Archive for the ‘San Fransisco 49ers’ Category

sherman tap2

The ballgame always comes down to inches in the playoffs, doesn’t it? It wasn’t different this past Sunday when the Seahawks defeated the 49ers on a last-second interception. An inch and it would have gone over Richard Sherman’s head, sending the 49ers to the Super Bowl via a Michael Crabtree catch. An inch and it would have quelled the criticism of Colin Kaepernick. An inch and it would have quieted Sherman¬†– maybe.

The Seahawks won a tough game that came down to the final 32 seconds of the fourth quarter. The game’s brutality and closeness was expected, as the two teams had met previously and were similarly structured throughout their rosters. They were built the same way, but both couldn’t win on this day. It would come down to one play, one that would send a roar from CenturyLink Field through Sherman’s mouth to New York.

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Russell Okung has his hands full this weekend. He’ll not only be facing one Smith, but two. That, of course, is a reference to Justin and Aldon Smith of the 49ers. Whenever a left tackle faces the 49ers, they have to face both because of the way the two pass-rushers line up. Justin is usually outside the left shoulder of the tackle or head up, while Aldon aligns well outside the shoulder like a typical pass-rusher. At the snap, one could go inside while the other outside, and vice versa. It’s not easy to figure out who is going where, as Okung knows from his Week 14 matchup, which he struggled in.

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Vernon Davis2

One can’t help but wonder if the Week 10 meeting been the 49ers and Panthers would have been any different had Vernon Davis not left midway through the second quarter when he was concussed by strong safety Mike Mitchell after running a flat route on a swap boot play-action pass. It was only his second target that game, his lowest of any game this season.

But nine weeks later, the Carolina Panthers and San Francisco 49ers are set to square off again, and Davis will be a critical factor in the game. He’s fresh off a two-catch game, but on seven targets. That high volume of targets has become the norm for him, having been targeted at least five times in all but two games since his injury, according to Pro Football Focus. We¬†can expect to see him get a similar amount this game if he can escape the absurd athleticism and crafty coverage of linebackers Luke Kuechly and Thomas Davis.

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asomugha again2

The fall from NFL grace is like that of an apple from a tree; hard, bruising, and suddenly there’s the feeling of no longer being wanted. That’s what’s happened to Nnamdi Asomugha, who came into the league green, then ripened into the league’s best cornerback, and he’s since has been bruised by the league’s best receivers on a weekly basis. That is as long as he was active, which isn’t the case any longer.

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Colin Kaepernick has legs that can move quickly, but he’s lost his primary wide receiver who also has crazy legs. Panic? No, don’t panic.

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Two years ago, Brandon Lloyd sat on-screen and introduced the NFL’s 18th best player: Nnamdi Asomugha, cornerback of the Oakland Raiders. He immediately spoke of Asomugha’s attention to detail, mainly how he knew when and what routes were coming before and after the snap. In short, he was praising the Raider’s intelligence and discipline, two things he’d long been known for.

Two years and two teams later, Asomugha, now with the San Francisco 49ers, lacks discipline and wouldn’t even make the list of the NFL’s Top 100 players. His “game” has fallen off dramatically since 2011, when he was arguably the best cornerback in the league, and he was shutting down diva receivers weekly. What’s fascinating about his decline, though, is that it’s come at the expense of his discipline and technique, both traits that were previously strong points.

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anthony davis2

The 49ers have one of the best offensive lines in the NFL. And when you have one of the best offensive lines in the NFL along with a promising young quarterback, keeping one asset in place to protect the other is a pretty serious priority.

So congrats, Anthony Davis. You are skilled at being both very large, and impressively mobile for a man with said girth, and now you’re getting paid.

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