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I’m glad to see things are hopping over here in the Cohn Zohn. I seem to have gotten your day off with a jolt and you have come back at me with interesting insights. All’s fair as long as we’re polite with each other. So, I’d like to offer this. The Niners did nothing imaginative on offense in Denver. That is their prerogative. It’s just that the third exhibition game is a chance to practice real stuff at game speed. Training camp workouts in Santa Clara are not game speed. But the Niners did not try stuff they need to do — like completing a long pass to Randy Moss. Alex Smith’s completion to Vernon Davis was not a long pass — it was a catch and a run. When the backup QBs came in, Harbaugh called more long passes, but he did not do that on Smith’s watch. I’m not sure why. Here is my working hypothesis: The Niners’ offense this season will be similar to the offense of last season. If I am wrong, I will gladly admit it right here. I don’t think I will be wrong. You can tell me I’m all wet, but where is your evidence?

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14 Comments

  1. David

    Who cares how they win except you and Stan? Al Davis said it best “just win baby!”

    August 27th, 2012 10:35 am

  2. Tony

    I think that Harbaugh just has the number 1 offense go through all their basic reads in preseason. Then when Green Bay comes around you’ll see Alex throwing it all over the field, mainly because I truely believe that Harbaugh doesnt game plan for preseason and most of Harbaughs results last year were due to his strategic game planning around an opponents weaknesses.

    Yesterday, the Broncos treated that game like a real one by game planning. I come to this conclusion because every pass Peyton attempted seemed to go in Tremaine Brock’s direction because they know he is the worst cover corner on the 49ers.

    Also, I expect to see way more Kendall Hunter than Frank Gore this year. While Frank may hold the title of number 1 back, I believe Hunter is truely the 49ers best back.

    August 27th, 2012 10:38 am

  3. Brady

    Worth noting that Harbaugh rarely called for deep passes when at Stanford with a guy named Luck throwing the ball.

    I believe the offense will be much better in the sense that they will be more efficient. But you’re right, it’s doubtful that they have many more home run plays. It’s not the way Jim Harbaugh calls football games. But we need to remember that and not blame Alex Smith for it.

    August 27th, 2012 10:49 am

  4. Dennis

    I expect the 49ers offense to be exactly the same as last years with better personnel. Therefore, I expect it to be better than last years offense. Having said that, if the defense doesn’t tackle better, or allows a lot more touchdowns for whatever reason, I expect Alex Smith’s passing yards per game to increase significantly.

    And I agree with Tony about Kendall Hunter. He looks like a young Frank Gore.

    August 27th, 2012 10:55 am

  5. Michael

    Dear Lowell – Alex Smith throws the TD pass to Vernon Davis while standing behind the 50 yard line and he hits Vernon perfectly in stride exactly at the moment Vernon is straddling the 20 yard line. By my count that is 30 yards in the air on a perfectly lofted down field pass. So i’m curious: what is YOUR definition of a down field pass vs. a “Catch and run”?

    August 27th, 2012 10:57 am

  6. Joe H.

    I tend to agree with your thesis about the 3rd game of the pre-season and its importance, but it is still an exhibition game and Harbaugh may have had a diffferent set of intentions at the outset.

    Some of the primary functions of those games are:

    1) Selling seats (and TV coverage) to lousy games at regular season prices!

    2) Put your boys in and get them warmed up for the regular season. They need to be hit and tackled and prove they’re the starters.

    3) Put your new acquisitions and project players in to see how they fare after your instructions and guidance. There are mandatory cuts coming and the red pen is about to strike a few names off the list.

    Losing a key player in an exhibition game is a cardinal sin. Coaches that push their best players in exhibition games to the point of injury are castigated mightily in the press. (i.e. P.Manning had no reason to remain in the game after his initial series. )

    It’s ONLY an exhibition game. An invisible line exists that cannot be crossed where you are trying to win, yet not look like a win-at-all-costs megalomanic that puts his starting defense in to sack a 3rd string QB in the last minute even while holding a 20 point lead. That’s ridiculous. Yet, during a regular season game, all’s fair until the lead is insurmountable.

