"The Only Yardstick for Success is Being a Champion" - Bill Walsh

Monday, November 16, 2009

49ers in Playoffs? Not with Alex Smith

"We'll see them again in the playoffs." -- Coach Mike Singletary after a gut-wrenching week 3 loss to the Vikings.

QB Rating this season....

Shaun Hill 79.6
Alex Smith 79.5 (including 3 TDs vs. Houston's Prevent Defense.)
Nate Davis ???

With all due respect to the 49ers, the team that I love, and to Mike Singletary, I must bow to the words of Jim Mora which are very relevant to the current playoff situation of the San Francisco 49ers.

Copyright @ 2009
All Rights Reserved

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Singletary's Dilemma is Playoff Defense, Pop Warner Offense

I love Mike Singletary. I have been a fan of his since he destroyed opposing offenses when he roamed the field for the Monsters of the Midway. I was thrilled when he was named Head Coach of the San Franciso 49ers and admire his great motivational and leadership qualities. There is no chance the 49ers will ever have a poor defense with Mike at the helm. Offense, on the other hand, appears to be another story.

"I thought [QB] Alex [Smith] did a good job."

"I thought our offense did what they needed to do in order for us to win the game. Yes, we would have like to have gotten more points, and I think that will come."

"I thought we did a good job running the ball. We felt that we could be effective running the ball, and it showed later on. And, because I felt our defense would do a good job against their offense, it’s the reason that later on in the game we decided to run the ball more and not take a risk in throwing the ball and run some time off the clock and put the game away. And, that’s pretty much it.”

With all due respect, Mike, what the hell are you thinking? The offense did not do what they needed to do to win the game. They did everything they could to lose the game and it was only the heads up play of the defense combined with Jay Cutler's horrible performance that barely enabled the Niners to escape with a victory. The play calling makes the word vanilla look radical. It was pathetic, and I am disappointed to know that you think it was good.

Most 49er teams throughout history would have buried the Bears by three or four touchdowns, and Mike, I've seen every 49er team in history. Let's face it, Mike. Alex Smith lacks the natural instincts to be a consistent leader of a team. He doesn't even believe in himself, how do you expect the rest of the team to fall behind your rather transparent praise of him?

As to running the ball, you continued to run the ball because you don't trust Alex Smith and I don't blame you. Come on, Mike, for a man committed to honesty your words of praise about him ring hollow. I realize that you have few choices. Shaun Hill was only a shadow of the leader we came to love the past couple of seasons and Alex Smith will never be more than Alex Smith. A pass is only a risk when you have a mediocre QB throwing the ball.

Smith's passer rating is 79.5; Shaun Hill's passer rating was 79.6 at the time he lost his starting job.

When the light bulb goes off in your head and you finally admit to yourself that this is true, the 49ers will have hope for the future.


Mike now faces a true dilemma. He has #7 sitting on the bench. Nate Davis is a big kid who can run the spread effectively. He makes quicker decisions than Alex Smith, has a stronger and more accurate arm, is more mobile, and plays with poise and confidence, something Alex has not done in five years. His rocket arm is impressive and with receivers like Crabtree, Morgan, Hill and Jones, this talent is being wasted on the bench.

Naysayers and youthful Niner fans who know nothing about winning or consistency, see Alex Smith as a failed project and blame the team for throwing him in the mix too early. Maybe they are right. They post on various forums that Nate should sit not only this season but next, too. They are scared to death to ruin another QB prospect the way they feel that Smith was ruined. Frankly, Scarlet, I don't give a damn.

Dan Marino, Ben Roethlisberger, Joe Flacco, Matt Ryan, and now Josh Freeman, have all benefited from playing in their rookie season. Nate Davis is a man, not a little kid who has to be protected like the current QB. Give him a chance.


Mike, if you stick with Alex and your Pop Warner level offense, the playoffs will be out of reach and you will lose the support of many 49er fans who see the potential greatness in Nate Davis, and blame you and Jimmy Raye for the most boring 49er offense in history -- and justifiably so. As it stands now, Mike, you will deserve all the criticism you receive.

Get Nate Davis in there running the spread with Crabtree, Hill, Morgan and Jones, put Bruce out to pasture, and you will create some excitement in San Francisco. Until you do that, your Pop Warner offense will continue to be:


and the fans continue to wait...

Copyright @ 2009
All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Is Nate Davis the 49ers QB of the Future?

