Weapons & Matchups (49ers vs. Titans)



Finally back!! It will be nice to have a home game after what has seemed like an eternity of playing road games even though it was just 2...

This week we face the Tennessee Titans who are coming off a win against the Jags after 6 straight losses. I didn't catch much of the game (Titans vs. Jags) but Tennessee seemed to be rejuvinated with Vince Young in at QB and walked away with barely a speck of dirt on their jersey's in a 30-13 routing of a division opponent.


I wanted to keep the theme of the weapons and matchups going each week. If it continues to get a bit of response then it's well worth me taking the time to do it. Last week I gave a full breakdown of players on both the 49ers and the Colts giving a grade (A-F) in what I thought each player deserved followed by a short summary attached to the players. Once I completed the grades, I counted them all out and gave a team grade based on the average. After that, at the bottom of the post, I look at some of the possible key matchups that would or could have an impact in the game. After the jump, I will continue with the grading, followed by the matchups.

Disclaimer: These are only my opinions obviously and you are welcome to your own. If you see something that you would grade differently feel free to say so.


I will only include the starters (12 on offense and 12 on defense. Yeah there's 11 on each side but I am adding a 3rd WR and a 3rd DB) for each team. Here goes:


QB- Alex Smith [C]- (This is the grade that I had him at last week. Even though I am somewhat pleased so far, I still need to see more from him to bump it up. Had he pulled off a game winning drive in the 2nd half last week, he probably would have received a biased bump up to a B. We will see what he does at home against a team who has struggled since the departure of Haynesworth on defense).

RB- Frank Gore [B]- (I bumped Gore from the C I had him at last week. Reason being is that he looked to be back going at 100%. All around he played well. Only 13 carries for 91 yards and though most of it came on a 64 yarder, he looked to be back running at Frank the Tank full speed. He also had 43 yards on 5 receptions and the pass blocking looked to be very strong as always with him. Glad to see #21 back).

FB- Moran Norris [B]- (This grade did not change for me. Norris proved that he is an asset not only in key blocks helping to spring Gore for long runs but also in 3rd and short yardage situations. He's not as fast but in some ways I find myself wondering if he could be used on screen passes similar to a William Floyd or Tom Rathman. I've seen a couple but I don't think they were executed well. Maybe just not well designed plays).

TE- Vernon Davis [A]- (Forget the C for Captian on his jersey, this guy flat out needs a superman symbol sewed there instead. Vernon continues to amaze me this season. I expected him to do better but so far he is having a breakout year. Mc Boo Foo needs to by any means necessary keep him on the team. They better pay him in the offseason).

WR- Josh Morgan [C]- (I'm not going to change much here. I don't feel like he did much in respect to bumping this grade up. He threw a couple nice blocks I noticed. Other than that he caught it once for 3 yards so I don't have much to go on there).

WR- Isaac Bruce [C]- (I did want to bump Bruce to a B because I did see small flashes of the old Bruce in the last game {4 receptions for 51 yards} wasn't too bad. I beleive he dropped another one or maybe two. I can't recall exactly but I remember at least one.).

WR- Michael Crabtree [B]- (Obviously we saw that he is a rookie and is going to make the typical rookie mistakes. I had him at a B last week and it will stay as a B this week but I think most of us agree that we have something special in Crabtree. 6 catches for 81 yards with a long of 27 yards that Smith threaded in between 2 DB's and Crabtree almost broke loose and took his first to the house. I think he will get in the endzone this week. At least I hope).

LT- Barry Sims [C]- (I probably would catch alot of heat for giving this guy a B but I don't think that Staley could have held off Freeney all that much better. Sims did a fabulous job of filling in when Staley went down. I was really surprised and I hope he can keep it up for a while until Staley recovers).

LG- David Baas [D]- (Again, I wanted to bump him up to a C. I feel like our entire line played fairly well for a change and against a team with who some would say have the best D-line in the NFL).

