Niners Recap: Niners VS Chiefs

By Niner Faithful

Football is back!!!!! This means that I can start breaking down players. In this week’s blog I am going over the Niners 2017 Preseason opener a 27-17 come from behind victory vs. the Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium.

Rashard Robinson: After getting burned on the first play from scrimmage and missing a tackle on 3rd down that allowed the Chiefs to convert. Robinson recovered nicely on the next drive coming up with a nice 1 on 1 run stop. He also stood out on the next play taking advantage of the pressure that first round pick Solomon Thomas applied and picked off a pass and returned it 30 yards to set up the Niners offense in nice field position.

Solomon Thomas: In his first game action the 3rd overall pick had 20 rush snaps (9 from the edge 8 over tackle and 3 from inside) and produced 1 QB hit, 2 QB hurries and pressured a QB in to a pick. In 7 run snaps he had 2 run stops and 2 tackles. Now some of that production did come against guys that in a week will be driving UPS trucks, but to say that I wasn’t excited at what I saw would be a lie. I think you could see some flashes already and he’s only going to get better.

Reuben Foster: The Niners second of two first round picks this year didn’t disappoint. He played 27 defensive snaps and was credited with 2 tackles and a PBU. He was around the ball all game long. Even almost picking off a ball in the end zone.  He played both the Will and Mike linebacker and had 1 special teams snap showing he will do whatever it takes to be on the field.

Matt Barkley: Matt Barkley took over for Brain Hoyer after the started went 3 and out on their first 2 series. He played 35 snaps going 10/17 168 yards and no TD he was sacked once and had a QBR of 92.3. He moved the offense nicely between the 2o’s but was unable to put it in the end zone on two occasions. He’s experience may have helped him be the number 2 thus far but with CJ Beathard’s strong game it will take more than that.

CJ Beathard: Speaking of CJ Beathard the 3 round pick out of Iowa started off slow with he’s first 3 drives ending in punts. You could tell he was nervous, but as the game progressed you could see that he became more and more comfortable. Beathard got the most snaps out of any of the Quarterbacks at 41(Hoyer got 7 and Barkly got 35). And with the Niners down 17-9 he lead a 5 play 67 yard TD drive that ended when Beathard side stepped pressure and found Kendrick Bourne wide open after the corner in coverage  fell down.  The 2 connected again on the 2 point conversion to tie the game. Beathard lead two more scoring drives to complete the come back and end his day going  7/11 for 101 yards 2 TDs he was sacked twice and had a 133.0 QBR. I look forward to seeing how Beathard progresses this week. There are so many other things that I could get into but I that these were some of the most important.

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49ers Open Practice 2017: The First Look of the 2017

temp1_3TL5696--nfl_mezz_1280_1024By Niners Faithful

Ever since 2003 the Niners have held their training camp at team headquarters in Santa Clara, they tired one year to have multiple open practices and it just didn’t work out. So they hold one a year.

Like in 2014 this year it was held at Levis Stadium with the added bonus of free food at drinks (and they weren’t kidding they had people walking around handing people food). It was a hot day in a Stadium known for being hot so the fact that the Niners didn’t to do what most teams would do and charge an arm and a leg for drinks says a lot. With an announced 25,319 fans on hand there was defiantly energy and excitement in the building. I noticed right away there seemed to be more attention to detail than last year under Chip Kelly the tempo was not as high as Chip Kelly’s training camp, but there was a nice tempo and you got the feeling that everything had a purpose.

Practice stared out with live field goals Robbie Gould didn’t miss one and hit one from as far as 52 yards. The punt returners during that part of practice were mainly Trent Taylor, DeAndre Carter and DeAndre Smelter with Trent Taylor looking the best. Next came 1 on 1 drill. I spent most of my time watching the receiver’s vs the cornerbacks I did see a little bit of the o line vs the d line and running backs vs linebackers. Trent Taylor’s shake and bakes was a site to see and kept getting reactions from the fans. Victor Bolden Jr had the lone deep ball of the period and new comer Tim Patrick showed some nice hands. Rashard Robinson had a few PBU’s and forced a few incompletions.

The running backs vs linebackers had a few plays that are worth mentioning. Rookie running back Joe Williams lined up agents NaVorro Bowmen and you could tell that Bow had trouble keeping up with Williams’s speed and if the ball wasn’t over thrown it would have probably been at TD. Rookie linebacker Ruben Foster had a PBU vs Carlos Hyde but Hyde did have a few catches also. Undrafted rookie running back Matt Breida make a great play and possible the catch of the day when he laid out Superman on a wheel route. 1st round pick Solomon Thomas seemed to have trouble working through double teams but did flash a few times.

