The 49ers’ two year reign as NFC West champs will face its sternest challenge this coming season, with many pundits already picking Seattle to unseat our boys at the top of the division in 2013. That might warm Seattle hearts, and it might even happen, but as we’ve learned the past two years, the regular season is so much last year’s news. The playoffs begin in January and everything between now and then is just weekend amusement.
The 49er large fellows probably amused themselves this morning by enjoying a petite breakfast of a dozen eggs, a pound of bacon, 24 pancakes, and a half-gallon of orange juice. No syrup on the pancakes, our boys have to watch their weight.
20 years ago, the large fellows began the day eating nails, broken glass, and gophers, swilled down with an ampetamine laced quart of whiskey. The old wild and rugged NFL days.
The nineteenth century ended with the industrial age roaring over the landscape and the twentieth century ended with the binary age whisking soundlessly through aerospace. Our football lads now are biometric marvels and we fans are digitalized and wired in.
Fittingly, Candlestick Park will pass into history after this 2013 season, a 53 year old relic from an America that no longer exists. It doesn’t rank up there with the Fenways and Wrigglys of the world, but the old dame has had some glory in its time. This coming year will no doubt be filled with nostalgic and less than nostalgic retrospects of The Stick.
It would be sweet if this year’s team rose to the occasion and closed down the place with a rousing victory in the playoffs. Reality rarely lives up to fantasy, however, so a luck-out, fluke, referee-aided squeaker would suffice just as well. One thing that never changes with fans, we’re shameless. We’ll take a win however it comes.
The minicamp practices have concluded and the players won’t be in uniform again until Training Camp opens in six weeks.
The four non-contact spring practices produced two torn Achilles tendons and one blown ACL knee. Two of the injuries were to players who might not have made the team, but the third was to Michael Crabtree, our erstwhile Number One WR.
The guys who thunk up the Top 100 players list did not deem Crabtree worthy of inclusion, mightily miffing our broken player, but it’s hard to fault the exclusion. It took Crabs four years to learn how to get open in the NFL and reach the 1,000 yard marker for a season. Until last year, he’d been more famous for cryptic remarks and injuries than his dangerous receiving skills. Needless to say, he won’t be moving up the list this year, either.
In what can’t be described as particularly thrilling news, the WR who had the best practices this spring was Chad Hall, a twenty-seven year old, five foot eight journeyman with 4.56 speed. We may see a lot of running plays this year, and we might even prefer them for a change.
Jim Harbaugh said he’s happy with this team, but it’s hard to share his glee. Our WRs are worse than last year, our DBs are worse, and our run defense does not seem improved. But the 49ers have shored up the Special Teams unit that has played a significant role in putting an end to each of the past two seasons. Or have they? Punt returner Ted Ginn is gone, his backup Kyle Williams is coming off an ACL injury from last year, and the other candidates for the job are untested in a real game.
On the plus side, Harbaugh said QB Colin Kaepernick is a 1,000 times better than last year at this time. But Seattle HC Pete Carroll says his QB Russell Wilson is 1,000,000 times better. Not sure if it’s good or bad that Harbaugh is getting out-hyperbolized by the northwest blue menace and NFL home to PED Abuse, Inc.
For the nonce, as the players head out the door armed with the toxic mix of youth, fame, and money for six weeks of summer fun, I would feel remiss if I did not strenuously remind them: There is no vacation from a vocation.
The first day of minicamp produced a torrent of news that didn’t abate until the entire bottom of a thimble had been dampened. AJ Jenkins caught a difficult pass and Scott Tolzien tossed two to four interceptions, depending which beat reporter’s eye you trust most. And 4th string unfortunately named QB BJ Daniels juked Patrick Willis so bad that our star LB fell down in a heap of hideous ignominy.
In other news, Jim Harbaugh extended an olive branch to rival HC Pete Carroll by calling his Seahawk team a bunch of lying, cheating scumbags. Pete has yet to respond to this friendly overture.
Tim Tebow, the NFL’s version of cotton candy, continued to make news by signing a temporary contract, holding a press conference, and then disappearing deep into the Patriots’ depth chart, where he will inspire one and all with his enthusiastic, hard working ineptitude. Look for Tim to surface again on cut down day near the end of August as he holds a press conference to expound upon the wonders of his latest pink slip.
Chad “Formerly Cinco Uno” Johnson was heaved in jail for 30 days for trying to make funny in a courtroom. He succeeded, but the judge was not amused. As Cinco, Chad was repeatedly fined by the NFL for attempting to be fined by the NFL. As Just Plain Chad, Mr. Johnson might be joking himself straight into a life sentence for premeditated, unrelenting horseplay.
I got news for you Chad, it’s a mean, humorless world out here. If hanging were still legal, you’d see guys dangling from the street light arms every day. On your way to work, you could look up and go, “Hey, there’s Joe! Must have peed on his neighbor’s flowers one too many times.”
My sleeper pick for reality bites is Terrell Owens. He’s reported to be ready to accept the fact that nobody is interested any more in T.O., NFL football player. As he slips back into the ooze from whence he came, is anybody going to be surprised when he bubbles up from time to time in some sort of deep doodoo?
The 49ers will hold their three day minicamp this week, Tuesday through Thursday. The practices will be open to the public, as mandated by the league. Understandably miffed by this open door dictate, Jim Harbaugh will hold the practices 100 yards away from the nearest ogling spectator and behind a wall of big bodies strategically placed to obscure the view.
