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Kap's Receiving Corps Battle Shaping Up

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Posted: 07/26/2014 8:20 AM

Kap's Receiving Corps Battle Shaping Up Post Rating (1 vote)


For the first time in his short but exciting career, Colin Kaepernick enters the season as the starter with a full complement of wide receivers, a luxury he certainly didn't have last season. To start the season he had a foot injury that the coaches kept under wraps and he was instructed to avoid running.  Crabtree was out and his other starter, Kyle Williams, was really struggling.  

Add to that the fact that Greg Roman had never developed a pro-style passing offense in his career and we watched an unprepared QB (not his fault) with a very limited group of receivers and a basic vanilla passing offense take his team to within a play of the Super Bowl.  This season that all changes.

With four established and experienced vets in Boldin, Crabtree, Lloyd and Johnson, the battle between Patton and Ellington (both essentially rookies) should be something to watch. Everyday Kap seems to hit Brandon Lloyd with a deep ball and their chemistry improves. Stevie Johnson also is looking ready and there is no doubt about Boldin or Crabtree.  

Given the fact that Seattle has lost Sidney Rice, I am of the opinion that the Niners will keep six (6) wide receivers, or at the very least, the four vets listed above.  Cutting Lloyd or Johnson just became virtually impossible unless someone wants to see Pete Carroll with a ****-eating grin on his face as he stands next to the recently-signed Lloyd or Johnson.

The last time Lloyd faced the 49ers, it wasn't pretty.  Lloyd enjoyed his best production on a night when San Francisco earned a memorable 41-34 road victory over the Patriots on Dec. 16, 2012. The Patriots tied the game after trailing 31-3 in the third quarter. It also featured Lloyd connecting with Tom Brady, to the tune of 10 catches and 190 receiving yards. Even so, the 49ers withstood a second-half flurry from the Patriots to win the crucial late-season road game but I really don't want to see him be the guy that beats us this season.  We need him on OUR side.  Any thoughts.

49er GOLD
since 1946.

"It's KAP, not Kaep"-Colin Kaepernick, Twitter

Last edited 07/26/2014 10:02 AM by KezarVet

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Posted: 07/26/2014 8:46 AM

Re: Kap's Receiving Corps Battle Shaping Up Post Rating (1 vote)


Kyle Williams, not Kevin Williams. wink

I think the criticism of Roman is a bit exaggerated. He's been working under some constraints:

First, he's been designing for (at the time) flawed quarterbacks. Alex Smith had some clear weaknesses and the 49ers didn't just rehabilitate his game by unleashing quarterback whisperer Harbaugh on him. In fact, I wouldn't say that was even necessarily the primary factor, as we had seen Smith be effective before (the last half-season of Singletary's reign and in flashes before that). I think the bigger thing was creating an offensive system he could thrive in consistently, which is not quite as open and multiple a passing game as Brees or Brady might run because Smith can't make all the throws (well). He flourishes with well-defined short and intermediate throws.

Kaepernick took over an offense designed around Smith in 2012. In 2013, he was still learning and that was obvious. While I think his "one read" status is exaggerated, it was clear that he didn't feel comfortable to sit in the pocket (or use his feet to stay alive) long enough to find every receiver in his progressions. He was more comfortable taking off with it even if an extra second allowed a receiver to break open. Again, Roman needed simple well-defined looks for a learning Kaepernick.

The second constraint is Harbaugh. It's clear, going back to his Stanford days (when he had the college equivalent of a Manning or Brady), that he's pretty much always going to be a run-first coach. I'm sure he and Roman could develop a more wide-open passing game, but that's not what Harbaugh is trying to accomplish. He's very much a "weight the odds in your favor" guy and he does that by controlling the lines of scrimmage, shortening the game, reducing the number of possessions and controlling the ball, reducing the chances for game-turning plays. There's a limit to what Roman can do under that vision.

I think things will change a bit this season. I still don't expect an aerial circus (and I don't expect that under any team Harbaugh coaches), but I think we'll see more three-wide sets, more passes per game and a more multiple passing game when they do throw it. A lot of that depends on Kap, though. He needs to show that he can read defenses not just before the snap (which Roman praised him for before last season and which I think he was utilizing during the season, which is why I think "one read" criticisms were overstated--a lot of good/great quarterbacks appear to look to only one receiver because that's the mismatch/weakness they've identified pre-snap) but also after the snap, so that they can better use combination routes. Having another receiver or two he has chemistry with and trusts will help a lot with that, too.

