Seahawks Insider

The 5 spot: 49ers in focus

Post by Eric Williams on Sep. 10, 2013 at 12:21 pm with 17 Comments »
September 10, 2013 12:45 pm
Seattle Seahawks Bruce Irvin (51) dives as he attempts to tackle San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) in the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 23, 2012, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Seattle Seahawks Bruce Irvin (51) dives as he attempts to tackle San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) in the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 23, 2012, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

Matt Maiocco, a longtime NFL scribe who expertly covers San Francisco for, has once again been gracious enough to answer five questions on the 49ers heading into this weekend’s big matchup.

You can follow Matt’s coverage of the 49ers on the web and via Twitter.

Check out the Q&A below.

Q: Colin Kaepernick threw for 412 yards and three touchdowns. How much has Kaepernick improved from throwing inside the pocket? And do you expect this trend to continue, or will we see San Francisco lean more on the read-option as the season progresses?

Maiocco: There’s no questioning Kaepernick’s arm talent, whether his passes come from the pocket or on the move. He has demonstrated he can help the 49ers win games in a lot of different ways, including with his legs. A year ago, the 49ers used the read option during the regular season, for sure, but they kicked it up a notch in the playoffs. How much they use the read option this season will be a week-to-week proposition. After all, the 49ers believe they do a lot of things well and often refer to their plan of attack as a game-plan-specific offense.

Q: Anquan Boldin put together a dominant performance against Green Bay, finishing with 13 receptions for 208 yards and a score. There’s no doubt that Boldin can still play, but I suspect Seattle’s big corners will match up better than Green Bay did. Besides Vernon Davis, what other San Francisco receivers could make an impact in the passing game?

Maiocco: Kyle Williams was the clear No. 2 wide receiver for the 49ers on Sunday. He played far more than the other wideouts: Marlon Moore and rookie Quinton Patton. Williams has a good combination of quickness and speed. He caught three passes for 36 yards against the Packers in his first game back after sustaining a torn ACL in late-November. If the Seahawks – or other teams down the road – begin paying too much attention to Boldin, the 49ers will depend on Williams to make some plays of his own and keep defenses honest.

Q: What’s the buzz from San Francisco players on the upcoming, nationally televised matchup in Seattle? Are they looking forward to facing their NFC West rivals as much as the fans?

Maiocco: There are probably two answers to that question. Privately, yes, this is more than just your typical Week 2 game. I do believe the 49ers have a great deal of respect for the Seahawks while also experiencing “dislike” in large doses. There are no two games on the schedule that stand out like these two games. Playing in Seattle is a big deal because of the thrashing the 49ers took there last season. Now, publicly, the 49ers will say this is just another game and it’s an important game because the next game on the schedule is always the most important game. Do I believe that? Yes, to a point. Let’s remember, this game will not define the season for either of these teams.

Q: Rookie safety Eric Reid appeared to fill in nicely for departed All-Pro safety Dashon Goldson, finishing with six tackles and an interception. What does Reid do well, and what does he need to improve on?

Maiocco: Reid did a good job of making sure none of the Packers receivers got behind him. Although he missed two tackles against the Packers, he generally does a good job of playing physical football and wrapping up. Because he is still gaining experience, his weakness at this point is that he might be too concerned with giving up the big play and, perhaps, he does not react as quickly on plays in front of him.

Q: Even though Kaepernick threw for over 400 yards, at their core San Francisco still a tam that runs the football. How will the 49ers try to mix runs with Frank Gore and the rest of the running backs?

Maiocco: The 49ers will stick with Gore, whether he has much room or not early in the game. Gore will play most of the team’s offensive snaps due to his skills in blitz pickup, too. Kendall Hunter is the No. 2 running back. They will mix him into the game early. He’ll also get a handful of carries. (Third-string running back LaMichael James is not expected to be available due to a knee sprain.) The 49ers want to be balanced, but even if Seahawks can stuff the run early in the game, the 49ers are not going to turn one-dimensional with the passing game. Kaepernick runs the read option out of the pistol formation whether Gore or Hunter is in the backfield.

Interviews, Opponents
Leave a comment Comments → 17
  1. Eric, Good job giving us links to the 9er’s online/twitter.
    Enabling the fans to make this a knock down, drag out social media brawl too eh?

  2. bird_spit says:

    Excellent article –totally psyched for this match up. I’m a homer, but think the SF offense looked more season ready; our OL sucked it up in the run game.

    Interesting thing for me personally, is I will be on SF home turf during the game. I will keep the head down most of this week, but I have a few choice malicious things planned once our hawks blast out the 9ers.

  3. GeorgiaHawk says:

    Thanks Eric,

    This will be a fun week for Seahawk fans.