C- Eric Heitmann [B]- (He would be an A but I think that he is partially to blame for the others around him not doing well. The Center is the head of the offensive line. He's got to make the guys around him better for him to earn an A with me. I will only add to what I commented on last week (the previous two sentences) that I feel until there's continuity in our line playing decent, that he will probably keep the B grade).

RG- Chilo Rachal [D]- (Even Rachal played a bit better, I hope he's finally getting it. If he does well again and plays virtually as well as last week and continues it for a little while, I will bump this grade to a C. I am not going to hold my breath but I am pulling for the guy).

LT- Adam Snyder [C]- (Considering that he had to block Mathis on the other side of Freeney, he did a so-so job at keeping Mathis in check for a majority of the game. Out of everybody on their D-line, Mathis put the most pressure on Smith so Snyder stays put where he's at with a C).



LDE- Isaac Sopoaga [D]- (I am not sure if Isaac read my post last week and was pissed that I graded him at a D but hey, whatever works right. I am keeping him at a D just because I think he lacks speed. If he has back to back games like the one he had last week, I may be convinced enough to give him a C).

NT- Abrayo Franklin [C]- (Last week I mentioned that he exploded out of the gates and since has just leveled off at an average level of play. I think it is difficult to grade a NT in a 3-4 defense because he's not going to get a ton of tackles or sacks usually. I will pay close attention to Franklin this week and I may consider bumping him to a B).

RDE- Justin Smith [B]- (Smith has been all over the place. It seems as I am watching the game, he is in on every single play. And when he's not, he's usually breathing down the opposing QB's neck...this was the comment from last week and I am going to keep it there. I feel like he is getting ready to have a Jared Allen-like game here soon. Hopefully this week... Vince Young is pretty quick and crafty on his feet so I think for the entire D-line, it will be an extremely tough challenge).

LOLB- Manny Lawson [C]- (Several plays of last weeks game I noticed Manny laying flat on his back. He is a real disappointment for me. Probably the biggest disappontment on the defense for me. I expected much more than what he has been bringing to the table. I would like to see Diyral Briggs get some playing time this week to see what he brings to the table. Maybe even throw Brooks in there a little more. I will give Manny a C but if I see more of what I saw last week he will be getting a D).

LILB- Takeo Spikes [A]- (I was sure glad to see him out there. It made me a bit nervous with the injury to his shoulder. I have plenty of confidence in Scotty McKillop but he's obviously still learning the game as a rookie).

RILB- Patrick Willis [A]- (Willis is a beast. I am not sure throughout all the years of watching football that I have enjoyed watching any other defensive guy as much as I do him. He changes the way teams have to play. He takes teams strengths and chews em up and spits em out. I could write a book here but I think it's a safe assumption to say that every Niner fan would agree with the grade here).

LOLB- Parys Haralson [B]- (I didn't really notice Haralson all too much against the Colts but I am not ready to change the grade here. I think that out of all the linebackers on the team, he has the most potential to be an A along side Willis someday here soon. He's been a menace in most of the games and I feel like he's going to break out here shortly).

LCB- Tarell Brown [C]- (For such short notice, and the lack of NFL experince, I really wanted to give him a B here. Now that Clements is out, he's got some pretty big shoes to fill. I think he can do it and I have alot of confidence that he will be the starter there for a long time to come).

SS- Michael Lewis [C]- (He was like a ghost out there on Sunday. I am not sure if that's a bad thing or a good thing. Manning still got a bunch of yards in the air, so I think you have to hold both safeties partially accountable for that even though they kept the WR's out of the endzone.).

FS- Dashon Goldson [D]- (I am not sure who was supposed to be responsible for coverage on that Half-Back Pass that they ran on us to seal the deal but I suspect it was partially here and mostly on whoever let Wayne go on the original coverage. I will have to go back and look at the play to solidify the blame).

RCB- Shawntae Spencer [C]- (Spencer had a B from me last week but after Wayne racked up 12 catches for 147 yards and it was his guy a majority of the game, we have to take a step back here. He certainly could redeem himself this week. Everyone has an off game or two through the course of a season so we will see if it was just that he had a bad game or that alot of us were drinking too much Kool-Aid on him. Time will tell).