Nate Davis - #7

In August, I wrote an article entitled, "Nate Davis, The Next Great 49er Quarterback" which was met with the usual Mike Nolan philosophy from Niner fans: "You can't play a rookie. You'll hurt his development". Many complained, "See what happened to Alex Smith"?

Well, that was three months ago. Shaun Hill disappointed, and Alex Smith is doing what Alex does, making great plays and terrible plays. He is an always has been inconsistent for one reason which I have repeated over and over for years. He simply lacks the natural instincts for the position. It is this lack that makes him repeat his mistakes over and over. His slow delivery and late passes are not something he will just get over. Five years ago Jerry Rice said, "Alex Smith is not the answer." He was right. The future of the 49ers rests in the hands of young Nate Davis.

As for Nate Davis? He shows poise and confidence. Mike Singletary made one very telling observation -- that Nate was "too composed", "too calm". That quality is the hallmark of great quarterbacks.

I am now in my 64th season as a 49er fan, having seen every quarterback in Niner history from the great Frankie Albert up to the present trio, and consider myself to be a pretty good judge of quarterbacking talent. Nate Davis possesses the most talent and ability to be seen in a 49er quarterback since Steve Young. It makes no sense to hold him back. We discovered a gem, let's polish it and put it on display.

Here is every pass he threw in the preseason. You be the judge.

Copyright @ 2009
All Rights Reserved

Friday, November 6, 2009

49ers Forgotten Man Deserves Pro Bowl Recognition

Michael Robinson

In 2006, the San Francisco 49ers drafted a QB out of Penn State who head coach Joe Paterno called "the greatest athlete I have coached in 55 years at this university". He was a wide receiver who Paterno switched to QB his senior season because he had no other player on the roster who was capable. His performance was incredible. He was named Big 10 Offensive Player of the Year and led his team to an 11-1 record, the Big 10 Championship, and victory in the Orange Bowl. His name was Michael Robinson.

In his senior season at QB, he completed 162 out of 311 passes for 2,350 yards and 17 TDs. His passer rating was 127.2. He also ran 163 times for 806 yards and 11 Tds, for a 4.9 average per carry. He had, in his first two season in college, caught 43 passes for 585 yards and 3 TDs. He also was a standout on special teams.

With such a dynamic talent coming to a QB-starved team, you would think the 49ers would have jumped at the opportunity to see what Robinson could do in the NFL at QB. Unfortunately, the Niners were led by head coach, Mike Nolan. This stubborn little man refused to play Robinson on offense unless absolutely necessary, and put him on special teams, despite Michael's pleas to be given an opportunity to prove himself as a QB in the NFL.

In 2 1/2 years under Nolan, Robinson was not only not given an opportunity to play QB, but was turned into a RB, an unfamiliar position and averaged less than 2 carries per game. In his entire career with the 49ers he has thrown ONE PASS, averaged 2 carries per game, and has not taken a single snap from QB.

This season Jimmy Raye is installing the so-called Taser and used Spurlock in that role who was flat-out terrible. He now uses Frank Gore in an entirely forgetful and unimaginative "Taser". Mike Singletary said that Michael Robinson knew the taser best, but he has not been given a single opportunity to run it. What are the 49ers afraid of?

To understand the stupidity of the way he has been handled, let's examine what he has done in the roles they have assigned to him. He has been the leading tackler on special teams for a couple of seasons, and is far and away the best upback this team has seen in quite awhile. He is a punishing blocker, and his double block led to Alan Rossum's kickoff return for a TD vs. Arizona last season, and he also laid the block that sprung Delanie Walker for his kickoff TD return in a preseason game last year.

Now, after the Niners foolishly cut Alan Rossum, they put Delanie Walker as the kickoff returner and he immediately fumbled. Glen Coffee lost his starting job in college due to excessive fumbling so he wasn't the answer. They instead turned to Mr. Reliable, Michael Robinson, who is averaging over 23 yards per return. The only problem is that we no longer have Michael Robinson as the upback, with his devastating blocks that spring the return man. Instead, we have Glenn Coffee who couldn't block his grandmother if she was in a wheelchair. Against Indy, Coffee missed blocks which resulted in Robinson being tackled long before any defender should have made contact.


