman wasn't over there he sped up and made a great play to save the touchdown and then Lewis got us the ball back of course.  Other than that I didn't see any mistakes that Clements made. Both Mark Roman and Dashon Goldson were getting beat like crazy

- I have to take back what I said about Allen Rossum's kickoff return abiltiy last wek because he was great this week.  Andy Lee was actually hanging his punts high, except for one, allowing the coverage units to down them or force fair catches.  Joe Nedney had a good day kicking field goals of 38, 49, and 47.

Unlike the loss in week one I cannot say that this one doesn't hurt.  The 49ers were in this game up until the 4th quarter and this game wasn't just lost just because of stupid mistakes like week 1.  JTO and the coaching staff, mainly Mike Nolan, cost us this game.  I really thought we could win this and win next week and go into the bye week 4-2 after a loss to the Eagles.  I still think we will beat the Patriots, though
Category: NFL

Since: Nov 16, 2006
Posted on: September 29, 2008 12:36 am

Week 4 @New Orleans Thoughts and Observations

I feel your pain Abaddon. I wrote the following blog out of sheer frustration after today's game.

JTO singlehandedly lsot the game today. Too many turnovers at the wrong time. 1 fumble to give the Saints outstanding field position and 2 INT's in the Saints endzone.

Arnaz Battle was clearly the hero in the passing game. That's not uncommon for a Mike Martz offense. You look at Az-Hakim and Shaun McDonald as # 3 receivers that were productive in this offense. I'm glad that Battle got his today. He's been a very hard worker for the 49ers the last few years.

I have no excuses for Vernon Davis. At the very least, he is an outstanding run blocker. But considering how much we have invested in him, he needs to be more than that. I feel he is still not the #1 option at times and JTO doesn't trust him. The verdict is not out yet.

I can't say anything good about line play...on both offense and defense. This is not the same unit we had 2 years ago when we gave up only 35 sacks protecting Alex Smith under Norv Turner's offense. At the rate we're going, we'll clear 35 sacks in 3 more games. The nIners are on pace to finish the season giving up 79 sacks.

Since the preseason, I have complained that Nolan's offense was "plain". I was wrong about one thing. I thought he was just holding out in the preseason,. But it looks like Nolan's strategy is to rush 4 and sit back in coverage. It may work if we had our full roster in the secondary, but with so many injured DB's, it's just too much to ask.

I was wrong about Justin Smith. I though we overpaid. I wholeheartedly agree with your assessment of Smith. The rest of the D-line needs work.

I may have been wrong about Takeo Spikes too. He made some plays today. But we'll see if he does more good than bad the rest of the season. What IS the deal with Manny Lawson. I know we didn't draft him in the 1st round just to play on special teams.

You're right. The secondary didn't play well. Walt Harris and Mark Roman didn't have good games. But this is where I blame the D-line and Nolan's schemes. If I had as much time that Drew Brees had to throw today, I might have had a couple of TD passes myself...and I can't throw.

I've always felt good about the Allen Rossum signing. I'm glad you noticed today. It's not all on him. The special teams unit needs to wedge better. So far, special teams blocking hasn't created very many lanes for Rossum to run between.

I would agree that this loss doesn't hurt as much. The Saints are still a good team. This is still JTO's 1st year as starter, so there will be growing pains. I'm not upset that JTO made mistakes as I am that we didn't apply enough pressure on Brees. Even though the Niners lost, I feel good that they can remain competitive on offense with any team in the league this year. We just need to complete the circle and make more things happen on defense.

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