49ers & Incognito
by Ken Hurst, November 20, 2013
As most of you probably know, the 49ers lost to the Carolina Panthers on November 10th in Candlestick Park on a sunny San Francisco day. Carolina does have a superb defense but their offense, not so much.
The 49ers drove to the Carolina two yard line where I thought Frank Gore, the magnificent “bell cow” for the 49ers offense would either make a first down with a one-yard plunge or make a TD with a two-yard knife into the end zone following Bruce Miller. his terrific blocking back into the line going close to Joe Staley, a fine tackle.
It was Gore’s time because he was feeling fit and quick and strong. Frank Gore was playing with a joyous energy. He runs with patience and a decade of experience until he sees the crack in the line and zips into that crack with guile and force. He would have scored or made a yard for a first down. It was obviously the right thing to do because at the very worst, they would still have Carolina pinned on the two-yard line.
Instead the 49ers kicked a field goal because they didn’t have all of the players they required for power personnel groupings. This is mind-numbing caution from Offensive Coordinator Greg Roman. Doesn’t Roman realize how predictable the team’s offense is? If Roman thinks he has to have certain personnel to run a power play at the goal line, doesn’t he realize the opposing team has seen on film what certain 49er personnel groupings do? The NFL isn’t like Stanford’s college football schedule when you can run a power play successfully even if the opposing team knows what you are going to do. An NFL team will stuff that play. Plus the overly cautious football shows a lack of trust of Gore and the 49ers offensive line. I felt the game was lost right there because he didn’t trust the strength of his team to succeed.
The 49ers always start a loud indoor dome game by having quarterback Colin Kaepernick calling time out because the play that was called by Coach Roman wouldn’t work. Kaepernick then goes to the sidelines to get the new play. Can’t the coaches coach up Kaepernick to change the call himself so he doesn’t have to blow a time-out?
Coach Vic Fangio, the Defensive Coordinator, is also so cautious that the team plays a very vanilla scheme. The 49ers have the best personnel in the NFL except for their quarterback and receivers, who are still pretty good. But they are so cautious and non-aggressive they now find themselves at 6 wins and 4 losses.
The 49ers will have to play better to chase down the wild card spot in the play-offs. It is clear that the best team in the NFC is the Seattle Seahawks, now 10-1.
The 49ers lost to the New Orleans’ Saints 23-20 last Sunday at the New Orleans SuperDome. The Saints are better than the 49ers only at the wide-receiver position and at quarterback/play calling. But the 49ers always play the Saints tough and close. I believe the 49ers would have beaten the Saints if 49er linebacker Brooks hadn’t received a controversial and incorrect call near the end of the game for hitting Saints QB Drew Brees’s head. He didn’t hit the head.
* * *
Richie Incognito would be a cancer in any NFL locker room. He was booted out of University of Nebraska for conduct unbecoming to a varsity athlete on a football team. He is vulgar and low-rent.
Jonathan Martin is a quiet man, an academic and a classy young man. He landed on the Miami Dolphin’s roster of players via the draft, as did Incognito. Many teams wouldn’t draft Incognito because of his character. The Dolphins drafted him and made him a member of the Dolphin’s leadership committee! Plus, Incognito was supposed to toughen up Martin by bullying him.
Incognito told Martin he would put him on his knees and c--- into his mouth, he would rape his sister and he would kill his family. Unable to cope with the harassment, Martin took leave from the Dolphins to get therapy for his problems. Then he got lawyered up.
Incognito was suspended from the team by Stephen Ross, the owner of the Miami Dolphins, after he heard one of Incognito’s rants toward Martin.
Incognito is a white “O” line guard, who uses the “N” word with impunity because his is an honorary black man on the Dolphin’s team.
Martin is a black man who has tried to answer Incognito’s taunts with humor. He sent Incognito humorous cards with cartoon smiling bears saying they will kill you.
Deviously, Incognito has said Martin said he’s going to kill my family. Incognito, too, got lawyered up.
Owner Stephen Ross appears to be about 80 years old and thinks highly of Head Coach Joe Philbin. He said Philbin gave him amazing insight into the game of football. I thought — because he’s a con-man, he can ramble on saying anything to a clueless owner.
Mr. Ross didn’t mention Dolphin General Manager Jeff Ireland. Perhaps Ireland is on the hot seat because he brought Incognito into the fold. I think Ireland and Philbin and the offensive coordinator should all be canned and not be allowed to coach in the NFL through next season.
This was not normal locker room culture. This locker room culture was sick. The Dolphins have been leaderless since the legendary coach Don Shula retired and later legendary quarterback Dan Marino also retired. Since then, the team has been adrift and without a distinctive way of becoming a strong team, yet the Dolphins did win their game on Sunday.
If Coach Philbin didn’t know of the Incognito-Martin problem, he certainly should have known. I am sure the ‘O’ Line coach knew. Doesn’t Philbin speak to his assistant coaches?!