I know it's en vogue to be a "die hard" fan, so throw your tomatoes at me if you must, but I took a pretty long hiatus from watching, following, etc. these San Francisco 49ers. If you want to stop reading now I don't necessarily blame you, but just maybe you'll find my 50,000ft. view of things interesting. Think of it like a company doing image surveys.
I don't have all of the battle lines drawn for me - on specific topics like QB, play calling, player talent or "snap worthiness". I physically can't regurgitate the same takes, even if what I say is something you've heard before. Again, I hope you treat this post with curiosity of what the team looks like "from the outside"
Impressions from GB vs. SF Game
Thus far in 2021 I've casually paid attention to the high-level news regarding the 49ers since about...a month ago. I didn't watch the first two games, though I sought out the outcomes and read the recaps, watched highlights, etc. Based on how the team presented itself prior to last night along with their performance vs. Green Bay, I would say that the latter seems to represent who they "really are"...at least right now.
I know "any given Sunday", so I realize if Dr. Strange peered into all of the likely scenarios, last night could have gone very differently. But overall I think the Week 3 game was a pretty good barometer of the team's mean performance level. There were mistakes that shouldn't have been made, penalties that were either called, or not called, but mostly I was surprised by the lack of performing in situations where at least on paper the 49ers should have had more success.
I really thought the O-Line would bully Green Bay's front, resulting in a more productive ground game. Say what you want about the depth at RB, but throughout history we've seen mediocre runners find daylight when the holes are there. This isn't an exhaustive breakdown, so I'm sure someone will show film of missed opportunities, etc. but the key takeaway for me was that San Francisco didn't dominate the line of scrimmage on offense as I would have expected.
The Elephant in the Room
I haven't been here for what is surely a hotly debated topic: Jimmy Garoppolo. Keep that in mind, because I haven't read all the takes and decided with whom I'll ally. This is just my observation from a small sampling of games over the last few years.
Garoppolo is limited.
That may be an obvious sentence, but I think it needs to be said and accepted.
He doesn't look comfortable when the pressure is on, both literally and figuratively. Does he sometimes come through in those situations? Sure. But he doesn't look as poised as I'd hope. In some small way, he kind of reminds me of Alex Smith (who may always represent for me what the lack of composure in a QB looks like, due to all the years we watched him panic behind the LOS).
There were forced throws, no-throws, sacks, fumbles, etc. Some of these really looked avoidable. I'm not being cruel or mean, just saying what I saw.
Jimmy also is late with the ball, a lot. I watched some of his incompletions on the NN film review from last week and immediately was struck by this. He needed to be throwing the ball close to the receiver's break, or before for longer routes...but he wasn't. He wanted him to BE open, it seemed, rather than throw him open.
Cue someone showing me twelve times where Jimmy DID throw a guy open. OK, he's capable. He's not consistent.
In the red zone he missed open guys on more than a few occasions, as well. I attribute this back to the general panic he seems to play with at times. Stone me if there is some well-understood reason for this like, Kyle Shanahan often makes him throw to the play's designed receiver, or something.
For the record, I still think Garoppolo is the best option if you want to win "as many games as possible" this year...but keep in mind that might only be eight or nine games. There is going to come a time where it's worth the growing pains to move on, and I can't tell you when that is, yet.
Do the 49ers' DB's have functioning necks? Like, are they all wearing some sort of low-profile neck brace that prevents them from turning their heads, and I just missed that detail?
I can't count how many times they didn't get their head around and actually play the ball. We all know face guarding is going to lead to penalties, even if it's not the actual "face guarding" call. If you make a play on the ball, you can usually get away with a lot with the rest of your body.
The DB's seemed like they were in recovery mode, trying to simply catch up with the receiver, most of the night. Yes, there were some bad calls, but arguably a few that weren't called, too. Overall the gamble to show man coverage and dare Aaron Rodgers to throw the ball was one that didn't pay off.
Which is closely related to the pass rush not getting home. I mean, who had the 49ers hardly touching Rodgers all night despite playing against a patchwork offensive line? Feel free to school me on the why's of this, too. Special game plan, specific scheme nuances, someone pissed in the Gatorade cooler...etc.
I'm not going to linger on this because I know Kyle is a mad genius...but sometimes I think he outsmarts himself. That rep came with him from Atlanta, and even if rare, I think it shows itself at times even to this day.
Chris Collinsworth pointed out that, "You gotta have guts to run it here." he said on more than one occasion. My thought was: SF has a pretty darn good OL. They should be dictating the run, even in some obvious situations. Again, back to the lackluster performance vs. expectation of the OL, though.
You tell me: did the team just lay an egg? Did basically everyone take the night off and impostors played in their place? I have to say that I've seen most of what I wrote above in games throughout the last few years, granted as I've said: that's a small sample size.