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

Cerebral Infarction Surgery

It’s the annual NFL Combine week, which means everybody   most people   many folks   quite a few fans   several guys   a few boys   NJ49er and Bullit will be glued to their TV screens this week.

Happy tape measures and stop watches, you two.

The rest of us will continue to mumble and yawn our way through the tortuous month of February, the most useless month of the year. No offense to Aquarians, who are saddled for life with this fake month.

HC Kyle Shanahan has completed assembling his coaches and staff, so we’re now free to forget about them until and unless we run out of visible entities to criticize, or in extremely rare cases, praise.

Safe to say Shanahan is buried in the film room these days, surveying the wreckage of the Niners’ 2016 season. The team has about 20! free agents about to leak out the door early next month, with precious few getting a return invitation.

Astute observers like ourselves will soon get an early evaluation of just how smart or not Shanahan is by observing which players he chooses to retain. Sad to say, we’re all pretty familiar with the value of the guys on this team. “Value” of course being a relative term, since most of the players would fall under the category of “surely, you jest” when attempting to associate them with the idea of worthfulness.

At least Shanahan will be a challenge for our estimable brains. Let’s face it, Jim Tomsula was as dumb as a rock. Ridiculing him bordered on getting some yuks by steering a blind guy into a brick wall. Queasy fun. Chip Kelly didn’t seem to give a crap whether the team won or lost. He had $24 million in his pocket. Red-assing him was almost pointless. He’d already hit the lotto and was resting comfortably inside a hide as thick as a rhino’s.

But Shanahan is supposed to be a smart guy. We’ll see. The past two years have been no challenge at all. Just bad, boring football with bad, boring coaches. Hopefully, we’ll have to be back on our toes this year.

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Posted in Waltzing Matilda

Extreme Makeover

The 49ers have taken the term “cleaning house” to a level that would make an OCD housewife beam proudly. By the time Free Agency and the Draft have come and gone, the entire building will not have a clue who the person next to them is — including the ones handing out equipment and massaging their feet.

Next comes the slightly harder part — filling the house with better “furniture” than that which has been discarded. The Niners have dabbled at this game in each of the past two seasons (and fared quite poorly), so perhaps they’ve got the hang of it this time around.

Many fans seem to think so. They’ve bellied enthusiastically up to the bar of hope yet again. Ready to hurl their poison-tipped pom pom daggers at anyone who would raise a skeptical eyebrow. It’s possible Kyle Shanahan will turn out to be the next Bill Walsh, but it’s also as likely or more that he’ll turn out to be the next Norv Turner — good OC, not so good HC.

But, as John Madden so eloquently warned, it’s easier to replace a suit than a good HC. We may not know if Shanahan will be able to match Jim Harbaugh‘s knack for winning games, but the new suit(s) in the FO are clearly an upgrade over the departed Trent Baalke.

John Lynch may turn out to be another Matt Millen, but one thing he won’t be and that’s a brown-noser to owner Jed York. Baalke was nothing before he squeezed his way into York’s inner circle and he’ll likely be little at all now that he’s gone. But Lynch was successful before he came here and he’ll be successful if he should eventually leave. He doesn’t need York to define himself.

With $80 million in CAP space, and a new GM raring to prove his worth, we’ll at least have a busy FA period, with a lot of bodies moving hither and yon for our perusal. If we’re going to be bad, we can at least be entertaining while we’re at it. With Baalke, the offseason was always one long snooze fest. And who knows? We might even be good! Or at least get lucky once in awhile.

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Posted in Vacant Observations
2016 Schedule
Sept. 12 vs Los Angeles: W 28-0
Sept. 18 @ Carolina: L 27-46
Sept. 25 @ Seattle: L 18-37
Oct. 2 vs Dallas: L 17-24
Oct. 6 vs Arizona: L 21-33
Oct. 16 @ Buffalo: L 16-45
Oct. 23 vs Tampa Bay: L 17-34
Oct. 30 BYE
Nov. 6 vs New Orleans: L 23-41
Nov. 13 @ Arizona: L 20-23
Nov. 20 vs New England: L 17-30
Nov. 27 @ Miami: L 24-31
Dec. 4 @ Chicago: L 6-26
Dec. 11 vs New York Jets: L 17-23
Dec. 18 @ Atlanta: L 13-41
Dec. 24 @ Los Angeles: W 22-21
Jan. 1 vs Seattle: L 23-25
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