He Gotta Be He

OTAs begin this week. Unless they were last week and I missed them. Just to be fair and cover my bases, I’ll miss them this week, too.

Everyone is talking about Chip Kelly and his “system” these days. A couple of people, anyway. Enough to notice if you have a good magnifying glass.

Apparently, it’s a very rigid system. If a player doesn’t buy into it, he falls behind and gets shipped to Siberia. DeSean Jackson and LeSean McCoy are the poster boys for this harsh treatment. The 49ers don’t have anybody that could be cut that would draw any newsworthy attention, so Siberian deportees should pass mostly without notice.

Australian import Jarryd Hayne beat Chip to the punch last week by deporting himself. Not exactly to Siberia, but fairly close to it in a 180 degree sort of way. Fiji. A microscopic island east of Australia way out there in the Pacific Ocean. Apparently, they’re having something called The Rio Olympics and Fiji has a rugby team entered in this colossal event.

Jarryd might have sized up his chances of ever being a star RB in the NFL and, even after promising everyone in the world, on many occasions, that he took this NFL thing seriously, the chance to be a big fish in a small Fijian pond was just too tempting to resist. The lure of the National Hero bit.

Kind of chicken shit if you ask me. Who’s going to believe any promises this guy ever makes in the future? Wimp. Fiji? You gotta be kidding me.

For you glass half-fullers, the Niners will lead the league this year in guys whose names begin with a “DxX.” We currently have four: DeForest, DiAndre, DeAndre, and a DeAndrew. Not to mention a Demetrius and a Devon. Another dark and secret Trent Baalke fetish at play?

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Posted in Orgainized Team Activities

Dry Run

The 49er rookies got their first taste of life in the NFL last week, going through the rookie mini-camp. Most of them swaggered into the league full of themselves and the wonderfulness of their very presence on the planet. In five years, most of them will be out of the league, shocked by their uselessness, and trying to forge a living while competing with nerds who are smarter and much better equipped to hike the long trail of life.

Gruesome. Ha ha ha ha. The rise and fall of muscle bound boys.

A few, however, will have things called NFL “careers.” Perhaps the Niners have managed to grab some of these gents. It’s been a generally failed endeavor the past few years.

So failed, in fact, that writers and pundits around the country have installed the Niners as one of the favorites to be the worst team in the league next year. That seems harsh. It’s true they’ve lost their second best offensive lineman, their top wide receiver, and their two best run stopping defensive linemen, but these fellows have all been replaced with, uh, some guys. Hey, last year the Niners had only four fellows trying to win the CB spot opposite Tramaine Brock, but this year they’ll have seven contenders!

The best thing going for the Niners right now is Stephen Curry and the Warriors. Nobody in the Bay Area is paying any attention to anything else. If the Warriors ring up another NBA title in the next few weeks, it’ll be August before anyone resumes noticing the 49ers are a franchise that’s all in the past, with nothing but sand and cactus stretching out across the future.

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Chips Ahoy

We’re half way through the offseason, GM Trent Baalke has left the stage, and from here on out it’s the Chip Kelly show.

That’s fine. We can get our teeth into Kelly. His results will be immediately evident from the first game of the season. GMs are another matter. You can like this year’s draft or dislike it, but the evidence won’t be discernible for three years or so. By the time you discover your GM stinks, it’s way down the road on franchise dysfunction and a long way back from it. As we are seeing so clearly now after Baalke’s five years of mostly failed drafts. The team has gone from the top to the bottom during that time.

Thus far, Kelly is happy about everything. He’s happy about the organization, happy about his relationship with Baalke, happy about the players he inherited, the players that were drafted, and he’s happy about Colin Kaepernick. One thing is clear: either he’s a professional liar or a complete idiot. We’ll have to wait for the first regular season loss to get a look at his unhappy face. It shouldn’t take long.

Up next, we have six weeks or so of mini-camps and OTAs. During this time, we’ll get glowing reports of how fantastic the players are looking — right up until they get cut.

For now, the club has eight CBs and five safeties. That seems a bit more than adequate. Hopefully, the ones that get cut don’t sign with another team and prove to be the ones we should have kept. Unless it doesn’t really matter because none of them should have been signed in the first place.

And we still have Kaepernick, who doesn’t want to be here and wasn’t wanted, either. But Broncos GM John Elway made mince meat out of Baalke and in the end Baalke got nothing but a lot of snickering behind his back, and in some quarters, right to his face.

One thing seems clear from the draft: Chip Kelly will be expected to improve the 49er offense this year almost exclusively with the same cast that failed so miserably last season. Good luck, Chip.

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Posted in FOS Speculation

2016 Draft

GM Trent Baalke departed from form on Thursday’s first round by actually drafting players the 49ers need, instead of his usual BPA blather. Zounds!

That was in the first round. Two guys (DeForest Buckner, Joshua Garnett) who must be starters this year. Friday in round three, however, Bad Baalke returned with the selection of a CB (Will Redmond) who tore his ACL last October, bringing the list of ACL draftees to seven since 2013. Here’s the other six: Tank Carradine, Marcus Lattimore, Brandon Thomas, Keith Reaser, Trey Millard, DeAndre Smelter.

