SEA's look at Shiancoe and my continuing receiver worries

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  • I don't care what DVOA says - the 49ers have the best defense in the league. The Bears are not in the same class. San Francisco is younger, faster, more versatile, harder-hitting, and not merely relying on ballhawk DB's to disguise decline up front. They've got a legit set of linebackers like any 3-4 defense does, a crazy good secondary and all kinds of pass-rushing weapons. S Dashon Goldson and LB Navarro Bowman have shaken off their youth and become stars and possibly Pro Bowlers. The 49ers are a much better matchup against the run and against our zone-read than anyone else in the league.

    This, not Chicago, will be the toughest defensive test for Seattle. Okay, second toughest defensive test - the toughest was IN San Francisco, where we scored six points AFTER Russell Wilson had emerged from his early-season larval stage and started to figure things out. We've been fine since, but we haven't played a team like the 49ers since either.

    Think back to that game - the most notorious case of drops by Seattle this season, and a conspicuously isolated case at that. I made a connection today when I read how punishing SF's back seven plays against opposing receivers. I realized that I'd seen the same case of pervasive dropsies in another team this year - the Cowboys in Week 2, facing Seattle. That game was where we truly established our "wear them down" identity on D, imposing our physicality on them with big hits until Jason Witten developed "short arms" and started uncharacteristically dropping everything. Their loss of execution on offense was a big reason for our blowout.

    In San Francisco, it was our turn. Wilson generally looked fine, but several of our targets dropped crucial passes that were perfectly thrown, including the normally sure-handed Tate. It left most of us pandering for improvement at WR and TE. The clamor quieted down as we started winning after that, but IMO we have yet to face another defense of that caliber, at home or away. And today I started wondering just how much of that isolated week of dropsies was down to the physicality of the 49ers defense.

    Let's cast a brutally honest look at our receiving corps: one thing they're not, is physical. At wide receiver, we have Sidney Rice, Golden Tate, and Doug Baldwin. All three have developed chemistry and grown into their roles on this offense. Yet we're also aware, in the back of our minds, that we're one injury away from relying on Jermaine Kearse as our #3, and Rice or Baldwin aren't known for their durability. Tate won't be winding his way through the 49ers on screens like he did Carolina, Minnesota, or Chicago. The 49ers tackle people. At tight end, we have the Carlson-esque Miller and the opportunistic Anthony McCoy earning their paycheck blocking for Lynch and Wilson, but neither has a particularly blustering reputation, and McCoy has been known to drop things. (So has Baldwin, this year.)

    When the season opened, I felt that our receiving situation was a house of cards waiting to betray our developing QB. Believe it or not, I still feel that way somewhat. Not so much, but somewhat. Lynch, Wilson, Rice, Lynch, and Wilson have covered up a lot of this, and to be sure, that's not a gimmick. Our offense will always look like that.

    But the 49ers are a tough, physical defense, built much like ours. Patrick Willis is the star of that defense for a very good reason - he's one of the few linebackers in this league both big AND fast enough to stand up against those freak receiving tight ends. He's our version of Kam Chancellor, except he's not a DB and frees our secondary up to handle an offense's other weapons. Against running backs and underneath routes, you have the hard-hitting Navarro Bowman, who's enjoying a fine season. Greg Cosell was talking today about how those are the two key matchups you have to overcome when you play the 49ers, and they're doozies. And they play MAN coverage in the nickel, a lot. With a safety like Goldson back there getting in WR's faces, this will be a challenge of a physical nature for our receivers.

    I look at our roster and I honestly don't see a receiver built to stand up to the kind of physical punishment that, say, Brandon Browner and Richard Sherman would deal out. SF can match the intensity of those two. They don't give up a lot of big plays (33 pass plays of 20+ yards, tied with Seattle for 4th in the league), and Seattle relies on explosive plays in their offensive formula. SF tackles and they limit YAC. They are well-built to bring our offense back down to earth, if anyone is going to. Tate continues to put up his requisite sit-up-and-yell-wow-did-that-just-happen big play per game, but he's not big and he's not fast. Rice is a borderline #1 receiver, but ehhhh, he's Rice, and his absence would hurt everyone else. Our tight ends are unremarkable, though they get the job done at crucial moments.

    Then we get the news that Seattle worked out Visanthe Shiancoe today, "just in case they needed a TE", according to the report. I find this interesting, since Miller and McCoy are both healthy, Miller is finally accruing touchdowns, McCoy just had himself a 100-yard game, nobody except me has doubted them for weeks, and #3 TE, despite being occupied by the disappointing Evan Moore, is usually not a glaring need. I'm not sure who would accuse Seattle of being in need of a tight end right at this moment, at least not on the surface. Not unless there were issues being masked.

