I have received emails and comments this morning by readers ticked off at me because the Niners’ offense hasn’t been boffo. Many write that Colin Kaepernick is doing no better than Alex Smith, and they seem steamed at me for backing the switch to Kaepernick. Fine, I can take it. I still believe Kaepernick is a better QB than Smith and I support the switch.

If you don’t like the change, don’t get on my case. I have no power in Santa Clara. Be angry at Jim Harbaugh. Very few readers seem angry at Harbaugh. Why?

Some readers were outraged when I wrote Greg Roman is no big deal as offensive coordinator and is not up to the level of Harbaugh’s other coaches. I believe that.

I have something else to say. Harbaugh ultimately is responsible for the Niners’ weak offensive game plans. Here’s another place readers can get sore at Harbaugh.

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  1. jimmy

    Lowell, is the Cohn clan heading to New England for Sunday’s game?

    December 10th, 2012 10:18 am

  2. lameduck

    It’s the Penalties.
    Quack :)

    December 10th, 2012 10:20 am

  3. CohnZohn

    jimmy, Yes, Grant and I will fly to Boston. We’re staying at the same hotel as Maiocco. I’m hoping the Cohns, Maiocco, Kawakami and others will have dinner in Boston Saturday night. No way I would miss this game — it could be a Super Bowl preview.Thanks for asking.

    December 10th, 2012 10:23 am

  4. Alex

    You’re right.

    Greg Roman has proven to be very good at crafting a running game, but creating a passing game that travels more than 8 yards down the field, he can’t do it.

    We need someone who understands the passing element. Roman doesn’t need to be fired, but we need to at the very least add another offensive assistant who can help the passing game, because Roman sure can’t.

    December 10th, 2012 11:16 am

  5. Johnc

    I am glad the Press Democrat is sending you on assignment for all the big away games whether it be the Niners or the SF Giants.
    I look forward to your article after the N.E.game. If Niners lose it will be very entertaining and if they win it will be celebration but with fair criticism of what they did right and what they did wrong.

    December 10th, 2012 11:30 am

  6. dharte

    I agree that you’re not hearing enough anger at Harbaugh’s late season gamble, but what’s more striking is how the language is now “softened” whenever Kaepernick’s performance is discussed (the lengths that Kruger & Friends went to on KNBR last night while avoiding any criticism of 18 for 23 for 185 yards and no touchdowns were laughable).

    Perhaps that tone will change after next week. New England will be a clearer test and if the kid throws up another mediocre performance on national tv in mid-December that dud will be impossible to rationalize.

    Once again, the issue is Harbaugh’s gamble this year, and only this year. If Kaepernick had outplayed Smith throughout training camp or during the pre-season and the organization then decided to dump Smith, I’d have no problem with such a change–I doubt anybody would. But of course that’s not what happened.

    Now an entire season rides on the kid’s shoulders and the bar was set with this team last year: an overtime loss in the NFC Championship game, and that loss directly tied to
    lousy Special Team’s play. We’ll see if Kaepernick can do better, and that, frankly, is Jim Harbaugh’s expertise on the line. If the kid chokes under enormous pressure–a bit like what he’ll see next week–Harbaugh has made a horrible mistake, one he may never live down. Not with the team he had primed for a title run in October (and please don’t pretend the loss of Kyle Williams and Kendall Hunter ruined their chances…in January, in the cold, I’d rather have Brandon Jacobs–he hurt the 49ers last year, and the Patriots in the Super Bowl–but of course the boy genius now seems to have no time for him as well).

    It’s Harbaugh’s way or the highway, and if he’s wrong about Kaepernick, he may be travelling elsewhere sooner than anyone can quite believe.

    By the way, the new ESPN statistics for the NFL are out today: after week 14, Robert Griffin III, Alex Smith and Peyton Manning are basically tied for the top QB rating at 104+.

    Not that that tells you anything.

    December 10th, 2012 11:38 am

  7. Bob In Portland

    I love hearing about you and your son making these trips.

    December 10th, 2012 11:54 am

  8. Bob In Portland

    I supported Smith when his competition was Cody Pickett. I support Kaepernick now, because he’s got more tools, not because I hate Smith.

    However, between Harbaugh, Roman and Kaep they will have to devise a way to get plays in faster. This was a problem last year and early this one with Smith, but it’s harder for a young quarterback to handle, so they need to get this straightened out pronto.

