Sunday, September 25, 2011

On the Niners' Bandwagon

I watched the second half of the 49ers-Bengals game and I have to admit, I'm pretty impressed by this 49ers team this year. They controlled the Seahawks game in the opener (thank you Ted Ginn) and put up a fight and even almost won against the Cowboys. And then, to emerge victorious out of a sloppy, defensive slugfest against the Bengals says a lot about how the team is different from years past.

Jim Harbaugh has truly energized this team. He understands that the most important player on any team is the quarterback, and he has set up the playbook to fit Alex Smith's game. He hasn't employed the ground and pound Singletary scheme or the defensively oriented Nolan scheme. He is using Smith's intellectual capacity and putting it to good use.

Past coaches never seemed to understand what to do with this team or how to utilize its strengths, but Harbaugh does. Harbaugh mixes up the tight end packages and takes advantages of the physicality of Vernon Davis and Delanie Walker, one of the best tight end tandems in the league. He gives downfield looks to Michael Crabtree, Braylon Edwards, and Ted Ginn, three of the league's best speedy downfield threats. And he understands when to use Frank Gore, the downhill runner, and Kendall Hunter, the shifty, elusive style back.

And the defense is a joy to watch too. Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, whom Harbaugh brought along from Stanford, often rushes 5 or 6 defenders and makes the defense very exciting to watch. Fangio's strategy is working well, the 49ers are 3rd in run defense and 8th in total yards allowed. The defense is stout, the offense is resembling a pretty well-oiled machine and the special teams is solid as ever. This season is going to be great.

And as an added bonus, the Seahawks and Cardinals are 1-2 and the Rams are 0-3.

As a 49ers fan, I feel the hopeful vibes here in the Bay Area, and it's all thanks to Harbaugh. Go Niners!

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