Michael has been nominated for the Pro Bowl and Niner fans can vote for him to make it on special teams. Beyond that, let's hope that Jimmy Raye realizes that he has an offensive weapon that is not being used. It's probably too late to give him his chance at QB as it has been four years since he played the position. Michael, however, should be used in the Taser along with Gore and given the opportunity to roll out and pass the ball. He should also be used as he was last season as the backup FB specializing in receiving out of the backfield.

The latter half of the 2008 season, Singletary utilized MRob as the backup fullback and he caught 17 passes for 201 yards, an 11.9 average which was good enough to be #3 among NFL RBs last season. He made a great leaping catch vs. the Redskins in the 4th quarter that preserved the drive and led to victory.

When Tom Rathman was playing we had a former QB who also wore #24. His name was Harry Sydney and many Niner fans remember Harry's clutch roll out option pass to Brent Jones which was instrumental in leading us to victory over the Redskins in a playoff game.

It's time for Raye and Singletary to open their eyes. They have a diamond in the rough that they need to polish and USE. He's a great athlete who succeeds at every assignment he is given.

Gary Mialocq
The SF 49er Observer

Copyright @ 2009
All Rights Reserved

Monday, October 26, 2009

Does Mike Singletary Have the Power to Change?

...a SF 49er Observer Editorial.

Mike Singletary -- A Man at a Crossroads

There is a classic scene in the movie "The Godfather II" in which Michael Corleone (Al Pacino) attempts to dissuade his wife Kay (Diane Keaton) from leaving him and taking the kids with her. He looks her right in the eye and says, "I can change...I know I have the power to change". He knew he would never change his philosophy, but to keep things running smoothly, he was willing to at least give the appearance of being capable of making important changes.

We now have Mike Singletary in the role of Michael Corleone and 49er fans in the role of Kay. Yesterday's embarrassing offensive performance against the Texans in the first half in the 24-21 loss, had to have made it very clear to Samurai Mike that his dream of having a team that goes out and hits them in the mouth applies only to his defense. His "smash mouth" power running offense that will dominate a team on the ground is only an illusion with this group.

This 49er offensive line has made it abundantly clear that it is not physically capable of being a dominant power running team and pass protecting at the same time. It also exposed Shaun Hill's limitations within such a system. So where does Singletary go from here? First, he must elevate Alex Smith, who gave his finest performance as a 49er QB to the starter position. But that is only the beginning.

Not often is a team capable of changing horses in mid-stream in such a defining way. I have been a Shaun Hill supporter for a long time but it has become clear that his ability to move the team was more suited to a Mike Martz offense which also left him exposed to 7 step drops and mucho sacks. Unfortunately for Shaun, the vanilla offense Jimmy Raye developed for Singletary's dream became a nightmare and he looks nothing like the confident QB who played so well in the past.

Singletary must adapt his offense to the talents and abilities of his players and he is very lucky. This offensive roster is tailor made for a wide open spread formation that uses 3 and 4 receiver formations. Michael Crabtree is sensational and he and Josh Morgan could well be the star receivers of the future for this team. Getting Brandon Jones and Jason HIll off the practice squad and into their receiver roles is vital to offensive success. These four receivers should get the majority of playing time. Isaac Bruce is ready for Social Security and should be limited in his action in this his final season.

The tight end position is outstanding. Vernon Davis is turning in an All-Pro season, and Delanie Walker does everything well, from blocking to receiving to running back kicks. With these two guys performing so well, that makes six (6) very good receivers for Smith to choose from.

As to the backfield, we know that Frank Gore is a great runner who gives 100% all the time. Frank is also an excellent receiver out of the backfield, a role that both he and Michael Robinson can handle very well. Both are good blockers and top notch receivers. Last season, MIchael caught 17 passes for 201 yards for a 11.9 average per reception which was good enough for # in the NFL among RBs. Apparently, Singletary forgot to pass that message along to Jimmy Raye and this year the team has ignored Robinson much like Nolan did.

In my opinion, Glen Coffee is only a decent runner who is a so-so blocker and who makes too many rookie mistakes. Glen needs to sit and watch and I'd put him in cold storage.

A spread offense with Gore and Robinson as the featured backs utilized often as receivers and in the Wildcat role would be an ideal mix with and complement to the excellent wide receiver corps. Gore is already taking direct snaps and Robinson is a former QB who can pass and run the option. These two featured in such a way provide versatility and defensive problems for other teams expecting to face a smash mouth offense.

