Reviewing Weeks 1-4

With some extra free time today, I decided to review condensed versions of all of our first four games... I've made some observations, and figured I'd share them with everyone.

vs. Cardinals

Our defense struggled against any sort of stacked receiver sets.

Our offense ran the ball well in the first half, but couldn't get space in the second.

Lance Kendricks played extremely well. He made some very solid blocks, and caught the ball when it came his way. He even made a guy or two miss.

Richardson played great catching the ball out of the backfield. He made guys miss.

Austin somehow found a matchup against a LB, and drew a pass interference play deep... That was a good playcall by Schotty.

vs. Falcons

Our defense did a great job of shutting down the run.

Julio Jones was an unstoppable force.

The Falcons punter played extremely well... We were stuck with terrible field position all day.

Austin Pettis made some plays... I really enjoyed watching him this game.

vs. Cowboys

We tried going empty a lot against the Cowboys... It didn't work... They brought 6 almost every time, and Bradford had to get rid of the ball immediately. Bradford also didn't look poised as he did in weeks 1 and 2.

We struggled against stretch runs all day... Couldn't really tell who was to blame for that, but it was ugly.

I watched about the first half of this one and couldn't take it anymore...

vs. 49ers

Our defense played extremely well considering how often they were on the field, except for 4 plays. Three of those four plays were on third down and long situations, and the other was the 4th and inches run... Whether it was a play calling error, or a lack of execution... this simply cannot happen. (Boldin TD catch on 3rd and 19, Gore TD on 4th and inches, Hunter run on 3rd and 14, Hunter run on 3rd and 10+)

Our offense couldn't hold on to the ball... The 49ers did a fantastic job coverage-wise almost all day... We made the mental errors that you might expect out of a young team on a 2 game skid.

General Observations

Some of these may seem obvious, but I'll point them out anyways.

Cortland Finnegan has looked terrible... Poor penalties in week 1, poor positioning in week 3, and poor coverage in week 4. Something isn't right with him, and I'm hoping whatever it is is sorted out while he recovers from this injury...

Our safeties have played better than I've given them credit for... While they obviously haven't been perfect, they've made plays and for the most part have done their jobs.

James Laurinaitus's athleticism is hurting us, and he's leaving plays on the field. I love the guy as a leader, and he's generally very reliable, but he's been a weak link in coverage and only solid in run support. He also dropped 2 INTs vs the 49ers that could have been huge.

Tavon Austin is being used better than we think. I've seen him matched up twice against LBs on deep routes... Once, he drew a pass interference. The other time, he didn't. Players have also made some fantastic tackles to keep him from making big plays. The big plays will come, sooner rather than later... However, he needs to be much more decisive on punt returns.

Crossing routes are our bread and butter... They're our go-to play. However, we're dropping too many of them.

Jared Cook is an absolutely atrocious blocker... However, he's our primary TE while Kendricks is our backup... I wouldn't mind seeing their roles reversed snap-wise.

Offensive Line play has been atrocious since week 1. While we didn't allow any sacks until week 3, penalties have constantly killed our drives. Also, they've been atrocious at run blocking. However, we shouldn't be surprised seeing as only 1 starter was added in the offseason to a poor unit. This problem must be fixed for our offense to have any sort of chance to succeed.

Thanks for reading. As always, comments/criticisms are appreciated.

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