At first glance, it really looks like Head Coach Mike Singletary has the San Francisco 49ers on the right track. After replacing Mike Nolan (18-37) in 2008, Singletary has led the 49ers to a 13-12 record. Although an 8-8 record in 2009 is certainly not going to satisfy Singletary, it is the most wins they have had since 2002 (10 wins) in Steve Mariucci’s last season. This season started out strong for the 49ers. They started 3-1, but then hit a rough patch where they lost 4 straight. At 3-5, they looked to be out of the playoff hunt, but they kept fighting and finished 5-3 in their last eight games. To me this should give 49ers fans hope for the future. Coach Singletary kept them playing to win when they might have given up on the season. The next question is where do they need the most help. In this continuation of my 2009 NFL Season Reviews, I hope to provide insight into the answer.
Before going further, you should take a look at the Season Reviews Informational Post, if you haven’t already. It describes the methodology and data presented in the following tables. Now that you have reviewed the methodology behind this data, let’s take a look at the data, and I will discuss it below.
|Team Offense||Value||Rank||Team Defense||Value||Rank|
|Pass Yards||3052||22||Pass Yards||3670||21|
|Pass TD||23||15||Pass TD||14||2|
|Pass INTs||14||12||Pass INTs||18||11|
|Rush Yards||1600||25||Rush Yards||1552||6|
|Rush TD||12||19||Rush TD||12||14|
|SF Pts||Opp D||Opp Pts||Opp O|
|Opp||Score||Avg Pt||Diff1||Score||Avg Pt||Diff2|
|St. Louis Rams||35||27.25||7.75||0||10.94||-10.94|
|Green Bay Packers||24||18.56||5.44||30||28.81||1.19|
|St. Louis Rams||28||27.25||0.75||6||10.94||-4.94|
|SF Yds||Opp D||Opp Yds||Opp O|
|Opp||Gained||Avg Yd||Diff1||Gained||Avg Yd||Diff2|
|St. Louis Rams||228||372.81||-144.81||177||279.38||-102.38|
|Green Bay Packers||284||284.44||-0.44||484||379.06||104.94|
|St. Louis Rams||329||372.81||-43.81||109||279.38||-170.38|
|SF P-Yd||Opp D||Opp P-Yd||Opp O|
|Opp||Gained||Avg Pa||Diff1||Gained||Avg Pa||Diff2|
|St. Louis Rams||132||235.25||-103.25||82||167.88||-85.88|
|Green Bay Packers||215||201.13||13.88||326||261.25||64.75|
|St. Louis Rams||204||235.25||-31.25||22||167.88||-145.88|
|SF R-Yd||Opp D||Opp R-Yd||Opp O|
|Opp||Gained||Avg Ru||Diff1||Gained||Avg Ru||Diff2|
|St. Louis Rams||96||137.56||-41.56||95||111.5||-16.5|
|Green Bay Packers||69||83.31||-14.31||158||117.81||40.19|
|St. Louis Rams||125||137.56||-12.56||87||111.5||-24.5|
From looking at Table 1, the strength of team was on defense, particularly run defense. Somewhat surprisingly, though, they seemed to tighten up in pass defense in the redzone while loosening up against the run somewhat in the redzone. I would suspect that the high ranking in interceptions helped the points ranking on both sides of the ball, as both the offense and the defense ranked about 10 places higher in points than in yards.
Tables 2-3 confirm that the defense was a greater strength than the offense. In both points and yards, San Francisco’s defense cumulatively outperformed opposing offenses’ season averages. At the same time, their offense underperformed when compared against opposing defenses’ season averages. In fact, the offense gained fewer yards than their opponent’s season average in every game but one (week 2 against Seattle).
Tables 4-5 show us that the passing game is clearly the biggest weakness on the team, with rushing offense being a distant second. For the season, the 49ers gained over 650 passing yards below opponents’ season averages, which was about 3 times the difference in rushing offense. Rush defense, on the other hand, was the biggest strength of the team. It was the only segment in these tables that outperformed opponents’ averages for the season. They did so in 11 games. Passing defense was actually not bad. SF held opposing passing games to just over 7 cumulative yards more than their season averages. So, for the season as a whole, they basically allowed each team what they averaged.
If at all possible, it would seem that the 49ers would aim at improving their passing offense in the first round of this year’s draft. The question is how they go about it. According to scout.com’s draft rankings (subject to change, I know), there are a few players in the top 15 or so that could be a fit for the 49ers needs. They may want to upgrade OT, in which case there are a couple of guys that should be around when the 49ers pick at 13. Or, if they want QB or WR, one of those guys may drop to SF. Since they got Michael Crabtree last year, I would expect them to go away from WR here. Then it may become a question of how confident they are with the QBs on the roster whether they target Jimmy Clausen or Sam Bradford. A stud OL may be the way to go, which should also help improve the rushing game.
Tags: San Francisco 49ers