    A stab-in-the-dark hunch: Carroll knows his passing game is about to visit the most physical and best-matched defense they'll face this season, and he too has misgivings. We need more targets capable of running routes, getting open, competing for catches in traffic, and enabling more plays in the playbook (the read-option is great, but the route trees still look pretty limited). Shiancoe was on an injured reserve list as recently as September and has been on the decline for a while, and he's not the biggest (6'4"). But in his heyday was a good choice against a sturdy defense. New England releasing him wasn't a surprise once they finally got Gronk and Hernia-ndez back on the field at the same time. I doubt he'll experience any kind of career revival in Seattle, but Pete glancing Shiancoe's way might hint at what he thinks of our receiver situation going into Sunday's game against the 49ers.

    Just a thought. Flame away.
    Last edited by MontanaHawk05 on Mon Dec 17, 2012 9:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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  • I will take deon butler to stretch the 49ers defense for 100 please.
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  • hawks4thewin wrote:I will take deon butler to stretch the 49ers defense for 100 please.


    Yeah, there's another hint, although he was mostly a replacement for Braylon Edwards. But one of the reasons Butler was cut was because he's just too small to beat press coverage. That won't favor him against SF.
    Last edited by MontanaHawk05 on Mon Dec 17, 2012 9:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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  • Our receivers catch everything near them and get yards after contact. What more could you ask? Tate and Rice can even throw touchdowns.
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  • Butler has never blossomed into the "stretch a defense" kind of WR, despite his speed. And Montana hit on why -- he's too small.

    He is a good moving the chains guy, but that's about all. And I doubt he has much chemistry with Wilson.
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  • Our WR's go up against our DB's every day in practice. They should feel right at home going up against the 49ers secondary.
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  • I think you're spot on, Montana. This game scares me the most out of any this season. The Bears in Chicago didn't worry me as much, and in fact I was one of few saying we could well lose at Miami and then win in Chicago before either of those games, the exact opposite of what most thought, but exactly the way it turned out.

    San Francisco wants badly to come up into our house and take the season from us. They want it as badly as we wanted to take one from them there, except that they would be getting the season sweep. They will be very tough. True, we're a much better offensive team now than the first time we played them, but they've gotten better over the season too. And we don't have a lot of tape on Kaepernick, which worries me a bit.

    It's a game we could well win, but I ain't penciling it in just yet. Consider me optimistically concerned.
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  • I think the key will be QB's. CP was rattle in St Louis with a great defense, so I am guessing he can make mistakes and Seahawks hopefully capitalize. The snap fumbles in NE could easily have turned out as possession losing scenarios. So I think Seahawks will prevail and also play with a lot to prove. Come Sunday night, we will know I guess. Winning momentum helps and playing in Clink should only make it better.
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  • We DOMINATED the first half the first time we played 49ers. The issue in the second half was more conservative playcalling and not getting off the field.

    If the players don't drop it like its hot then we win. Kap at qb for 49ers will lead tomorrow possessions in second half.

    Win / Loose this is a great game to get us in the right playoff mindset. We loose this we crush Rams and keep rolling. We win this we will rattle 49ers and go confident going forward
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  • What scares me most is Kaep at QB for them. Alex Smith is a good game manager that is good at keeping them in a close grind it out running game but if they get behind he is not capable of playing catch up. Kaep has so much more ceiling w/ his mobility and strong arm as well as at least the same amount of football intelligence as Smith. Kaep may make the rookie mistakes or have a few more gamble type turnovers but I feel he more than makes up for that w/ what he brings w/ his legs and arm. I really hated it when smith got hurt and was really sad to see I was right.

    So, while I feel we are a completely different team offensively this time around and vastly improved, I think they are as well. Will be interesting to see where each team stands. I hope to see us hammer them but I feel it is going to be one brutal brawl all the way thru.
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  • We are not going to loose this game dammit. But hey, we could loose you never know. Still, it would be awful to loose this game because we could loose momentum. I don't want to loose our last two games; we might loose out on the playoffs and go out loosers for the year. Loosing sucks.
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  • I guess the New England WRs forgot to be intimidated while their offense scored 4 TDs over something like a 12 minute period on Sunday. 8) I don't personally buy into the "hearing footsteps" theory. The Cardinals and Bears both have very good pass defenses and hard hitters, and Seattle did not have drop problems in those games. I think it's more likely that it was just a coincidence, and if I blamed it on anything, I'd blame it on a Thursday night road game, of which the road teams have played poorly in all season.

    I think Shiancoe isn't much of a mystery worth delving into for conspiracy theories. Evan Moore has been a bit of a disaster. It's natural that Seattle would entertain an upgrade to the roster.