I would say the “move the ball” period was the longest period of the day. The offense moved the ball well but was only able to score twice. K’Waun Williams had a sack on a cornerback blitz and Dekoda Watson and Tank Carradine split a sack. Camp star Marquise Goodwin had the top if not second catch of the day when Brain Hoyer under through him going up the right side line Goodwin made the adjustment and caught it falling out of bounds with Donate Johnson in good coverage. Matt Barkley had a nice touchdown to Aldrick Robinson who was falling forward vs rookie Ahkello Witherspoon. Then Brain Hoyer led his own long TD drive when he hit a pretty open Logan Paulsen in the end zone. The big play on the drive came when Hoyer hit Pierre Garçon near the left sideline on play action.

The best part of practice was towards the end when the team did the two minute drill. The physicality of practice picked way up right away when Eric Reid cracked Aldrick Robinson when he caught a pass and cut up towards the middle of the field. Matt Breida had a nice run up the middle where he showed off is speed. Ruben Foster had what would have been a sack but the refs decided to count the catch that happened after.

Quinton Dial had a nice run stop he had an unbelievable get off the ball and knifed though the line. Goodwin had another chunk play on a crossing route from left to right when Brain Hoyer rolled to his right off of a play fake and led Goodwin up field. The first team Defense ended their day when Brain Hoyer’s hail marry has intercepted by Eric Reid, but Hoyer recovered the next play but hitting Marquise Goodwin in the back of the end zone to end the practice. Overall I think the Defense showed that it’s going to be improved and surprise some people with the offense will not be elite I think there is reason for hope that we’ll put up some points and we have the right GM and head Coach in place to bring us back to glory.

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15 Hall Of Famers and Counting: Who are going to be the next Niners in the Hall Of Fame?

d20bdc2c85aa172a164b833c9cf98116By Niner Faithful

Thirteen players(Joe “The Jet” Perry, Y.A. Tittle, Joe Montana, Steven Young, Jerry Rice, Ronnie Lott, Dave Wilcox, Charles Halye, Fred Dean, Hugh “The King” McElhenny, Bob St. Clair, Leo Nomellini and, Jimmy Johnson) one coach(Bill Walsh) and one Owner(Eddie D) are inducted as Niners in the Pro Football Hall Of Fame in Canton, Ohio. Ten more players(Larry Allen, Richard Dent, Chris Doleman, Kevin Greene, Bob Hayes, Rickey Jackson, John Henry Johnson, Deion Sanders, O.J. Simpson and, Rod Woodson) in the Hall have played at least a year for us. That’s tied for 6th among all NFL teams. The latest being Owner Eddie DeBartolo who went in August 2016. With the Hall Of Fame ceremony happening this Sunday I have decided to go over some Niners that I feel should be in the Hall Of Fame either already or will soon be eligible that should go in when they are.

Terrell Owens: In his prime there was no better receiver in the game than T.O. He used his rare combination of size and speed to torch defenses. He had the power to change the way a defense would play whatever team he was on. You better have your popcorn ready, because at any moment from any spot on the field he could make a play. His Touchdown celebrations either pissed you off or made you love him even more (I was the latter) but no matter what it got you to watch you just had to see what he was going to do. He’s 2nd all-time in career yards with 15,934 8th all-time in receptions with 1078 and 3rd all-time in receiving touchdowns 153. It’s not The Hall Of People Who Were Choirboys it’s The Hall Of Fame  numbers are what get you in and when your number 2 in most Niner record books as far as receiving  you needs to be in The Hall Of Fame.

Patrick Wills: When you think of Niner Linebackers you think of P Wills. He was the most feared hitter in the game in his era. He even hit someone (Brad Smith) so hard they threw up on the field. He was the player that gave the pregame speeches and would get the crowed fired up when he would walk out the tunnel. I could still close my eyes and see the play ageist the yams when he not only ran down a player that looked like he was gone but also punched out the football. In his 7 full seasons he was selected to the Pro Bowl every year and was a First Team All Pro 5 out of 7 years. He led the Niners in tackles the first 4 years of his career and was second every other year and was Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2007. He also stated every game he played in since his rookie year in 2007. He finished his career with 950 tackles 20.5 sacks 16 Forced Fumbles 8 interceptions and 2 touchdowns. All numbers that few players in his era put up. He’ll probably not get in in his first year of eligibility (2020) but should get in one day because he truly was the best linebacker in football in his prime. 

Frank Gore: Frank The Tank whatever you say about #21 will still be an understatement for what he meant to this franchise. He is the Niners all-time leader in rushing yards (1173) 100 yard games (39) most rushing yards in a season (1695) rushing yards in a game (212) 1,000 yard seasons (8) and Second in rushing touchdowns (64) For most of his career HE WAS the Niners offense. Teams would put eight in the box to stop him all the time close all the running lanes and Frank would squeeze through and still make a play (I still think if we would have given the ball to Frank we would have won the super bowl). He is the NFL leading active rusher and with 108 rushing yards he will pass Tony Dorsett for the eighth most rushing yards in NFL history. And with 1,037 yards will pass Curtis Martin for 4th all-time. Whenever Frank deices to hang up his cleats he should be a first ballet fall of famer 5 years later.

