By Niner Faithful
2017 couldn’t have accomplished much more than it did. We found our franchise QB in Jimmy G Cool and the heart of our defense in Reuben Foster. As well as established we made the right hires in John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan. Now its up to John Lynch and co. to build on our success in 2017. The Niners still have holes on the roster that was apparent to anyone who watched Niners football in 2017. With a league-leading, $102,365,529 in cap room and 9 picks in this years draft the Niners to have plenty of ammo to fill said holes. This week I have decided to go over the team needs and a little breakdown of why I feel they are needs. So here they are in no particular order.
- Edge Rusher
The Niners ranked 26th in the NFL in sacks in 2017 with 30. The team leader in sacks was 33-year-old Elvis Dumervil with 6.5. No other Niner had more than 3. That’s simply not going to get the job done. Add on top of that the team’s issues in the secondary and fixing this becomes priority number one in the offseason. They say the best friend to a secondary is a pass rush so by fixing this the Niners could help out our secondary as well.
Lucky for the Niners Dontae Johnson is a free agent because he was god awful last year. Even when he would make a play and you thought he might have turned the corner, he would get burned or commit a stupid penalty. Now he wasn’t the only issue in the secondary. Rookie Ahkello Witherspoon had his rookie moments but showed a lot more promise the more he played. The Niners ranked 22nd in the league allowing 3,943 passing yards. As stated above I believe that a better pass rush will help in 2018. They say the NFL is a rush and cover league so the Niners would still benefit from adding a solid corner opposite Witherspoon.
- Guard/ Center
I know that the Oline played better as the season went along and Brandon Fusco played with a partially torn bicep all season. But if I have to watch Daniel Kilgore get overpowered one more time I will grow my hair back out just so I can pull it out (although I do like him as a backup and the leadership he brings). With Fusco and Kilgore being pending free agents and the uncertainty around Joshua Garnett it is key that the Niners get O linemen either in free agency, the draft or both.
- Wide Receiver
Although I like our Receiving core. I still feel we need a red zone threat on the outside. Someone with the body type that can win 50/50 balls. Niner receivers only had 7 touchdowns all year and no receiver had more than 2. Marquise Goodwin was our leading receiver in catches with 56 and was tied for the lead for touchdowns with 2. We all know Pierre Garcon is coming back but he will be turning 32 in August so who knows how much he has left in the tank. The Niners haven’t drafted a great receiver since T.O. in 1996. It’s time to find a young receiver that will be here for a long time.
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By Niner Faithful
February 9th, 2017, that’s when John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan had their introductory press conference. They said all the things you might expect a new GM and Head Coach to say when starting a job with the NFL’s most storied franchise. They talked about rebuilding our winning culture and returning us to our former glory. Many thought that it would be a long grueling road that would take at least a couple of years. We fast forward to less than a year later and many think that the road although still grueling has gotten a lot shorter. How did Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch take a team that was 2-14 and in less than a year have people around the NFL talking about the Niners as a playoff contender in 2018? While Jimmy G Cool had a lot to do with it there is a lot more to it than that. Let’s go to March 9th, 2017 the first day of NFL free agency. Strapped with loads of cap space and a roster full of holes. John Lynch and his front office staff (with lots of input from Kyle Shanahan and his staff) went about identifying players that not only fit our scheme but were the type of people that had enough character to play through adversity. It was clear even early in his tender as GM John Lynch was not Trent Blakee. John Lynch was aggressive, signing 9 players on the first day of free agency and continued doing so throughout the offseason. But what really sold any other doubters was his first draft as GM. The Niners had the number 2 overall pick in the 2017 draft and from the get-go, John Lynch made it clear the Niners were “open for business” in regards to trading the number 2 pick. After many rumors on what the Niners were going to do draft night finally came. That’s when John Lynch committed highway robbery. The Niners were able to convince Chicago to give up their 1st (3rd overall), 3rd (67th overall), and 4th round (111th overall) picks and a 3rd round pick in 2018 just to move up one spot, and was able to still get the player he wanted. Most GM’s would have called that a success but John Lynch wasn’t done. With our 2nd rounder (34th overall) and the 4th rounder (111th overall) we