NFL  > San Francisco 49ers  > 49ER MIDSEASON REPORT CARD
November 7, 2011, 12:53 PM
You're 7-1, are you happy? You should be. But the 49ers are still a long ways from being a championship caliber team.

Defense overall- A
Defensive line- A
Linebackers - A
Defensive Backs- B-

The strength of the defense is the front 7, arguably the best in football right now, the secondary is fairly stable, but have yet to gel as a unit. Before the season is over they need to sign, Rodgers and Goldson to long term contracts.

Offense overall- C+
Offensive Line- B
Running backs- A-
Wide Receivers- B-
Quarterback - B-

So why do the 49ers get a C+? Terrible play calling, weak inside the RED ZONE, and bad at making manageable 3rd downs. QB Smith is still sporadic but improving, unless they make an effort to improve their passing attack they will not win a playoff game, Smith has the targets- he has a completion % of 64. But because he ranks #31 in yardage we know the passes he throws are no more than 7 yards average.

Special Teams- A+ = With Andy Lee punting for field position and Akers 50+ yard field goals they are a good reason the 49ers are 7-1. Lets not forget Ted Ginn he also contributes to the 49ers good field position.
November 7, 2011  02:08 PM ET

Considering Harbaugh is a rookie coach, and the team isn't used to winning, I'd be happy with what they're doing. I believe they will be a force in the playoffs, should they make it that far, and I see no reason for them not to.

November 7, 2011  08:19 PM ET

It will be interesting how much they progress between the Giants game next week and the Steelers in December.

November 8, 2011  03:45 PM ET
QUOTE(#2):

It will be interesting how much they progress between the Giants game next week and the Steelers in December.

Yes, and the progress they made from last year to this one......:-)

It's a growing process, and the 49'ers have likely exceeded your expectations, have they not?

November 8, 2011  04:36 PM ET
QUOTE(#3):

Yes, and the progress they made from last year to this one......:-)It's a growing process, and the 49'ers have likely exceeded your expectations, have they not?

Jim Harbaugh was the benificiary of the team that Mike Singletary built. It is unfortunate that Singletary didn't get one more year with this team but I can see that management was under heavy criticism from 49er fans.

November 8, 2011  04:39 PM ET
QUOTE:

Offense overall- C+Offensive Line- BRunning backs- A-Wide Receivers- B-Quarterback - B-So why do the 49ers get a C+?

In my opinion:
OL-B
RB-A
WR-B
QB-C

Comment #6 has been removed
November 8, 2011  05:29 PM ET
QUOTE(#4):

Jim Harbaugh was the benificiary of the team that Mike Singletary built. It is unfortunate that Singletary didn't get one more year with this team but I can see that management was under heavy criticism from 49er fans.

I know this. But, it's evident that Harbaugh is getting more out of the team than Singletary could (speculation on my part, but look at the records). We should see in the next few years if Harbaugh is going to be good or not, but in the meantime, the 49er's fans should enjoy what they're getting.

I agree.......Singletary didn't get much time, but that's the way the NFL coaching carousel is now. Chan Gailey got 2 years with the Cowboys, made the playoffs, then was fired by Jerry Jones.

November 8, 2011  05:39 PM ET
QUOTE(#4):

Jim Harbaugh was the benificiary of the team that Mike Singletary built. It is unfortunate that Singletary didn't get one more year with this team but I can see that management was under heavy criticism from 49er fans.

The 49ers oldest drafted player on the team is Brian Jennings the long snapper drafted in 2000.

There are 3 players drafted from Mariucci Era- Shawntae Spencer, Isaac Sopoaga, Andy Lee.

There are 15 players drafted from the Nolan Era- 2005- Alex Smith, Frank Gore, Adam Snyder, 2006- Vernon Davis, Parys Haralson, Delanie Walker, 2007- Patrick Willis, Joe Staley, Ray McDonald, Dashon Goldson, Tarell Brown, 2008- Chilo Rachal, Reggie Smith, Josh Morgan, Larry Grant.

