Niner Fans. There are very dark days. Troubling days for the future of our football team. Fooch is right when he says someone will likely have to go after today. It's not THE answer, but it's one answer.
I have been searching for THE answers since the first loss against Seattle. Before that game I was drinking Sing's Kool Aid. After that game I started to think about the fact that all the problems from last year were showing up AGAIN.
After the Saints game I thought -- this is typical, they come close against good teams and then implode against mediocre teams. I saw this KC game as the most critical test of the season, and maybe even of the last two years. A good win with Alex Smith having a really good game against a bad passing defense would get us back on track.
We all saw the game. Smith looked lost. Not just bad. Lost, invisible. Defeated.
Here are my thoughts. I welcome your comments, critiques, and additions. But please do try to be constructive and offer solutions, because obviously status quo won't do. Solutions are desperately needed at this point:
First of all, Alex Smith:
Personally, many of you might already know, I have not been a Smith supporter -- not since after the Eagles game last year. I saw him totally fall apart against a good team in a critical game, and again against Seattle last year, proving clearly that he lacked the consistency it takes to be a great QB on a good team. The magical times he does offer up -- I think the Saints game is a good example -- are, sadly, few and far between.
However, I have also agreed with the Smith supporters who reminded us over the summer that having a bad O-Line, a handful of OCs, and bad OCs, haven't helped his cause.
But I also think he's got a lot of offensive weapons now. He's just not finding them often enough. And most importantly, on 3rd downs, or important downs, and in important games, he seems to fail and shrug his shoulders as if to say, "That wasn't my fault." His body language is terrible for a leader of the team.
My conclusion is he is NOT totally to blame by any means. But he is also not our QOTF. Put him on the Steelers and I think he could win as a starter. But I think more realistically he would make some team a very excellent back-up QB. Maybe the Packers net year! How ironic would that be? Rogers and Smith . . .You think that's impossible? He's not signed next year. The Packers aren't about top waste a high draft pick on a rookie QB. But Smith can't stay here as our QB next year. . . .He just can't. We both need a fresh start.
My fear for this year is that as soon as we are totally out of the playoff hunt he will put together a great game or two and fool some of us again. Because in the end, I just don't think he's the guy. Not here. Not ever.
Here is something else to consider: We were all down on Shaun Hill this time last year. He couldn't throw deep. He was like cement in the pocket. His delivery was too slow. He couldn't run. . . .Guys, I've watched this guy the last two weeks play for the Detroit "Awful for a Decade" Lions. And he looks like a very good quarterback. He CAN throw deep. He can release the ball quickly, make good decisions, and find open receivers, even against the Eagles and Vikings.
So what are we to make of THAT?
My main conclusion is this: Singletary is an okay coach. He's got a very good DC in Manuski. I think Manuski might not be here next year. Someone's might make him an offer. But if he is here, Sing and Manuski and Solari are not in my mind going to be deficits on their own. The culprit without a doubt is Jimmy Raye.
I cannot believe what I saw today. First of all, I watched the game at a sports bar with half a dozen Niner fans. When we got the ball for the first time everyone was screaming at the screen, begging Raye not to run Gore up the middle on the first play.
Someone said to throw a bomb to Crabtree where only he can get it, or no one. Show KC we're going to open it up. They are 30th in pass defense. Let's put them back on their heels from play 1. Someone else said, play action. Someone else said, how about angling it out to Vernon and if that's not there turn it into a screen play for the first play of the game. Someone else said, how about a sweep to Gore.
So what happened? Raye ran Gore up the middle. No gain. The next play, everyone at the table was silent. Tougher to call a 2nd and 10 when you just got stuffed on a play everyone hated. Raye called the SAME PLAY! Stuffed again. Welcome to 3rd and 8.
Guys -- what the hell was the thinking????? He had all week to come up with the first series. That's what he thought would fool them? What crap!!!!
I was also watching the Chief's play calling. Here's what I saw: A delayed run from the shot gun on 3rd and 20 that went for a first down. Sweeps. Screen passes. A flee flicker off of a sweep, after the previous sweeps in the first half forced the Niner D to react by having the pass rushers turn in pursuit -- leaving the QB open in the backfield. Brilliant half time adjustment.
Need I say more? The Chief's were completely prepared for Jimmy Raye's vanilla play calling and made adjustments to our D at half time. Did Jimmy Raye make adjustments at the half? None. At least none that worked.
He tried Westbrook for all of two plays. Westbrook ran Gore's plays. He failed like Gore did. Then they yanked him! They brought Gore back in and ran a play to Gore. Sorry, 4th down.
My conclusion: Raye has to go. And I mean RIGHT NOW. Someone can run his system until the end of the year if necessary but the play calling has to change radically.
We MUST find a creative young OC. We will need a new QB and a fresh start for the offense. We can't afford to have Alex Smith look "better" for a while only to blow it in a big game. I don't have faith in his consistency. CONSISTENCY from a QB is critical. He will never have that. That's my fear. And moreover, I don't think we can afford to wait and find out if he Smith doubters are wrong any more.
Will they fire Sing too? I think it's fair to say after today's game that he has to be fighting for his job now. Firing him will certainly get us a new OC, and one would assume a new coach would want his own QB as well, and not borrow Alex again, like Sing did.
But first things first. Jimmy Raye, dear Niner fans, is abysmal. He has lost us Lord knows how many games by absolutely putrid play calling. I have no trust is his ability to change. He's gotta go. JED, come on, dude, enough is enough.
And YOU? Speak up Niner fans. Don't abandon the team now, when it needs your creative thinking the most. What do you think we need to do to right the ship?