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Breaking down Cris Carter and Eric Mangini’s segment on FS1

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They don’t think the 49ers should be talking Super Bowl.

Last week we discussed a comment made by Jerick McKinnon about how the 49ers are talking the Super Bowl. I made a point that that’s exactly what they should talk about and playing for and anything less than that is a disappointment. I also mentioned how it was bringing up some mixed opinions. Which leads me to today’s video (posted above). Give that a watch before we continue. You can also go here.

We’ve talked about shows like this. There’s stuff like First Take where I’m sure logic is harmful for anyone’s health despite the garbage it spews out. ESPN is going to hustle it to the masses anyways.

Sadly, FS1 saw the the decrease in productivity the latter caused and decided to strike out on their own. And that’s where we get shows like First Things First. And that’s where the above video comes from. They posed the question based on McKinnon’s comments and then we got answers. Since there’s more analysis of sports than there are drops of water in the ocean, you can bet we hardly ever argue things like this. The last time we put anything like this on the spot was a few years back over some Colin Kaepernick comments, but since this gives us a chance to talk about Eric Mangini, whose last coaching job was with the 49ers, it’s time once again to dive in. I’m only going to highlight the first half of this segment as this will already get a bit long, but let’s get to it.

First, how these comments came about. Matt Maiocco asked McKinnon what he talks about with the team regarding dreams and aspirations, McKinnon responded with, “Super Bowl”. Just so we’re clear, here’s what McKinnon’s comments were following it:

The whole team’s talked about it. We had a thing with the Navy Seals and they were asking us, “What’s the goal?” and all this stuff. It was equally collaborated on: Win the Super Bowl. In a season you’re going to have ups and downs, that’s just part of a 17 week NFL season but at the end of it, you just gotta keep the eyes on the prize.

Alright, now that that’s out of the way, things begin with Mangini’s opening remarks:

I think the first thing they need to do is stop talking about the Super Bowl and all they need to talk about is OTAs. They need to focus on this moment, and then move onto training camp and move onto the first game.

Again, look at McKinnon’s comments, that should explain why they were saying that. Mangini would then make a comparison with 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo:

Look, Jimmy Garoppolo did a lot of good things last year, but Matt Flynn did a lot of good things in Green Bay. He was 5-0 before he went to Seattle and then he never played significantly again after that.

I recently made comparisons of quarterbacks who flamed out and an example used was Scott Mitchell, a stand-in for Dan Marino on the Miami Dolphins who would sign with the Detroit Lions. This signing is regarded as one of the worst free agent signings in NFL history. If Mangini wants to compare Flynn—let’s do it.

First of all, Flynn actually played in three games where he threw more than six passes, he won one of them—and only two of those were starts. Keep in mind, I’m going off game logs on NFL.com. In 2010 he came in for an injured Aaron Rodgers to rack up a crowd-pleasing 62.5 passer rating with one touchdown to two interceptions. The following week he put up much better numbers: three touchdowns to one interception, a 64.9 completion percentage and a 100.2 passer rating—but still a loss. The final game of 2011 was the game that put him on the map where he carved the Detroit Lions for 45 points and walked away with a 136.4 passer rating and 480 yards.

This was enough for some NFL team to decide three games, not five, was enough to pay him some money. And none of those games were with the team that signed him to the lucrative contract to begin with. By comparison, Garoppolo got two wins in New England, then came to a completely different offensive system in San Francisco to rack up another five wins before getting the keys to Citibank.

Nick Wright then chimed in saying this:

Niners spent an awful lot of draft picks on their offensive line—they got three first rounders there. On their defensive line, every D-lineman is a first rounder. A couple other players on their defense are a first rounder. You know where they have no first round picks? Skill position guys. You know where they have no guys where you say, “Oh my God, that is a force multiplier.” Wide receiver, tight end. The guy you’re talking about running back Jerrick McKinnon who I think is a good player but I wouldn’t consider him in the top tier or even secondary tier of NFL running backs as far as what they’ve done thus far in their career. So he’s (Jimmy Garoppolo) going to have to be, for their offense to be good enough—maybe he doesn’t have to be great, maybe that defense will gel and come together— he’s going to have to be the term we’ve stolen from you: the force multiplayer. He’s going to have to make Pierre Garcon, and Marquise Goodwin, and Jerick McKinnon better than we’ve seen up to this point in their NFL careers.

So, Nick Wright wants you to know you have issues if you don’t have first round picks in the skill positions. Because that always makes you a better team. On the other claim about Garoppolo having to make players better, well, he’s got a point. Garoppolo is under pressure and while numbers have gone up across the board, a lot can be attributed to the unfamiliarity opposing defenses have with him. That’s a good argument to make. There’s some logic.

And finally, our main event. Cris Carter gave a challenge:

I challenge football fans outside of coach Mangini, because he’s got a little history with the 49ers, name me 10 starters for the 49ers. Because we got them in the question bar as Super Bowl Contenders. Well what other Super Bowl contenders do we not know 10 starters playing for them? So, number 1: get them off the Super Bowl contenders list. Right? Because there can’t be no way a team can be a Super Bowl contender and I don’t know 10 guys on their team.

To address this question we need to get some clarity: Why are you keeping Mangini out of it? He was there in 2015, and since then, the entire roster got purged with the arrival of John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan. You know that, right? A better question would be name me 10 players still on the team since 2015.

Moving on, name the 10 starters? Well, ok. I offered this challenge in the comments a few days ago asking someone to name 10 starters on the Patriots. I got one response with someone quickly giving me some names. I took this to others off the site and asked ‘football fans’ (not 49ers fans) 10 starters on either the Philadelphia Eagles or New England Patriots. 2/5 of them were able to do this within a span of a few minutes.

Carter would go on to say having Super Bowl goals are “Not a realistic goal to have.” For a team in transition.

That’s about the halfway point. To paraphrase the rest of the segment—it went into the usual analysis with Mangini having concerns for interceptions—another legitimate concern, but it’s from the guy who started Brady Quinn, so who knows. The reasonable expectations from this crew was “making the playoffs”. Something Mangini calls “a fantastic jump.” Wright would also call the wins in 2017 “misleading” (though he gave credit for the Tennessee Titans and Jacksonville Jaguars wins).

We are going to take another three year break before we bring one of these segments up again, and for good reason. There’s some shows that might have intelligence in their argument, this show even has some segments that succeed. This segment, sadly is just blowing out of proportion a comment that had nothing to do with the 49ers going “Super Bowl” this season.

Now I’m done.