Roger Craig: Roger Craig famous for his unique high knee running style changed the position of running back forever. He was the first player in NFL history to have 1,000 yards rushing (1,050) and receiving (1,016) in the same season in 1985. He finished his 11 year career with 8189 yards and 56 touchdowns rushing and 566 catches and 17 touchdowns receiving. He is a 3x Super Bowl Champion (84, 88, 89) 5 x Pro Bowler (85, 87, 88, 89) and was a First Team All Pro in 1988. He was the first player to score 3 touchdowns in a Super Bowl (Super Bowl 19). He was been snubbed the past few years and need to go in.

Bryant Young: In my mind when I think of Niners D linemen I think of “B.Y.” He played 14 years all for the Niners was a 4x Pro Bowler, All Pro (1996), Rookie of the Year in 1994, and a Super Bowl Champion. He was leading the entire NFL at the DT position in sacks with 9.5 prior to his season-ending injury suffered in week 13 of the 1998 season having a metal rod put in his leg. Then year after in 1999 he had 11 sacks winning Comeback Player Of the year. He finished he career with 89.5 sacks 11 forced fumbles 6 fumble recoveries 29 passed defensed and 3 safeties. He ranks 4th all-time in sacks by a DT trailing Trevor Pryce(91), and Hall of Famers John Randle(137.5) and Warren Sapp(96). I think he was snuffed a lot of years for the Pro Bowl. If you look and he overall career and what he meant to the Niners  and his comparable numbers to  Hall Of Famer Warren Sapp he needs to be in the hall.

I know there are many more players that I could have named, but to me these are the ones that should be slam dunks.

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NFL 2017-2018 Preseason Schedule

 

By: Will Stevenson

Can you feel it? Just imagine the droughts and sounds of the NFL season. Two-a-days, minicamps, veteran camps, seven on seven drills, torn acl’s, Non-contact injuries, position battles, and most importantly: Expert analysis of guys in shorts.

There are countless things that could irritate a football fan, but actual football isn’t one of them. So between now and the first preseason game, we have months to comb through every team, transaction and predict who will do what when the season rolls around. It will be exciting to see how the top drafted rookie quarterbacks find their footing on teams that made the playoffs last season: Chiefs and Texans. We all know how the preseason goes: Stars play in one or two games for a few series, then the backups. I also have an interest in fringe plays attempting to made rosters within the new safety guidelines for special teams.

So let us take a look at the preseason schedule. The competition will be early as starters make their way off the field after a few possessions, but don’t let that deter you from consuming the whole game. Position battles, overall team health, sheer talent, and a basic understanding of the team’s philosophy will be on display. So it’s not the Pro Bowl, but it’s damn near close for those first few series.

Not need to worry. Football is own it’s way, and it starts with the Hall of Fame Game on August 3rd with the Cowboys and the Cardinals.

 

 

