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

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Nate Davis: The Next Great 49er Quarterback

Nate Davis - #7
The Next Great San Francisco 49er QB

I love Mike Singletary. He is the perfect man for the job of returning the San Francisco 49ers to their former greatness. I especially feel close to the man, quite possibly because we share the same birthdate -- October 9. That makes Mike a Libra, a man dedicated to fairness, able to see both sides of the question, and a man to whom "balance" is a key word in any equation.

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 reliable quarterback for the 49ers.

Enter Nate Davis. In two games he has demonstrated that he has 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. I read comments saying he's our QB for 2010, 2011, and even 2012.

Come on 49er fans, where is your mojo? Just because Alex Smith fell flat on his face doesn't mean that every rookie QB is incapable of starting in their first season. I think back to the greatest 49er team of all, the 1984 squad that went 18-1, the only loss being on a terrible pass interference call on Eric Wright that gave a game to the Steelers. That squad faced a young 2nd year QB, playing his first full season as a starter -- Dan Marino. The year before in his rookie season he had started only 9 games, yet threw for 20 TDs and 2210 yards. In his first full season in 1984, he threw for 5,084 yards and 48 TDs. I remember another rookie QB, Ben Roethlisberger, who had a very successful rookie season.

There is one inescapable fact. If a player is great, he can overcome just about all obstacles. Nate Davis is dyslexic, but hasn't let that stop him. In my opinion, nothing will stop this kid from greatness. 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 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.

Attention Mike Singletary -- are you listening???

Copyright @ 2009
All Rights Reserved

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Smith Sandwich Leaves Bad Aftertaste

Shaun Hill, 49er Quarterback

Between the solid play of Shaun Hill, who played ten (10) plays, completing 2 for 2 for 41 yards, both to TE Vernon Davis, and scrambled for nine yards showing poise and leadership, and the 7 for 9 passing for 98 yards and a TD by solid veteran QB Damon Huard, came the meat of the sandwich, Alex Smith. I was very hopeful that the reports out of camp were true and that Alex was really making strides. Unfortunately, that was before he took the field when the 49ers opened the 2009 season with a preseason victory over the Denver Broncos.

It has always been true that he possesses a strong arm, however, against Denver he showed the same lack of poise and confidence that has hung over his head his entire pro career. Alex takes too long to make decisions, way too long -- whether it is making up his mind to to pass, to whom to pass, or when to hold 'em and when to fold 'em. He simply makes slow decisions. His amateurish attempted jump pass to Glenn Coffee was a perfect example. To say I was thoroughly disappointed in his performance is an understatement. This guy with all the physical talent in the world, simply lacks the natural instincts for the position. It's a conclusion that is inescapable. When Alex first came to the 49ers, Jerry Rice took a long look at him and said, "He is not the answer". Jerry was right.

Yes it is true that Smith has had all kinds of disadvantages -- multiple offensive coordinators, a lack of talent at the wide receiver position until this season, injuries, etc. However, each time he takes the field the same problems exists. His college coach hit the nail on the head when he said that the only way Alex learns the position is to repeat things over and over again. That is an admission that the position is not instinctual, and that he simply lacks the natural instincts so necessary for success. Natural instincts cannot be taught. You either have them or you don't. Unfortunately, Alex doesn't.

It was very clear that Shaun Hill has the poise and game management skills that Alex so sorely lacks. Mike Singletary's decision is really not a hard one. Shaun Hill will be the 49er QB for 2009.
"He's great at managing the game," Singletary said of Hill Friday night. "You know he can manage a game, but he can also throw the ball downfield. … How consistent, and on what basis? That's something we still have to look at, but we pretty much know what's there."

Copyright @ 2009
All Rights Reserved

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Why 49er Fans Should be Optimistic

I read all the negative posts on various forums, the attacks by one fan on another over who is the better QB, etc. The fact is that the odds are WAY in your favor for the 49ers to have a .500 season or better. Let's take a look:

1940's = 4 out of 4 seasons over .500 = 100%

1950's = 6 seasons over .500, 1 at .500 = 70%

1960's = 4 seasons over .500, 2 at .500 = 60%

1970;s = 4 seasons over .500 = 40%

1980's = 8 seasons over .500 = 80%

1990's = 9 seasons over .500 = 90%

2000's = 2 seasons over .500 = 22%

That's 37 seasons over .500, 5 seasons at .500 out of 63 years.