  4. Heard Wilson and Kapernick have a bet the looser shaves off 1 eyebrow. Is it True?

  5. jchawks08 says:

    MauMau, from everything I’ve heard, indeed it is true.
    As far as Kaep and the 9ers passing attack go..It seems like non-Seahawk fans don’t realize we have a secondary consisting of Pro Bowlers, not to mention an All-Pro or two. These passes 10 yard outs to Boldin and Davis that were turned into 25-30 yard gains ‘ain’t going to fly at the Clink. We simply will be able to defend better than GB was able to.
    That being said, my God, Kaep’s skillset is off the charts..

  6. jchawks08 says:

    One more thing.. Their safety, Eric Reid. He seemingly made every play for them on Sunday! He looks like the next young stud for them. He definitely caught my attention.

  7. Reid played well, but made mistakes too. His inexperience can be exploited.

    Covering Davis and Kaepernick will be key. Everyone has to be assignment correct and play hard to make this work. Im not worried about Boldin or Williams in man coverage, but Boldin will destroy zone coverage. I think Thurmond and Sherman can totally handle Williams, Browner is the man for covering Boldin, and I have no idea what to do with Davis…

    Perhaps they put Browner on Davis when he lines up outside, Chancellor on him on the slot and in-line. Still, Davis is WAY faster than Chancellor, so safety help will be a must. And Thomas has had a real hard time tackling Davis before…

    You know SF will try to move Boldin and Davis around to get matchups they like…Davis on Thurmond or a LB etc…I dont see our LB’s being able to cover anyone in the passing game next week.

    Of course, pay too much attention to the passing game, and Gore will gash us, let alone that stinking athletic freak Crapernick, who can run like hell.

    Gonna be a tough game. Seattle better bring it.

  8. I’m glad our receivers now have a game of film on rookie S Eric Reid. You can bet they will scout this rookie’s tendencies and teach him some hard lessons on Sunday.

  9. Seahawkfan78 says:

    Maybe Chancellor will take care of Davis just like he did last game. Problem solved! :)

  10. bsinnitt says:

    My memory of last years game was that we usually covered Davis by chipping him at the line with the strong side LB who then dropped into underneath coverage with Chancellor over the top. I’m sure Davis will be paying close attention to where Kam is after the highlight reel shot from last season.

  11. bsinnitt–YEah, and Davis was making plays. Kam just cant cover Davis one on one. We were lucky that Chancellor walloped Davis and put him out of the game, as he was beginning to do us damage. And this year, him and Crapernick have much better chemistry. Any way you look at it, SF is a load with Gore/Hunter, Crapernick, Davis, and Boldin.

  12. rramstad says:

    “Let’s remember, this game will not define the season for either of these teams.”

    I find this a rather strong statement and therefore disagree. There is the distinct possibility that this could be a defining game for the 49ers, in particular. If they sustain another multi touchdown blowout, and a physical beatdown, especially if there are significant 49er injuries, there absolutely could be finger pointing, arguing, and the dissolution of team unity… Hell, Jim Harbaugh could have a stroke on the sideline. It is absolutely possible that this game could be season changing for the 49ers.

    (Example: I think the Steelers losing their best offensive lineman, a Pro Bowl center, in their last game and losing to the Titans, of all things, might very well define their season, even though it’s week one.)

  13. I believe our DBs can take Boldin out of the game for the most part, and frustrate Davis often. That leaves Kaepernick searching for his other receivers. They haven’t proven they can make plays, and Kaep hasn’t proven himself adept at finding his second and third options. If he has to search the field, and if we can put pressure on him in the pocket, then we get to watch him use his legs, and we get to watch him get hit.

    KJ Wright when asked about Kaepernick’s game against Green Bay:

    Wright “He was just standing back there with enough time to cook a steak. We won’t let him do that.”

  14. GeorgiaHawk says:

    Wright “He was just standing back there with enough time to cook a steak. We won’t let him do that.”

    Lol, Stevos

  15. LouieLouie says:

    As far as defining the season, this game might be bigger for the Hawks because it is being played on their (our) turf. If the 9ers come out with a win, it will hurt the Hawks more than it will hurt the 9ers if the Hawks win.

    I love the rivalry between the QB’s for the next decade: I hope the two of them dominate the Super Bowls. As far as the O-Line and the D-Lines go; they have a decided advantage at this point in the season. The Seahawks have a decided advantage in the receiving corps and the defensive secondary.

  16. This game is going to be incredibly physical. I expect the 49ers are going to be at their very best. I would think it will be closer to game one in San Fran last year. Low scoring, hard fought, defensive struggle. Might come down to a turn over or a final drive.

  17. I think both teams will take away the other team’s ability to run the football. Turning this into a passing contest favors Seattle. Our DB’s are significantly better than SF’s, along with having more experience in our system (as long as Browner is healthy). Russell Wilson goes through his progressions better than Kaepernick, and our depth at receiver beats SF. If we can take away Boldin and Davis, or at least control the damage, we will be in great position to win this game and take control of the division. I would be surprised if Boldin even gets to 100 yards in this game.

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