Monday, September 25, 2006

Week 3: Just Finish the Job, Big Red

First off - How nice was it to come out swinging after getting punched in the gut last weekend? The Offense is rolling strong now and the Defense is solid, except for some slack in the secondary, which is understandable considering the injuries. McNabb was super sharp; The Brook finally put up the numbers he's able to; and Reggie hit 100 yards. I don't really have too many concerns about our individual players right now, which is even surprising to me; having said that, here's what's bothering me this week:

*Receivers: You folks need to catch balls that you get both hands on, almost always. Then, hold on to the damn thing. Glew has some skilz, but he's trapped inside a boy's body and needs to strengthen up so he doesn't keep coughing it up. Reggie blew McNabb's 300 yard game and TD stats by dropping 2 easy catches in the 4th quarter.

*Defensive backs: The DBs overall had a good effort in Lito's absence, but Hood seemed injured a lot of the game and was unable to keep up with Bryant. Hopefully, Lito will be back soon and Hood will have time to rest, so that problem seems solvable.

**Some Sloppy Coaching (??): I think this is a fair comment, but Big Red usually produces masterful Game Plans, but has a tough time adjusting during games and is frequently unable to finish a team off. Not quite sure why this is, but when the Birds go into hiberation, it has to be coaching. It's one of the following:
1) the players aren't motivated to keep the momentum up,
2) they're tired from poor conditioning or substitutions, or
3) coaches aren't adjusting and changing our player positioning and strategies.

All of these are pretty much coaching issues.

Big Red has never won a game in OT (right?), and we all know about our "stellar" 2-minute drills, also evidenced by NFC Championship games, the Super Bowl. I think Reid must be a genius with Game Plans and studying film, but he doesn't seem to react quickly during the progress of games. A team often runs roughshod over us for a quarter or two or sometimes a whole game (Pittsburgh comes to mind), without much change occurring. And Reid's cool demeanor is a plus most of the time (who wants a Parcells-esque coach flipping out all game?), but at times a coach needs to flip out...sometimes a player needs a boot up his a$$. Anyway, I like Andy, but just think this is something that needs to be addressed.

So, although we beat up on the Niners and are obviously a much better team, the scoreboard reflected a closer game than it really was...and it could have been a much closer game - The Patterson 98-yard rumble was key (it was a 14 point swing really). When teams are down for the count, Reid has to find a way to finish them off.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Didn't the game against GB in the playoffs go to OT?

9/27/2006 7:31 PM  
Blogger Paulomon Grundy said...

Yes, you're right. I couldn't find his definitive regular season OT record.

9/27/2006 11:19 PM  
Blogger J Dubs said...

I was much more down on the performance before than I am today. For a few reasons. 1, I don't buy the "score coulda been closer if..." argument. B/c it works both ways. If GLew doesn't fumble on their 30 we likely kick a figgie (and they probably don't score that FG on the ensuing drive with momentum); also, if Akers didn't miss an easy 39-yarder, there's another 3 (or, even better, if Reggie fields that PUNT of a pass thrown right into his breadbasket in the end zone, that's 7 pts right there - and by the way 5 was hazing him about it on the sidelines afterwards, we all know that was the easiest catch anyone has ever missed, EVER!) *** I mean, shite, if Trent "NFL Sack Leader" Cole doesn't kick a guy in the friggin BALLS last week we probably would have won that game in regulation and been 3 and 0!!! ***

2, yes it was a freak play for 98 to run -guess what- 98 yards, for the TD fumble return TD. But, it was NOT freak for Dawk to force that fumble and end their drive, b/c we've watched him make game changing plays his whole career and knew after preseason that he was in top form, and we knew going in that Gore had fumbled in ea. of his last 2 games (they even had an article about how his coach was gonna work with him on fumbling during the week), so they went after the ball. Just like we used to do when Tiki had fumblitis - go for the ball.

I was upset we took 3 sacks, but I just read yesterday that the 49ers were actually very good at getting to the QB (usually on blitzes from the secondary, not their D-line which we HANDLED, just like they did vs. us). I was also upset we only got 3 sacks, and just lots of hurries, and Alex Smith was able to complete nice passes late, into the teeth of that hurting secondary. Turns out, Smith is very good at staying in the pocket and not flinching, and he's also a pretty strong scrambler (I was screamign at the TV when Walker was trying to pull him down and they seemed to keep spinning back across the LOS!) He's quick, accurate, and strong, and pretty damn poised. That kid's gonna be good.

A. Bryant was averaging like 32 YPC!!!!, going into our game. We held him to like 3 catches and he was not really a factor (his huge bomb of a catch got called back)

And that last score, with 7 secs left, was GARBAGE TIME crap against a soft zone prevent defense with our blitzing dialed back, when it didn't matter. This was really a 21-point victory, and we were sloppy doing it (lots of penalties, gave up big passes, guys going out with injuries, McNabb had a few extra shoe-string passes this week, etc). I hope soon we can see what this team's capable of when playing a complete game for 4 quarters with few mistakes and the passing game wide open. And dude, enough with the delay f game penalties! We're always good for 2/game. As long as Westy's in the lineup it doesn't worry me, but how long wil he last THIS season?

All in all, we beat what is a surprisingly a much-improved 49er team.

Big picture positives: our division rival and defending divisdion champ Gnats are the only team that came close to beating us so far, and they had to come back from a 17-pt deficit, throw against backup/injured DBs, and get a couple of freak plays to do it. We are in good shape, and it seems like the team hasn't even gotten warmed up yet.

Negatives (cos you'll call me an optimist if I don't mention): drops, injuries in the secondary, Westbrook's continuing knee inflamation, still committing stupid penalties, McNabb didn't look as sharp as he could have (and did I mention DROPS?! PG and I have to agree on that one! COME ON!)

9/28/2006 12:30 PM  
Blogger J Dubs said...

PS: The 49ers had only given up 1 sack in their 1st 2 games this season. We got 3, forcing 2 fumbles in the process.

We also lead the NFL in forced fumbles, but we've only recovered I think (Maybe 2). Hell, 1 forced fumble actually helped the other team buy giving them a free score by falling on it in the end zone.

I guess that's just the way the ball bounces...

9/28/2006 12:36 PM  
Blogger Paulomon Grundy said...

Yeh, as I said above, I don't have too many worries about this team right now. HOwever, 2 weeks in a row with a noticeable slump in play in the second half is something to keep your eye on. Hopefully, they'll learn from it. And no matter what anyone says, Reid needs to improve in his abilities to make adjustments during games - he's been outcoached in a lot of key games when things get to crunch time. I think he's a very good coach, but just like DMac, he still needs to make the leap from very good to great.

9/28/2006 6:00 PM  

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