Your odds of a .500 season or better are 67%! Be positive.
You'll feel better. Anyone who says they are Niner fans and bets against these odds should question their loyalty or sanity.

Go Niners, no matter who plays QB.

Copyright @ 2009
All Rights Reserved

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Two Defenders Stand Out in First Day of Niner Camp

As Mike Singletary's 49ers took the field for the first time in the 2009 season, as expected the defense was ahead of the offense and two men in particular made their presence immediately known. Both of these guys are expected to step up this season in order for this defense to be top rated.


The first was safety Dashon Goldson who is replacing Mark Roman as the starter. Goldson is a 6'2" 200 lb. athletic performer who intercepted the first pass of the day, made a great hit on the next play, and then almost intercepted the third pass but the ball fell to the ground as he collided with the receiver. Goldson's athleticism could not be missed and it is no wonder that Mike Singletary named him his starter before the season.

Isaac Sopoaga

The other player to really stand out was defensive lineman Isaac Sopoaga, the 6'2" 330 lb. Samoan giant who has steadily improved each season since becoming a 49er and whose presence on the defensive line last season was instrumental in their improvement against the run. Yesterday, Sopoaga regularly commanded a double team while playing at NT, batted down a pass, and gave center Eric Heitmann and guard David Baas all they could handle. He had penetration and put lots of pressure on the QB. The massive Sopoaga appears to have developed into the potential star the Niners have always hoped he would become. Defensive linemen develop more slowly than any other position in the NFL and the patience of 49er management may well be rewarded this season. The 28-year old Sopoaga is just coming into his prime and could be a huge force in the middle this season.

Copyright @ 2009
All Rights Reserved

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Singletary Introduces the Nutcracker

Tough Jack-of-All-Trades Michael Robinson #24

From Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee: Proving that truth is indeed more interesting than fiction, Mike Singletary's first ever training camp practice this morning was highlighted by a hard-hitting drill he calls ... wait for it, wait for it ... the nutcracker. Yes, it's true. The drill consisted of seven stations at which one offensive player went up against one defensive player in an effort to see who could push the other man back.

Singletary said the nutcracker is superior to the more traditional Oklahoma drill because in the Oklahoma, a defensive player can move around the offensive player. In the nutcracker, there's no way to avoid contact. Said Vernon Davis: "It's like blocking a defensive end or a tackle - you have to engage." The nutcracker requires legs, leverage -- and most important, according to Singletary - fundamentals. The team that has the best fundamentals at the end of the game, wins the game.
So what were the highlights of the first Niners nutcracker? Everyone participated save the QBs, kicking specialists and OT Marvel Smith, who is taking it easy on his back.

The players were matched up against opponents their own size. It was hard to follow all the action, but this is what I saw ...

* Michael Robinson seemed to get the better of Patrick Willis in their matchups. Willis' strength, after all, is moving in space and utilizing his speed.

* Fullback Brit Miller actually held his own against Takeo Spikes, a surprise. Willis also gave Miller a shoutout when talking about the drill with reporters.

* Delanie Walker beat Ahmad Brooks on the first go around, but Brooks looked better toward the end. That's a matchup Brooks needs to win.

* Big Bad Alex Boone (BBAB) put Pannel Egboh on his back, but later Demetric Evans did the same to Boone.

* Rookie Bear Pascoe roundly defeated Jay Moore.

* Vernon Davis said he beat Parys Haralson three times out of four.

And so the first full season under Mike Singletary begins...

Copyright @ 2009
All Rights Reserved

A Game of Inches

Before we start our 2009 analysis of the defense and go full-bore into football, we all know that luck is an important part of any game. Football is often a game of inches so with that in mind, we salute professional golfer Leif Olson who apparently learned that lesson very well. Here is Leif at the Canadian open:

Copyright @ 2009
All Rights Reserved

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