5DB- Dre Bly [C]- (Playmaker, risk taker, ball hawk...all these things can also be his down fall as well. Bly really still has not made up for his blunder and brain fart against Atlanta....I'mmmmm waaaaiiitinnngg. If he doesn't do anything this week, I am demoting him to a D). 



QB- Vince Young [C]- (The Titans needed a change of pace much like the Niners did. This guy can be a triple threat. He runs well, pocket prescence, and can pass the ball. He is not the most accurate QB in the league but we definitely will have to be careful in bringing the pressure. We will have to have a spy on him a majority of the game).

RB- Chris Johnson [A]- (Dangerous...would be the best one word description. He's averaging 117 yards per game, 150 yards shy of 1000 already. It's very difficult to contain him. He's proven on several occasions through the course of this season that he can take it to the house just about anytime and from anywhere on the field. He not only runs the ball well but catches it also. It will be up to Spikes and Willis to stop him and Young)

FB- Ahmard Hall [C]- (I am not all too familiar with the Titans fullback but I think it's safe to assume that he's pretty decent considering what Johnson has done. By looking at his stats, I have to go with a C here. If any Titan fans visit the site this week, feel free to set me straight if I am wrong here).

TE- Bo Scaife [C]- (Certainly one of the better blocking TE's in the league. He's not known all that much as being a receiving TE but he can catch passes and he can hurt you if you ignore him. He's about the middle of the pack as far as stats are concerned with receiving. Maybe just a shade below. Sometimes stats are deceiving though. We cannot ignore this guy or he'll hurt us).

WR- Justin Gage [D]- (I've never been real fond of Justin Gage and I am not sure how he gets the #1 spot of receivers on this roster. He's always been average at best. Let me put it in perspective...this year Michael Crabtree has just 7 catches less than Gage. He could surpass him this game if things go well. I give him a D).

WR- Nate Washington [C]- (He is probably the most talented WR on the squad and has the most potential. The problem with the potential this year so far is that he is not living up to it. He has 20 catches in 7 games and I feel like I am giving him benefit of the doubt with a C).

WR- Kenny Britt [C]- (Again, just another average receiver. This is not the Titans strength and if I was them I would be looking to draft a WR pretty high next year. Although there are many holes on this team to address. I have seen Britt go up and after a few this year. Between him and Washington, our DB's should have the edge here).

LT- Michael Roos [C]- (Has given up a few sacks. Probably better at run-blocking than pass blocking but that's good for the Titans and what they need given that they really only are successful when they run the ball).

LG- Eugene Amano [D]- (This side of the line is not the Titans strength in my opinion. It seems that a majority of Johnson's seams and big gains have come from the other side of the line).

C- Kevin Mawae [A]- (Pro Bowl just about every year. One of the meanest Centers in the league. This guy is the poster child for what any team should want in a center. What is funny abou this guy is that while known for one of the most fierce offensive linemen in the NFL, off the field he is considered to be one of the most good-hearted well-rounded I have heard and seen on interviews. Class act here. Getting old though).

RG- Jake Scott [B]- (Before the trade deadline, this was one of the guys I was hoping the Niners would go after. He would have been perfect for Chilo to sit behind and learn from. Also very tough and when Johnson is running the gap in between Mawae and Scott he is going to gain gain a bunch of yardage).

RT- David Stewart [B]- (Probably the stronger tackle of the two on the team. It's going to be very difficult to break through this line to get to Young. Especially considering Young's mobility).



LDE- William Hayes [C]- (Filling in for and injured Jevon Kearse, he is doing just that...filling in. Not exactly what you'd call an impact player here. He's gonna get you a few tackles here and there but beyond that this guy is just a solid back up).

LDT- Jovan Haye [D]- (Had his best year in 2007 with Tampa. Since then there hasn't been a whole lot of havoc going on on the interior at this position for the Titans).