Presumably, this obscurance tactic was diagrammed by OC Greg Roman, in yet another instance of his fondness for bunched formations.
Nevertheless, we should get our first reports on the progress of Dashon Goldson’s replacement, Eric Reid, Delanie Walker’s replacement, Vance McDonald, and Michael Crabtree’s replacement, AJ Jenkins. These three players are key Trent Baalke draft picks who have to be successful if the good ship 49er wants to continue sailing boldly forward.
There’s no contact allowed in minicamps, so it’s hard to say what the trench boys will be doing. Glaring menacingly at each other, perhaps?
Might as well take a moment here to say hello to the NSA and welcome them to the blog. Feel free to get yourself a Gravatar and join in the fun, guys and gals. It’s probably against regulations to out yourself as a professional peeper, but no harm in being a friendly host. I hope. Be sure to let me know when hope is outlawed, so I can clear it out of my tool box. How’s the tuna fish sandwich today? Don’t get any crumbs on the keyboard.
Who am I kidding? I’m talking to a computer here. Hey, R2D2, flag me. Go ahead. Here, I’ll help you. WAR. TERROR. HATE. BOMBS. Hang on a second, guys, there’s a knocking at my door …
Whew. Just a Jehovah’s Witness duo. At least I think they were. Hmmmm.
I’m nostalgic for the good old days when you could picket the POTUS outside the hotel where he was staying, as I did when Tricky Dick was running America. It was fun imagining him up there in his room, cussing up a blue streak, sweating like a pig, and asking Haldeman if he could use Executive Privilege to napalm the demonstrators. The old hands-on mis-management style. Now it’s all just humming computer disks.
Thank GodAllah Something Bigger Than Us for football. Even the Gestapo Homeland Security guys like football. It’s an approved for America pastime. All hail the oblate spheroid icon. Go 49ers!
Recently, we’ve seen the Top 20 coaches of all time, the Top 100 players list, and the franchise Mt. Rushmore series dragged out over many weeks by Pro Football Talk. Here at the Outsider, we have two dogs circling a tree all week, squirting their wee-wee at each other. The poor tree is long since dead, but it doesn’t seem to matter.
For some reason, I’m reminded of the ants vs scorpion opening scenes of The Wild Bunch. Morbid fascination.
In a Top 10 Westerns of all time, The Wild Bunch would definitely be a contender. Along with The Magnificent Seven, Hombre, the original Monte Walsh, Open Range, and Dances With Wolves. Clint Eastwood almost has to have one of his movies on the list, but the only one two I can think of off the top that had interesting bad guys were Joe Kidd and Unforgiven. If you don’t have a great bad guy, you don’t have a great movie. Once Upon a Time in the West is a Sergio Leone classic, but Leone drags out too many scenes for my taste. I’m sure astute readers will remind me of some classics that don’t immediately come to mind right now. And Shane isn’t one of them. That’s not a western, it’s a soap opera with a wooden lead character.
The best western villains of all time is basically a two man contest between Richard Boone and Jack Palance. I’m going with Boone. Palance also played some good guys in his career, but Boone looked like a thug even when wearing the white hat in the beginning with his starring role in Have Gun, Will Travel.
Teddy Roosevelt doesn’t really belong up there on the cliffs with Washington, Jefferson, and Lincoln. For sheer historical importance, it’s the other Roosevelt that ought to be depicted. But he hadn’t yet come along when Ku Klux Klan member Gutzon Borglum first put his chisel to the granite in 1927.
As for the 49ers Mt. Rushmore, there’s just too many guys to whittle it down to just four. We’ll see what PFT does with it. You know Bill Walsh and Joe Montana will be up there, but then it gets murky. Some franchises were so laughably insignificant that it came close to having a waterboy fill in the fourth guy.
One 49er guy who won’t make it is Frank Gore, but if he has another 1,200 yard season, like he had in 2012, he’ll reach the 10,000 yards rushing milestone for his career. Not bad for a short guy who came out of college with two reconstructed knees. A truly great 49er. And a great guy, too.
The OTAs came and went last week, causing nary a ripple in the news stream of our lives. The 49ers have become a covert operation. We’re going to need a Deep Throat if we ever expect to get any intel out of these guys. Jim Harbaugh probably wishes all the games could be blacked out, too. But, his chance to coach the Raiders never materialized.
So, it should be an excruciating year for the Jimbo, as no less than five games this year will be prime time TV. Nearly one-third of the schedule cruelly exposed to the ENEMY. They’re out there. Everywhere. Peeping little fellows with notebooks, chalkboards, and iPads. STEALING OUR STUFF!
Hmmm. Or maybe the whole country takes one look at the nine guys bunched at the LOS and no WRs on the field and simply deduces: Frank Gore up the middle on this play. Maybe a little to the right, maybe a little to the left. But he’s gonna slam up in there.
I have to feel bad for the beat reporters. They’re used to having real data to stick into their daily posts. But nowadays, they’re just flogging trivial nonsense like we do here all the time. And the Outsider doesn’t even need Press Credentials. God forbid we get a report that AJ Jenkins was NOT WIDE OPEN during a practice!
So, not that it matters, but just to stay informed about what you’re missing, there’s a third three day OTA session beginning this very Monday. Good luck out there fellas, we’ll see you in Training Camp — maybe.
Let’s hope we don’t see them in a mug shot. So far this offseason, sixteen NFL players have been arrested for one thing or another. A couple of them cuffed more than once. Last year, there were 45 guys arrested, with Demarcus Dobbs and Aldon Smith among the detainees.