Last edited 07/26/2014 8:47 AM by Minstrel

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Posted: 07/26/2014 12:45 PM

Re: Kap's Receiving Corps Battle Shaping Up 


I thought I'd put this here, since it's been something people have wondered about Roman and the 49ers' offense in general:


Matt Maiocco ‏@MaioccoCSN

Interesting point Roman made: Defenses fear Kap's running. They don't blast up field in pass rush. That limits chances for screen game.

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Posted: 07/26/2014 7:46 PM

Re: Kap's Receiving Corps Battle Shaping Up Post Rating (1 vote)


So then you have to take advantage with quick hitters. Lets see some shovel passes to break up that tempo.
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Posted: 07/28/2014 12:23 PM

Re: Kap's Receiving Corps Battle Shaping Up 



Minstrel wrote: Kyle Williams, not Kevin Williams. wink

I think the criticism of Roman is a bit exaggerated. He's been working under some constraints:

First, he's been designing for (at the time) flawed quarterbacks. Alex Smith had some clear weaknesses and the 49ers didn't just rehabilitate his game by unleashing quarterback whisperer Harbaugh on him. In fact, I wouldn't say that was even necessarily the primary factor, as we had seen Smith be effective before (the last half-season of Singletary's reign and in flashes before that). I think the bigger thing was creating an offensive system he could thrive in consistently, which is not quite as open and multiple a passing game as Brees or Brady might run because Smith can't make all the throws (well). He flourishes with well-defined short and intermediate throws.

Kaepernick took over an offense designed around Smith in 2012. In 2013, he was still learning and that was obvious. While I think his "one read" status is exaggerated, it was clear that he didn't feel comfortable to sit in the pocket (or use his feet to stay alive) long enough to find every receiver in his progressions. He was more comfortable taking off with it even if an extra second allowed a receiver to break open. Again, Roman needed simple well-defined looks for a learning Kaepernick.

The second constraint is Harbaugh. It's clear, going back to his Stanford days (when he had the college equivalent of a Manning or Brady), that he's pretty much always going to be a run-first coach. I'm sure he and Roman could develop a more wide-open passing game, but that's not what Harbaugh is trying to accomplish. He's very much a "weight the odds in your favor" guy and he does that by controlling the lines of scrimmage, shortening the game, reducing the number of possessions and controlling the ball, reducing the chances for game-turning plays. There's a limit to what Roman can do under that vision.

I think things will change a bit this season. I still don't expect an aerial circus (and I don't expect that under any team Harbaugh coaches), but I think we'll see more three-wide sets, more passes per game and a more multiple passing game when they do throw it. A lot of that depends on Kap, though. He needs to show that he can read defenses not just before the snap (which Roman praised him for before last season and which I think he was utilizing during the season, which is why I think "one read" criticisms were overstated--a lot of good/great quarterbacks appear to look to only one receiver because that's the mismatch/weakness they've identified pre-snap) but also after the snap, so that they can better use combination routes. Having another receiver or two he has chemistry with and trusts will help a lot with that, too.

I think this is a pretty spot-on assessment...nicely done, Mistrel.
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Posted: 07/28/2014 1:56 PM

Re: Kap's Receiving Corps Battle Shaping Up 


*edited: Smack talk should be directed to this forum, thanks. You're welcome to post here, as a non-49ers fan, as long as you stick to football analysis and remain civil.*

Last edited 07/28/2014 1:59 PM by Minstrel

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Posted: 07/30/2014 8:02 PM

Re: Kap's Receiving Corps Battle Shaping Up 


Assuming Lloyd sticks -- and based on his glowing reports in camp I think he will -- that gives the 49ers four WRs that have at least one 1,000 yard season to their credit, has that ever happened before? Throw in Vernon Davis and that's five pass catchers with 900+ yard seasons.