    And FWIW, I do not think the 49ers have THE best defense in the NFL. The stats show a very close race between several good defenses. I think they, and Seattle, have the two most talented defenses, but in terms of 2012 performance, I don't think they are the best. Seattle could have blown them out in the first meeting if not for some very poorly timed penalties and drops. And if New England had scored just two more points, Seattle would currently have the #1 scoring defense. They are currently just one point back. Meaning that if they win this next game, they will be the #1 scoring defense (barring defensive/ST scores). Assuming it isn't 55-65 or something like that.

    I trust DVOA's rankings. The Bears defense has taken a hit lately, but for a while they were having a historically good year. We were very fortunate to get the Bears in December. Ironically enough.

    I do think Seattle should grab a WR in this draft, maybe two. It's a nice WR class that's deep at the top. I like our starting trio, but two thirds of it has an injury history, and our backup WR group has suddenly become quite depleted.
    Last edited by kearly on Tue Dec 18, 2012 2:28 am, edited 3 times in total.
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  • I'm not worried. we got neon deon
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  • Patrick Willis is 185cm 240lbs
    Bobby Wagner is 183cm 241lbs


    as for physical receivers, ask Sean Lee if he thinks our receivers pack a wallop
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  • PlinytheCenter wrote:We are not going to loose this game dammit. But hey, we could loose you never know. Still, it would be awful to loose this game because we could loose momentum. I don't want to loose our last two games; we might loose out on the playoffs and go out loosers for the year. Loosing sucks.

    Playin' it fast and loose there aren't you? ;)
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    Oh, and Montana you touched very briefly on something that's been a sore spot for me all year, Doug Baldwin. Dude has not made the tough catches this season. Yes, I know he's not been 100%, but there have been quite a few occasions where he's stretched out for a catch and had it go off his fingertips. Were they tough catches? Absolutely, but they were also catches that get the Hawks a first down or a TD and could've made a huge difference in a game and in the case of the Miami game, maybe winning the division since a win there means the Hawks are playing for first place this week. I said it on the Draft forum and I'll say it here, this team needs a true possesion receiver that is nearly always open that Russ can go to when other, downfield options are not open. He scrambles more than he should and a guy like that would be the safety valve that would keep him from having to scramble so much. You talked about TE and maybe that's the answer. All I know is I want to see a guy that is nearly always open and makes most of the tough catches on this team next year.
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  • our recievers have taken a beating this year... have we forgotten the hit's rice has taken, in chicago for instance, and golden tate looks like a whirley bird rag doll on most of his acrobatic td catches... they're tougher than you think.. and good.. not to mention baldwin getting his grill dented... we'll be fine...
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  • kearly wrote:I guess the New England WRs forgot to be intimidated while their offense scored 4 TDs over something like a 12 minute period on Sunday. 8)


    They were dropping passes all over the place.
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  • MontanaHawk05 wrote:
    kearly wrote:I guess the New England WRs forgot to be intimidated while their offense scored 4 TDs over something like a 12 minute period on Sunday. 8)


    They were dropping passes all over the place.


    They caught enough of them to tie the game however.
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  • Speaking about TEs, I wonder if Evan Moore is on the way out? Or one of the DBs?

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  • IMHO Receivers and run D do there job and keep the turnovers and penalties to a minimum (Giaco!) this is a very favorable matchup. We have perhaps the most multi-faceted offense in the NFL at the moment. A receiving corps that are all capable of 100+yard outings and big play brilliance on occasion. With Wilson, Lynch, Robinson, Turbin and Washington we have an abundance of running talent! And we have perhaps(!) the best damn Quarterback tandem in the NFL at the moment.

    We simply cannot let Gore and Crabtree get up a head of steam in this game. We know this. The one area we need to work on is the D line. Mebane, Bryant and Branch need to be there from the first snap. ST needs to Keep the ball away from Ted Ginn Jr. and then "Introduce" Kaepernick to Clemons and Irvin early. Seems pretty straight forward.
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  • The same can be said for WR corps, IMO. Neither of them can handle the physical play of the other.

    But, at this point only one QB can elevate the game of his receivers. By the time this year ends, Wilson will be like a Brady or Eli, making pro-bowler WR's out of average talent. Also, Bevell and Compant have been on a tear.
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  • weird to say, but i'm not concerned about our offensive, nearly as much as our defense.. i know we play lights out at home, but we are facing one of the if not the best teams in the league without our two starting pro bowl corners... how do you overcome that with all the weapons they have.. not saying it can't be done, but how can we do this?
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  • seedhawk wrote:
    MontanaHawk05 wrote:
    kearly wrote:I guess the New England WRs forgot to be intimidated while their offense scored 4 TDs over something like a 12 minute period on Sunday. 8)


    They were dropping passes all over the place.