got from Chicago, we were able to make a trade with Seattle to get Ruben Foster. John Lynch in his first draft was able to come away with two of the top 3 players on the Niners draft board (the other being Myles Garrett) to go along with George Kittle, Trent Taylor, Ahkello Witherspoon, Adrian Colbert, Joe Williams, Pita Taumoepenu, DJ Jones and CJ Beathard. Overall Lynch and Shanahan turned over about 75% of the roster. The turnover of the roster didn’t just happen in the offseason. The Niners continued to make player changes throughout the season (although some of those were because of injuries). Trading away struggling cornerback Rashard Robinson and the hardest decision of all releasing longtime team leader and fan favorite NaVorro Bowman. The decisions weren’t easy many people questioned the moves, but they needed to happen. They needed to happen to show everyone involved that no matter who you are if you don’t fully buy in you will not be here. The Niners were 0-5 and had just lost their 4th game by 3 points or less. Shanahan who had expressed all year that he wanted players that when times got rough they worked harder, clearly didn’t want to risk ANY players starting to follow their own program or divide the locker room. It wasn’t all smooth sailing in 2017 the Niners started off 0-9. Brain Hoyer who was Shanahan’s handpicked QB was struggling, so bad that he was benched in the middle of the Niners Redskins game for Rookie C.J. Beathard. Despite the Niners suffering a ton of injuries and 4 more losses (including a blowout loss to longtime rival Dallas on Dwight Clark day) before winning our first game, the players seemed to be drinking the kool-aid Shanahan and Lynch were pouring. Then we got our first win. If you went into the locker room and didn’t know any better you would have thought we had just won the super bowl. I feel that this was one of the biggest moments of the year. It showed the players that Shanahan and Lynch knew what they were doing. That despite what the team’s record was the plan was working. The good vibes didn’t last long the Niners laid an egg against division rival Seattle two weeks later, but the in the middle of the last drive one of the most important factors to our turn around happened. CJ Beathard went down and this time didn’t get up. Out came Jimmy G Cool, and on a meaningless play, he throws a TD to Lewis Murphy. The touchdown may have been meaningless but it set the tone for the next few weeks, maybe the next 10 years. We all know how the rest of the story goes. Some will even point to that as the main reason for the hope us faithful feel. October 30th, 2017 may go down as one of the most memorable days in Niners history, but the turn around started with a press conference in early February. During their first year as GM and head coach of the Niners. John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan were able to do what most thought impossible, they turned this franchise around in less than a year. They faced a player who had off the field tragedies. Lost team leaders. Set a Niners record for most losses to start a season and a NFL record for games in a row lost by 3 or less points. And despite all that were able to stay the course and finish as the only team in NFL history to start 0-9 and finish with more than 3 wins. And for that, they deserve all the credit in the world.
Thank you for reading my blog please make sure to like NINER FAITHFUL RADIO on Facebook and Twitter and Tune in every Monday at 3 pm PST Here’s the link for This Monday, Jan 15th GO NINERS!!!!!
By Niner Faithful
First of all this week I would like to start off by saying Happy New Year!!!!! May the Lord bring you health, wealth and happiness in 2018. Now that that’s out of the way, on to football. It’s here, week 17, the last game of the season. And while this season may not have brought us that 6th trophy to put in the trophy case at 4949. It has brought us hope for the future but more on that next week. This year we close out the season by playing the (I can’t believe I’m saying this) playoff bound LA Yams. As we all know in the week 3 meeting between these teams we lost 41-39 (but we all know Trent Taylor did not push off). The Yams have already said they are going to rest most of their starters, now that doesn’t mean this will be an easy game by any means. But it does mean that a winnable game became even more winnable. After beating the Jags last week the Niners are on a 4 game winning streak for the first time since 2013 and are looking for our first 5 game winning streak since 2013 as well. So let’s keep the streak alive. Here are the last Keys to victory for the 2017 season.
- Stay humble and hungry
The Niners have had a lot of success lately. The type of success that can start to make you think that you have arrived and lose focus. Now we all know that Kyle Shanahan and his staff are going to do everything in their power to make sure that doesn’t happen. But it’s up to the players to take that message to heart. And with the Yams sitting most starters a little bit of complacency can creep in and that’s the last thing we need.