    December 10th, 2012 11:59 am

  9. Stan

    I don’t see Bruce’s logic over Roman. The 49ers never pillage and burn under him..its almost “excuse me, I need to score now”.
    I think Harbaugh does wish he has a pillage and burn, and take no prisoners, OC. He’s making a public image of admiring Greg, sure. But the guy that ran up scores all he could in college..now is sedated by Roman in the pros.

    December 10th, 2012 1:04 pm

  10. Stan

    One more..with CK,Harbaugh wanted an offense of attack,attack,attack, push the ball downfield –fast. After the first series of trying that,Roman went conservative. Like he always does. It’s like he fears that game when he gets caught up in it..so he backs off the pedal. Over and over.

    December 10th, 2012 1:09 pm

  11. dharte

    Does anyone really believe that Jim Harbaugh’s fingerprints aren’t all over every game plan every week?

    This guy is a control freak and this is his team–he was a QB and played in the league for years, something Roman & Co. can only dream about–so no excuses.

    If the offense stinks, it’s on Harbaugh.

    See you next week!

    December 10th, 2012 1:53 pm

  12. Steve

    Why can’t Roman use a three step drop and screen passes to slow down the other team’s pass rush, this is basic offensive football. The Dolphins were doing it on offense, and it was effective, why in the heck can’t Roman (or whoever calls the plays) do it?

    December 10th, 2012 2:57 pm

  13. Paul C. Garrett

    The problem with the pistol offense, (which we saw a lot of yesterday) is it eliminates the play-action game. An element that should be a HUGE part of our offense since teams stack the box to stop Frank Gore. Steve is correct … more screens, draw plays and play action from under center will help beat a pass rush.

    We all want the vertical passing game … but if you’re Roman, how can you call those 7 step drops with Anthony Davis is on the field?

    December 10th, 2012 3:36 pm

  14. Stan

    I caught just short bit of Bruce’s show today. All I caught as I put it on was “Logic is the coaching staff has done too well to be fired”. He read me HERE on Cohn Zohn. Sure they did well last year,. And this year they will fall short again because no matter how well Roman does..he WILL let a Bree’s or Manning et al, stay close. He plays to the vest after he teases early in the game. If I was the opposing DC, I know the second half will be predictable.

    December 10th, 2012 4:29 pm

  15. Stan

    The 49ers best Christmas is Roman takes some college job,and Hue takes over the 49er offense. Potent,pure 100% potent.

    December 10th, 2012 5:43 pm

  16. parnell

    Apparently Harbaugh and Roman have company in their alleged inability to devise an effective game plan against the Dolphins. Here’s the relevant part of the game story about last week’s Patriots/Dolphins game:

    “Tom Brady had his least efficient game of the season and even threw an interception, but the New England Patriots took advantage of the Miami Dolphins’ mistakes Sunday to win 23-16 and clinch their fourth consecutive AFC East title.

    A botched punt, a roughing-the-punter penalty and a fumble by Miami led to 17 New England points, and another penalty negated a Dolphins touchdown.

    Brady finished 24-of-40 passing for 238 yards and was sacked four times. But with the Patriots nursing a 20-13 lead midway through the fourth quarter, he led a 16-play drive that took more than seven minutes and led to a field goal.”

    The Patriots aren’t a juggernaut and the 9-3-1 49ers are one of the elite teams in the NFL. Even though, according to Lowell, they have an unfathomable head coach, an incompetent offensive co-ordinator, a GM who did nothing to help the offense during the off-season and the team had to endure 11 starts by a below-average QB. I would love to see how Lowell would analyze the New York Jets.

    And, by the way, the ‘big and slow’ 49ers offensive line includes Joe Staley who is demonstrably NOT slow.

    December 10th, 2012 5:52 pm

  17. CohnZohn

    parnell, I would eviscerate the New York Jets. Are you a bookseller? Where? I’m interested.

    December 10th, 2012 6:01 pm

  18. Jack Hammer

    Love it! Finally someone else is willing to put this offense on Harbaugh. He is also the last line of communication to the QB with the play calls. His style and philosophy rubs off on his assistants. Just look down at Stanford, Shaw’s play calling sure looks a lot like Greg Roman’s.

    December 10th, 2012 9:10 pm

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