1. Biggest reaction to the tie game ... disappointment.
Why? Yesterday's other-game outcomes ... both Atlanta and Chicago losing ... set us up perfectly for a major advance in the NFC playoff standings. Yes, we did gain a half-game on each BUT we also lost an opportunity to gain a full game.
2. Some NN folks have wanted Kaep to get his shot when Alex had a bad day ...
Even though we had never seen him except in pre-season and a few designed plays (i.e., Jets game), at least now we know Kaep's degree of readiness to be a NFL starting QB. There is absolutely no question that he is a superb athlete and has all of the physical tools to be a success. However, IMO he has a long, long way to go before being anywhere near ready. Most of you won't remember this name, but Kaep reminds me of Bobby Douglas, the starting QB for the Bears back in the day ... tall, fast, run at first opportunity but NEVER learned to read defenses or throw an accurate pass, even though he had a cannon arm. I believe that Douglas still holds the record for rushing TDs by a QB, but the Bears never won anything with him as their QB. Given time and good coaching, I think that Kaep MAY become a Super-Bowl-capable QB ... but not in the near future. Paranthetically, I have little doubt that the Niners would have won yesterday's game had Alex not been injured.
3. Alternative strategies for next Monday's meeting with the Bears ...
A. Alex is back, Cutler isn't ... we win!
B. Both Alex and Cutler are back ... not as close but we still win IF we win or draw the turnover battle.
C. Whether it's Cutler or Campbell, Kaep starts with a conventional game plan but heavy on the run game ... I have serious doubts about the outcome.
D. IF C. is true, how about this strategy to give the Bear's defense something to think about?
(1) Deactivate Alex, Bruce Miller and Celek for the game.
(3) Mix up the offense:
(a) some Frank and Kendall running game,
(b) some hammering with Jacobs in short yardage,
(c) some change of pace with Kaep and James in the read-option.
4. Early thoughts about April's draft ...
Given Aker's diminished performance this year (we all knew that he could not perpetuate last year's outstanding performance, given his advanced age), think about drafting K Justin Hopkins (Florida State) in the fourth or fifth round next April ... Hopkins is a senior and is about to set all-time NCAA records for kickers; he's probably the best prospect to come along since Sea-Bass.