- Stay healthy
We all know the story of this season as far as injuries are concerned. It started in Training camp with Malcolm Smith and has continued throughout the season with 20 players ending the season on IR and what seems like every player missing time this year due to injury. There would be nothing worse than if someone were to go down with an major injury, because that would likely mean they would miss some of the offseason program if not the whole year. So staying healthy is important not only for winning this game but next season as well.
- Do not get swept in the division
Although we have won 4 in a row and 5 out of our last 6 we have yet to beat a division opponent all year (in fact the only losses we have had since week 9 have been to teams in the division). The Niners have never loss every game in the division since the realignment in 2002. We have already set a franchise record for most losses to start a season I don’t think we want to set a new one for losses in the division.
- BEAT LA for the bay
Being from Nor Cal any team from So Cal is a hated team (although I am a Lakers fan). You hear the BEAT LA chant no matter what stadium you are in throughout Nor Cal. And with the Yams being our longest rival beating them is going to make our 6th victory even sweeter.
I can’t believe that the season is over. It just seems like the draft was yesterday. I am very blessed to have to opportunity to write for sports elite and for all my Empire brothers and sisters. I hope you have enjoyed reading my blogs as much as I have had writing them. And although my keys to victory won’t be back till next year I will still continue to write blogs every week. So till next week GO NINERS!!!!! BEAT LA!!!!!
Thank you for reading my blog please make sure to like NINER FAITHFUL RADIO on Facebook and Twitter and Tune in every Monday at 3 pm PST Here’s the link for This Monday Jan 1st
By Niner Faithful
It’s finally here the last home game of the 2017 Season. It seems like only yesterday everyone was getting already for Week 1 my how the time flies. For the final home game of the year Jimmy G and the Niners will face their toughest challenge of the year in the Jacksonville Jaguars. Jacksonville comes to Levis with the number 1 defense in sacks, points allowed, and passing defense to go with the number 1 rushing attack on offense. This will be the 5th time the Niners and the Jags square off with each team winning 2 games. This is the biggest game at Levis since maybe the Thanksgiving game in 2014. We need this win and to do so here are this weeks 4 keys to victory.
- Protect Jimmy G
The Jags have the number 1 sack defense with 51. Former Cardinal Calais Campbell has put up monster numbers with the jags and is second in the league with 14.5 sacks. Jacksonville isn’t just a one trick pony Yannick Ngakoue isn’t far behind with 11 sacks on the year. Unlike Tennessee last week Jacksonville doesn’t have to blitz to get to the quarterback only blitzing on about 15% of snaps which means they can get to the QB with only four down linemen and can use 8 men in coverage. Jacksonville maybe coming into town with top flight corners but I promise you a lot of their success has to do with success up front.
- Run the ball
If there is an area of weakness on Jacksonville’s defense it’s their run defense. Their rush defense is 19th in the league giving up an average of 115.2 yards per game and 4.5 yards per attempt. If the Niners are going to win this game they must have more success running the ball than they did last week when they only had 51 yards total. Because if they don’t the Jacksonville d line will pin their ears back and it might get ugly real fast.
- Protect the football
Jacksonville is not only the number one defense in points, sacks, and pass defense they are also number 2 in the league with 20 interceptions. Jimmy G was lucky last week because if it wasn’t for two unbelievable plays by Marquise Goodwin he throws 2 picks. One would have ended the game and ended his our streak. We must protect the football this week. Turnovers can make this game get ugly real fast.
- No more Robbie Gould show
We all love Robbie Gould he has straight ice water in his veins. But enough is enough we must turn those field goals in to touch downs because I can almost grantee that 6 field goals will not cut it this week.
Jimmy G has created a lot of hope for the future of our beloved Niners. A win against Jacksonville to close out the home schedule would allow Levis to start building those memories that made The Stick so special (I’m not saying it would be the same yet, but it will be a start and be the first real big win at our new home) not to mention make it a very Merry Christmas. So enjoy some eggnog while watching the Red and Gold and have a very Merry Christmas GO NINERS!!!!!