Regardless of what people think about Kap's ability to read a defense or go through progressions there are so many trustworthy options this season we'll learn the answers very quickly. Personally, I think Kap is a work in progress but the secondary options were just so awful last season he probably only looked at the guys he trusted, which was only Boldin and Vernon until Crabs returned.

Roman does need to provide Kap better outlet options when the primary option isn't there. It doesn't have to be a running back all the time. Leak a TE out to the sideline. Send a WR across the field on a shallow cross.

I have two issues or concerns with Kap. First, he tends to drift to his left a lot. By doing this he's messing up the throwing lanes, especially if he wants to throw to the right sideline. Secondly, he only seems to have one throw-- the fastball. That velocity has prevented several picks because corners can't handle it (I think there was prime example of this early in what was the game winning drive against Seattle at the Stick last season). Kap needs to develop more touch on the ball. I want to see the fade into the endzone and back shoulder throws. If you make a list of everything you want from a modern QB from a physical standpoint, Kap has it all. Height, speed, arm strength, whatever. It's the finer points that still need to be refined. Thankfully, he's setup for success this season.
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Posted: 07/30/2014 8:24 PM

Re: Kap's Receiving Corps Battle Shaping Up 


I agree that touch throws should be a major point of emphasis for Kap this year, as well as checking it down on first- and second-down passes. On third down, I like that he's looking only for chunk gains to pick up the first down, but he can get a lot more productive yards if he were more willing to find underneath receivers, including running backs, more often.

As for reading and going through progressions, this season it'll be important for him to show more of that. I think he trusted his initial pre-snap read too often and, if it wasn't there, took off or threw it away. I like that he's identifying the match-up he likes pre-snap, but he needs to be willing to adjust and move on if it doesn't develop as he expected. Hopefully, he'll be finding the open receiver more often this season. If there are no significant injuries to the wide receiver corps, there will be open receivers.
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Posted: 08/01/2014 8:09 AM

Re: Kap's Receiving Corps Battle Shaping Up Post Rating (2 votes)


Many 49er fans either forget or were too young to see how exciting Lloyd was in a 49er uniform.  Just check out the first catch on this video vs. the Seahawks to truly appreciate what he brings to the Niners.


LINK

49er GOLD
since 1946.

"It's KAP, not Kaep"-Colin Kaepernick, Twitter

Last edited 08/01/2014 8:25 AM by plannb23

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Posted: 08/01/2014 8:24 AM

Re: Kap's Receiving Corps Battle Shaping Up Post Rating (1 vote)


I also didn't forget how often he didn't catch the regulars passes, I don't care much for those spectacular catches when you can't even do the simple things that include catching a normal pass.


Rob Gronkowski and Brandon Lloyd had two drops apiece

Read more at: http://nesn.com/2012/10/patrio...o-move-offense/




# Name Team Targets Receptions Drops Catchable Drop Rate# Name Team Targets Receptions Drops Catchable Drop Rate# Name Team Targets Receptions Drops Catchable Drop Rate
#NameTeamTargetsReceptionsDropsCatchableDrop Rate
1 Greg LittleCLV412262821.43
2 Eric DeckerDEN573874515.56
3 Santana MossWAS352342714.81
4 Calvin JohnsonDET734174814.58
5 Brandon LloydNE683764313.95




And then there is always this ......
funny gifs



KezarVet wrote:

Many 49er fans either forget or were too young to see how exciting Lloyd was in a 49er uniform.  Just check out the first catch on this video vs. the Seahawks to truly appreciate what he brings to the Niners.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q31BRc3RgyE

Last edited 08/01/2014 8:30 AM by plannb23

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Posted: 08/01/2014 11:37 AM

Re: Kap's Receiving Corps Battle Shaping Up Post Rating (1 vote)



Minstrel wrote: Kyle Williams, not Kevin Williams. wink

I think the criticism of Roman is a bit exaggerated. He's been working under some constraints:

First, he's been designing for (at the time) flawed quarterbacks. Alex Smith had some clear weaknesses and the 49ers didn't just rehabilitate his game by unleashing quarterback whisperer Harbaugh on him. In fact, I wouldn't say that was even necessarily the primary factor, as we had seen Smith be effective before (the last half-season of Singletary's reign and in flashes before that). I think the bigger thing was creating an offensive system he could thrive in consistently, which is not quite as open and multiple a passing game as Brees or Brady might run because Smith can't make all the throws (well). He flourishes with well-defined short and intermediate throws.