NFL/Hall of Fame Game – AUGUST 3
DAY DATE VISITOR HOME LOCAL ET NAT. TV
Thurs Aug. 3 Dallas Cowboys vs Arizona Cardinals 8:00 PM (ET) 8:00 PM NBC
WEEK 1 – AUGUST 9-13
DAY DATE VISITOR HOME LOCAL ET
Wed Aug. 9 Houston Texans at Carolina Panthers 7:30 PM (ET) 7:30 PM
Thurs Aug. 10 Minnesota Vikings at Buffalo Bills 7:00 PM (ET) 7:00 PM
Thurs Aug. 10 Atlanta Falcons at Miami Dolphins 7:00 PM (ET) 7:00 PM
Thurs Aug. 10 Washington Redskins at Baltimore Ravens 7:30 PM (ET) 7:30 PM
Thurs Aug. 10 Jacksonville Jaguars at New England Patriots 7:30 PM (ET) 7:30 PM
Thurs Aug. 10 Denver Broncos at Chicago Bears 7:00 PM (CT) 8:00 PM
Thurs Aug. 10 New Orleans Saints at Cleveland Browns 8:00 PM (ET) 8:00 PM
Thurs Aug. 10 Philadelphia Eagles at Green Bay Packers 7:00 PM (CT) 8:00 PM
Friday Aug. 11 Pittsburgh Steelers at New York Giants 7:00 PM (ET) 7:00 PM
Friday Aug. 11 Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Cincinnati Bengals 7:30 PM (ET) 7:30 PM
Friday Aug. 11 San Francisco 49ers at Kansas City Chiefs 8:00 PM (CT) 9:00 PM
Sat Aug. 12 Tennessee Titans at New York Jets 7:30 PM (ET) 7:30 PM
Sat Aug. 12 Dallas Cowboys at Los Angeles Rams 6:00 PM (PT) 9:00 PM
Sat Aug. 12 Oakland Raiders at Arizona Cardinals 7:00 PM (MST) 10:00 PM
Sunday Aug. 13 Detroit Lions at Indianapolis Colts 1:30 PM (ET) 1:30 PM
Sunday Aug. 13 Seattle Seahawks at Los Angeles Chargers 5:00 PM (PT) 8:00 PM
WEEK 2 – AUGUST 17-21
DAY DATE VISITOR HOME LOCAL ET NAT. TV
Thurs Aug. 17 Baltimore Ravens at Miami Dolphins 7:00 PM (ET) 7:00 PM
Thurs Aug. 17 Buffalo Bills at Philadelphia Eagles 7:00 PM (ET) 7:00 PM
Thurs Aug. 17 Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Jacksonville Jaguars 8:00 PM (ET) 8:00 PM ESPN
Friday Aug. 18 Minnesota Vikings at Seattle Seahawks 7:00 PM (PT) 10:00 PM
Sat Aug. 19 Carolina Panthers at Tennessee Titans 2:00 PM (CT) 3:00 PM
Sat Aug. 19 Kansas City Chiefs at Cincinnati Bengals 7:00 PM (ET) 7:00 PM
Sat Aug. 19 Indianapolis Colts at Dallas Cowboys 6:00 PM (CT) 7:00 PM
Sat Aug. 19 New York Jets at Detroit Lions 7:30 PM (ET) 7:30 PM
Sat Aug. 19 Green Bay Packers at Washington Redskins 7:30 PM (ET) 7:30 PM
Sat Aug. 19 New England Patriots at Houston Texans 7:00 PM (CT) 8:00 PM
Sat Aug. 19 Los Angeles Rams at Oakland Raiders 7:00 PM (PT) 10:00 PM
Sat Aug. 19 Denver Broncos at San Francisco 49ers 7:00 PM (PT) 10:00 PM
Sat Aug. 19 Chicago Bears at Arizona Cardinals 7:00 PM (MST) 10:00 PM
Sunday Aug. 20 Atlanta Falcons at Pittsburgh Steelers 4:00 PM (ET) 4:00 PM
Sunday Aug. 20 New Orleans Saints at Los Angeles Chargers 5:00 PM (PT) 8:00 PM
Monday Aug. 21 New York Giants at Cleveland Browns 8:00 PM (ET) 8:00 PM ESPN
WEEK 3 – AUGUST 24-27
DAY DATE VISITOR HOME LOCAL ET NAT. TV
Thurs Aug. 24 Miami Dolphins at Philadelphia Eagles 7:00 PM (ET) 7:00 PM
Thurs Aug. 24 Carolina Panthers at Jacksonville Jaguars 7:30 PM (ET) 7:30 PM
Friday Aug. 25 New England Patriots at Detroit Lions 7:00 PM (ET) 7:00 PM
Friday Aug. 25 Kansas City Chiefs at Seattle Seahawks 5:00 PM (PT) 8:00 PM CBS
Sat Aug. 26 Arizona Cardinals at Atlanta Falcons 7:00 PM (ET) 7:00 PM
Sat Aug. 26 Buffalo Bills at Baltimore Ravens 7:00 PM (ET) 7:00 PM
Sat Aug. 26 New York Jets at New York Giants 7:00 PM (ET) 7:00 PM
Sat Aug. 26 Indianapolis Colts at Pittsburgh Steelers 7:30 PM (ET) 7:30 PM
Sat Aug. 26 Cleveland Browns at Tampa Bay Buccaneers 7:30 PM (ET) 7:30 PM
Sat Aug. 26 Oakland Raiders at Dallas Cowboys 7:00 PM (CT) 8:00 PM
Sat Aug. 26 Los Angeles Chargers at Los Angeles Rams 5:00 PM (PT) 8:00 PM CBS
Sat Aug. 26 Houston Texans at New Orleans Saints 7:00 PM (CT) 8:00 PM
Sat Aug. 26 Green Bay Packers at Denver Broncos 7:00 PM (MT) 9:00 PM
Sunday Aug. 27 Chicago Bears at Tennessee Titans 12:00 PM (CT) 1:00 PM FOX
Sunday Aug. 27 Cincinnati Bengals at Washington Redskins 4:30 PM (ET) 4:30 PM FOX
Sunday Aug. 27 San Francisco 49ers at Minnesota Vikings 7:00 PM (CT) 8:00 PM NBC
WEEK 4 – AUGUST 31
DAY DATE VISITOR HOME LOCAL ET
Thurs Aug. 31 Jacksonville Jaguars at Atlanta Falcons 7:00 PM (ET) 7:00 PM
Thurs Aug. 31 Detroit Lions at Buffalo Bills 7:00 PM (ET) 7:00 PM
Thurs Aug. 31 Los Angeles Rams at Green Bay Packers 6:00 PM (CT) 7:00 PM
Thurs Aug. 31 Cincinnati Bengals at Indianapolis Colts 7:00 PM (ET) 7:00 PM
Thurs Aug. 31 Philadelphia Eagles at New York Jets 7:00 PM (ET) 7:00 PM
Thurs Aug. 31 Pittsburgh Steelers at Carolina Panthers 7:30 PM (ET) 7:30 PM
Thurs Aug. 31 New York Giants at New England Patriots 7:30 PM (ET) 7:30 PM
Thurs Aug. 31 Washington Redskins at Tampa Bay Buccaneers 7:30 PM (ET) 7:30 PM
Thurs Aug. 31 Cleveland Browns at Chicago Bears 7:00 PM (CT) 8:00 PM
Thurs Aug. 31 Dallas Cowboys at Houston Texans 7:00 PM (CT) 8:00 PM
Thurs Aug. 31 Miami Dolphins at Minnesota Vikings 7:00 PM (CT) 8:00 PM
Thurs Aug. 31 Baltimore Ravens at New Orleans Saints 7:00 PM (CT) 8:00 PM
Thurs Aug. 31 Tennessee Titans at Kansas City Chiefs 7:30 PM (CT) 8:30 PM
Thurs Aug. 31 Arizona Cardinals at Denver Broncos 7:00 PM (MT) 9:00 PM
Thurs Aug. 31 Seattle Seahawks at Oakland Raiders 7:00 PM (PT) 10:00 PM
Thurs Aug. 31 Los Angeles Chargers at San Francisco 49ers 7:00 PM (PT) 10:00 PM

