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

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
All Rights Reserved

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
All Rights Reserved

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.

Copyright @ 2009
All Rights Reserved

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.

Copyright @ 2009
All Rights Reserved

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

Copyright @ 2009
All Rights Reserved

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