In our final of three insider reports on the Baltimore Ravens Super Bowl XLVII opponent, the San Francisco 49'ers, we hook up with our counterpart over at 49ers101, Mark Ortiz to get the inside scoop on the 49'ers special teams/coaching.
Sunday's game should certainly be an exciting one and thanks to Mark Ortiz of 49'ers101 we now have the inside scoop on San Francisco heading into Super Bowl XLVII. Ravens101 would like to thank Mark for taking the time to give us the inside scoop on San Francisco's offense, defense, and special teams/coaching this week, and no offense to Mark, we are doing nothing but rooting for our Baltimore Ravens!
Ravens101: San Francisco fans know all too well how important Special Teams can be after last year's NFC Championship game and the Kyle Williams muffed punt, but is there any fear that Ted Ginn Jr. could do the same thing? And how much of a threat is he to make the big play?
Oh yeah, we 49er fans know very well the damage that a botched punt or kick return can produce in a playoff game. And it’s a constant thought in our minds every time our return team takes the field. And yes, it is a very real fear that Ted Ginn Jr. could do the very same thing. Ginn Jr. has not had the most dependable hands in that department for the 49ers, and he is prone to making critical mistakes at critical times of a ball game. Just look at the game against the Patriots when the ball appeared to graze his leg as he tried to move out of the way. Ginn Jr. should have been nowhere near that ball in the first place. During the regular season he fumbled three of his 32 received punts, that’s almost one out of every ten. And that’s not counting all the bobbled balls that he maintained possession of. Now on the other hand, when he is not hearing footsteps and is afforded a clean catch, yeah he can be very dangerous running the ball. Is he a threat to make a big play? He can, but that really all depends on how well the punter for the Ravens is directing the ball.
Ravens101: Jacoby Jones is a Pro-Bowl returner and took back three total punt/kickoff returns for touchdowns this season. Is the 49ers special teams unit a worry at all in regards to allowing Jacoby to break off the big return?
Jones is by far the best in the league when it comes to returning kicks or punts. And it’s fair to say that it really doesn’t matter what special teams defense he is facing, he is talented enough to break big runs on any team. So are the 49ers a worry in that department, absolutely, Jones is a threat every time he touches the ball. And the 49ers have given up touchdowns during the regular season on special teams, so it’s not out of the question that Jones makes an impact. The obvious solution to that is kicking the ball out of the end zone and not allowing him to be effective. And in a dome, that scenario is more than possible.
Ravens101: San Francisco kicker, David Akers only made 68.2% of his field goals this season, second to last in the league among those who qualify, while Ravens kicker Justin Tucker made 91.4% of his field goals, so obviously Baltimore would seem to have the advantage in the kicking game, but what, if anything, should make 49ers fans comfortable if Akers is faced with a big field goal?
No doubt Akers has had an abysmal season, so much so that his job has been in jeopardy at two different times during the regular season. Only a week before the playoffs the 49ers were bringing in kickers to evaluate. Outwardly, there is nothing to bring comfort to fans if Akers is faced with an important field goal, the statistics do not allow it. But, there is a silver lining to every dark cloud, of his 13 misses on the regular season, 10 have been from 40 plus yards, and four of those ten have been from 50 plus yards. So it’s not like he missed a bunch of chip shots, a majority of his misses came from a great distance. He also led the league in field goals attempted during the regular season, which only ups his chances for the made to miss ratio to be wider. And he also a playoff tested kicker that has seen big moments before, so his anxiety has experienced this type of atmosphere in the past. That being said, it’s probably a safe bet that the 49ers don’t want to put the game on the line with Akers left foot.
Ravens101: Which member of the coaching staff should 49ers fans be worried about the most with the ambiance of the Super Bowl? John Harbaugh, Brad Seely, Vic Fangio, or Greg Roman?
Overall I think they are pretty well adjusted individuals when it comes to game time decisions. The only concern would probably the play calling of offensive coordinator Greg Roman. And only if the Ravens build a big early lead, sometimes the 49ers offense gets off course when they play from behind. And as talented as quarterback Colin Kaepernick is, he is still young and has made a handful of mistakes when asked to overcompensate for a deficit. It’s when they get behind in games that the play calling moves away from running back Frank Gore, and has Kaepernick throwing more than what is considered safe.
Ravens101: Final prediction for the Super Bowl?
Unlike the last game that the two teams played against each other in 2011, which was a low scoring affair, this game will end with the 49ers winning a high scoring and highly contested Super Bowl 34-28. They will run the ball hard with Frank Gore 20 to 23 times, opening up the play action pass for Michael Crabtree to take advantage of, which in turn allows option offense utilized so well by Kaepernick to be effective. If all goes the way as planned, expect big yardage from Kaepernick on a limited number of carries. Defensively the 49ers will clog the running lanes, limiting the effectiveness of Ray Rice, and forcing quarterback Joe Flacco to throw into tight coverage. Flacco will ultimately have a lot of attempts with a lot of passing yards, but that’s how the 49ers play it, they take the good with the bad. In the end, after a close game throughout, the 49ers will be showered in confetti as they win their record tying sixth Super Bowl.
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