The Jets, naturally, had the most severe case of a disfunctional player — RB Mike Goodson. This big ol’ dude was signed this offseason to a 6.9 mil contract, then got arrested for gun and drug charges. In addition, he’s had multiple paternity lawsuits and been sued by a jewelry store for not paying a $56,000 bill, and been evicted twice for unpaid rent as well as failing to make car payments. You’re on a roll, Mike. Knock, knock. Anybody home in there? See you soon in Nowhereville. How did that 6.9 mil feel as it slipped through your fingers?
Anquan Boldin has been impressive in the OTA practices. A couple of the beat guys even said he looked like a true number one receiver. In seven years with the Cardinals and three with the Ravens, however, he was never the numero uno guy. In fact, he’s actually a tad slower than rookie TE Vance McDonald, who is considered a tad slow himself.
The secret to Boldin’s success is simple: he outmuscles the DB for the ball. With a fast WR, the DB can get help from the safety or the team can double cover him. But nobody’s going to double cover a slow WR. So Boldin is always covered by one DB, who can cover him good or bad, but still get beat for the ball. The 49ers tried to psyche him out in the Super Bowl by not covering him at all on a TD pass, but he managed to catch it anyway.
The 49ers have gotten superior QB play the past two years for pocket change QB money. This will be the last year they get away with that. They’ll have to sign Colin Kaepernick to a big contract next offseason or see him walk away after the 2014 season. That will probably bump some high salaried old timers off the team — like Frank Gore and Justin Smith.
LaMichael James added ten pounds over the winter and says he’s now much more explosive. Not sure how he would be able to measure that, but whatever. All an extra ten pounds ever did for me was make me loosen my belt a notch.
AJ Jenkins added ten pounds, too. This should make him wider when he’s wide open.
This should be a fun season to keep track of ex-49ers around the league. In the past, ex-49ers were marginal guys that were hard to keep track of while they were on the team, let alone after they were gone. Or a guy like David Baas, who didn’t endear himself to anyone during his tenure here. But this year, we’ve got some long time Niners out there, guys we liked, either trying to extend their careers or prove they are starter quality fellows. Isaac Sopoaga, Delanie Walker, Ricky Jean-Francois, Alex Smith, and Dashon Goldson, who’s trying to prove he’s got more money than you.
Everyone in the world is checking in with their advice to Michael Crabtree regarding his rehab from a broken Achilles tendon. Here’s the Outsider advice, Michael: don’t dance.
The second of three OTAs begins Tuesday and hopefully we will not hear anything newsworthy from this three day practice session. If there’s real news, it’s going to be bad. Otherwise, everyone is looking great and ready to have a big year. Last week, we lost 90 receptions and 1,100 yards of offense. Not a good start to the year.
Jim Harbaugh has listed Ricardo “Don’t call me Lucy” Lockette, AJ Jenkins, and Quinton Patton as the three WRs who will duel over the starting job left vacant by Michael Crabtree’s busted Achilles tendon. A first round draftee, a fourth round draftee, and a move around free agent. May the best man win. And may that best not be just the least stinky of three excrement piles.
Aldon Smith has so far not gotten into trouble this offseason, which is good non-news. He was on a treacherous roll there for awhile last year. Of course, he’s rehabbing a labrum injury, so maybe that has something to do with curtailing his youthful energy.
The 49ers have the makings of a pretty good team if there were a rehab league. Aldon, Justin Smith, Mario Manningham, Kyle Williams, Kendall Hunter, Tank Carradine, and Marcus Lattimore. We could throw Chris Culliver in there, though mental rehab probably doesn’t count unless he’s got the electro-shock treatment going on. We’ll have to check his hairdo first chance we get. See if he’s got some burnt edges.
Initial word out of camp is that much snickered upon FA Craig Dahl has looked pretty good back there in the not-Dashon Goldson spot. I admit I was one of the nose wrinklers when we signed this guy, but now that he’s wearing the spunky underdog label, it’s hard not to root for him. If he’s starting in game one, though, it means Trent Baalke has whiffed on two straight number one picks. Not good. On the plus side, if you’re a fan of the Scanners movie, we would likely see Dennis’ head explode on opening day, so that’s another reason to get the Craig Dahl Fan Club up and running. For some reason, exploding heads are almost as entertaining as a good fart in the wrong place.
It’s been a good news, bad news week — and in that order.
Tuesday, the 49ers new stadium in Santa Clara was selected to host the 50th Super Bowl, luring a world full of dorks and idiots with too much money to the Bay Area to behave like depraved scoundrels for a week or so, culminating with an actual football game which we all hope our beloved team will not only be playing in, but will also succeed in winning it. While the visitors are here, they’ll spill lots of dough into the pockets of local business people and keep the call girls quite busy.
The first SB was played in Los Angeles and it wasn’t even a sell out. My how times have changed. And they keep right on changing, much to the dismay of slow copers and past clingers everywhere. Next year, the draft will be moved back to May, instead of the end of April, dragging out the pre-draft, overmocked days another two weeks or so.
But the news that overshadowed this SB awardance was the torn Achilles WR Michael Crabtee managed to incur during Tuesday’s OTAs. The emerging star has already had surgery and will not be back until December or so. Just in time for the playoffs, perhaps. Or perhaps, by then, he’ll have lost his job and nobody will even remember he’s on the team. In the four years since Crabtree was drafted, he’s been sidelined by foot problems three times. Maybe the guy just has weak feet.
