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The Turmoil Begins - By Bryan Hersh Sept 30 2005

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I hate when the 49ers lose. I hate when the 49ers lose to the Cowboys even more. So this has been a particularly disheartening week in the wake of a blown lead leading to a 34-31 defeat by the arch nemesis. In light of a ton of 49ers news this week, Iíll try and be brief with my game notes, so that I can be more expansive on the Plummer, Woods, Rumph, Winborn, Nolan issues.

Game notes:

The running game returned for whatever reasons. Even still the offensive line leaves much to be desired in terms of pass blocking.

The defense can generate pressure on a blitz, but in so doing constantly leaves the outlet receiver wide open. This trend will get worse with the loss of Plummer and Rumph in the secondary, and potentially losing Winborn too. Be prepared for a long season folks.

Cory Smith and Derek Smith play off each other quite well. Julian Peterson is a monster at LB, but should have been used more in coverage.

Special teams might be the strength of this football team. Keith Lewis is way bigger than I thought he was.

Parrish continues to shine. Two interceptions. And yet there are people who wonder if he is past his prime.

Rattay is not the future quarterback of this team. Arm strength and decision making, he lacks. He did make the best decision of his career in scrambling for a first down this past week, but those decisions are few and far between.

Lloyd showed he has YAC ability. Battle showed he has hands and concentration. Ironic isnít? Te two are developing into a nice tandem. Morton leaves a fair bit to desire, and really makes one wish Woods or Hamilton would be available and able.

Bryant Young continues to build on his first games great performance.

Too many penalties, particularly in the redzone.

That would be the quick and short of itÖ the only worry is the worst has yet to come. The 49ers have had an awful week as they head to play a NFL public relations game in Mexico. The team lost Ahmed Plummer, Mike Rumph, and Rashaun Woods for the season this week, on top of losing Eric Johnson last week. If I were any team playing the 49ers this season I would just be throwing deep every play. Letís face it, the defensive line can only get pressure if they blitz and leave an outlet receiver open Ė and that was with the best defensive backs the 49ers had. Now the team is bound to be leaving the corners completely exposed. Willie Middlebrooks is back, but that does not encourage me one bit, as no other team even blinked at him on the waivers.

As if the situation was not bad enough already, Mike Nolan has placed the playmaking Jamie Winborn on the trading block. Now I understand that Nolan wants a roster full of his type of players. Evidently Winborn, who I personally liked, and thought made a heck of a lot plays, is not the type of player Nolan wants, because Winborn did not like being used as a bench warmer. I have to say, I am beginning to question whether Nolan really knows what he is doing. The 49ers need every live body they can on the field these days, and Winborn apparently will not be one of those bodies. I have put a lot of faith in Nolan, and I have a lot of reason to do that, so I am not ready to throw the book in on him yet. But I have to say, that there are quite a few things I am not impressed with so far. This would be one of them. Is Winborn really that unmanageable that he is a detriment to the team? Surely Nolan the master motivator could have broken through to him no?

The 49ers are in for a long season. I am not really surprised. I was not expecting miracles over night. But what I was expecting was more direction than I am seeing. Nolan has put a playmaking linebacker on the trading block. It should be noted the only other play maker at linebacker Ė Julian Peterson, is still playing under a franchise contract, that means he will be a free agent next year. Fred Beasley a Pro Bowl running back is warming the bench while a four year journey man sees action on the field. No answer has been found at tight end, and Nolan clearly did not anticipate losing the injury prone Eric Johnson to guess what, another injury. There is no contingency plan for the defensive backfield either, which again is showing how little depth it has. And I will keep harping on the fact that Tim Rattay remains the unwarranted starter at quarterback. There is a lot of pressure on Nolan to get things right Ė and I donít know that he is getting things wrong. I have to admit though, I was more won over in the off-season than I have been through three games this season.

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