I thought Tramaine Brock had a pretty decent game against Oakland. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
I've finally had time to go back and re-watch last weekend's game between the 49ers and Raiders. I wanted to do this because of things I'd read people saying about certain players, mostly in a negative light. I keyed in on a few players and position groups, then proceeded to roll the video forwards and backwards to glean what I could from it.
One thing I wanted to look at was the offensive line, who looked much-improved compared to the New Orleans game two weeks ago. There was far less pressure and the occasional blitzes seemed to be picked up. The ground-game was really rolling, too.
There was also some mention of the competition between Adam Snyder and Jonathan Goodwin - a competition that, if you believe the coaches, is still in full swing. Some expect Goodwin to win the battle easily, although it should be noted that both players have essentially the same cap number this year...so salary isn't a big factor in this.
Another group I wanted to watch was the secondary. Shawntae Spencer and Carlos Rogers didn't play in this game, leaving Tramaine Brock and Tarell Brown as the starters. Some have said that Brock is a liability and isn't ready for significant playing time. Others worry that Brown hasn't seemed to improve much in his years with the 49ers, and would not be a good option as a starter.
After the jump we'll take a look at these players and others.
The first thing I watched was the offensive line during the entire first half of play. I came away feeling pretty good about the group as a whole. Snyder played center extensively in the first half and did a good job with his blocks. There weren't really any glaring holes in the line during blitzes, which would seem to indicate that he also did his job in calling out protections.
The only obvious mistake I saw was Anthony Davis stopping his feet on an outside rush. He got his hands on the defender and then stopped moving, instead using his paws to try and stop the rusher. It didn't work as the defender got free of Davis' grasp and put a hit on Smith as he released the ball. Davis has to continue to work on footwork in conjunction with hands. He's strong with his mitts, but he has to keep is feet moving, resetting, etc.
I also did notice Joe Staley was put on his rear by Matt Shaughnessy on the 49ers first drive, down near the goal-line. Shaughnessy also ended up making the stop on the play, which makes Staley's lack of an effective block more significant.
When I turned my attention to the secondary, it turns out Brock was the only player I could see consistently due to the TV angles. I watched every passing play, focusing on those where Brock remained in the picture (or showed up in the replay). I have to say he was always in good position in man coverage and sometimes was stuck to the receiver like velcro.
The only times Brock gave up a play was in zone coverage, like Cover 3, where he was asked to drop to a depth until a throw was made. He needs to improve on reading the QB's eyes and the receiver's release in order to get a better jump on these throws. Still, he played the ball in front of him and made every tackle, very physically I might add.
I think the only thing that will limit Brock is his knowledge of the playbook and awareness on the field. He might get lost from time-to-time not knowing the coverage or not making the proper coverage adjustment, due to lack of experience. If he can keep working on the playbook and the calls, I think he could be good in spot-duty, for now.
I didn't notice anything glaring from Jonathan Goodwin, really. There were a few times where he shot out into the second level but couldn't get a block on anyone, which rarely affected the play in a big way. He seemed to do well in pass protection, giving the QB at least 3-5 seconds of time to deliver the ball...which is the minimum you ask for from your OL.
Some other random notes:
Ricky Jean-Francois looked good penetrating the OL, which bodes well for him in Fangio's attacking system.
Will Tukuafu too-often engaged his man and stayed with him until the whistle, rather than shedding him or penetrating. He plays DL like an OL, actually. I think he should land on the practice-squad as I don't know that he'll be signed elsewhere if released.
Demarcus Dobbs does show me more in terms of the DL competition for roster spots, over players like Tukuafu and Ian Williams. Williams does a decent job of holding his own but ends up on the ground at times, even if he does recover and get a hand on the ball-carrier mostly.
Moran Norris had a horrible game, in my eyes. Earlier on Twitter I said that Norris blocks like a drunk-guy in a hallway. He runs through the hole with abandon but rarely makes contact with anyone, at all. There were several plays where he ran seven yards through the hole and didn't touch a defender's shirt, even. Other times the defender he was targeting moved and Norris looked like an elephant on roller-skates trying to adjust. Norris is really a useless player to have on the field and the video confirms it.