Where Does Frank Gore Belong in the All Time Running Back Picture?

By Leo Silbert

For years Frank Gore has been one of the most underrated running backs in the NFL.  He has never been the best running back in the league during his career, but part of that has to do with how his career has overlapped with LaDainian Thomlinson and Adrian Peterson.  His breakout season of 2006 was the year that Thomlinson set the record for most touchdowns in a season and then the next year Peterson was a rookie who ended up rushing for an NFL record amount of yards in a game with 296 yards.  Gore though, has been steadily acquiring 1000+ yard seasons and right now he sits eighth all time in rushing yards with a good shot at passing Thomlinson this upcoming season for 5th all time.

frank-gore-the-u

Frank Gore has been an underrated player for a long time.  He was the running back at the University of Miami, following in the footsteps of guy such as Edgerrin James, Willis McGahee and Clinton Portis who all had played for the Hurricanes within a 3 year span, with McGahee and Portis being on the team at the same time as Gore.  Gore initially beat out McGahee as the starting running back for the 2002 season, until a torn acl kept him out for the season.  He played in 2003 and 2004, playing well each year, but he ended up not being considered as one of the top 5 running backs in his draft year, being taken behind Ronnie Brown, Cedric Benson, Cadillac Williams, J.J. Arrington and Eric Shelton.  A few reasons hindering Gore’s draft stock was his slow 40 yard dash time and the fact that he’d be the 4th Hurricanes running back taken in the draft in a 4 year span.  His injury history also hurt his stock as the NFL still had Terrell Davis’ knee injury fresh in their minds.

frank-gore-49ers

The 49ers decided to make Gore the first pick of the 3rd round in the 2005 NFL draft.  The team had picked up Alex Smith in the first round so the 49ers looked to have their offensive core players set for the next decade to go with rookie center David Bass.  Gore was the backup running back behind Kevan Barlow.  Gore was 2nd on the team in carries with 127, but led the team in yards with 608 yards and he helped in the passing game with 15 catches.  This lead to Gore becoming the featured running back in 2006 and he took off with one of the best rushing seasons in the league, but he was overshadowed by LaDainian Thomlinson and Larry Johnson rushing for more yards and 20 and 9 more touchdowns respectively.  That was also Tiki Barber’s final season where he had his 2nd straight season of more than 1600 yards after the age of 30 and rookie Steven Jackson in Gore’s division had less than 200 fewer yards than Gore, while also catching the ball 90 times.  Gore definitely had a great season, but he didn’t have as good of a story going for him than any of the other top 5 running backs that year.  The next year he put up another 1000+ yard season but attracted little attention on another bad 49ers team where he was once again the main contributor of the offense.  That story repeats itself for 2008 and 2009 where Gore continued being one of the best running backs in the league on a team that didn’t have the talent to keep up with him.  He was on pace for another season like that in 2010, but he ended up missing 5 games and only totaling 853 yards (which for him is still the 2nd worst yardage total of his career).  Then in 2011, the 49ers finally had a good enough head coach to bring the entire team into the spotlight and Gore finally got some of the recognition he deserved on one of the top 3 teams in the league that year.  In his first postseason, the team made it to the NFC Championship game at home against the eventual champion New York Giants.  Then in 2012, Gore was the calming presence in the backfield that helped the team through a quarterback change that helped the team reach the Superbowl, eventually falling to the Ravens after the team attempted multiple goal line fade throws instead of handing the ball off to their bell cow.  In 2013 at the age of 30 he had yet another 1000 yard season on a run first team that made it to their third straight NFC Championship game, which was ended when their quarterback threw a game sealing interception into double coverage.  In 2014, the 49ers drafted Gore’s eventual replacement running back in Carlos Hyde and Gore responded with yet another 1000 yard season on a team where the rest of the offense fell apart around the desire to make Colin Kaepernick into a pocket passer.  After the 2014 season, the 49ers let go of Jim Harbaugh and they didn’t resign Gore which left the soon to be 32 year old as a free agent with a decision to make.  Did he want to continue playing for another team, or did he want to hang it up.  He decided to keep playing and joined a team that desperately needed a running game.