I was dismayed at Jimmy Raye's play calling until they replaced Hill with Smith and changed the offensive philosophy. It then became very apparent to me that Jimmy knows what he is doing and was only keeping the offense as vanilla as yogurt to please his boss. The 49er offense in the second half vs. Houston reminded me of the Niners of old, who would move up and down the field at will with sharp, crisp passing.

There is one more change Singletary must implement now. There is a kid sitting on the bench in Nate Davis, who has shown in what little time he was able to get on the field, the exact talents needed to run a successful spread offense. He has a rocket arm, yet has demonstrated the ability to take something off his passes. He has poise and confidence and may well be the future star at QB for the Niners. The team had no fear in getting the rookie Crabtree on to the field right away. Give Nate an equal opportunity.

When Joe Montana was a rookie, Bill Walsh sat him for awhile, then he started inserting him in games with specific plays in mind designed to achieve success. Bill did this to build his confidence and prepare him for the next season when he knew he would be the starter. Alex Smith may well be the man to play the role of Steve DeBerg, who was a top passer but lacked the ability to pull off the big win. Alex deserves his chance now, but Singletary needs to prepare for the inevitable and elevate Nate Davis to #2 QB.

OK, Mike. The ball is in your court. You still have a smash mouth defense. It's time to show your gentle side, Mike, and instead of running over your opponents, just slice and dice them. Do you have the Power to Change, Mike? The whole world is watching!

Copyright @ 2009
All Rights Reserved

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Michael Robinson to Return Kickoffs vs. Houston

Last week it was Delanie Walker. Then, the Chronicle reported that Glen Coffee would be the man. Now, Matt Maiocco reports that it will be Michael Robinson as the kickoff returner with Coffee the upback. Good luck, Michael.

Copyright @ 2009
All Rights Reserved

Monday, October 12, 2009

Singletary Faces Major Turning Point

After being just two seconds away from an undefeated 4-0 start, the 49ers came crashing to earth on Sunday as the Atlanta Falcons humiliated them 45-10 at Candlestick Park. For the first time this season, we were able to see what an outstanding job Mike Singletary has done to date with a team whose weaknesses were exposed for all to see.

Now facing a bye week ahead, and with the prospect of both the Arizona Cardinals and Seattle Seahawks returning to form, Mike Singletary is faced with some major decisions. On the defensive side of the ball, the 49ers are sound and talented. Manny Lawson has been inconsistent, and the secondary has had its good and bad moments, but the unit as a whole is among the league's upper echelon. Patrick Willis and Takeo Spikes have been sensational, and Justin Smith and Isaac Sopoaga have been staunch against the run.

Aubrayo Franklin, after an excellent start to the season, had a terrible game yesterday, and Dre Bly should be cut. His hot dog performance and insistence that "Dre does what Dre does", proves that he is an individual playing on a team and there is no room for that kind of childish behavior on a winning TEAM, With just a few adjustments, the defense will remain solid.


The fly in the ointment for the 49ers is the offense. That they have been able to go 3-2 with Jimmy Raye's plain vanilla offense is remarkable, but it's time to play PROFESSIONAL football and this offensive scheme may be fine for a Pop Warner league team lacking a good QB, but it has no place in the NFL.

Let's pick the offense apart. First, the offensive line is just that -- offensive. To say that Shaun Hill has little or no time to pass is an understatement. Eric Heitmann and Joe Staley have been adequate, but the guard play of David Baas and Chilo Rachal has been very disappointing. Right tackle has been inconsistent with Snyder and Pashos both having mediocre performances. Elevating Alex Boone from the practice squad may be a good move as he will be a future starter and needs to get some reps.

At wide receiver, it is obvious that the Niners lack a breakaway man like they faced in Roddy White of Atlanta. Josh Morgan has disappointed, not only because he dropped a certain TD pass vs. the Rams, then made the excuse that the ball was "coming down like a punt", but because yesterday he was not running full out in an attempt to catch a pass. Anything less than 100% effort is unacceptable.

Brandon Jones has yet to set foot on the field and Jason Hill is apparently in somebody's doghouse but gives great effort on special teams and is, in my estimation, the best wide receiver we have active at this time. Arnaz Battle has never been great, and Isaac Bruce is ready for Social Security and shows it. The best receivers right now are the Tight Ends, Vernon Davis and Delanie Walker.


