Building a contender: Team needs for 2018

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.

  1. 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.

  1. Cornerback

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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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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The Light near the end of the tunnel: The hope for the future

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!!!!!

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4 Keys To Victory: Niners VS Yams Round 2

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.

 

  1. 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.

 

  1. 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.

 

  1. 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.

  1. 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

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4 Keys to victory: Niners VS Jaguars

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.

 

  1. 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.

 

  1. 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.

 

  1. 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.

  1. 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!!!!!

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 25th

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4 Keys to victory: Niners VS Titans 

By Niner Faithful

This week the Niners face off against former Niner Delanie Walker and the Tennessee Titans at Levis stadium. It’s the Niners second straight game vs. an AFC South team. This will be the 14th time the Niners and Titans have faced each other with the Niners holding an 8-5 advantage in the all-time series. The Niners are favored for only the second time all year. The Niners will face three teams in three weeks that are playing for their playoff lives so, this will be a great test for our young team and, can give us a signature win that can pay dividends for years to come.

 

  1. Stop the run

The Titans want to run the ball no doubt about it. They have all different kinds of ways to do it as well. Derrick Henry and DeMarco Murray both have over 500 yards rushing, 100 rushing attempts, and they both have 5 rushing TDs as well. This will be a unique challenge in that the Titans have a true one two punch in the backfield like the Niners haven’t faced all year. As the Titans run game goes so goes their offense so, a commitment from everyone on D to stopping the run will be the biggest key to victory this week.

  1. Run the ball

In all three of our wins this year we have had more rushing attempts and yards than the team we are facing that week. That’s leading to us winning the time of possession which of course leads to our defense being on the field less, which means they are able to play faster which leads to our offense getting on the field faster. As you can see rushing not only yards but attempts have a huge trickle down effect on the whole team so, I would think we’ll see a lot of Carlos Hyde and Matt Breida this week.

  1. Stop Delanie Walker

Former Niner Delanie Walker has turned in to the legit number 1 tight end Jim Harbaugh thought he could be when he tried in vain to convince Trent Baalke to resign him after the 2012 season. He leads the Titans in both receptions with 63 and receiving yards with 718 and is second on the team with 2 TDs. Delanie was not shy about saying he feels he’s a mismatch for Reuben Foster and how he feels former Niner GM Trent Baalke was at fault for the Niners fall from grace. And although Trent is no longer our GM you can bet Delanie is still motivated to play his best this week.

  1. Create Turnovers

The Titans are 26th in the league with a -6 turnover differential this year. Marcus Mariota has thrown 14 picks and Titan ball carriers have lost 6 fumbles this year. There are going to be opportunities this week to get some turnovers and give our offense as many opportunities as possible with the football. And pad our turnover stats on a team that has turned the ball over pretty consistently this year.

There is no doubt that Jimmy G has brought a buzz and excitement to the Niners we haven’t seen in a while. I never go into a game thinking we don’t have a chance, but especially not since Jimmy G has started. And I’m not going to start now I say we beat the Titans and show all the haters that the Rise of the Empire is coming faster than everyone thought.

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 18th

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4 Keys to victory: Niners VS Giants

By Niner Faithful

This week the Niners face off against long time playoff rival the New York Giants at Levis Stadium. Since 1982 the Niners and Giants have faced off more times in the playoffs than any other team in that time span. The Giants lead the regular season series 20-19 but in the playoffs the series is tied 4-4. Over the years some of the most memorable games in Niners history have been against the Giants. Who could forget The Comeback in 02, Ricky Watters running for an NFL playoff record 5 touchdowns in 93, the heartbreak in 2011 or Roger Craig’s fumble in 91 to end our shot at a 3 peat. Although both teams are in the middle of disappointing seasons Niners Giants games are for the most part always entertaining. With that being said here is this weeks 4 key to victory.

  1. Run the Football

The Niners are 24th in the league in rushing yards and 29th in rush attempts. Last week they only ran the ball 21 times despite having a young QB in C.J. Beathard and a patchwork offensive line that was without Joe Staley. The Giants are tied for 28th in the league in rush defense giving up 125.9 yards a game. This maybe the Niners best shot so far this year at getting the running game going. I expect to see a lot of Carlos Hyde and Matt Breida.

 

  1. Protect C.J.

Just last week alone Beathard was hit 16 times and sacked 5 times. That just cannot continue if the Niners want to keep him healthy and give Jimmy Garoppolo the time he needs to learn the playbook. No one will ever question Beathard toughness but there is only some much punishment the human body can take before it breaks down.

 

  1. Stay healthy

The Niners have 21 players on season ending IR after placing safety Jaquiski Tartt, Tight End Cole Hikutini and O linemen Gary Gilliam on IR this week. The Niners are also going to be without Tight End Gorge Kittle, Tackle Joe Staley and Trent Taylor this week. Just from a pure numbers stand point the Niners can’t afford to lose any more players. The good news is the bye week is coming up so some of the players that are hurt but not on IR should come back after the bye.

  1. Cut out negative plays

To many times this year we have seen the Niners seem to have some momentum only to have it killed by a stupid penalty, a dropped pass a running play that loses yards or a turnover. The Niners don’t have the talent to overcome self-inflicted  wounds like this. If the Niners want to win this or any other game this year we must stop this trend on both offense and defense.

The Giants are 1-7 and have packed it in for the year. They have to fly across country after destroyed last week by the Rams. I feel that this maybe our best chance all year to get our first win. GO NINERS!!!!!

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Trade for Jimmy Garoppolo sends clear message to the Empire

By Niner Faithful

Kyle Shanahan had just ended his Monday afternoon press conference when Adam Schefter broke the news – The Niners traded their 2nd round pick in 2018 to New England for backup QB Jimmy Garoppolo – With the move, the Niners did more than upgrade their roster at the most important position, they sent a clear message to not only the Niner Empire but to the rest of the NFL we are not going to accept losing! The trade apparently only took a few hours to go down (although John Lynch said that they had attempted talks with New England before the draft this year but were immediately shot down), but its impact may be felt for years to come. John Lynch is definitely not Trent Baalke. This move took guts but let’s not pretend that there is no risk to this trade. Garoppolo has only appeared in 17 games with 2 starts over four years and the pick is going to be a high 2nd, most likely top 5 of the round, and Garoppolo is a pending free agent next year, but the move had to be made. It shows that the new regime will not stand pat while we are 0-8. The last 8 games have proven that the answer at QB is not on the roster, so instead of doing the Trent Baalke thing and waiting till the draft, John Lynch was presented with an opportunity to upgrade the roster and took it. Changing the culture has been the buzz words thrown around by different people in the organization but this time I think it’s really happening. Not just this trade but the trade of Rashard Robinson to the Jets for what is rumored to be a 5th rounder. Robinson was a penalty machine this year and after getting benched and still getting two penalties on special teams it was clear the team was ready to move on and is using him as an example. If you don’t play up to the standards set by this staff you are expendable. So now here we are half way through year 1 of Shanahan and Lynch and the team is starting to take shape, however, there is much more work to be done. In the introductory press conference of Jimmy Garoppolo Shanahan came out and said the Niners believe that Jimmy is the QB of the future they didn’t say what the plan is for a new long term contract but they didn’t rule out using the franchise tag next year. There is time for all of that later the main goal is to see what we got in our new QB. The thought is that he should start in week 12 at home against the Seahawks. That would give him six games to show what he’s got. It’s not the best amount to evaluate him but enough time to see if we have something. It may be nothing and  this could blow up in our faces but one thing is clear this isn’t Trent Baalke’s Niners they are doing anything and everything to turn this around and that alone is enough to give us hope.