Ratto: 'Smilin' Hue' won't be smiling for long


Ratto: 'Smilin' Hue' won't be smiling for long

Aug. 20, 2011


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Even when Hue Jackson is annoyed, he expresses himself with a smile. Saturday, it was an odd, forced, unconvincing smile, just like his claim that the Oakland Raiders decrepit performance against the San Francisco 49ers was on me.

How we doin? he said, trying to fake it as best he could. You guys are doing great? Im not.

Over and over again, he cited failure after failure in a 17-3 loss at Candlestick Park And UFC Octagon that made both Alex Smith and Colin Kaepernick look like mid-level NFL quarterbacks and his own Jason Campbell look like what he was last year.
RECAP: Hunter runs 49ers past Raiders 17-3

Injury prone, at worst. Inconsistent at best.

And over and over again, he went back to the mantra, Thats on me. Im not going to put that on the players.

Were obviously a little disappointed in the way we performed tonight, he said. Obviously the practice performance hasnt met the on-field performance, and thats what I gotta get done. Thats my job. I will get that fixed. Were not playing like I think the Raiders can play, and I told them that. That starts with me. The head coach, and then it goes all the way down. We got some work to do. And thats what we need to get done.

So its not the players fault? A sensible person would say, Well, why the hell not? What else are they there for but to be reminded in public as well as private that being run on, thrown on and bullied by a team like the 49ers is a great way to be a 5-11 team?

Thats the real problem here for the Raiders as they limp back to the wine country. They have nothing except rookie wide receiver Denarius Moore to be excited about after a uniformly turgid performance. Even Smilin Hue, when tossed the, What impressed you tonight? softball, said, Nothing.

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He elaborated, but your brain tends to stop at the word nothing. Hes right, of course, but when the optimist loses the lilt in his own voice on D-minus-23, the level of failure is considerable, and the fear of the future is palpable.

They allowed the 49ers to gain 239 yards rushing in 41 carries, including 105 by the new putative Frank Gore trainee, rookie Kendall Hunter, all on what Jackson dismissive called basic runs. The linebackers and secondary allowed both Smith and Kaepernick to throw at will to pretty much whomever they wished, except for the one time defensive end Matt Shaughnessy dropped into coverage and intercepted a pass aimed at tight end Vernon Davis. And they were stopped persistently when they needed either first down or touchdown yardage (2-for-11 on third or fourth downs, and 0-for-2 inside the red zone).

And if none of the starters looked good, and only Moore among the backups, against a team that is trying to find its own consistency, well, you can pretty much figure how downcast Smilin Hue must truly be.

And how nail-chewing angry his own head coach, Al Davis, must be.

Oh, no doubt. No doubt, he said, not about Davis but about how his own plans for the evening disintegrated. I mean, I made a statement that we wouldnt get the ball run on us like that, and we did. Thats disappointing. I guess thats my point. The things that I want to see fixed that we talked about that I think weve shored up a little bit, being able to stop the run, being a little more consistent in the scoring zone, doing some things I think our football team is starting to do, in practice, didnt show up today in the game.

But then he fell back on the old Im-not-worthy schtick that will age quickly if things dont change quickly.

Thats the disappointing part. Thats on me. Im not going to put that on them. Obviously we gotta go back and continue to do those things better than what were doing to get to where we need to be. Thank gosh today was the second preseason game. Its not the regular season.

And thank God these teams dont meet again this year.

An announced crowd of 69,732 which was actually 40,000-some-odd, distracted itself with what one security guard called, a lot of fights. It was crazy. There were some girl fights, too. A bunch of them.

In addition, three people were shot near Jamestown Avenue around 8:15, according to San Francisco police. One victim was hospitalized and two others had not yet been found at the time of this report (9:30 p.m.). No reason for the shooting could be ascertained, but the time and location of the incident suggested that it was fans leaving the game either as perpetrators, victims or both.
NEWS: Two men shot outside Candlestick Park

Of the brawls inside, we dont believe that they were expressing their opinions of the poor level of play one particularly strident encounter about six rows into the lower deck behind what once was home plate pitted two 49er fans against each other. The best guess as to why they went at it? One probably said, You know, I think Smith looked pretty good tonight. In this town, those are genuinely fightin words.