Seattle HC Pete Carroll took time out from running another of his shady operations to inform the world that his QB Russell Wilson was a million times more advanced this year. And we thought Jim Harbaugh was a hyperbole machine. Actually, if Wilson is no better than last year at all, it’s still a scary thought for the 49ers. This guy could break a lot of red and gold hearts over the next ten years.
The 49ers will be having OTAs this week, Tuesday through Thursday. It’s my duty to report these things, even if all of you could care less.
There was a time these spring practices were informative, even festive. But those days have moved to Kansas City.
So far this offseason, we’ve learned that AJ Jenkins is going to be wide open this year, Ricardo Lockette has the potential to be wide open this year, Eric Reid will not let anyone be wide open this year, the competition for second string quarterback is going to be wide open this year, and Patrick Willis’ fly is going to be wide open this year. Needless to say, the veracity of these learnings is wide open to interpretation.
One player who will not be joining the wide bandwagon is Anquan Boldin, who prefers to be narrow open. Sounds a little thin on savvy, but how can you knock a guy with an SB ring? At our expense, no less.
The race is on this year to be the first $20,000,000 quarterback to actually win a Super Bowl. Newly enshrined 20 millers Tony Romo and Joe Flacco will be joined by perennial overpaiders Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, and Drew Brees. Five of these fellows won SBs before they got too much money, but none has won since crossing the DOLLAR threshhold. Can anyone name the QB from above that got paid even though he hasn’t won a SB? Can anyone NOT name this party crasher?
The 49ers have once again reached the level where most of the teams they face are beaten as soon as the team comes out of the tunnel and onto the playing field. Unfortunately, they only play five games this year against these pre-shrunk opponents. The other eleven games will be, you guessed it, wide open affairs.
If the team goes .500 in the contested games, they’ll reach 10.5 victories this year. Good enough for a wild card ticket, but not likely good enough to win the NFC West.
Skeebers Skeeberton Skeebaroni, reporting for Wide World of Sports.
Last year, the 49ers returned all 22 starters on offense and defense. Ergo sumatra, there was no place for any of the 2012 rookies to squeeze into the starting lineup. That’s not the case this year. There are three vacancies on defense and one on offense.
2013 first round pick Eric Reid is either going to be the new starting Free Safety this year or be the subject of bust talk all year long. Free agent Glenn Dorsey is apparently the front runner to take over at Nose Tackle, with Ian Williams the expected backup.
The other defensive opening is the D-line rotation guy formerly represented by Ricky Jean-Francois. That position is a crap shoot encompassing the surprising and versatile Demarcus Dobbs, second round pick Tank Carradine who may not be ready by the season opener, fifth round pick Quinton Dial, discus thrower turned footballer Lawrence Okoye, and perennial roster fringer Will Tukuafu.
If the team keeps the normal six D-line guys, then only two of the above contestants can make the squad. If Carradine opens the year on the PUP list, three can make the team. And if we go with seven D-liners, only one contestant will be shown the door.
The 49ers went all last year with only one backup OLB guy, but that’s not likely to happen again. With Ahmad Brooks and Aldon Smith entrenched as the starters, there would appear to be two backup spots open for the taking. The contestants: a fading Parys Haralson, 2012 rookies who spent the year on IR Cam Johnson and Darius Fleming, and 2013 third round pick Corey Lemonier. Lemonier would have to be a mega-bust to not make the team, so the other three guys will have a dog fight for the last spot.
With Reid moving into Dashon Goldson’s old FS spot, the rest of the secondary seems likely to remain the same. Donte Whitner is the QB of the group at SS, Tarrell Brown was our best corner last year, and Carlos Rogers was the slot CB as well as the starter on the outside last year. Chris Culliver was the nickel back and played very well until his unfortunate melt down in the Super Bowl.
So why did we sign Nnamdi Asomugha? There’s no guaranteed money in his contract, so that isn’t a problem. But it doesn’t make sense to stifle Culliver’s young career. And Asomugha doesn’t play in the slot. The best he could do would be to oust Rogers as the starter, but who would then play in the slot? This is one camp battle that will be interesting to watch. In a hypothetical sense. In reality, none of these guys is a lock down corner and none of them can cover Percy Harvin. Or maybe Tavon Austin of the Rams.
The Bay Area is having a pretty good run right now. The Giants are World Champs, the 49ers came up five yards short of the title, the Warriors are amazing everyone with their spirited playoff run, the Sharks just might be for real this year, and even the Athletics are contenders. If this four sport excellence were occurring in New York, you know we’d be reading and hearing about it non stop.
Of course, there is one pro franchise in the area that you wouldn’t bring up at the dinner table. Al Davis has come and gone, but the Raiders still suck. Al’s right hand lady, Amy Trask, finally got off that train wreck over the weekend, leaving Al’s son Mark Davis in full control. Mark doesn’t have much of a Raider look to him, IMO. More like a wimpy goofball you’d find bent over a log squealing in Deliverance woods. My advice to Mark would be to get a new hair cut. As it is, he’s in the running with Donald Trump for worst hair-do in America.
It occurred to me the other day that maybe Raider fans don’t yet know Al’s dead. It’s not like these cretins read newspapers or internet blogs. They have to bring along a spelling tutor just to buy the right t-shirt.