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By Niner Faithful
This week the Niners travel to Houston, TX to face the Houston Texans in the last 10am game of the year. The Niners and the Texans have only faced each other only 3 other times with the Niners holding a 2-1 advantage. The Niners haven’t played in Houston since they lost 24-21 in Michael Crabtree’s first game back in 2009. It should be a fun game to watch and not only because it’s a winnable game. The Niners have a new buzz around them because of Jimmy G you can see it in the way we played last week. Lets hope that we can get our first consecutive road wins for the first time since 2014 ( New Orleans and New York) Without further adieu here are this weeks keys to victory.
- Stop DeAndre Hopkins
Hopkins is easily Houston’s top receiver. Hell some would argue he’s one of the best in the league. He has 77 catches for 1,084 yards and 9 touchdowns this year and is coming off a game where he caught 8 out of 14 targets for 80 yards. The Niners corners have been doing better since the trade of Rashard Robinson but this is going to be their biggest test all year.
- Stop Jadeveon Clowney
Without maybe the best defensive player in the league J.J. Watt Jadeveon Clowney has really stepped up. He has 9 sacks on the year placing him in a tie for 8th in the league. What makes Clowney so dangerous is the fact that he lines up all along the d line, so you can bet they will line him up inside where we have struggled all most of the year. He’s the type of player that can wreck your game plan, so we have to stop him or its going to be a long day.
- No self-inflicted wounds
Last week the Niners had 4 accepted penalties in the red zone and 2 that helped the Bears stay on the field. Houston is a more talented team than the Bears, so if we hope to win we can not shoot ourselves in the foot and hope to overcome it like last week.
- Score in the red zone
The only major offensive issues last week (besides penalties) was going 0/5 in the red zone. If the Niners want to become a better team and score points this must change.
There are 4 games left in this season. That is plenty of time for the players and some of the couches to prove that they are worthy of being a part of this organization going forward. Plus winning games this year is going to pay dividends down the road.
Thank you for reading my blog please make sure to like NINER FAITHFUL RADIO on Facebook and Twitter and Tune in every Monday at 3pm PST Here’s the link for This Monday Dec 11th
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By Niner Faithful
The Niners travel this week to Chicago to play the Bears. This is the third year in a row that the Niners have headed to Chicago to play the Bears in week 13. Overall the Niners have a 33-31-1 series advantage, but the teams have split the last two games. The Niners losing in the snow last year 26-6. The biggest storyline going into the game is the first start in Red and Gold for Jimmy Garoppolo, who grew up 30.4 miles away from Soldier Field in Arlington Heights, Illinois. On paper this looks like a game the Niners can and should win (although we all know how that’s gone this year). With that being said here are this weeks keys to victory.
- The weather
I know people say football is a no excuses business, but when there is a snow storm it’s kind of hard for that not to affect your play. The weather should be a lot milder this year compared to last year, but you never know. If the weather changes it shouldn’t effect Jimmy G after playing in New England the last 3 years, but it might affect the other skill positions on the team. Running the ball is always important, but will be even more so if the weather changes.
- Protect Jimmy G
The Niners have had problems protecting the quarterback all year-long. Last week it finally caused an injury when C.J. Beathard had to leave the game for the final 3 plays. With Trent Brown being a game time decision and his back up going on IR this week some of the pressure is on Jimmy G to make quick decisions. Because if something happens to Jimmy G there are more long-term consequences for the future of the franchise.
- Stop the run
The Bears offense has left much to be desired all year-long. They rank 29th in points scored, 29th in total offense and 21st in passing offense. Rushing offense is the only category they are ranked in the top ten (8th). With the Niners ranking 30th in the league in rush defense you can bet the Bears are going to try to run it down our throat so stopping the run game will go a long way into helping us win the game.
- Score early and often
The Bears rank middle of the league in all defensive category’s so scoring often might be a challenge. But with the Bears offense ranked 8th in the league in rushing. Jumping out to a big lead maybe the best way to make sure the Bears don’t try to run the ball down our throats and wear out our defense.
Although Jimmy G is limited in his knowledge our playbook, we should be able to see some offense and reasons to believe his the future at QB.
Thank you for reading my blog please make sure to like NINER FAITHFUL RADIO on Facebook and Twitter and Tune in every Monday at 3pm PST Here’s the link for This Monday Dec 4th
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