If none of those six stirs any memories of their playing time with the team, that’s because only two of them have had any playing time with the team, and that time has been entirely forgettable. But, hey, I’m sure Redmond will be different. Two instant starters, though. That’s more than any Baalke draft has ever produced. Hopefully.

Day three of the Draft was a Baalke Special. That’s the area that puffs up the total of draft picks from the normal seven to the twelve that get people so excited about how much help we can get in the draft. A bottom of round 4, three fifths, three sixths, and a seventh represent EIGHT of the swollen amount of draft picks the 49ers have. All in the maybe-this-guy-will-make-the-team bargain bin at the end of the draft. Yeah. These guys will really push the team up the leaderboard next year.

Baalke’s first day three selection was yet another CB (Rashard Robinson) at the end of the fourth round. This guy has not played in 18 months and has reportedly failed a drug test and was suspended for failing to meet academic standards. But hey, who doesn’t need six or seven late round CBs who can take turns getting torched on Sundays? Especially if they have bad knees or bad character or bad brains.

On to the fifth round, where Baalke selected yet another defensive guy, making it four picks out of five for defense, vastly improving the chances of the worst offense in the league last year to continue to flirt with that distinction in the coming year. Next, at last, an offensive pick, OT John Theus, who will evidently compete with Erik Pears for the swing tackle that hopefully will not ever be needed in 2016. Or maybe it will be Fahn Cooper, another OT, picked near the bottom of round five.

The remaining four picks can wait for the late edition, to be published probably not at all. Baalke will probably finally get around to drafting some “skill position” players for the offense. Because the bottom rounds of the draft are usually chock full of these types of players.

And that will be all for the million blogs, tweets, lists, conjectures, and opinions spread over three solid months about the 2016 NFL Draft. RIP, baby.

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Posted in Draft Board

The Banjo Hitter as GM

Wow. The Draft. Is there any way we can outsource this thing? It’s worse than the Super Bowl hype week. It’s on every channel. Every talk show. Every blog. Endless mocks. Endless endlessness. Help!!

Don’t get me wrong. The draft is a nice little thing. It used to be enjoyable. Now it’s just one long colossal overkill bore. Is there anything more ridiculous than a seven round mock draft? Hardly anyone in the universe even nails the first round. And you can bet that one week after the draft is over, some colossal moron will put out a 2017 mock draft with an entire college and pro season yet to be played.

A few more days of this nonsense before we can actually sit down and watch it play out. Then we can forget about it and get back to the business of ridiculing the 49ers. Probably with a whole bag of new specimens that Trent Baalke somehow thinks can play this game.

Baalke has turned the Niners into a minor league team. Every year he drafts guys who “try out” for the team. Usually, the try out lasts about three years. In the final year of their rookie contract, the guys who are good go someplace else in Free Agency to get paid their worth. The guys who stink get traded for seventh round draft picks. The guys who are merely good or average get signed to an extension — our “core” team of good, but not great, players, surrounded by try out players.

Baalke has drafted nine defensive players in the first three rounds the past three years and the defense last year ranked 29th. Come Thursday, he’ll draft another slew of defensive guys and the defense will still suck in 2016. I rest my case.

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Posted in Draft Board
2016 Schedule
Monday, Sept. 12 vs Los Angeles
Sunday, Sept. 18 @ Carolina
Sunday, Sept. 25 @ Seattle
Sunday, Oct. 2 vs Dallas
Thursday, Oct. 6 vs Arizona
Sunday, Oct. 16 @ Buffalo
Sunday, Oct. 23 vs Tampa Bay
Sunday, Oct. 30 BYE
Sunday, Nov. 6 vs New Orleans
Sunday, Nov. 13 @ Arizona
Sunday, Nov. 20 vs New England
Sunday, Nov. 27 @ Miami
Sunday, Dec. 4 @ Chicago
Sunday, Dec. 11 vs New York Jets
Sunday, Dec. 18 @ Atlanta
Saturday, Dec. 24 @ Los Angeles
Sunday, Jan. 1 vs Seattle
2016 Draft Class
1. Deforest Buckner, DL
1. Joshua Garnett, OG
3. Will Redmond, CB
4. Rashard Robinson, CB
5. Ronald Blair, DE
5. John Theus, OT
5. Fahn Cooper, OT
6. Jeff Driskell, QB
6. Kelvin Taylor, RB
6. Aaron Burbridge, WR
7. Prince Charles Iworah, CB
2015 Prognostications
NJ49er: 7-9
Bakkentom: 3-13
Grumpy: 5-11
Winder: 10-6
Bythorn: 5-10-1
Phil Fan: 6-10
Spitblood: 2-14
RTFirefly: 5-11
Bullit: 6-9-1
Skeebers: 6-10
Rob: 9-7
Chuck: 11-5