There are 8 players drafted from the Singletary Era- 2009- Michael Crabtree, Ricky Jean-Francois, 2010- Anthony Davis, Mike Iupati, Navarro Bowman, Anthony Dixon, Nate Bynam, Kyle Williams.

There are 6 Players drafted from the Harbaugh Era- 2011- Aldon Smith, Colin Kaepernick, Chris Culliver, Kendall Hunter, Bruce Miller, Michael Person.

Comment #9 has been removed
Comment #10 has been removed
November 9, 2011  07:11 PM ET
QUOTE(#9):

Singletary was unable to inspire his players. Had he been on the field with them, I'm certain he would have, just as he inspired his Bears' teammates each and every game with his work ethic and stellar performance. But as coach? I didn't see it. To me, he seemed like a guy who was uncomfortable and couldn't relate. He couldn't control things the way he controlled things when he was on the field, and he lacked what it takes to be a great head coach. It's jmo, but I don't buy that this team would be 7-1 or better under Singletary. You can't will your players to be better. They have to buy into the passion, the exuberance. You can't just be intense--that's how I saw Singletary--intense and focused to the point of paralysis. Nothing wrong with "intense and focused," but his intensity translated into simply tension in his players, plus some disciplinary issues in fighting authority--and Singletary was that. As a QB himself, Harbaugh has transformed Alex Smith like Singletary never could have. The jury's still out, of course, and it's not like Smith is Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers, but he has cut down on mistakes (only 2 picks to date, I think) and is making better reads. Mondays off, win or lose, changes in practice routines, nonconformist style, etc. etc. Harbaugh was just what the 49ers needed after Singletary. And no disrespect to MS...he is one of my all-time most admired NFL players, a beast on the field, but not as head coaches go.I am also mindful that it's easy to be admired when your team is winning, and people will find reasons to dislike you when your team is losing. Everyone loves a winner, and there are few lovable losers. Just being disciplined, intense, and focused is not enough. You are only a leader if people follow you.

One of Singletary's problems was that he sort of looked down on QB's. He often referred to Smith and other QB's as just another player on the team. Singletary was also not very cooperative with the media. He often would dodge questions by saying: We'll look at the tapes and determine what the problem was, it often sounded like he hadn't been watching or been a part of the game. Singletary was a great motivational speaker, but he lacked experience as a head coach.

November 9, 2011  07:21 PM ET
QUOTE(#11):

One of Singletary's problems was that he sort of looked down on QB's. He often referred to Smith and other QB's as just another player on the team. Singletary was also not very cooperative with the media. He often would dodge questions by saying: We'll look at the tapes and determine what the problem was, it often sounded like he hadn't been watching or been a part of the game. Singletary was a great motivational speaker, but he lacked experience as a head coach.

I hope Singletary gets another opportunity to be a head coach. The Bears may be the perfect team for him.

November 10, 2011  08:39 AM ET

I will give my 49ers an A all around. They certainly could improve mainly in the passing gsme, both offensively and defensively, but after 8 years of pure ugliness, 7-1 is worthy of a good grade.

What I like about this year is the fact that despite them being in the worst division in the league, they have only played one game vs the division. six of their wins have come outside of the division with four of them on the road during 1:00 kickoffs.

They will have a big test come Sunday with the Giants, but I say they are better than NY, Then on Thanksgiving, they play @BAL and in DEC a Monday night game vs PIT, other than that, the rest of their games are against the NFC West. sadly enough, they could lose all three of their non-divisional games and still have a 12-4 record. I see the Niners winning 2 of those 3 games and all 5 of their divisional games. Though Seattle has always been a tough place for the Niners, I just don't see them winning.

Comment #14 has been removed
November 10, 2011  09:55 AM ET
QUOTE(#14):

Their defense is the best in the NFC and their running game is very good. Alex Smith has done a good job of managing the offense but can't carry the team as he has an average throwing arm. If the 49ers defense can continue to play at this high level the team the Super Bowl is within reach.