Kaepernick took over an offense designed around Smith in 2012. In 2013, he was still learning and that was obvious. While I think his "one read" status is exaggerated, it was clear that he didn't feel comfortable to sit in the pocket (or use his feet to stay alive) long enough to find every receiver in his progressions. He was more comfortable taking off with it even if an extra second allowed a receiver to break open. Again, Roman needed simple well-defined looks for a learning Kaepernick.

The second constraint is Harbaugh. It's clear, going back to his Stanford days (when he had the college equivalent of a Manning or Brady), that he's pretty much always going to be a run-first coach. I'm sure he and Roman could develop a more wide-open passing game, but that's not what Harbaugh is trying to accomplish. He's very much a "weight the odds in your favor" guy and he does that by controlling the lines of scrimmage, shortening the game, reducing the number of possessions and controlling the ball, reducing the chances for game-turning plays. There's a limit to what Roman can do under that vision.

I think things will change a bit this season. I still don't expect an aerial circus (and I don't expect that under any team Harbaugh coaches), but I think we'll see more three-wide sets, more passes per game and a more multiple passing game when they do throw it. A lot of that depends on Kap, though. He needs to show that he can read defenses not just before the snap (which Roman praised him for before last season and which I think he was utilizing during the season, which is why I think "one read" criticisms were overstated--a lot of good/great quarterbacks appear to look to only one receiver because that's the mismatch/weakness they've identified pre-snap) but also after the snap, so that they can better use combination routes. Having another receiver or two he has chemistry with and trusts will help a lot with that, too.

Excellent Post.  Best group of receivers in the NFL.
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Posted: 08/01/2014 6:06 PM

Re: Kap's Receiving Corps Battle Shaping Up 


well, time for the kids to shine as c-tree and Lloyd will both be out at least a week with hamstring issues. not considered too serious so it makes sense to be overly cautious at this time of year.

I'm not sure which hamstring these guys injured but I sure hope they didn't hurt all 3 of them. cool

"You are either getting better or you are getting worse; you never stay the same."

Last edited 08/01/2014 6:06 PM by higherwarrior

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Posted: 08/06/2014 4:18 AM

Re: Kap's Receiving Corps Battle Shaping Up Post Rating (1 vote)


blog.sfgate.com/49ers/2014/08/...-wide-receiver/

roman raving about patton. this kid is going to be a real nice player. i think he'll have a role of some sort early on and will make an impact, but that will increase in the next year or 2 also, as we lose some people to FA.

"You are either getting better or you are getting worse; you never stay the same."

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Posted: 08/06/2014 6:29 AM

Re: Kap's Receiving Corps Battle Shaping Up Post Rating (1 vote)


The depth chart clearly reflects the thinking of the coaching staff:
Lloyd is Crabtree's backup.  Solid and experienced.
Johnson is Boldin's backup.  Solid and experienced.
Patton, if he can hold up physically, has great potential and will be #5.
Those five (5) make up a top quality receiving corps capable of going all the way.

That leaves Ellington in a precarious position despite his skills and he may have to beat out LMJ as the punt returner to secure a spot.  

Unfortunately, other good receivers are going to be signed elsewhere and we have a few.
Jacobs, Wylie, Reed, Washington all are capable and our practice squad will be target practice for lesser teams.  Osgood's only hope is to beat out Costanzo and a few others for special teams.  It was good to see him catch a long TD pass the other day.

49er GOLD
since 1946.

"It's KAP, not Kaep"-Colin Kaepernick, Twitter

Last edited 08/06/2014 6:30 AM by KezarVet

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Posted: 08/06/2014 6:50 AM

Re: Kap's Receiving Corps Battle Shaping Up 


I don't see this at all.  Bruce Ellington in my opinion will make the roster.
KezarVet wrote: That leaves Ellington in a precarious position despite his skills and he may have to beat out LMJ as the punt returner to secure a spot. 
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Posted: 08/06/2014 7:43 AM

Re: Kap's Receiving Corps Battle Shaping Up 



plannb23 wrote: I don't see this at all.  Bruce Ellington in my opinion will make the roster.
KezarVet wrote: That leaves Ellington in a precarious position despite his skills and he may have to beat out LMJ as the punt returner to secure a spot. 

