Alright Niner fans, it's mid-season(actually, it's passed now), and time for a mid-season progress report.
QB: Shaun Hill (JT O'Sullivan was benched, Alex Smith on IR)
Explanation: Hill is known as a short yardage guy who can move the ball. Nothing but a bunch of check downs and no big throw down the field. He'll get his first start this season. JTO was benched due to his inability to read coverages and butter finger hands. Alex Smith's career as a Niner appears to be over.
RB: Frank Gore (DeShaun Foster/Michael Robinson)
Explanation: Gore has had a solid season, thus far under Martz like predicted. He's not getting the carries he should be getting lately, but when he has, he's delivered. He's been a great target in the passing game as well. Foster and Robinson are rarely used.
FB: N/A (Zak Keasey on IR)
OL: Joe Staley, David Baas, Eric Heitmann, Tony Wragge, Barry Sims
Explanation: The o-line has not been able to protect at all. It gave JTO time at times, but they lead the league in given up sacks.
TE: Vernon Davis (Delanie Walker/Billy Bajema)
Explanation: Davis has not been seen in the passing game at all. But he has been a terrific pass and run blocker.
WR: Issac Bruce, Josh Morgan, Bryant Johnson, Arnaz Battle, Jason Hill
Explanation: Bruce has had a decent season thus far along with Battle. Bryant continues to disappoint.
DL: Issac Sopoaga, Aubrayo Franklin, Justin Smith
Explanation: Sopoaga has been a bit disappointing. Smith has been extremely versatile playing multiple positions, but he hasn't been much of the pass rusher yet. Ray McDonald has progressed well. Rookie Kentwan Balmer has rarely ever seen the field.
LB: Manny Lawson, Takeo Spikes, Patrick Willis, Parys Harlason
Explanation: The lone bright spot on the team. Willis has continued to impress. Spikes has proven to be a solid pick up. Lawson hasn't had a great season, but he's done his job thus far.
CB: Nate Clements, Walt Harris, Donald Stickland, Marcus Hudson, Tarell Brown (Shawtae Spencer on IR)
Explanation: The secondary has been roughed up. Clements is respected and hardly ever thrown towards, so opposing teams pick on the slow Harris, or struggling Strickland/Hudson. Spencer has been missed.
S: Michael Lewis, Mark Roman
Explanation: Haven't heard of much from either player this season, so I'd assume they're doing their job. Yet, the secondary is getting exposed week after week, so I'll have to fault them for that.
K: Joe Nedney
Explanation: Has done his job on special teams. Good for him.
P: Andy Lee
Explanation: Once again, it's sad when your punter is one of the top 10 players on your team.
KR/PR: Allen Rossum
Explanation: Had a punt return TD already and has done a decent-solid job on returns. Good pick up.
O-Coordinator: Mike Martz
Explanation: The offense looks better than last year, but the terrible protection and lack of touches for Gore bring him down.
D-Coordinator: Greg Manusky
Explanation: Soft play calling. His LB's have been the lone bright spot.
Head Coach: Mike Singletary (Mike Nolan fired)
Grade: Singletary is INC. Nolan is F
Explanation: Singletary has brought an aggressive nature to this team and opened many eyes. He's only coached one game so far, so we can't judge him yet. Nolan unable to get the job done once again was enough to show him the door.