Impressively prepared by Harbaugh

On WFAN yesterday, Carl Banks summed up what the 49ers do best: “they put pressure on teams to do everything right.”

Andy mentioned briefly in his recap yesterday of how “the 49ers coaches had their players better prepared.”  Banks emphasized this point by stating that, “as good as the (49ers) are, they are impressive because of their preparation.  The way that they prepare and how they execute is why they have success.  I don’t know, offensively, if they have great talent but the way they prepare is unbelievable.  They put themselves in position to score on every possession.  They don’t mind getting 3 but what they do is put pressure on you to do everything right.”  Even considering all that, “the Giants came very close to wresting control away from the 49ers” on several instances.  You can point to the 3rd quarter after they went up 13-12 and got the ball back after a 49ers 3 and out.  The next 2 minutes was a period we would surely love to have back.  In that span, Eli missed Nicks wide open for a sure 1st down, Weatherford shanked a 29 yarder to midfield, a blown coverage on Vernon Davis, Eli intercepted on broken off route by Manningham and the long run by Hunter.

Harbaugh, “went back to the Washington Redskins game to Miami to Seattle.  Harbaugh took notice at how those teams “ran their offense (with the) quarterback on the move, a lot of crossing routes” and all the “things the Giants had trouble with.”  Banks goes on to state that the “things you thought went away” was actually “because they weren’t facing that type of opponent for a while.  They brought it back.” But Banks goes on to state how the “Giants had trouble in zone coverage underneath (with a) lot of crossing routes.  The linebackers had trouble with that earl(ier) against the Washington.  They did a poor job of what Banks called “pattern read” in zone coverage as “you have to know where the next route is coming you can’t be glued to the quarterback as you’ve got to take a look.”  Bottom line from Banks- “they haven’t seen this in 6 weeks.”  Banks also hypothesized that the Giants looked and “probably prepared most for a running football team and didn’t rely a lot on the quarterback.” We now direct our attention to the unit that, unfortunately, reminded us of 2010.  Banks states on special teams play, “understanding your role as a special teams player you’ve got to be cognitive of every game situation.  You can’t be that guy in a game this close to make that mistake.  To magnify the significance of special teams Banks relates an important fact about the game that “if you look at the tale of the tape, the Giants won every category but one and this is how delicate the balance is in this game.”  And “the one category that they didn’t win was possessions” (Sorry Carl, besides turnover margin).  Evan Roberts asked Carl who is to blame for the onside kick fiasco, is that on Quinn, Coughlin?  Banks didn’t directly answer the question but surmised that Akers and company “practiced it every day” (Bingo Andy!).  Carl did direct some criticism by stating: “As a special teams player he’s got to know that his job is just as important.  I don’t think that these YOUNG players have that awareness.  The in-game awareness, the situational awareness, they’ve got to do a better job of understanding what their role is.  If you’re Derrick Martin and you look at the scoreboard and it’s close you say to yourself I’ve got to make a play but I’ve got to be smart.  And then you come back and the next biggest penalty is you.”

Some other sound bites from Banks appearance: “The bonehead penalties that cost your team.” “You can’t continue to put it on your quarterback each week to win a game in the 4th quarter.” “They were aggressive all day and they got what they wanted offensively.” On Alex Smith’s playing well:  “You know why because they coach him and he knows exactly what’s expected of him.  Refreshing in an era where they draft these guys and they think you can push a button and instantly these guys are going to be good.  You’ve got to coach them.  You‘ve got to help them understand how to play the game.” Finally, to summarize and repeat Banks’ points: “If any coach were to ask me, what would be the number one thing you have to do to prepare for the 49ers, you’ve got to be almost mistake free… to have a team on the same page and understand every situation is impressive.”
Paul here.  It was apparent that after the Patriots win that Coughlin had this team playing hard and had them motivated to play for him.  All week you heard players take responsibility and remind everyone about their history of 2nd half collapses.  This demonstrates their focus as well.  Let’s give credit for Coughlin on this.

Carl we digress on your points regarding “not seeing teams in 6 weeks” who employ lots of crossing routes and attacking underneath.  Yes, the 49ers ran a lot of different formations, as Glenn pointed out this past Saturday, but this was with the passing schemes.  The difference is that Fewell sprinkled in more man and press coverage looks in the previous 6 weeks.  Fewell went back to his comfort zone with his base Tampa 2. Again, we diverge with Banks on directing his message on the special teams plays.  Banks was also incorrect on one of the “young players” in Derrick Martin.  Banks should have called him out but he isn’t what you would consider young given he has been in the league since 2006.  Whose responsibility is it to prepare and instill these “young players” for in-game situations and their role?  So can the same thing be said about last year and the more experienced players when the Eagles jobbed them with, but who else, Akers?  If anyone gets a chance look at the replay, look for a guy jumping up and down on the sideline before and after the on-side kick.  That was Izzo, the Special Team Assistant Coach, why was he so frenetic when Coughlin supposedly grilled them about it?

Finally, as fans you need to decide for yourself.  Why does Banks and many heap praise on Harbaugh for his ability to get his team prepared and Coughlin and company do not get questioned about their lack of preparedness?  Last season and seasons past we heard how it’s the players who execute the plays on the field and not the coaches.  Are we, as NY Giant fans, content with coaching that do not get their players as prepared and able to execute like Harbaugh’s 49ers?

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