Tag:Mike Nolan
Posted on: September 16, 2008 6:14 pm
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2008 Offseason San Francisco 49ers Preview

Postional Analysis

QB: Starter - Alex Smith, Back Up - Shaun Hill, 3rd String - J.T. O'Sullivan
Definitely not the 49ers strongest position but I still believe that Alex Smith do be a pretty good quarterback. I am of course basing that off of his 2006 campaign instead of his rookie season and the games he played injured in last year but that might be my problem. It is obviously much more intelligent to judge a player off of 7 games his rookie season when no one could have succeeded under the circumstances plus 3 games in his third season when he was playing with an injured shoulder under a moron of an offensive coordinator with no good receivers than 16 games when he played healthy with a decent amount of health around him. But I digress. Based on what I saw in the 2006 I expect Smith to have a pretty good year compared to what he has done so far and an average year compared to the rest of the league. I am expecting him to start all 16 games and finish with numbers of,
300/510 (58.8%)
3400 passing yards
6.7 yards per attempt
24 touchdowns
16 interceptions
81.5 Passer Rating
200 rushing yards
3 rushing touchdowns
And he will improve on those numbers in 2009

RB: Starter - Frank Gore, Back Up - DeShaun Foster, 3rd string - Michael Robinson
I am really, really excited about this group. Obvious Gore is going to be the leader and get a good majoirty of the touches and he will be great. With his receiving ability and Martz as the offensive coordinator I expect big things from him. I am predicting the Offensive Player of the year award and numbers somewhere along the line of,
275 carries
1450 rushing yards
5.2 yards per rush
10 rushing touchdowns
50 receptions
450 receiving yards
4 receiving touchdowns
Then there is Foster who I don't see getting many touches unless, God forbid, Gore gets injured but I still think he could contribute a few carries a game to take the load off of Gore and put up some numbers. I doubt Robinson will get any play time unless he finds a way to beat out Foster but I wouldn't be surprised if Martz used him in some trick plays

WR: Starting Line Up - Arnaz Battle (Flanker), Bryant Johnson (Split End), Isaac Bruce (Slot). Reserves: Jason Hill, Ashley Lelie, Josh Morgan
This is by far the best group of receivers that Smith has had to work with since he was drafted. Bruce may be old but he still outperformed every 49er receiver last year and Johnson has the ability to stretch the field. Battle is going to break out under Martz and Jason Hill, Ashley Lelie, and Josh Morgan all have great potential. Watch out for Hill especially. I am not going to predict the numbers for every receiver but for Battle, Johnson, and Bruce they will be somewhere around,
Battle: 65 receptions, 825 yards, 5 touchdowns
Johnson: 50 receptions, 750 yards, 4 touchdowns
Bruce: 55 receptions, 600 yards, 3 touchdowns

TE: Starter - Vernon Davis, Back Up - Delanie Walker
The 49ers have easily the two most physically gifted tight ends in the league. Everyone knows about Vernon Davis but not many people know Walker. Walker is a converted college receiver that is actually more polished at pass catching than Davis because of his experience as a wide receiver. Both he and Davis will create mismatches when linebackers cover them which will force opposing teams to double team them. It should be a decent season for both. Out of Davis I am expecting,
55 receptions, 700 yards, 6 touchdowns

Offensive Line: Starting Line Up - Joe Staley(LT), Adam Snyder(LG), Eric Heitmann(C), Chilo Rachal(RG), Jonas Jennings(RT). Reserves: David Baas, Barry Sims, Tony Wragge, Cody Wallace, Demane Duckett
By no measure is the group great but if Jennings stays healthy they are average to a little above average. Staley was a beast last year after Michael Strahan owned him about half way through the season, Snyder is a serviceable and solid starter, Heitmann is good if he returns to his 2006 form, Rachal should be good and only get better as the season progresses, and when Jennings is healthy is is a very good tackle. If the line isn't decimated by injuries like it was last season it should be middle of the pack but even if, or more likely when, Jennings gets injured we have pretty good depth behind him.

FB: Zak Keasey
It may come as a surprise to some that this perennial practice squad player makes the team instead of the realiable Moran Norris but in camp he has been impressive. He has shown that not only is he a better pass blocker than Norris but that he is a much better pass catcher. He still definitely won't be a big part of the offense, though

Defensive Line: Starting Line Up, Isaac Sopoaga(DE), Aubrayo Franklin(NT), Justin Smith(DE). Reserves: Kentwan Balmer, Ronald Fields, Ray McDonald, Joe Cohen
Now this is the weakest link on the 49ers. Sopoaga finally proved last year that he can be a force on the line and should be even better this season, Franklin is only as good as a decent back-up, and Smith hasn't ever played in a 3-4 defense but so far he looks great in camp. Then there are McDonald, Balmer, and Cohen who are almost completely unproven but have good upside and Fields who is average and can play all three positions on the line. If Smith plays like he has been in camp then we don't have anything to worry about on the defensive line but if he doesn't it could be in trouble.