As someone who shares a birthdate with Singletary, I have insight into his thought processes. He's a Libra to whom balance is essential in life. Mike can see both sides of a situation and is motivated by fairness and discipline. His decisions are always made with the best interest of his team in mind and he will make sacrifices to see that his goals are met.

Now the 49ers are at a fork in the road. They are moving in the right direction with the Playoffs and eventually the Super Bowl as the goal. Yesterday's blowout exposed the weaknesses, and unfortunately, the biggest weakness is at QB. I love Shaun Hill. He is a leader, determined, and excellent game manager, and tough. However, he does not possess the passing skills to take an NFL team to a title. That fact became obvious to me yesterday for the first time. I wanted him to succeed badly, but he just doesn't have "it", and "it" is what is needed at the position to take the Niners to the next level. Continuing with Hill as our starting QB is only delaying the development of this team.

Mike is now faced with a dilemma. Shaun Hill is a serviceable quarterback, an excellent game manager, a fairly accurate passer with a soft arm, and a leader. Alex Smith came to the 49ers with great physical ability but no natural instincts for the position. Alex continues to take way too long to set up and deliver the ball. He makes very slow decisions which results in a very slow delivery. His passing is scattershot at best and while he has a strong arm, he is and continues to be very inaccurate. The game has never slowed down for Alex. He will NEVER be a top quarterback for the 49ers.


As we enter the Bye week, the future of our receiving corps has come to camp. Michael Crabtree, if he is anywhere near as good as expected, will bring the excitement and explosiveness to the receiving corps that is needed. With Jones returning from injury and Jason Hill and Morgan ready to go, and with the return of Frank Gore, this offense should be ready to reduce the vanilla bean running scheme and go to the air with effectiveness.

Enter Nate Davis. In two preseason games he has demonstrated a rocket arm, and makes plays that the other two guys simply cannot; he is mobile and can make throws on the run the others cannot, and he makes excellent decisions. I don't care that he has only faced backups -- his ability is right there for all to see.

Most important of all is his poise. In four years, Alex Smith has continually shown that deer-in-the-headlights quality that frustrates 49er fans. Many blame his failure to excel at QB on the 49ers. They say he has been ruined by them due to having too many offensive coordinators, a poor supporting cast, etc. I say that is baloney (bologna to my Italian readers). In reading the forums and comments of many of the newer and younger 49er fans who don't even have a clue as to our winning tradition, beg and plead not to rush Davis into the fray and ruin him like we did Alex. I read comments saying he's our QB for 2010, 2011, and even 2012.

Why wait? Do the names Flacco, Ryan or Roethlisberger ring a bell? All were highly successful in their rookie season.

If I were Mike Singletary, I would get
Nate Davis and Michael Crabtree together and have them start working on their chemistry right now during the bye week. They are the touchdown combination of the future for the 49ers and it makes no sense to finish this season with either Hill or Smith since neither is the future of the 49ers.

I am now in my 64th season as a 49er fan, having seen every quarterback in Niner history from the great Frankie Albert up to not so great Alex Smith, and consider myself to be a pretty good judge of quarterbacking talent. Nate Davis possesses the most talent and ability to be seen in a 49er quarterback since Steve Young. It makes no sense to hold him back. The only way he is going to develop that talent is to PLAY. We discovered a gem, let's polish it and put it on display. It is time!

Copyright @ 2009
All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Get Used to It

Here is what's coming at wide receiver:

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Thursday, October 1, 2009

Samoan Tragedy

A Sad Story Out of Miami

Dolphins DT Paul Soliai lost 12 relatives in the recent tragedy in American Somoa. In times like this we all need to take a step back and realize football is just a game. My prayers go out to all those who lost loved one in the recent events in Indonesia and American Somoa. Our prayers are with them.

It has also come to our attention that Isaac Sopoaga has not been able to contact his family. Our best wishes for Ice and the welfare of his family.

Copyright @ 2009
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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

What are they thinking?

Michael Robinson Makes Clutch 4th Quarter Catch vs. Redskins

That has been the theme on several 49er forums when it was pointed out that Mike Singletary will stick with just two RBs and keep Kory Sheets on the practice squad. Many pointed out his speed and ability to get to the corner as something that is needed to balance the power running that this team likes to feature. Some even say that Sheets should be #2 ahead of Michael Robinson.