Totally agree.  I've read Bruce has been making some highlight reel type plays in camp, and I think I heard, that in addition to punt returns, he's also been a gunner on punt coverage too....someone correct me, if i'm wrong there.
Seems like a lock considering his versatility & being a 4th Round draft pick.
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Posted: 08/06/2014 8:51 AM

Re: Kap's Receiving Corps Battle Shaping Up 


bruce ellington is in NO danger of not making the roster. take that to the bank.

he's looked very good and we invested in him and believe in him. plus we're not going to dump him this early on, particularly for a guy like lloyd who has no longterm future with the club. the coaches love ellington and even CK has talked about him.

he AND lamichael will make the roster.

"You are either getting better or you are getting worse; you never stay the same."

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Posted: 08/06/2014 9:52 AM

Re: Kap's Receiving Corps Battle Shaping Up 


I think Patton and Lloyd were the guys, coming in, that were at risk of not making the roster and I'm sure most people felt Lloyd would ultimately be the odd man out, barring a fantastic training camp. And if he had one, then Patton could be in trouble.

Except both of them, according to reports, have had great training camps, which creates a problem, albeit a good problem to have.

I think ultimately the 49ers will go with a six-receiver corps and Kasim Osgood won't make the roster. To higher's question back in OTAs: how can you retain a sixth wide receiver who possesses no special teams value (in regards to Lloyd) I think the answer may be that Lloyd will end up the third or fourth receiver and Ellington will be the sixth receiver. Ellington may end up a special teams player but, even if not, you can justify keeping a sixth receiver (whom you don't expect to play much barring an injury epidemic) if it's a prospect with a lot of future value.

Plus, even if James retains his punt return duties, I think Ellington will be one of the kick returners.
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Posted: 08/06/2014 10:47 AM

Re: Kap's Receiving Corps Battle Shaping Up Post Rating (1 vote)



Minstrel wrote: I think Patton and Lloyd were the guys, coming in, that were at risk of not making the roster and I'm sure most people felt Lloyd would ultimately be the odd man out, barring a fantastic training camp. And if he had one, then Patton could be in trouble.

Except both of them, according to reports, have had great training camps, which creates a problem, albeit a good problem to have.

I think ultimately the 49ers will go with a six-receiver corps and Kasim Osgood won't make the roster. To higher's question back in OTAs: how can you retain a sixth wide receiver who possesses no special teams value (in regards to Lloyd) I think the answer may be that Lloyd will end up the third or fourth receiver and Ellington will be the sixth receiver. Ellington may end up a special teams player but, even if not, you can justify keeping a sixth receiver (whom you don't expect to play much barring an injury epidemic) if it's a prospect with a lot of future value.

Plus, even if James retains his punt return duties, I think Ellington will be one of the kick returners.

he'll have to beat out okoye to win that job. devil

"You are either getting better or you are getting worse; you never stay the same."

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Posted: 08/06/2014 11:00 AM

Re: Kap's Receiving Corps Battle Shaping Up Post Rating (1 vote)


With LMJ out with his elbow issue, Ellington will certainly get a chance to make an impression as a return man. Beyond that, all indications are that he has been having a very good camp (making impressive catches), and he has an element none of the other WR expected to make the roster bring to the table - deep speed.

Lloyd, Johnson, Crabtree, and Boldin (likely in that order) have varying levels of quickness, but all lack the true speed to take the top off a defense. Lloyd can challenge teams because he has enough build up speed and runs good enough routes, but he's not a true deep threat. Johnson and Crabtree both have similar short area quickness that help them get separation in close quarters, but both have been known to get caught from behind. And Boldin has never had great wheels, and, in his advanced age, is definitely more of a physical "beat you with smarts and good hands" type of WR that seems to always be winning contested balls rather than running away from his man.

I'd be very surprised to see Ellington off the list. As noted weeks ago (after Costanzo was brought back), Osgood's spot looks more and more tenuous. While keeping 6 actual WR on a team that rarely used 3 WR sets a year ago seems excessive, if Ellington does bring ST value, that only strengthens his spot on the team.
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