RDT- Tony Brown [B]- (This guy can get to the QB and stop the run. He's on the smaller side for what you would want in a DT but it helps in the area of speed. He can track down a RB running horizontally).

RDE- Kyle Vanden Bosch [B]- (Lots of parralels between Vanden Bosch and Justin Smith. He can flat out get after the QB. He has the potential to make it a long day for Alex Smith and company whether he's working against Sims or Snyder. This would be a very big concern for me except I like the job we did against Freeney and Mathis. We will see if he can get after Smith and stop the run. Sometimes his weakness is overpersuit. He could get burnt on a few draw plays if he's not careful).

SSLB- David Thornton [C]- (Not much more than what we saw in Clint Session last week. In fact, he reminds me alot of Session. Average LB with average skills. He gets a C).

MLB- Stephen Tulloch [B]- (Decent LB with a decent set of skills. He can stop the run and does well spying on QB's and dropping back in to coverage. From what I have seen he is a well-rounded linebacker. His problem is that he can be streaky. He either looks like a genius or a schmuck. Lets hope for the latter in that equation).

WSLB- Keith Bulluck [A]- (Even though he is getting up there in age, this guy can still flat out play. He flys to the ball, he doesn't let up and leads this defense very well when they are playing as a unit. He has had trouble up until their last game in bringing everyone together. He will be effective against us but I hope that is limited somehow, someway).

LCB- Jason McCourty [D]- (I don't think a rookie should ever start at the CB position in the NFL. This guy has done well with consideration but not exactly what you'd want to have in there on a starting defense. He can come up and stop the run but thats where the train stops. He has potential but I always say, "potential means it ain't happened yet". If he's covering Crabtree it'll be a long day I feel...Possible poster material for Crabs).

SS- Chris Hope [C]- (Well if the Niners can get some rythem in the passing game, Chris better "Hope" he has the wheels to keep up with Vernon and Crabtree. In all seriousness, he reminds me a little bit of Michael Lewis. Great at coming up and stuffing the run, but not exactly the best in coverage. Puts himself in position enough though).

FS- Michael Griffin [B]- (Not his best year so far. I think alot of people were expecting more from him considering his stellar ability to ball hawk and then run it back for yardage afterward. Although he hasn't quite plucked a couple from the air just yet, he has jarred a couple balls loose. We cannot sleep on this guy or we'll be in trouble. Despite his lack of stats, he is still the best DB on this team right now).

RCB- Cortland Finnegan [C]- (I would give him a slightly higher grade but he has been streaky as well. Another guy we cannot sleep on or he will fly outta nowhere and grab one out of the air. He also has the ablility to take it to the house after he picks one. This may be one of those games that you do hope the run game gets rolling early and often).

5DB- Ryan Mouton [D]- (Another rookie DB. Not the best option for them if you ask me but I'll take it. If we can create some ISO on him and McCourty we could see Alex have a very big day with some very big numbers).




Alex Smith vs, Titans Defense- Edge= Smith

Vince Young vs. 49ers Defense- Edge= 49ers Defense

Frank Gore vs. Titans LB's- Edge= Gore

Chris Johnson vs. 49ers LB's- Edge= Draw

Vernon Davis vs. Titans LB's, DB's- Edge= Davis

Bo Scaife vs. 49ers LB's, DB's- Edge= 49ers LB's, DB's

Shawntae Spencer vs. Justin Gage- Edge= Spencer

Tarell Brown vs. Nate Washington- Edge= Draw

Michael Crabtree vs. Jason McCourty- Edge= Crabtree

Isaac Bruce vs. Cortland Finnegan- Edge= Finnegan

49ers O-line vs. Titans D-line- Edge= Titans D-line

Titans O-line vs. 49ers D-line- Edge- Titans O-line


Titans vs 49ers coverage

Music City Miracles

49ers vs Colts recap 

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of Niners Nation's writers or editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of Niners Nation's writers or editors.

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