I put in a call to a cousin in Vegas yesterday to see the odds on the 49ers winning the Super Bowl. After wearing out welcomes on both coasts he settled, as it were, at the doorstep of hell.
He was stuttering, trying to get the words out like a man with serious terror closing in from all sides. “The front office boys are saying 9 to 1, but anyone with a real pulse on the thing know its realistically somewhere around 20 to 1. Alex Smith is rumored to be seeing between one and three psychoanalysts at any given time. He’s made of glass…he’s gonna finally crack if they make the playoffs…Harbaugh hedged his bets on a jumpy horse and the thunderclouds are rolling in”.
And so that’s how its gonna go down. NFC championship. Packers vs. 49ers. It’s gonna come down to a game winning drive. 4th and goal to get to the Super Bowl. Here it is. Alex Smith in search of his ultimate redemption. And then it happens. The whole defense blurs into one yellow and green streak. He stands up, staring at the crowd. Finally, exhausted, he drops to his knees and gets down into the act of worship. The last drop of water falls onto the head of the tortured man. Too much. Too soon.
Screw it. At least they’re gonna get there. That’s after Patrick Willis and Aldon Smith send Matthew Stafford to the hospital for the 3rd time in 3 years. That’s right. Most people like to think about the Montana/Rice 49ers. Those people also like to eat fig newtons and read the sunday newspaper.
We don’t have time for that in the new NFL. We want to see people get hit. We want to see quarterbacks and running backs get plastered every time they get into a power run formation. Or spread em out, no protection. That way no one’s going to even attempt a half hearted chop block on a double inside blitz.
Go watch the tape from the 49ers/Steelers game. That’s what defense should look like. Slot killing safeties, Pro Bowler on the defensive line, and two of the most freakish linebackers in pro football. Aldon Smith has a 7’2 wingspan and Patrick Willis lifts weights until they close the gym.
John Harbaugh, to put it bluntly, is the kick in the balls the 49ers have needed for about 5 years. Putting all these ex 85 Bears players in head coaching gigs is assuming they’ll all become these defensive gurus just like Buddy Ryan. It didn’t work. Leslie Fraser is in the middle of a meltdown in Minnesota, Singletary is out of a job, Ron Rivera is the a few bad Cam Newton performances away from being a lame duck head coach and Jack Del Rio is further evidence of the defensive coach as head coach gone awry.
Harbaugh’s philosophy as a head coach was not exactly evident at Stanford, where he arguably had the best quarterback in the country. After examining a season full of 49ers highlights though, a few things are evident.
Harbaugh wants his defense to rely on the linebackers for pressure and the defensive backs to ballhawk, knowing full well most throws are going to get rushed. Theres not too many DB blitzes or zone blitzes. Keep it simple.
On offense it’s a steady mix of running plays,(counters, dives, off tackle) a cross between a spread and a west coast offense. Nothing too predictable. Nothing repeated. Let the other team take risks and make a short field.. Stop the run. Easy in theory. However, no rushing touchdowns allowed in 14 games speaks for itself.