The 49er rookies finished their minicamp Sunday, not that anyone paid much attention. Later this week, they’ll be introduced to the veterans on the team at the first OTA. We’ll see how they hold up against NFL players, rather than a gaggle of other rookies.
Everybody seems fascinated with how British discus throwing star Lawrence Okoye will perform as he gives football a jolly good try. The 49er O-line will provide some clues this next weekend. Is he going to throw people around like shot putter Michael Carter did, or just be another Michael Jordan baseball non-story.
As you can see, there’s not much happening these days. To my knowledge, no additional team stepped up over the weekend to say they don’t want Tim Tebow, although Roger Goodell gushed about what a fine fellow Tim is. It must be kind of weird being a guy people have to publicly insist they don’t want. I’ve had some unpopular moments in my life, but nothing remotely as grand a thumbs down as Tim is getting. Strange days.
It’s happened to all of us. We get up, struggle through a hard day, and at the end of it realize we didn’t accomplish anything. For many non-Outsiders this is simply a way of life. For some, that way is a useless job and for others it’s a useless brain. But it happens to one and all at one time or another. Spinning one’s wheels.
What does this have to do with the 49ers? Nothing. I just had to write something that justified the post title, which I promised one of my nieces I would do. Polishing the old uncle apple. [Ed note: He's lying. He stole the idea from her description of a typical day of travail in young motherhood.]
The closest the 49ers come to wheel spinning is the Sardine Can Offense they insist on running a ridiculous amount of the time. As noted by PFF Wednesday, Frank Gore led the league last year in percentage of carries when facing 8 men in the box. A whopping 42.3% of his carries, against a league average of only 23.3%. And the biggest reason was not Gore’s scary ability, but that the 49ers led the league with 53.5% of their rushing plays occurring with only one or none receivers split out wide. I.E: “Hey, other team, we’re running up the middle here! Let’s see how many bodies we can cram into a tiny little area!”
Why the 49ers get such a bang out of this cave man philosophy is a mystery no one in the blogorama has yet deciphered. Surely with an emergent Michael Crabtree joined by long time stalwart Anquan Boldin, plus a stable of young hot shot WRs, the 49ers will scale back dramatically on the SCO this coming year. Right?
Probably not. The curse of Mike Singletary lingers over the franchise.
The rookies will report for duty Friday morning. For three days, they’ll get introduced to the NFL. It was during this 3 day minicamp last year that first round pick, WR AJ Jenkins, discovered he was out of shape. And he never caught up, finishing the year as a zero catch disappointment.
AJ won’t be at this camp, but maybe he should be. HC Jim Harbaugh has already said more positive things about this year’s fourth round WR pick Quinton Patton than he said all last year about Jenkins. And Patton hasn’t even laced up his cleats yet.
The two draft picks that garnered the most approval from us fan types — DE Tank Carradine and RB Marcus Lattimore — won’t be practicing at all this weekend due to their injuries. Perhaps they can get some tips from Jenkins on how to pose on the sidelines in their street clothes.
One thing we won’t see from the sideline brigade this year is any of them wearing Wrangler jeans. With Levi’s tossing in $200 million for the naming rights to the new 49er stadium, there’s no way the team will allow some clever TV camera guy to zero in on a cowboy cut butt in back of the 49er bench. This friendly advice will no doubt be dispensed within the blarney of Jed York’s first team speech this year.
We’re half way through the offseason. And less than a week away from the resumption of football related activity. Rookie minicamp begins this Friday, May 10th, and lasts three days. A week and a half later, on May 21, the Organized Team Activities begin (or OTAs for you Insider Outsider Upsiders). There’s three of these OTAs: May 21-23, May 28-30, and June 3-6. And lastly, but not leastly, the final offseason practices occur on June 11-13. This last three day session is called a minicamp. The difference between a minicamp and an OTA, other than spelling, is a mystery of the universe that no man should admit knowing the answer to.
Now that I’ve ended the opening paragraph with a preposition, the Funk and Wagnalls secret police will probably show up at my doorstep with razor sharp BICs to gouge out my eyes. But in these days of “u r 2 f**ked 4 wrds bruh,” perhaps the F&W team has retired wearily to the senior citizen center, as Classical English goes the way of Classical Latin.
Before getting too excited about the upcoming practices, it’s pertinent to remember that this is the Jim Harbaugh regime and all of these events will be blacked out. Which means we won’t be hearing the beat reporters telling us “Top draft pick FS Eric Reid is getting burned so badly he’s already being called “Toast” by his teammates and making Craig Dahl look like a pro bowler in comparison.”
I suppose this keeps us from getting HYSTERICAL, leaving the hysteria booth open for Dennis to monopolize, but it still sucks.
Actually, regarding Reid, it doesn’t matter a whole lot whether he’s a solid FS when the season begins. The 49ers are back to being measured by how they fare in the postseason, not how they do in the regular season. Reid has 16 games to get used to the speed of the NFL and he’ll be schooled by the likes of Cam Newton, Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Matt Ryan, Russell Wilson, Sam Bradford, and Peyton Manning.
If he’s not shell shocked by the time the team reaches the playoffs, he should be able to hold his own. Besides, those QBs will most likely be looking for whom Donte Whitner is covering and throw to that WR, giving Reid a free ride.
I find myself liking our second 2nd round pick, TE Vance McDonald, before I’ve even seen him play. From descriptions by those who have watched him, he sounds like a Mark Bavaro – Russ Francis type of mugger. Vernon Davis has a clumsy elegance to him, but we need a big, bruising, blue collar head banger, too. Besides, now we’ll have VD and VMcD bracketing the big boys on the O-line. How can that not be lethal?
