Hello Goodbye

The endless pre-Draft piffle machine will finally, mercifully grind to a halt next Thursday night, when the Browns and 49ers step to the podium to make their 2017 first round selections.

While DE Myles Garrett is the consensus number one pick in the draft, there does not seem to be any clear cut favorite for selection number two. Not good news for the Niners, since it probably means having the number two pick is not much better than having the number five pick or even lower pick.

At any rate, it should still give the team a very good player on a squad that badly needs some superior talent.

As of Tuesday, all the teams in the league are embarked on their spring OTA programs. For the teams with new HCs or OCs, this is a time for installing their new offensive systems. Any QB hoping to be a starter next year, would definitely be attending these practices. None of the QBs from last year’s 49er team are currently employed, so it’s safe to say none of them have been deemed worthy of a shot at becoming any team’s starter.

And that would seem to conclude the tortured tales of the Rise and Fall of Colin Kaepernick and the Fall and Rise and Fall Again of Blaine Gabbert. So long fellas, it could have been entertaining but it wasn’t.

These two aren’t the only guys not coming back from last year’s team. Below is a more or less list of those who’ve left and those who’ve arrived:

Gone Guys

WR Torrey Smith
S Antoine Bethea
C Marcus Martin
K Phil Dawson
RB Shaun Draughn
WR Quinton Patton
LB Michael Wilhoite
LB Nick Bellore
QB Colin Kaepernick
QB Blaine Gabbert
QB Christian Ponder
QB Thad Lewis
WR Rod Streater
TE Jim Dray
G Andrew Tiller
OL Andrew Gardner
DT Glenn Dorsey
DT Tony Jerod-Eddie
LB Gerald Hodges
DB Marcus Cromartie
CB Chris Davis

New Guys

QB Brian Hoyer
QB Matt Barkley
RB Tim Hightower
FB Kyle Juszczyk
WR Pierre Garçon
WR Marquise Goodwin
WR Aldrick Robinson
TE Logan Paulsen
C Jeremy Zuttah
K Robbie Gould
LB Malcolm Smith
LB Dekoda Watson
LB Brock Coyle
DB Don Jones
DT Earl Mitchell
CB K’Waun Williams
RT Garry Gilliam

I’m sure I’ve missed a few, but it’s clear the new regime is remaking the club from top to bottom. The guys brought in are not appreciably better than the guys kicked out, though, so this Draft had better be a good one.

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Posted in Draft Board

Trial Balloon Float

Only 4,823 more mock drafts until the real Draft takes place! Curiously, every year at this time, players rise up and fall down the mock draft boards even though none of them are playing any games right now. How can a player’s value increase or decrease when nothing has changed? It’s an annual mystery.

Perhaps we should call this the Trial Balloon Float. All across the country various wannabe GMs throw up a mock draft, then compare their horseshit to all the other horseshitters, and adjust their first efforts accordingly. By the time the Draft rolls around, the horseshit brigade has settled into a consensus that will turn out to be horseshit about three picks into the Draft.

Not to spoil the fun, but with the second pick in the Draft, the 49ers will take either a QB or a pass rusher. If they take anyone else, then this year is a bad time to have the second pick. They’ll get a good player, but the two most important positions on the team will still be devoid of talent.

The media is working overtime trying to find poor Colin Kaepernick a job. Of course, the harder they work shilling for him, the more they make the case that the media will indeed make Kap a distraction for any team he is on. Jay Cutler doesn’t have a job yet, either, but the media isn’t whining about that at all.

More than that, why would an owner want to hire a guy who’s liable to put up a pulpit on company time? The NFL is, after all, a business. It’s one thing to fire a guy for these actions, but quite another to voluntarily hire him.

The amount of wheeling and dealing John Lynch did in Free Agency makes one think he and Kyle Shanahan plan on going all out this year to field a contender. Or, maybe it’s all smoke and mirrors to pacify an angry fan base while they tank the coming season and shoot for respectability in 2018, with yet another high draft slot next April and either a better QB class to pick from or signing Kirk Cousins in the 2018 FA period.

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Posted in Draft Board

Uncharted Waters

The Free Agency period seems to have run its course, leaving us with six weeks of mock drafts to grind through. Whizzo.

There are still a few big names out there looking for work. Jay Cutler, Jamaal Charles, Adrian Paterson. And some small names. Colin Kaepernick and 100 other guys closer to being out of the league than signing on with a new team. It will be mildly interesting to see where these entities end up playing next year — if they play at all.

For the moment, it looks like Brian Hoyer will be the QB for the 2017 season, backed up by Matt Barkley. Obviously not a long term solution. We’ll find out during the Draft whether Kyle Shanahan is content to wait for Kirk Cousins to arrive next year or whether Shanahan plans to draft a QB of the future and forget about Cousins.

It appears the 49ers will not be the biggest joke in the NFL this year. The Jets, Browns, and maybe Washington will be slapping it out for that dubious distinction.

What the Niners will be is still mostly a mystery. When Jim Harbaugh took over the team in 2011, we knew all the players and felt the only thing holding them back was a good head coach. Nobody expected them to go 13-3 and come within a late game Kyle Williams melt down of reaching the Super Bowl, but the playoffs were definitely in sight.