Unfortunately, many of these fans are thinking with their hearts and not their heads. Sheets is an excellent pure runner, no question. But, he is a liability as a blocker and that puts Shaun Hill in danger. That is not worth the ristk

Michael Robinson, however, is known as a punishing blocker and is very good in close in one-on-one situations. Just ask Patrick Willis, who found out the hard way when he faced Robinson one on one in Singletary's famous Nutcracker drill. Robinson can also play #2 FB, and is a great receiver out of the backfield. Lest we forget, the second half of last season, Hill and Robinson connected on 17 passes for 201 yards and an average per catch of 11.9 yards. Here is a 36 yard completion against the Rams: CLICK HERE.

That was good enough to be #3 in the NFL among all RBs with ten (10) or more catches. Sheets can't do that. This doesn't even take Robinson's proven leadership qualities as a team captain and star on special teams.

People also underestimate Robinson's ability as a runner. This season he has worked closely with Tom Rathman, and at 225, he is more like the old-time fullback. CLICK HERE to see him gain 97 yards in just 14 carries vs. the Raiders in preseason.

One more important factor is that Michael Robinson has great hands. Not only is he an outstanding receiver out of the backfield, but he has lost only one fumble in his career, and is very dependable in the clutch.

One more consideration. In order to activate Sheets, Singletary would have to cut one player. Forums are screaming for Mark Roman's head, but let's not make him the fall guy. He has played extremely well in these three games and is an outstanding man for the dime package. Lewis made a great catch. Had we been a bit more creative, we may have run the clock out with under 2:00 and the pass would never have been attempted.

Let's accept the loss and move on. The Rams are waiting...

Copyright @ 2009
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Monday, September 28, 2009

Moral Victories Suck...

Frank Gore Sidelined

Yesterday, the San Francisco 49ers missed out on an opportunity to go 3-0 after a powerful defensive performance against Brett Favre and Adrian Peterson went for naught on a desperation Hail Mary pass with two seconds to go. It should have never gone that far. With under 2:00 minutes remaining on the clock, the Niners shut down the Vikings and took over possession.

Unfortunately, Jimmy Raye choked and called three running plays in a row, allowing enough time for the Vikings to get the ball again and end the 49er hopes. How much does Shaun Hill have to do for the OC to trust him? He could just as easily installed Michael Robinson, his best pass receiver out of the backfield, to catch a swing pass or a fullback delay -- ANYTHING, but three straight runs!


~ Vernon Davis officially became a star today with his tremendous pass catching and great blocking;

~ Kudos to the front three on the defensive line of Isaac Sopoaga, Aubrayo Franklin and Justin Smith. Opponents are not going to enjoy trying to run the ball against this group;

~ It's time to get Jason Hill out of the doghouse and back onto the field. The 49ers can use his ability to step up late in games when needed;

~ I don't know about anyone else, but it was obvious to me (and my wife) that Frank Gore was limping BEFORE the game. He is suffering from a high ankle sprain, which is a nasty form of ankle injury that lingers a lot longer than the predicted two weeks they say he will be out;

~ It's time to activate Kory Sheets and add some speed and the ability to get outside to the running game. Sheets is a liability as a blocker so he'll have to be used tactfully;

~ It's also time to use some of Michael Robinson's athletic ability. Now in his fourth season, he has thrown ZERO passes, and has not been allowed to run the option. Come on guys, this kid is talented. Mix it up a bit. Vanilla is too bland.

Gary Mialocq
The SF 49er Observer

Copyright @ 2009
All Rights Reserved

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The First Big Test for 49ers

photo: Michael Maloney, SF Chronicle

San Francisco 49ers (2-0) vs. Minnesota Vikings (2-0)

This Sunday, the 49ers face their first opportunity to prove to the doubters that THIS TEAM is for real. Winning five of the last seven games last season despite a 7-step crazed Offensive Coordinator was no small feat. Mike Singletary is no ordinary coach, however.

For those of us who watched him play his entire career for the Bears, and who were privileged enough to see a true master of his craft at work, this was not at all surprising. Mike Singletary worked harder and demonstrated more determination than any player I have ever seen, and I've seen a lot including Jim Brown and Jerry Rice, two others who rank with Singletary in this category. It is their incredible powers of the mind, their ability to will things to happen in their favor, much like Tiger Woods in golf, that set them apart.