Trent Baalke’s drafts don’t tend to light a fire under the fan base that burns brightly for several weeks, accompanied by lots of gushing and slobbering. Just the opposite. Head scratching is more like it. With Baalke, you have to wait to see them play. And with last year’s number one pick, AJ Jenkins, we’re still waiting.
It’s amazing how many teams look like contenders after the FA period and the draft. It’s tough figuring out which of them still aren’t worth a crap.
For openers, in our own NFC West division, Arizona seems to be hands down POS #1. This is as close to a sure bet last place team as there is in the NFC. New AZ head coach, Bruce Arians, must have been really, really desperate to be an HC to have taken this job.
But, AZ won’t be the worst team in football. Those candidates are all in the AFC: Tennessee Titans, Cleveland Browns, Oakland Raiders, Buffalo Bills, Jacksonville Jaguars, and the New York Jets. You can practically write in the AFC playoff teams for next year: New England, Denver, Houston, Indianapolis, Cincinnati, and one other wild card team from the likes of Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Kansas City, and Miami.
The NFC is a different story. The weakest division might be the NFC East. But you’ve got the every-other-year Giants, the rising Redskins, the unknown Chip Kelly Eagles, and the fail-in-the-clutch Romoettes. The East Coast media will carry these lunkards on their backs all season long, whether they’re wheezing or not.
The NFC South looks like a fireworks display among Drew Brees, Cam Newton, and Matt Ryan, with a dogged defense-and-running-game contender in Tampa Bay. The Bucs were this year’s Free Agency Dream Team winners, with high-profile, big dollar, signings of Darrell Revis and Dashon Goldson. They still have Josh Freeman at QB, though, and that is not a good thing.
The NFC North is the Packers and whoever bubbles up this year among the Bears, Vikings, and Lions. Those three have traded second banana top billing the past three years and are going to make it a fourth. None of them are SB contenders and all of them are barely in the running to squeak into the wild card round of the playoffs.
But the NFC West is going to be a bruiser, folks. The early power polls are out, and Seattle and San Francisco are right up there on top of it. The place usually reserved for the Patriots and Packers. St. Louis isn’t ready to be an SB contender, but they went 4-1-1 in the division last year — a better mark than either SF or Seattle. They can compete with anyone.
All in all, the NFC looks like a dog fight this year. It’s hard to see any team launching a 14-2 or 13-3 type of season. There’s just too many good teams and most of them are playing each other. NFC South vs NFC West. The conference is liable to be decided in those games and they should be exciting.
The 49ers had three distinct areas of need (D-line, FS, and TE) going into the 2013 Draft and they addressed all three areas in the first two days. Whether the dresses added improve the comeliness of the product to the rude gaze of the vulgar multitude remains to be seen.
In Trent Baalke’s fourth draft, one thing has become clear: if he wants a player, he’s not afraid to trade up and get him. He traded up for Anthony Davis, Colin Kaepernick, and now FS Eric Reid and TE Vance McDonald. Baalke also likes to trade down, or for, picks in the next year’s draft, continually stockpiling ammo for the future.
For the record, here are the 49er picks, by round:
1 Reid, Eric FS 2 Carradine, Cornellius (Tank) DE 2 McDonald, Vance TE 3 Lemonier, Corey DE 4 Patton, Quinton WR 4 Lattimore, Marcus RB 5 Dial, Quinton DE 6 Moody, Nick OLB 7 Daniels, B.J. QB 7 Bykowski, Carter OT 7 Cooper, Marcus CB
Will these lads become Mighty Men, or squeak quietly off the stage and onward downward and into the sewers of life, outcasts from family and friends who have lost their dreams of a ride on the bling wagon of new cars and homes and babes and primo shit through a straw, doomed to a sad old tale in a bar: I coulda been a contender!.
Off the top, it looks like Demarcus Dobbs, Parys Haralson, Tony Jerod-Eddie and Will Tukuafu, plus 2012 picks Cam Johnson and Darius Fleming will all have a tough time staying on the roster this year. In addition, Ahmad Brooks might get pushed into Haralson’s old territory of being a two down player relieved of duty on passing downs.
First rounder Reid drew the most criticism over the weekend. Not so much from honking at his skills as sacrificing a third round pick to move up and get him. Carradine and Lattimore generated the most thumbs up.
Dallas owner Jerry Jones’ first round selection of a fourth round center would have gotten the most hoots at the draft if the pick were not so dangerously indicative of diminished capacity that ageistic insensitivity got called into play. Has the old reprobate entered the Alzheimer zone? You can’t laugh at these things [hahaha...whew!...hahaha].
The 49ers entered the draft with 13 picks and, as expected, did not use them all. They did make 11 selections, though, which would seem a high number for a club with few slots open. But three of the picks are lotto ticket 7th rounders and two will spend most, if not all, of 2013 rehabbing injuries. So the actual warm body contributors is more like six. That’s about right. In a few months, we’ll see how they do.
Let the drumroll begin. Sometime after 5:00pm tonight, we’ll find out if Trent Baalke is going to brazenly trade up into the prime real estate of the first round of the draft, or be content to stay put with pick 31.
The 49ers don’t have enough ammo to trade up much higher than 12th or 13th in the draft, so the first two hours of whoop-d-doo can largely be ignored. Unless you are a Mel Kiper fan, in which case, my condolences on your illness.