I will not be throwing Super Bowl hints out there at all. I am just excited to see them finally have a winning/playoff season aside from an epic meltdown. It is possible that they could have a home playoff game even if they were to lose their final 8 games though. haha

The D is great, hard hitters, good against the run, but kinda average against the pass. If they can get to Rodgers and collapse their O-line, who knows??? But I will just be happy week to week right now.

November 13, 2011  10:03 PM ET

Week by week Alex Smith is slowly getting better. During the NYG's game he looked good and even though he threw an interception during the game it was because Ted Ginn allowed a ball to go through his hands , bounce off his helmet and be intercepted. I want to see Smith have back to back games like he did against NYG's, next week the 49ers will play division foe Arizona Cardinals, this would be a perfect opportunity for Smith to have 2 back to back games in which he was totally in control for the whole game. The defense should get recognition as one of the top 4 in the NFL, the defense is truly a beautiful group to watch and as the weeks have gone by they rarely if ever allow themselves to be burned.

The NFC West is still not a very good division overall. But this week they were undefeated. 49ers beating the Giants, Seahawks over the Ravens, Cardinals over the Eagles, and the Rams over the Browns. So for at least this week no one is laughing at them.

November 16, 2011  08:39 AM ET

Are the 49ers a Super Bowl team? Did anyone think that Green Bay would make it last year as a Wild Card team? Stranger things have happened. Just last week Houston looked like they were rolling along destined to win the AFC South when Matt Schaub went down with a broken foot, will Leinart be able to prove himself NFL worthy? The one thing that is noticeably different between the 49ers and Packers is that Green Bay makes winning look so easy, where as every week is a struggle for the 49ers, maybe that is good? Keeping themselves on their toes every week.

Thank God Frank Gore was not seriously injured. It was perfect timing in that it forced Alex Smith to step up and take the team on his shoulders- well sort of- the defense is still the shoulders this team is riding on. Next week it is important that the coach keep Smith in that flow and balance up the offense with 50/50- run/pass - Plus it would be nice to see them get 4 offensive TD's in one game. Whether the 49ers make this weeks game against Arizona look easy or not will let the league know if the 49ers are going to be a serious threat during the playoffs.

November 20, 2011  08:12 PM ET

ARIZONA CARDINALS- Was it the wet weather or just one of those games. David Akers who has been almost perfect was 3/6. If anything this should be a big wake up call for the 49ers that they #1- Need to improve their RED ZONE OFFENSE, which was terrible. When your offense has the ball for almost 3 quarters of football and you only come away with 23 points that is pathetic, and that is the problem of the Offensive Coordinator.

November 20, 2011  08:19 PM ET
QUOTE(#18):

ARIZONA CARDINALS- Was it the wet weather or just one of those games. David Akers who has been almost perfect was 3/6. If anything this should be a big wake up call for the 49ers that they #1- Need to improve their RED ZONE OFFENSE, which was terrible. When your offense has the ball for almost 3 quarters of football and you only come away with 23 points that is pathetic, and that is the problem of the Offensive Coordinator.

Narrator,
that is the Dallas style you're talking about, you leave that to us or we'll come back with our broke rib QB and beat you down again with our Realilty Star in OT....you don't want any of that.

Hey, take the win, Dallas got it barely and thank god for that. Props to Skins today for NOT laying down at all.

 
February 11, 2012  04:28 PM ET
QUOTE(#3):

Yes, and the progress they made from last year to this one......:-)It's a growing process, and the 49'ers have likely exceeded your expectations, have they not?

Yes they have and yes they did. The NFC West is getting very competitive. Next year it would be interesting to see how St Louis does with their new coach, Jeff Fisher. The 49ers truly did dominate the NFC West, unlike the previous year when Seattle made the playoffs with a 7-9 record and in years past Arizona winning with slightly above average records. I think it is kind of interesting that both Seattle and San Francisco were able to beat New Orleans in the playoffs when New Orleans was the more heavily favored team. Both games were very exciting to say the least. One involving and incredible run by Marshawn Lynch and the other with a last second pass and catch from Alex Smith to Vernon Davis. Home field advantage does help.

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