49ers vs Seahawks, 2011 Season Week 1: Five Things

Earl Thomas should not be able to solo tackle Frank Gore

Sunday morning I posted this article talking about some things from the pre-season to look at going into the 2011 season. I wanted to look at Sunday's game and see how the 49ers did with those items. 

 

The Bad

5.) Offensive line. Other than the last pre-season game the starters on the offensive line looked awful. This was true of everybody, from long time veteran to second-year Anthony Davis

Definitely mixed reviews. Surprisingly enough the pass protection was ok, but the run blocking was generally pretty poor. That is an upgrade over the pre-season, where it seemed to be bad on both pass blocking and run blocking. 

4.) Michael Crabtree's foot injury. I don't blame him for missing the pre-season. There's a reason he got put on the Physically Unable to Perform list and it wasn't because he was a whiner or a slacker. However, a foot injury could impact his ability to make cuts, thus impacting his ability to get open. 

Given that he complained about it again after the game I have to say that this is still very much in the bad category. He had one catch for a grand total of 4 yards. He was open on one play, but Alex Smith did not see him. I have to think that's partially a result of the missed pre-season and the opportunity to work together. 

3.) Secondary. Wholesale changes in the secondary happened, with very mixed results. Will they be able to gel into a cohesive and functional unit?

Jackson threw for less than 200 yards, with 2 TDs and 1 INT. However, I'm not sure that we can say that it was the pass defense that was good or if this was due to facing an inferior QB. The defense did get burned often on a long drive by the Seahawks coming out of the half, so I think I'd have to grade the secondary as an incomplete still.

2.) Colin Kaepernick. He very much looked like a second round draft pick. Can he make the adjustments he needs to should worst come to worst?

CK didn't play so this will remain an incomplete for most of the season. To be honest I hope we can go the entire season without him doing more than mop up duty. 

1.) Hat tip to James for this one. Dominique Zeigler being cut. I knew he was doomed when he reported to camp on the PUP list, but I always wanted him to make it. 

Zeigler is a good stand in for all the 49ers wide receivers. The offense looked sluggish, with Alex Smith throwing for only 124 yards. Josh Morgan had 28 yards receiving, Braylon Edwards had 27. Not exactly inspiring numbers if the team wants to be able to compete.

The Good:

5.) Braylon Edwards. Man can he make the difficult catch.

He made another great catch in Sunday's game, but we'll need more than 27 yards out of him.

4.) Kendall Hunter. Yeah we got all excited over Anthony Dixon last season, but here's why Hunter will end up being a better back. A.) The man knows when to make his cut instead of dancing around. B.) The man knows how to pass block exceptionally well (this is a much rarer trait than one might suppose, especially for a starting RB) and finally C.) He managed to look good against first string defenses.

He performed solidly the couple times he was in as a pass blocker, but only ran the ball twice for a paltry 4 yards. Incomplete grade. 

3.) Frank Gore. Even though I made noises about how much we would end up paying him I'm still glad we signed him to a 3 year extension. I also think the team was smart in how it did it, because reports are that when it comes down to it the deal is really a 1 year, $6 million deal. 

I felt that he looked very sluggish and slow out there on Sunday (I'll talk about this later in the week). Obviously he can't do anything when the play call is run up the gut, but there were times when he was turning a corner where he would slip, or not get that extra burst of speed. I hope it's merely him not having an off-season, rather than any lingering effects of his hip injury.

2.) NaVorro Bowman. He made moves at the ILB position that normally only happen with veterans. He's going to be a fine replacement for The Neck. 

Bowman had a very good game, though the longest pass play of the game came when he left his zone and moved up towards the line of scrimmage. Jackson threw a completion to Baldwin who was perfectly placed in the empty spaces. Since Bowman was underneath he couldn't get the tackle and Baldwin rumbled for a 55 yard TD. 

1.) Jim Harbaugh. He'll be able to help us win a couple of games that Singletary would've lost. 

The 49ers won, so he gets a positive grade but there is still some concern for me. His goal line play calling was un-inspiring, and I felt he tried to run it far too much, particularly when the offensive line showed it couldn't get the job done. However, putting Adam Snyder in as an eligible TE and then having him shift back to draw Seattle off-sides was simply brilliant and something that Singletary never would've done. 

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