The 49ers are now 4-1 and looking better every game. If not for one big play, they'd be 5-0, but they don't need to be perfect to sit atop the NFC West. We've already got a recap, so here's some notes I took during the 49ers-Buccaneers game while up in the pressbox.
- In the second half, I saw Aldon Smith lining up at right outside linebacker. On the left side? Parys Haralson. Ahmad Brooks came in on that drive on the final third down, which resulted in an incompletion. Later on, Haralson was back on the right side. It's very clear to me that the 49ers are exploring their options with Brooks and Haralson, to see where best to get Smith on the field. It appears to be a priority.
- Chris Culliver played well in coverage and had an interception on a pass intended for Micheal Spurlock. Keep in mind that Culliver is just now getting significant playing time, so this could be signs of good things to come.
- Jim Harbaugh split out, ran routes and caught passes from quarterbacks Alex Smith and Colin Kaepernick in pre-game warmups. Just a small observation and another look into his coaching style.
- The Carlos Rogers interception was something of beauty, and great misdirection by Vic Fangio. Rogers had been playing man most of the game, and then was given free roam over that side in zone, drifted in front of the tight end and picked it off. Josh Freeman didn't see him until he was trying (and failing) to tackle him.
- Almost the entire offensive line seemed to play better, but I did notice Mike Iupati struggling a little, which fits perfectly, of course. The other four guys have been bad lately, so when they turn it around, Iupati has his worst game yet. Great.
- The play to Josh Morgan was very unfortunate - you know the one. It's bothersome that Jim Harbaugh was throwing the ball at that point in the game, even with rookie quarterback Colin Kaepernick on the field. If the 49ers are winning, it's not the time to audition - especially not with starting receivers while other receivers are injured. Maybe a running back would have gotten hurt or something like that, but like I said ... just very unfortunate.
- Alex Smith read through his progressions, which is always a nice change when it happens. The times he threw the underneath routes were actually in situations where he should have, which is great. Unfortunately, he still thinks Michael Crabtree is ten feet tall.
- Ricky Jean Francois looked like a very capable nose tackle, no doubt aided by his weight gain this offseason. But the 49ers defensive line is still lacking pressure, as they did when Sopoaga wasn't hurt.