Friday, December 28, 2012

Why the 49ers won't get to the Super Bowl

An interesting comment got me to writing a rather long response, so instead of posting it there, I though "Why not just make a post?", and so here it is: the reason the 49ers are morons for supplanting Alex Smith when they did and also why Matt Forte is a top 5 RB.

Let me be abundantly clear here: the comment I made about the 49ers had very little to do with Kaepernick's potential as an NFL QB, or even Kaepernick at all. I personally don't think he'll be a good NFL starter, but I've been wrong enough to know it is completely possible. What I was really talking about when I said the 49ers "never should have committed to" Kaepernick was their timing. They replaced Alex Smith in game 10 of the regular season. There are a few ways a first-time starting QB can go in his first full year, and unless you're Cam Newton or Andrew Luck (Who is simply having too strange of a year statistically to categorize) you will have one of a few kinds of years. For Kaepernick, he started hot then came back to Earth a bit against St. Louis and Seattle. That means he is taking one of two paths:

Up-Down-Up: The QB will do surprisingly well initially (this is probably because he brings something extra to the table, like speed, or because his coach is gameplanning him so as to hide his weaknesses... think Roethlisberger's first year) then fall on his ass once teams have film on him. Finally, due to overwhelming talent or good strategy, the QB will rise again, adjust to the adjustment, and finish strong, capping a good rookie year. This is RG3.
Up-Down: The same as above, but the initial defensive adjustment is too much for the QB, it exposes his inherent flaws, the QB cannot adjust, and the QB becomes a career backup. Ahem, Rex Grossman.

The big issue here is that Kaepernick will almost assuredly struggle at the exact wrong time. His seventh game will be against Arizona, his eighth a playoff game. For perspective, RG3 was great for four games, then did poorly for four of his next five games. Cam Newton did great for 4 games then struggled in six of his next seven before righting the ship. Rex Grossman was dynamite for 4 of his first 5 games before sputtering and crashing into oblivion. Kaepernick has been good or great in 4 of his first 5 games... and now he got beat up by Seattle. If the trend holds? He'll hit his struggle section right when the 49ers need him most. So, to reiterate, I don't disagree that Alex Smith is not a long-term answer. I disagree with the timing of his benching.

Moving on to Forte. I agree Arian, Purple Jesus, and Ray Rice are all better than Forte. Jamaal Charles is great, but he has a tendency to disappear from games occasionally and is a complete non-factor in the passing game. Marshawn Lynch has had a great run recently, so he might be #4. Who else is there to challenge Forte? Lesean McCoy just up and dsappeared this year, Reggie Bush was wildly inconsistent, Frank Gore is nearly as beat up as Michael Turner... just because Forte doesn't get used to his full potential doesn't mean he is worth less. His YPC are right there with everyone else I've mentioned and he is one of the three best pass catching RBs in the NFL (Sproles and Ray Rice). Even if we put JC ahead of him he is still #6. Seems trite to argue him being a top 5 RB on that kind of technicality.


Lee said...

RGIII had "poor" games?

Anonymous said...

Ya lee where have yoy been?