NFL: Indianapolis Colts at Buffalo Bills

Gore showed up in Indianapolis as a 32 year old running back who was looked at as the bell cow running back for a team that just lost the AFC Championship game.  Then, the Colts lost Andrew Luck to injury so Gore, behind a terrible Colts offensive line, was 33 yards away from his 9th 1000 yard rushing season.  He returned for the 2016 season where the Colts were still lacking in talent up front, but they had Andrew Luck back in the fold so their offense was quite successful.  Gore put up his 9th 1000 yard rushing season at the age of 33 and his pass catching and blocking skills helped the Colts’ offense rebound, but the defense failed the team, leading to another 8-8 record and he is set to return for his 13th season in the league on a team that now has a new general manager and will be looking to get back into their 2014 form.

Now, that I have summarized Gore’s career, where does that fit into the top running backs of all time picture?  Well, he has never been considered he best running back in the league during his career, so he isn’t in conversation for the top 5.  Him being in the top 10 would also be a stretch, but I think he could definitely fit into the top 15.  He isn’t a Barry Sanders or a Terrell Davis where he was considered the best over a period of years, but he had a stretch where he was consistently a top 5 running back in one of the more competitive periods of running back play in the history of the league.  His 13,065 yards all but guarantees him a spot in Canton already, but if he puts up a year where he rivals the amount of yards he had in 2010 when he missed 5 games, then he will be 250 yards clear of Thomlinson for 5th all time.  He is 6 rushing touchdowns away from 80, which would place him in the top 20 all time in that category.  He wasn’t an elite pass catcher at the position, but he has over 400 receptions for over 3000 yards, but it is good enough to put him in the top 20 in all purpose yards of all time.  Frank Gore is one of the greatest running backs of all time, and it is time we start appreciating him as such.

 

 

Each NFC West Team’s Biggest Draft Need

By Leo Silbert

It is getting to the point of the year that fans are trying to figure out who their team needs to draft or what position needs the most help. Some teams like the Patriots don’t have a glaring need so they are able to pick for desire and are allowed greater risks. Other teams like the Browns have needs all over the map so they are best suited to just take the best available player. I’m going to sort this out by division and within the divisions I’ll sort them by 2016 records.

Next up, the NFC West:

  1. richard-shermanSeattle Seahawks- The Seahawks have been a powerhouse in the league pretty much since Russell Wilson became the quarterback in 2012, but this year they seemed to be missing a key piece and that is before Earl Thomas went down with an injury.  It just seemed like their offense could never get it going and that their defense wasn’t as much of a juggernaut it had been in years past.  The offense had lost Marshawn Lynch to retirement over the offseason and the defense lost Bruce Irvin to free agency and the Raiders so these can explain why they didn’t see the same.  Their defense was still top 5 so their defense’s demise may have been more due to them slightly underperforming from their 4 previous seasons of leading the NFL in points allowed per game.  Their offensive problems can partially be explained by Russell Wilson being hurt for the early part of the year, but even when he was back to full health the offense didn’t seem right.  Their offense was able to have a dominant ground game when Marshawn Lynch was on the team despite the team lacking a real offensive line.  They could try to get another Marshawn Lynch, but Lynch was more of a unicorn running back that only comes along once every few generations and Thomas Rawls isn’t a terrible running back, but he needs some help.  The Seahawks tried to start improving their offensive line last year when they selected Germain Ifedi in the first round, but Ifedi was incredibly raw and he graded out as one of the worst offensive linemen in the league.  The worst part about the Seahawks’ line this year was that Ifedi wasn’t even the worst lineman to play over 600 snaps.  The only consistently above average offensive lineman they had is their center Justin Britt.  The Seahawks need to build their offensive line up if they want to look like they did in 2013, because Marshawn Lynch isn’t going to be walking through that door anytime soon.
  2.  larry-fitzgeraldArizona Cardinals- If you look at the numbers, it is hard to see what happened to the Cardinals that led to their decline from 2015.  They had the 6th best scoring offense, the 2nd best yardage defense, and they were the league leaders in both sacks and forced fumbles.  They have one of the most electrifying talents in the league on offense with David Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald led the league in receptions, and their offensive line held up adequately.  So what went wrong?  Mostly it seems like they let up too many big plays that led to scores.  They have one of the best corner backs in the league in Patrick Peterson, but across from him they didn’t really have much.  Teams were able to attack the #2 corner back with little resistance which was the Achilles heel of the defense.  If the Cardinals can get a little bit more luck next season as far as losing close games and if they get a proper #2 cornerback to compliment Peterson, they can be back to knocking on the door of the Superbowl by next season.
  3.  aaron-donaldLos Angeles Rams- In their first season back in Los Angeles since the early 1990s, some people expected the Rams to finally take a step forward into contending for a playoff spot since now they had a first overall pick quarterback on their team to go with a ferocious defensive line and one of the best young running backs in the league in Todd Gurley.  Then they started the season with their first overall pick as the third string qb and lost to the 49ers 27-0, starting of the trend for how bad the season was going to be.  The Rams were a mess all over the place, with no real offensive threat and their defense was not nearly good enough to carry them.  Now this season, they have a new young and innovative head coach in Sean McVay who brought in the legendary defensive coordinator Wade Phillips to turn the defense into one of the top defenses in the league.  So, with Sean McVay’s recent history as an offensive coordinator for the Washington Redskins, you can assume that he’d want to model his offense after the one that he had there.  To do that they will need to build up their receiving corps.  They will need to retain the services of Kenny Britt to do this correctly, but when the Rams make their first pick in the 2nd round they should take a wide receiver who can be a deep threat a la Desean Jackson.  If the resign Britt then they’ll have their Garcon in him and their Jamison Crowder in Tavon Austin, but the ability to stretch the field is the real catalyst of the offense.  Then they would just be a Jordan Reed type and a complete offense away from having the same kind of offense that McVay had in Washington that got him the job.
  4.  carlos-hydeSan Francisco 49ers- Oh boy, where to begin here?  The 49ers went into this season with incredibly low expectations with needs all over the roster and a coach and gm that were paired up in a sort of shotgun wedding.  Their roster was depleted of talent from top to bottom, spare a few good pieces such as Carlos Hyde, Deforest Buckner and Navarro Bowman.  And possibly the worst thing that could have happened to the 49ers this season was how they started it off by blowing out the Rams in a week 1 shutout victory which made some people think that they really could be something.  That was the only win they would have until they played the Rams again in week 16.  The 49ers don’t even officially have a coach yet (though many speculate that the job will go to Kyle Shanahan once his current team has played in the Superbowl), so it is hard to even know which need they’ll need to deal with first in order to start succeeding.  I honestly feel like the 49ers are currently the least talented team in the NFL so I feel like if they added a young qb now that they would end up messing up his development so I believe they should go for defense above all else and grab an edge rusher who will be able to sack the opposing qb so the team will have a better shot at staying in games defensively while they build up the rest of their roster with enough talent to eventually compete.  They are in line for a long rebuild though.

And this is the end of my team draft needs series.  You can check out all of the other articles in the series by clicking on the corresponding links below.

AFC East- https://sportselite1.wordpress.com/2017/01/15/each-afc-east-teams-biggest-draft-need/

AFC North- https://sportselite1.wordpress.com/2017/01/15/each-afc-north-teams-biggest-draft-need/

AFC South- https://sportselite1.wordpress.com/2017/01/16/each-afc-south-teams-biggest-draft-need/

AFC West- https://sportselite1.wordpress.com/2017/01/16/each-afc-south-teams-biggest-draft-need-2/

NFC East- https://sportselite1.wordpress.com/2017/01/25/each-nfc-east-teams-biggest-draft-need/

NFC North- https://sportselite1.wordpress.com/2017/01/25/each-nfc-norths-biggest-draft-need/

NFC South- https://sportselite1.wordpress.com/2017/01/26/each-nfc-south-teams-biggest-draft-need/

Why would any coach want to risk his legacy to coach for a team owned by Jed York?