This team is different. Half the roster is basically a mystery except to Shanahan and GM John Lynch. In addition, unlike Harbaugh, Shanahan has never been a head coach. We don’t know if he’ll make a successful leap from OC to HC. And we don’t have any idea what a successful year for these unknowns would be. 4-12? 6-10? 8-8? Many of us don’t even know if we’ll give a shit one way or the other. Can a poisoned fan base be revived?

All of which makes this season the biggest head scratcher of the bloggin’ man era.

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Posted in Mindless Drivel

In and Out Burgh

Last week was a fun few days. Twelve new John Lynch 49er recruits, basically replacing 12 old Trent Baalke guys.

None of the new players are likely to push the team into the playoffs next year, and many of them came here because they know either Kyle Shanahan‘s offense or Robert Saleh‘s defense. Smart pickups to help move the team more easily through the new offensive and defensive systems that will be forthcoming.

But no mega woo-woo deals — yet.

And the only one currently in sight is the acquisition of Washington’s QB Kirk Cousins. Either this year via trade or next year in Free Agency.

Looks like Washington owner Dan Snyder is making a big push to regain his title as biggest douche owner in the NFL, a crown worn by 49er owner Jed York the past three years. Both of these guys are more well known for destroying teams than building winners. Every now and then, they do something positive, like York has done this year. Then two years later they let their egos run amok and trash what was good, like Snyder has done this year with Scot McCloughan. It’s almost a carbon copy of the York/Baalke ouster of Jim Harbaugh, only in Washington it’s the team President Bruce Allen playing the Baalke role.

There are still some high profile RBs on the market, going through the process of chagrin that their market value is soft this year. Not sure if Lynch has any interest in these boys, but we’ll see.

For the moment, we appear to have improved somewhatish at WR, TE, ILB, QB, and traded out DL Glenn Dorsey for DL Earl Mitchell. And replaced nobody at FB by adding Kyle Juszczyk, a guy who certainly has the kind of name you would want in a fullback.

Hopefully, there’s more to come in the days leading up to the Draft, where we’ll get a much better idea of how Lynch is going to fare as a GM. It’s one thing to identify talent among players already showing it at an NFL level, and quite another to identify college boys who can make the jump.

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Posted in Delusional Therapy

Shopping Spree

The Rumor Mill has been spitting out a lot of juicy tidbits the past week, as the FA period nears. Big name cuts, trade scenarios real and ridiculous, and a promise from GM John Lynch that we fans should keep our eyes open for a slew of signings.

With 16 or so 49er free agents, the roster cupboard is mighty bare, so we can take Lynch at his word. There will be bodies coming our way.

One that won’t darken our doors is Colin Kaepernick, who opted out of his contract last Friday, making him an immediate Free Agent with a one week head start on any other FA QBs to be, able to grovel for a job with any team that wants him. So far, no takers.

People around the league are lavishing praise on the Niners’ new GM and HC. It’s possible this praise is earnest and sincere. It’s possible this praise doesn’t mean a hill of beans. And it’s also possible it falls into the category of Arizona HC Bruce Arians’ 2016 preseason depiction of the 49ers as the “sleeper” team in the NFC West. They slept, alright. All the way to 13 straight losses.

As of today, the team has zero QBs under contract for the coming season, but by this time next week, there will likely be two or three signed for our amusement. Matt Schaub figures to be one of them, if for no other reason than helping Kyle Shanahan install his offense. If there’s any other reason he’s here, 2017 will be another long year for all of us.

In the meantime, since the 49ers have needs virtually everywhere on the team, they are floated in every trade rumor and FA signing in the league. In two more days, we’ll see which, if any, of those rumors are true. This could very well be the most active FA period in 49er history.

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Posted in Vacant Observations
2017 Schedule
Sept. 10: vs. Carolina, 1:25 p.m.
Sept. 17: at Seattle, 1:25 p.m.
Sept. 21: vs. L.A. Rams, 5:25 p.m.
Oct. 1: at Arizona, 1:05 p.m.
Oct. 8: at Indianapolis, 10 a.m.
Oct. 15: at Washington, 10 a.m.
Oct. 22: vs. Dallas, 1:05 p.m.
Oct. 29: at Philadelphia, 10 a.m.
Nov. 5: vs. Arizona, 1:05 p.m.
Nov. 12: vs. N.Y. Giants, 1:25 p.m.
Week 11 — Bye
Nov. 26: vs. Seattle, 1:05 p.m.
Dec. 3: at Chicago, 10 a.m.
Dec. 10: at Houston, 10 a.m.
Dec. 17: vs. Tennessee, 1:25 p.m.
Dec. 24: vs. Jacksonville, 1:05 p.m.
Dec. 31: at L.A. Rams, 1:25 p.m.
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
2016 Prognostications
Closest To The Pin
  Grumpy: 3-13
  Spitblood: 3-13
  Winder: 3-13
Bakkentom: 0-16
Bullit: 5-11
Chuck: 8-8, 7-9, 9-7, 10-6
Mr Fletch: 4-12
NJ49er: 5-11
Phil Fan: 4-12
Rob: 9-7
RTFirefly: 7-9
Skeebers: 6-10