by David Zizmor
SANTA CLARA–We were just talking about how bad the NFC East is and no team better exemplifies that than the Washington squad their really bad and they displayed that last Monday night against the 49ers. It’s kind of surprising to think they made the playoffs last year and were kind of the toast of the league and Washington quarterback Robert Griffin III displayed his skills as he injured his knee in that playoff game last year against Seattle and it’s been a tough road ever since.
Washington is just not a very good team this season and Griffin is having a lot of trouble on offense he really has had trouble passing he doesn’t look right in fact if you look in the past game comments from 49ers linebacker Ahmad Brooks “we respect Robert Griffin he’s a good player he’s a warrior he also shouldn’t be out there, it’s just not right there’s something wrong he’s not healthy and he should take a break before he gets back out there” but you know what the 49ers don’t care.
The 49ers had two tough games against Carolina and New Orleans and the way they lost those two games was pretty tough they lost by a total of four points by one point to Carolina and three points to New Orleans and in that New Orleans game if you don’t like that penalty for the personal foul called on Brooks for the clothesline hit on Drew Brees late in the game when he fumbled you would think the 49ers had the game stolen from them.
They lost their two games in a very tough manner and everybody was claiming the sky was falling “the Niners stink, their going to miss the playoffs, Colin Kaeppernick he’s not as good as we thought he was” the offense needs to pick up the pace for sure but the defense has been playing great football and the Niners still are 7-4 right now this isn’t a team that hasn’t completely fallen out of the playoffs race. They had a couple of tough games and they were right in those games if a couple of breaks go their way they could have got the win and everybody would be happy and nobody would be complaining and moaning.
Fans and media would be saying that the Niners would need to be doing a couple more things and “hey their winning so who cares” this is a good team and Kaepernick has not been quite as dynamic as he was last year but lets’ remember this is a guy who started only 20 football games in his young career and after 20 games former 49ers quarterback Joe Montana was still struggling a little bit in fact if you look at Montana’s statistics for his first 20 games their almost identical to Kaepernick’s it’s almost scary how close they are in terms of their numbers.
Kaepernick and Montana were in different eras their not one to one comparable but Kaepernick still has a lot of room to grow and you won’t be surprised and you’ll see him grow and become a much better quarterback as time passes the offensive line has struggled a bit this season that’s played a part in Kaepernick’s struggles and we all know the problems of the 49ers with their wide receivers being unhealthy.
As the receivers get healthy and they get more weapons on offense back in the fold you see Kaepernick get better, also the coaching staff needs adjusting their realizing there are some things they need to help Kaepernick with so their doing their best to make things a little easier for him. The most important thing is the wide receivers. Mario Manningham is getting better each week you saw him in this week’s game against Washington catching several slant passes.
Which you might remember back in the 80s and 90s under former head coaches of the 49ers Bill Walsh and George Siefert those were the bread and butter of the 49ers offense with receivers like Jerry Rice, John Taylor, Freddie Solomon, Dwight Clark, and many others were catching slants left and right. You couldn’t stop them it’s a great play and if you catch it and you get tackled you get seven yards and if you catch and you break a tackle you could go for a long one.
David Zizmor covers the NFL for Sportstalk radio