Even the peacemaker ended up throwing hands at the end, and they all had punched themselves into exhaustion before police, who doubtless had just finished adjudicating another coin flip, could reach them.

In short, it was a bad night for almost everyone. Oh, Jim Harbaugh crowed about his team, as you knew he would, but the 49ers arent that much further along the trail than the Raiders. They still hit their traditional two-touchdown glass ceiling, and thought they handled the Raiders at home, the Raiders were every bit as responsible for that as the 49ers.

And that, apparently until further notice, is the fault of Smilin Hue Jackson. A man who isnt going to be smiling much longer if this continues.

Very bad 49ers stay tumbling in truly lost 2016 season

Very bad 49ers stay tumbling in truly lost 2016 season

You can almost hear the sound whistling between the 49ers’ teeth at this point, beneath the droned platitudes and vague responses to what is a fully lost season:

“Look, what do you want from us? This is who we are.”

You can almost hear it, that is. They wouldn’t dare express such rampant defeatism – I mean, if they didn’t after Sunday’s 34-17 muzzling at the hands, arms, torsos and feet of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, it’s unlikely you would hear it at any point.

But they must surely know by now that this is a season already in the rear-view mirror. There are no secret plans, or stashed players, or untried ideas left to unearth, sign or try. The coming bye week will not clear their heads and give them new inspiration, save that of having a week off from the steady beatings. They are 1-6 on merit, and proved it again yesterday before another dispirited two-thirds-of-a-sellout crowd which is coming to realize that their hope is a mile wide and an inch deep.

[MAIOCCO: Kelly: No changes to 49ers defensive staff after loss]

Sunday, for example, Colin Kaepernick was their best running back, Shaun Draughn was their best receiver, the downed kickoff was their best special teams play, and their best strategic decision – well, they lost the coin flip so they didn’t even get a chance to defer the opening kickoff.

And their defense? It only allowed whatever Tampa Bay wanted, and only on demand. Jacquizz Rodgers became the sixth running back to gain 100 yards against them (and the first to do it in one half), which is noteworthy only because they allowed five all last year in a bad season, and nine in the four seasons before that, four of those by Marshawn Lynch.

And quarterback Jameis Winston threw the ball to wide-open receivers and into coverage with the same sense of well-placed bravado. Though his numbers didn’t exactly aurora the borealis (21-of-30, 269, 3/1, 117.2), he never emitted a sense that he couldn’t do whatever he wanted – save get the officials to give him a better spot when he snapped and cost his team a potential touchdown with an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for headless-chickening.

In other words, this was not materially different than the Buffalo game, or the Seattle game, or the Carolina game. The only game that has been different is the opener against Los Angeles, when everything worked and made sense and life was happy and Jed York hummed “I Am 16 Going On 17” all through the suite all night long.

That game was 50,000 years ago. These are who the 49ers are now, and who they are going to be for awhile to come.

They speak of consistency, and yet they are the very model of it – leading the league in punts, and ranking second in three-and-outs, 27th in first downs and 31st in plays per drive. They don’t stay on the field, in other words, and when on defense, they allow 118 more yards per game than their offense gets them.

And they swear with unanimity that they are together as a team, and work hard each week to achieve the acme of their talents and learning. So this, if that is so, must be at or near the top of their game – which, as head coach for now and the future Chip Kelly (stop thinking this is just a coaching problem, please) put it, “We’re not doing what it takes to be successful right now.”

That was in response to a question about whether the 49ers were going backwards. He ducked the issue by saying, “I don’t think forwards or backwards,” which is probably a lie, but we can help anyway.

They have gone dramatically backwards since Game 1, and essentially stagnated since Game 2. It’s how they have gotten to where they are right now, and how they have become who they are right now.