Throughout the history of sports there have been teams with great ownership, such as the Krafts, Maras and Rooneys in the NFL, Mike Ilitch for the Detroit Red Wings of the NHL, William DeWitt and Hal Steinbrenner for the St. Louis Cardinals and New York Yankees respectively of the MLB, and Wyc Grousbeck and Peter Holt who own the Boston Celtics and San Antonio Spurs of the NBA.  These owners all have one thing in common with how they run their teams.  Patience.  Each and every one of these teams has been a stable atmosphere for over 10 years, with most either having the same front office and head coach/manager that they had since 2005, or they are only one of either removed from the one they had then.  There are also plenty of examples of bad ownership in sports as well and the reasons why an owner can be bad are much more numerous.  They can be too cheap when it comes to paying talent like Don Sterling was for years as the owner of the Clippers, they can be a rich person who bought the team for the revenue but who doesn’t care about the on field product like Stan Kroenke, or they can prove to be impatient and overinvolved in team decisions like how Jed York is proving to be.

York took over as the president of the 49ers in December of 2008.  Since then the team has gone through 4 head coaches since then and are now looking for their 5th.  They are also now looking for their 3rd general manager over an 8 season span.  Over that time, it looked like York was off to a strong start in hiring Scot McCloughan as his first general manager and Jim Harbaugh as his first head coaching hire, but things quickly started to turn sour.  McCloughan and the team mutually parted in the Spring of 2010 while McCloughan was dealing with alcoholism and a divorce from his wife.

After McCloughan was let go, they hired the team’s director of player personnel Trent Baalke.  Baalke’s first draft looked very good on paper with him picking all pros such as Mike Iupati and Navarro Bowman as well as starter Anthony Davis, but most of the work for the draft had been done already by McCloughan.  The team still ended up going 6-10 that season, fired head coach Mike Singletary and then they hired Jim Harbaugh.  Since then, Baalke has had 3 draft picks pan out with enough time to judge them fairly (Aldon Smith, Eric Reid, and Carlos Hyde.  So for Trent Baalke’s time in San Francisco he has had as many good draft picks as he has had drafts in control of with one of those drafts mostly laid out for him by his preceding general manager.

Now onto coach Jim Harbaugh.  It takes a really good coach to take a team that was 6-10 and had a completely different coaching staff from the year before to being 13-3 the next year.  He then had them sustain at least 12 wins for a 3-year period.  One of those years he lost his starting quarterback to injury and had to change the offense around entirely for the backup and ended up taking the team within one score of a Superbowl championship.  The next year he took his team to within one score of another Superbowl appearance.  For most franchises that kind of track record would usually give a coach some leeway, but not with the 49ers as one 8-8 season with a depleted roster and a regressing quarterback got him sent out the door and replaced with defensive line coach Jim Tomsula.  Tomsula was also the interim coach for the 49ers in 2010 after they fired Mike Singletary mid-season.  That tells me that Tomsula was seen as mostly a guy who would do as he is told by the upper management and nothing more.  That is the absolute worst type of head coach you can hire.  The job of a head coach is to make decisions on the field and he isn’t allowed to be contacted by anyone in the front office during the game (as seen when former Browns GM Ray Farmer was suspended for 4 games and the Browns were fined $250,000 for in-game text messages between the him and the coaching staff).  Tomsula being nothing more than a figurehead could only lead the 49ers, who, not by coincidence, had seen many players retire following the firing of Jim Harbaugh, to a 5-11 record.  This caused Jed York to fire the 2nd head coach in as many years and bring on Chip Kelly.  Now, some could argue that Chip Kelly wasn’t given a fair deal in Philly after one sub .500 season out of 3 years coaching, but he also alienated himself from the rest of the front office, seized control, and had the team regress under his total control.  So the best place to put him would be the place where they fired a coach for going 8-8 with a depleted roster after 3 straight years of at least making it to the conference championship game, right?  Wrong.  I am a believer that if Chip Kelly were given a situation like the Browns, was allowed a minimum of 5 years to turn them around, and was given total control from the beginning that he’d have a chance at being an ok coach in the league.  This isn’t a 5-year plan league though.  This is a league where not firing someone after 3 losing seasons means unheard of patience (besides in the world of the Jacksonville Jaguars).  So now you have Chip Kelly with a broken roster and no team control with a power-hungry general manager who will take who he wants regardless of fit or if the head coach would be able to find out how to use him.  Everyone watching saw a collapse of the 49ers into top 5 pick territory coming and so it did with only the Browns having a worse record than the 49ers.

Now, Chip Kelly and Trent Baalke are both out of a job and there is only one person left and that is Jed York.  York could have avoided this problem if he didn’t side with Baalke over Harbaugh and now he is left with the least desirable coaching job in the NFL and a record of not giving people enough time to actually build anything up before a new regime comes in to knock it down.  If I were a director of player personnel or an assistant coach in the NFL or even a college coach, I would steer clear of the 49ers and Jed York.  The only thing he will bring to the franchise unless he changes in a big way, is a long, playoff-less drought that can rival the one currently held by the Buffalo Bills (who haven’t made the playoffs since 1999).