    They caught enough of them to tie the game however.



    This is true, but Brady having to throw 65 times during that game had something to do with that.
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  • I agree the Pats were intimidated. But, I don't think that's the reason why the Hawks dropped every ball in SF. Neither is intimidated by the other.

    I don't think it matters. Carroll purposely kept Lynch fresh for their last meeting. And, through excellence, they are able to do that this week. I know logic says you spread them out and pass at SF, but I have a feeling they're going to run at the 49ers D.
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  • pehawk wrote:I agree the Pats were intimidated. But, I don't think that's the reason why the Hawks dropped every ball in SF. Neither is intimidated by the other.

    I don't think it matters. Carroll purposely kept Lynch fresh for their last meeting. And, through excellence, they are able to do that this week. I know logic says you spread them out and pass at SF, but I have a feeling they're going to run at the 49ers D.


    I hope that's the idea. Marshawn has eclipsed 100 yards against the Whiners the last two times we have played.
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  • I'm sure Turbins high in carries, in a meaningful game, was that Pats game. Has to be - Lynch rested a lot.

    So, Cable must see something he likes. So much the staff gambled by limiting Lynch against the Patriots.
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Shiancoe?
Tue Dec 18, 2012 11:10 am
  • Any chance that Shiancoe will replace Evan Moore?
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Re: Shiancoe?
Tue Dec 18, 2012 11:19 am
  • I hope not. On the field he would not be much of an upgrade, but Moore at least has been practicing with the team and is ready to go if he has to.

    Shiancoe knows a lot of Bevell's Offense, but it has been a couple years since he has played in it and he hasn't seen much game action in a while. I would honestly be more comfortable with Moore in there, even though he was been worthless so far.
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  • While I agree with most of the OP, I'm with Kearly on this one. I'd like to see us draft a WR to upgrade the 3rd-5th spots. Our depth is bad, and I agree with you Montana about if Tate or Rice gets hurt we're screwed.

    Thing is, both teams have grown, and both teams have changed....it makes an intriguing matchup.

    We did not run the read option at all in our first matchup. Wilson makes the read option so tough to defend because he actually throws the ball well, unlike most the read option guys in the NFL (exception RGII). If the DB's stay back, Wilson or Lynch will have room. If the DB's come up, we're going to see Miller and McCoy eat their lunch.

    McCoy has grown this season. I think he'll show up this game, and is fast enough to get separation from SF's LBers. Turbin's big drop in that first game was more of a rookie thing in a big game, not being intimidated by anyone. He's also gotten better.

    The biggest worry I have for this game is the defense crapping the bed. I think fatigue played a big factor in that first game, in the 2nd half of the game during a short week. SF ran all over us in the 2nd half. I also worry about our fill in guys (Lane % Maxwell) stepping up to play well in a playoff atmosphere. I think Thurmond will be fine; SF's WRs don't worry me at all. If we can stop their run, spy Kaepernick, and stop Davis, we win easily. It's easier said than done.

    SF barely beat us during a stretch where our offense was anemic. We're running the ball well again, incorporating the read option, and our TE's and WR's have grown as a unit. Wilson is seeing the TE open more, McCoy is developing a good game, Tate has grown into a big threat WR, and Rice is reclaiming his #1 WR status, with also taking some brutal hits and staying on the field.
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  • I'm not that worried, they are a good defensive team, but we have played good defensive teams and beat them. The 49ers are one of the best but we have a phenomenal rookie and a devastating run game that will open up the passing game.

    Last year we ended their string of sub 100 rushing games against and we will do it again. The offensive line is light years ahead of where they were last year, and vastly improved from the first SEA/SF game this year. Name one receiver that NE had Sunday besides Wes Welker that scares anybody. I would argue that our receivers our much better than the Patriots receivers. We can't be beat by taking 1 of them away. Tate, Rice, Miller are very good receivers and McCoy is coming in to his own. The biggest passing advantage we have? Russell spreads the ball around. You might be able to cover 1, or 2 or 3 of our guys, but Russell will keep the play alive and find the 4th or 5th receiver.

    I'm really happy to see Deon Butler back and would much rather have him in there than Kearse. At least Butler will catch the ball.

    And the Emo experiment is finally over. IMHO, he held this team back by taking up a spot on the field and not producing. Addition by subtraction.

    I know SF has a good defense, but we have an offense that can beat them, handily. All they need to do is execute and follow their QB.

    I'm more worried about the defense not being disciplined and allowing Kaep to get outside. That seems to be where he does most of his damage. Keep him in the pocket and throw some complicated defenses at him and he will turn the ball over. And for crying out loud, don't let Frank Gore break big runs up the middle.

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