It may be that stranger things have happened in the NFL than a team starting 1-6 and rallying to win eight, nine or 10 in a row, but on this team, based all the available evidence, this team won’t be that strange. They have revealed themselves for what they actually are, which is not good enough to change what they actually are.

And if that is too tough a sentence for you to swallow, well, go out and write some of your own. You can tell any tale you want, but this is the tale of the 2016 San Francisco 49ers, a team awash in unpleasant self-realization and the knowledge that there is nothing to be done but to go out each week and do it again.

Except next week, of course. Bye may be a favorite, but Bye must be played, just like all the others.

NFL disregards domestic violence, as Giants extend its tolerance scale


NFL disregards domestic violence, as Giants extend its tolerance scale

The National Football League has been reminded yet again that it neither understands nor cares to understand about domestic violence.

But it will do better, you may rest assured. They’ll have a week where all the on-field personnel wear purple to commemorate the bruises.

That’s what the NFL does when it can no longer ignore its own tone-deafness – they turn their stupidity into a marketing opportunity. After all, every social problem can be solved in the league’s eyes by figuring out a way for the league to monetize it.

The latest example of the NFL’s slack-jawed world view comes from New York, where the Giants could not and still cannot figure out what to do about kicker/serial domestic abuser Josh Brown except not let him go to London for the weekend.

This means the league has learned nothing from the Ray Rice incident, even as Rice of all people is showing on a regular basis how to learn from it. More than that, it means it has no interest in learning anything about it, and will never prioritize it beyond crisis-management level – “Uh-oh, something bad just happened. Quick, put it behind us.”

Then again, the league has been so relentlessly ham-handed on so many things that, as convenient as this may be for it, we should stop expecting it to do so, to the point that when someone from the league wants to explain some social issue to us we should simply say with one voice, “Oh, shut up, you yammering frauds.”

It is difficult to prioritize the number of ways the Giants failed to comprehend the problem currently smacking them between the numbers, although owner John Mara’s “He admitted to us he'd abused his wife in the past. What’s a little unclear is the extent of that” may summarize it nicely.

Put another way, one could make a case that the Giants extended the universal talent-tolerance scale (if you have the talent, anything can be tolerated until it can’t) to include placekickers.

That seems less likely, though, than the more obvious point that the league doesn’t regard domestic violence as something worth concerning itself with, while bloviating all the time about all the things with which it is concerned. The league is the beat cop who never gets out of his car to see what is happening on his beat, and is shocked when something does.

And while it will be handy to pile this atop the list of reasons why Commissioner Roger Goodell doesn’t get it, the truth is he is merely the painful rash that reveals the league’s case of shingles. The league’s 32 constituent elements are culpable here because ignorance in the face of so much evidence becomes willful, and Goodell’s skill is not in guiding the league but in figuring out where his 32 bosses want him to go, and avoiding all the places they don’t.

Hence, domestic violence. This is not an easy problem to solve, as any expert will say, but Mara trying to decide how many punches are enough isn’t it. The league’s six-game suspension guideline that is now four years old has never been imposed on any player. It wants the power to use the talent-tolerance scale at whim to do what it wishes when it wishes to do it.

Or in this case, not do anything at all until it has to, and then in as minimal a fashion as it can manage.

So, Josh Brown loses a week in a foreign country on the company dime as a trade-off for continually terrorizing his wife. The league says it punished him for a game but was powerless to do anything else while knowing all along how severe the problem had become.

In short, it did the minimum. Now that everyone knows the fullest extent of Brown’s abuse, and how much the league knew without doing anything, it will now extend the minimum out to what it thinks is a new minimum.

So we now know that the NFL is looking for some metric that will determine the transactional “extent of that,” as John Mara so eloquently put it for us. When it comes up with that formula, it will surely ignore that standard, because the real standard is still “talent-tolerance,” and the world is made up of concentric circles surrounding the people who make the league and its members a dollar more tomorrow than it made today.

And spouses are a long way from the center.