Linebackers: Starting Line Up - Manny Lawson(OLB), Patrick Willis(ILB), Jeff Ulbrich(ILB), Parys Haralson(OLB)
. Reserves: Brandon Moore, Tully Banta-Cain, Dontarrious Thomas, Jay Moore
With ManLaw and P.Willy leading the way and Parys Haralson getting better and better this is easily one of the best young linebacking corps in the league. Willis is already an All-Pro and in the two games before he was injured last year Lawson was playing at a Pro Bowl level. Haralson showed a lot of potential towards the end of last season and has wrestled the starting job away from TBC in camp. Ulbrich is not a great player but he is smart and adequate. Brandon Moore, TBC, and Thomas all provide good depth with starting experience and Moore is okay as a back-up

Secondary: Starting Line Up - Nate Clements(CB), Michael Lewis(SS), Dashon Goldson(FS), Walt Harris(CB). Reserves: Shawntae Spencer, Reggie Smith, Tarell Brown, Donald Strickland, Marcus Hudson, Mark Roman
With a top ten corner, a very good strong safety, a talented free safety who is turning heads at camp, and a pretty good corner this is a very good secondary. If I had to pick the second strongest aspect of this team in would be this. Not only because the aforementioned starters are good but because of the great depth behind them. Roman, Spencer, and Strickland all have significant starting experience and Brown and Smith are both great talents. If the front seven can provide some sort of pass rush this season, unlike last year, the pass defense has the chance to be top ten in the league.

Special Teams: Joe Nedney(K), Andy Lee(P), Allen Rossum(KR/PR)

Joe Nedney is the most accurate kicker in the history of the league from under 40 yards and Andy Lee is a top five punter right now. Rossum isn't great but he should be average much like Maurice Hicks was for us last year. Both the kick and punt coverage teams are among the best in the league.

Roster Wrap-Up (Starters Bolded)

Offense (25)

QB(3): Alex Smith, Shaun Hill, J.T. O'Sullivan
RB(3): Frank Gore, DeShaun Foster, Michael Robinson
WR(6): Arnaz Battle, Bryant Johnson, Isaac Bruce, Jason Hill, Ashley Lelie, Josh Morgan
TE(2): Vernon Davis, Delanie Walker
FB(1): Zak Keasey
OL(10): Joe Staley, Jonas Jennings, Barry Sims, Demane Duckett, Chilo Rachal, Adam Snyder, Tony Wragge, Cody Wallace, David Baas, Eric Heitmann

Defense (25)

DL(7): Isaac Sopoaga, Kentwan Balmer, Justin Smith, Aubrayo Franklin, Ronald Fields, Ray McDonald, Joe Cohen
LB(8): Patrick Willis, Manny Lawson, Jeff Ulbrich, Brandon Moore, Parys Haralson, Tully Banta-Cain, Jay Moore, Dontarrious Thomas
DB(10): Nate Clements, Walt Harris, Shawntae Spencer, Michael Lewis, Keith Lewis, Tarell Brown, Reggie Smith, Dashon Goldson, Mark Roman, Marcus Hudson

Special Teams (3)
K(1): Joe Nedney
P(1): Andy Lee
PR/KR(1): Allen Rossum

Game-by-game predictions

Arizona - Win. Last year we had the Cardinals' number with no offense at all. With the greatly improved offense this season we should win this one at home
@Seattle - Loss. Seattle's pass rush is going to overwhelm Smith. The only chance we have to win this is if Gore really gets going
Detroit - Win. The Lions have a horrible offensive line and no defense whatsoever, this should be an easy win
@New Orleans - Win. There is no argument that the Saints have a much better offense than us but I see Gore having a great game and keeping it off of the field
New England - Loss. We are almost certainly going to lose but it won't be by as much as some people think
Phildelphia - Loss. We their great secondary and ferocious pass rush they should win this handily
@N.Y. Giants - Loss. With Alex Smith this year the game will be closer than it was last season
Seattle - Win. Just like the Saints game I think Gore has a great game and keeps the Seattle offense off of the field long enough for us to win a close game
BYE
@Arizona - Loss. I could see this one going either way. If the Cardinals have Warner in by this point we will lose but if Leinart is still starting we have a chance
St. Louis - Win. Alex Smith is 3-1 in his career against the Rams and 2-0 at home.
@Dallas - Loss. We will probably lose pretty badly but with rivalry games you nevr know
@Buffalo - Win. Buffalo and the 49ers are pretty evenly matched player wise so this is a toss up and seeing as I'm a 49er fan I will go with them
New York Jets - Win. I had this marked down as an easy win before they got Favre but I still think we will win just not easily
@Miami - Win. Miami has nothing on us. At all
@St. Louis - Win. Last year we were a Darrell Jackson dropped pass away from sweeping the Rams with as many injuries as them.
Washington - Loss. This will be a pretty good last game, imo, and I also think the winner will get the final wildcard spot. Jason Taylor will prove too much for our o-line, though

So a final record of 9-7 and just short of a playoff berth. Nolan and Smith both keep their jobs and hopefully Martz will stay. The players I think will make the Pro Bowl are Frank Gore, Patrick Willis, Andy Lee, and Nate Clements. Manny Lawson and Joe Staley will have a great season as well but won't go because the Pro Bowl is of course a popularity contest.
Posted on: August 19, 2008 11:52 am
 

Abaddon's San Francisco 49ers' Blog

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