To get up that high in the draft, Baalke would have to surrender his 34th pick at the top of round two, leaving us no viewing pleasure until all the way down through the rest of first round and all the way to the bottom of round two on the second day of the draft. That’s a lot of dead air.
The team has opted not to provide a live video feed of their draft room this year, further entrenching themselves in their Masonic like shroud of secrecy. Apparently, they don’t want any of us yokels to see them grimace if a guy they wanted gets drafted by someone else. This allegedly occurred last year when Seattle took Bruce Irvin. The 49ers denied their interest in Irvin and Baalke even claimed to have written AJ Jenkins down on a paper sealed in an envelope the night before.
Pretty thin skinned, boys, if you ask me. Ye gads. Lighten up and give us loyal and passionate fans a little taste of fun once in awhile. It wouldn’t kill you.
At least we’ll finally have some new players to absorb into our bloodstream. So far this offseason, we’ve seen a 36 year old partial wide receiver replaced with a 32 year old possession WR, a 38 year old kicker replaced by another 38er, two solid D-line guys swapped out for a first round bust D-guy, and a pro bowl free safety exchanged for a camp fodder FS. Not much to salivate over.
Baalke could really twist our heads tonight by trading our entire draft for picks next year and in 2015, but that’s probably pushing my sulk meter a bit over the line. We’ve got 13 picks, but nobody thinks we’ll actually draft 13 guys. The trade winds are blowing. Let’s find out what our mystery man GM has in store for us tonight.
Draft week has finally arrived. But Draft day hasn’t. So, we’ll save our in depth one sentence draft coverage till Thursday.
What’s important today — or should I say tonight — is the awesome meteor shower that will supposedly turn the sky into the 4th of July tonight. As much as a hundred shooting stars per hour, is the word from the NASA type geeks. If you’re still sucking on the weed, this would be a terrific evening to roll out your best blunts.
For the religious minded among you, consider this evening a preview of the Apocalypse, when God rains fire down upon the earth.
For Jets and Browns fans, sorry, there’s no help for you. You’re doomed. Tonight is a good night to get out on the lawn and hope one of those meteors has your name on it.
For Rolando McClain fans — seriously, what were you thinking?! You’d be better off being a Craig Dahl fan.
Dahl will be glued to the first round of the draft this Thursday, that’s for sure. If the 49ers take a safety, he knows his shot at the starting job was nothing but a whiff of madness. If the 49ers don’t take a safety, he’ll be a happy guy and we fans will get a whiff of something quite different.
It’s been said and then passed around as a saying until it acquires saidness that the strength of this year’s draft is in rounds 2 and 3, not in round 1. If that’s true, it’s hard to see 49er GM Trent Baalke tossing away picks to move up to the middle of round 1. Especially having a 31-34 cluster to get two top talent guys. But I can see him tossing away late round picks to move up in rounds 2 and 3 for either more studs or particular targeted ones.
At any rate, we have, as you can see by the clock to the right, three days, and counting down, remaining in this year’s You Be The GM tournament. After that, we will become JUDGES!
The 2013 NFL schedule will be released tonight and we can finally put 2012 to rest and start figuring out what the hell will happen in the new season.
Jim Harbaugh will grab the schedule, caress it lovingly, and immediately start game planning for the first opponent next September. Maybe the second opponent, too. Maybe the whole damn season. Our coach. What a madman. If it wasn’t for football, Jim would be unemployable.
But we do have football, and next week we’ll get a bird’s eye peek into the 49ers’ draft room as Trent Baalke sits impassively at the head table, while Harbaugh sits to his right, wearing out a padded rocking chair and fidgeting around like a kid waiting for the recess bell. If I were a woman, I might call this scene “adorable.” Even hardened criminal type women use this word!
But adorable is not a word guys use very much, if ever. Guy words have to have some sort of grunt to them and adorable just doesn’t cut the mustard. If you have trouble remembering these things, here’s a 4 G tip: girls gush, guys grunt. That about sums up the entire history of communication between the sexes.
Marriage counselors hate this kind of inside poop, because if men and women knew how simple it was, they wouldn’t need counselors, who wouldn’t make money for themselves and the divorce lawyers who profit from the end results of their counselations. What a racket!
Anyway, the next time you find yourself a victim of female agushion and are avoiding a domestic abuse response by storming out of the house and screaming silently: “WTF!”, just remember the 4 G’s and walk back inside with a smile on your face and a grunt in your heart. It’s a winner. Of course, you could try cultivating being a nice guy with an occasional adorable tossed in, but it’s a lot of work and not much fun. Ask Tony Dungy if he’s having any fun and you’ll see his face go blank and his eyes start searching the ceiling for clues. Take your pick, though, it’s your life. You can ruin it anyway you want.
The Draft begins one week from today and, as noted yesterday, Baalke started off the obligatory pre-draft presser by assuring the beat reporters he wouldn’t be giving them any straight answers. The reporters could have simply gone, “Okay, see ya!”, and left the room, but they didn’t. They went ahead and asked questions that wouldn’t be answered honestly.
How adorable is that?!
Among the curved, or crooked to you tin foil hat types, answers Baalke foisted off was that the 49ers wouldn’t necessarily draft a safety. This isn’t actually a lie, strangely enough, since there really aren’t any alternatives to maybe we will and maybe we won’t. This Baalke guy is getting pretty good at his job.