The Niners are 2-0, and it has been a pleasure to watch Singletary's mental brilliance as he deals with a variety of situations. He has everyone convinced that the Niners are three runs and a cloud of dust... He is so honest that everyone, especially the media, believes him. He WANTS the 49ers to be known as a running team. He wants the rest of the league to believe that Shaun Hill is barely able to throw a ball and that passing is an afterthought at best, something the Niners do only in desperation.

Poor Shaun is the most underrated and maligned QB in the NFL -- by far. No matter how well he performs or how much he wins, people have been conned into believing he has no arm strength (Noodle Arm is the nickname of choice) but he has heart. He has heart AND plenty of arm strength. Against the Cards, Hill lofted a beautiful 50-yard pass to Isaac Bruce, right on the money.

What is the truth? Is he a QB that Singletary keeps in the closet because he is inept, or is it because Singletary KNOWS he has a winner -- a guy with character and heart. Hill has a Won/Loss record of 9-3 (6-0 at home).

Last season, Hill finished 12th in the NFL with an excellent passer rating of 87.5, ahead of QBs like Eli Manning, McNabb, Cutler, Edwards, Delhomme, Campbell, Garrard, Favre, Flacco, Collins and Roethlisberger, among others. Passer rating measures efficiency.

In just over half a season, Hill threw 64.2% of his passes for over 2,000 yards, an average of 227 yards per game. He threw 13 TD passes with 8 interceptions. That would translate to over 3,600 yards for a full season. Pretty good for a Noodle Arm.

When the 49ers ran into trouble against Arizona (ran might be an exaggeration), Hill stepped right up and led the Niners on a 15 play TD drive, throwing 12 times and doing a great impersonation of a QB who knows what's up.

Someone posted this comparison on a forum that, although Hill has only started 12 games, gives some insight as to the level of his performance thus far. This will raise some eyebrows:

1. Steve Young 64.3 comp %
2. Shaun Hill 64.2 comp %
3. Joe Montana 63.2 comp %
4. Jeff Garcia 61.6 comp %

Highest TD ratio
1. Steve Young 1 TD every 15.1 attempts
2. Joe Montana 1 TD every 19.0 attempts
3. Shaun Hill 1 TD every 19.3 attempts
4. Jeff Garcia 1 TD every 19.7 attempts

Lowest INT ratio
1. Shaun Hill 1 INT every 47.1 attempts
2. Jeff Garcia 1 INT every 44.3 attempts
3. Joe Montana 1 INT every 38.8 attempts
4. Steve Young 1 INT every 38.8 attempts

QB Rating
1. Steve Young 96.8 QB Rating
2. Joe Montana 92.3 QB Rating
3. Shaun Hill 90.1 QB Rating
4. Jeff Garcia 87.5 QB Rating

Keep making the world believe that Hill can barely walk or think as long as you can, Mike. I know how you think. I, too, was born on October 9.

No matter how you slice it, Shaun Hill has performed at a winning level as a 49er quarterback. The first two games of this season he has a passer rating of 87.9, has passed for 353 yards with a TD and NO interceptions. Most impressive is his toughness and determination. He's a no-nonsense guy who doesn't care about the limelight -- the perfect team player. He just wants to win. Reminds me of an old Bears linebacker.

photo: Lacy Atkins, SF Chronicle

Copyright @ 2009
All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A Comment on the Wildcat

Michael Robinson

A Wildcat is something that strikes quickly and slashes away. The way the 49er "Wildcat" has been run thus far, it definitely is no wildcat and hasn't earned the name "TASER".

I am entirely patient with Jimmy Raye's vanilla play calling and understand the reasoning behind it although I'd love to see Hill given more opportunities to throw the ball. However, when he puts the Wildcat to use what is he thinking? Singletary was quoted a couple of weeks ago as saying that Michael Robinson was the best at running the wildcat. Had Robinson and not Spurlock been playing last Sunday, that pass would most likely have been complete. Robinson not only played QB his senior year at Penn State but he won the Big 10 Offensive Player of the Year Award and threw 17 TD passes while running for 8 more.

The Wildcat will not work UNLESS you have someone running it who can pass. The threat of the pass makes it that much more useful and that much more of a threat to the defense. Robinson is a proven passer.

Come on, Uncle Festus, re-think your "Taser" and this time LOAD IT!