    August 27th, 2012 11:15 am

  7. Chad

    I too would expect the offense to be much the same with a few more downfield opportunities. That is who Harbaugh is and he is the one in charge.

    Now, if the team is consistently behind, I think we will see a different offense (out of neccesity, not design).

    August 27th, 2012 11:23 am

  8. htwaits

    How much game planning did Harbaugh do in their blown out third preseason game against Houston last year? From my couch, it didn’t look like they did any for Denver either.

    Harbaugh and Roman by extension, don’t seem to be fans of the long “jump ball” play that you want them to have practiced this week. As others point out, that wasn’t part of their style at Stanford when they had Luck. If they use it with Moss, they may be saving his body for real games. How many big hits do you think Moss’s body can absorb?

    Lowell, given your young age, it’s understandable that you might not realize that the jump ball in the end zone play was invented by the forty niners at Kezar stadium. That’s wrong, I’m sure you know about the Alley Opp. I was sitting behind the end zone when the first one was completed.

    They used it for the first time when they were desperate and out of time. It was never practiced in preseason games or in any other games. May R.C. Owens rest in peace, and my Y.A. Title have a long and happy life.

    August 27th, 2012 11:33 am

  9. Stan

    Gore for only two carries and zilch yardage. Maybe Frank should call it a career. He’s treated like he’s a cross of crystal glass and Strassburg in a helmet.
    And David didn’t see the subtlety I did. Like Manning feasting on the 49ers starters..a win that didn’t really prove anything we didn’t know. That’s a lot of didnt’s…

    August 27th, 2012 11:42 am

  10. htwaits

    I haven’t read anyone covering the forty niners who expects their offense to be significantly different this year. Your prediction is a lock. Harbaugh/Roman are not going to change.

    There are expectations that their offense will be more efficient in the red zone and on third downs. If those expectations are fulfilled, the forty niners should be a better team over all, but due to there schedule, they will have a hard time winning 13 games in the regular season.

    If I were a Denver fan, I would worry about the first big hit to Manning’s head and neck — especially with the current level of officiating that is on the field. That’s a much more interesting topic than what the forty niners should of done about Manning in the off season.

    August 27th, 2012 11:44 am

  11. Matt Witthaus

    Alas, you’re not wrong. Alex Smith is a career backup posing as a starter. I have argued this since he was the first player selected in 2005, and Aaron Rogers was the 24th, although only the SECOND QUARTERBACK, in a draft that was lousy for QB’s. He will not lose the game, but he will not win it either. My vote: get Kap some reps with the ones, he throws a PERFECT deep ball.

    August 27th, 2012 11:45 am

  12. Dr. Feelgood

    I think you’re spot on. The offense will most likely strongly resemble last years schematically, and why would it change? Everyone seems to be thirsting for the home run bombs, but really, they’ve got a solid game plan, AND, when they choose to go deep, they have added much better tools to achieve that end.

    August 27th, 2012 12:23 pm

  13. Streetglide

    Yup, Bill “Mad Bomber” Walsh and his QB Joe “The Rocket” Montana lit it up. I remember in 1980 when Joe threw for 9,000 yards. Boy that was a some coach and what a team!
    .
    Ever get a chance, check out some footage of those games. Old slingin’ Jow lofting it 60-70 yards down the crease to Freddy Craig and Dwight Yokum. Yesseree…

    August 27th, 2012 1:40 pm

  14. Tommy CostaRica

    Not one of you guys have mentioned Harbaugh’s devil’s advocate waiting to pop out of his hairy chest like a slimy alien and dump Smith as he has really wanted to do from day one! Last year with no camp he had no other choice as he made the smart move from the start, “Love the one you’re with.” This year watch him prop up his own guy just like Walsh did 32 years ago and quickly change to Kap. That will change the whole game plan as Kap turns out to be some Super Bowl winnin’ wiz like Joe was!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    August 27th, 2012 4:44 pm

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