Copyright @ 2009
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Video Recap of 49er Victory over Seattle

The 49ers opened their 2009 season at the Stick with an impressive 23-10 win over Seattle's walking wounded. Camp Singletary appears to have been a huge success as the Niners outhit and physically dominated the Seahawks. For the second week in a row this team came out of the game virtually injury free while Seahawk players were scattered over the field like confetti.

Matt Maiocco of the Santa Rosa Press Democrat has started a new weekly feature for this season -- a video recap of each game. We will present them to you each week.

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Saturday, September 19, 2009

Hill Happy with Opening Day Win

Jim Rome sits down with 49ers QB Shaun Hill to discuss the Niners' great opening day road upset of the Arizona Cardinals. Hill led the 49ers on a late 4th quarter 80-yard drive to cement the victory.

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Saturday, September 12, 2009

2009 San Francisco 49er Roster

4Lee, AndyP6-017808/11/19826Pittsburgh
6Nedney, JoeK6-523403/22/197314San Jose State
7Davis, NateQB6-221705/25/19870Ball State
11Smith, AlexQB6-421705/07/19844Utah
13Hill, ShaunQB6-322001/09/19808Maryland
15Crabtree, MichaelWR6-121409/14/19870Texas Tech
18Spurlock, MichealWR5-1021401/31/19832Mississippi
20Rossum, AllenDB5-817810/22/197512Notre Dame
21Gore, FrankRB5-921705/14/19835Miami (Fla.)
22Clements, NateDB6-020512/12/19799Ohio State
23Hudson, MarcusDB6-220011/15/19824North Carolina State
24Robinson, MichaelRB6-122302/06/19834Penn State
25Brown, TarellDB5-1019301/06/19853Texas
26Roman, MarkDB5-1120503/26/197710Louisiana State
28Taylor, CurtisDB6-220807/13/19850Louisiana State
29Coffee, GlenRB6-020905/01/19870Alabama
30Smith, ReggieDB6-120009/13/19862Oklahoma
31Bly, Dre'DB5-1018805/22/197711North Carolina
32Lewis, MichaelDB6-122204/29/19808Colorado
36Spencer, ShawntaeDB6-119002/22/19826Pittsburgh
38Goldson, DashonDB6-220009/18/19843Washington
44Norris, MoranRB6-125006/16/19789Kansas
46Walker, DelanieTE6-024208/12/19844Central Missouri
51Spikes, TakeoLB6-224212/17/197612Auburn
52Willis, PatrickLB6-124001/25/19853Mississippi
53Ulbrich, JeffLB6-024002/17/197710Hawaii
54Harris, MarquesLB6-124509/20/19815Southern Utah
55Brooks, AhmadLB6-325903/14/19844Virginia
56McKillop, ScottLB6-124303/04/19860Pittsburgh
59Wallace, CodyC6-430011/26/19842Texas A&M
62Rachal, ChiloOG6-431503/15/19862USC
64Baas, DavidG6-433009/28/19815Michigan
65Sims, BarryT6-530012/01/197411Utah
66Heitmann, EricC6-331202/24/19808Stanford
68Snyder, AdamT6-632501/30/19825Oregon
69Wragge, TonyG6-431008/14/19795New Mexico State
74Staley, JoeOT6-531508/30/19843Central Michigan
77Pashos, TonyT6-632608/03/19807Illinois
81Jones, BrandonWR6-121210/06/19825Oklahoma
83Battle, ArnazWR6-120802/22/19807Notre Dame
84Morgan, JoshWR6-021906/20/19852Virginia Tech
85Davis, VernonTE6-325001/31/19844Maryland
86Jennings, BrianLS6-524210/14/197610Arizona State
88Bruce, IsaacWR6-018811/10/197216Memphis
89Hill, JasonWR6-020202/20/19853Washington State
90Sopoaga, IsaacDL6-233009/04/19816Hawaii
91McDonald, RayDE6-329009/02/19843Florida
92Franklin, AubrayoDT6-131708/27/19807Tennessee
93Evans, DemetricDE6-427509/03/19798Georgia
94Smith, JustinDE6-428509/30/19799Missouri
95Jean Francois, RickyDE6-329511/23/19860Louisiana State
96Balmer, KentwanDE6-531510/15/19862North Carolina
98Haralson, ParysLB6-025501/24/19844Tennessee
99Lawson, MannyLB6-524007/03/19844North Carolina State

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Rock Out with the Niners

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