Poking around the internet through the various mock drafts, it appears the consensus first round pick the 49ers are expected to make is FS Eric Reid. Or Alabama DT Jesse Williams. Or LSU SS Matt Elam, or S Jonathan Cyprien of Florida International, or TE Zach Ertz of Stanford, or TE Tyler Eifert from Notre Dame, or North Carolina DT Sylvester Williams, or SMU DE Margus Hunt, or UCLA DE Datone Jones.
How helpful. It appears the Mocksperts are aware that the 49ers have lost TE Delanie Walker, FS Dashon Goldson, and DTs Isaac Sopoaga and Ricky Jean-Francois. Knowing Trent Baalke like we do, however, it’s an even better bet you can cross all the above specimens off your list of guys we’ll draft at number one.
Picking next to last in the first round is probably as much about seeing who falls in your lap as it is about targeting a particular player. Baalke said last year he knew he would draft AJ Jenkins the night before the draft. He claimed to have written it down on a piece of paper. I don’t recall this paper ever being trotted forth in evidence, duly notarized, however. We can take him at his word. Or not.
Donte Whitner says the 49ers have the NFL’s best defense. This must be a quote from Whitner’s doctoral thesis in Jim Harbaugh’s School of Hyperbole. Still, this is not a good time to be telling 49er fans how good their team’s defense is and Whitner is the last guy on said defense that should be mouthing off about its excellence.
It’s widely assumed the 49ers will draft a Free Safety to eventually replace the departed Goldson, but the team already has a young guy who can move to FS. Harbaugh has said there are no plans at present to move Chris Culliver to this spot, but three factors mitigate this sentiment. One, Harbaugh is a known dissembler. Two, “at present” was during the offseason, not Training Camp. And three, Craig Dahl’s a mentor, not a solution. If we wanted a FS who could actually play, we’d have signed Charles Woodson. You could throw in four, the signing of CB Nnamdi Asomugha, who would bump Culliver down the DB chart if he makes the team and why would we want to stall a young guy’s career in favor of an old guy filling in for a year or two?
Of course, Trent Baalke has no qualms about other teams thinking he’ll be drafting a FS. Cultivating wrong information in opponent draft rooms is a GM’s bread and butter.
At any rate, I’ve convinced myself of this theory, if not any of you. No FS on our draft board. Unless you’re Eric Berry or Earl Thomas, free safeties spend their rookie year getting burnt. The 49ers don’t have time for that crap. We already got enough toast in the secondary — are you getting my drift Whitner? As a matter of fact, I’m putting Strong Safety on our draft board. You’re on the clock, Donte.
The offseason has been kind of a clunker so far. No oomph, no passion, no blockbuster deals — not much more than recycling some warm bodies. And coping with Super Bowl Loser syndrome.
The Draft is two weeks off. Maybe that will juice things up. The team wasn’t good enough last year and, on paper, it’s less good now. So juice is definitely called for.
Juicing things up was way much more easier thirty years ago, when youth was still on my side. There was drugs, enormous quantities of booze, criminal activity, lecherous shenanigans, and most of all the illusion of self-importance, the grandness of one’s own being.
I was on the back deck this morning, staring up into the dark, clear sky at the huge constellation Scorpius, just above the southern horizon. Somehow I got to wondering what particular guy in history was the first to nudge his fellow man and say, “Hey, Hairball, those stars look like a scorpion!”
Whoever it was, he died without proper historical credit. It was probably sometime in antiquity around when the ancient astronauts popped down to earth for some R&R and got the idea that injecting a cognitive virus into a couple of monkeys would screw this wonderful planet up in a hurry. Cosmic pranksters.
Now, many years later, we’re sitting here fondling the valium bottle over the idea of Craig Dahl becoming the starting FS for the team next year. In fairness to Dahl, he might not be the worst safety in the league, but it’s close. And while the 49ers are signing the White Dahlia, the Seahawks are signing guys like Percy Harvin, one of the most dangerous offensive talents in the league. And a guy the 49ers have never been able to defend against.
I don’t want to put too much pressure on Trent Baalke, but he better get this draft right. The 49er offense seems good to go for many years, but the defense needs some fresh meat. Prime meat.
Vic Fangio could be on the hot seat this year, too. His track record as a DC is not very reassuring. His defenses have started good and gotten worse every place he’s been. They got worse in a hurry during last year’s playoffs. Maybe it was the injuries, and maybe not.
Right now, it feels like 2013 will be a re-group year. After 18 long years, we finally made it back to the SB last year, then we blew the damn game. It’s going to take awhile to shake off that failure.
Trent Baalke drafted well in 2010 and 2011, getting immediate contributions from players in both drafts, even Pro Bowl performances from four of them. But 2012 was a different story. That draft came within a LaMichael James of being a complete whiff.
Of course, that’s only the verdict after year one. It’s still possible that AJ Jenkins will catch an NFL pass before his four year contract expires. And that Joe Looney, Darius Fleming, Trenton Robinson, and Cam Johnson will actually wear a uniform on a real NFL game day. Robinson might have slipped one on last year in the first game or two, but it was a fleeting fashion show. Jason Slowey is currently out of the league, so it’s probably a safe bet he won’t be making any contribution now or in the future.
If Baalke had put up that kind of showing in his initial year of 2010, that nationwide search for a 49er GM would probably at least have gotten out of Santa Clara, if not all the way beyond the borders of California.
The 49ers have enough ammunition to move up to 15th in the first round, one spot ahead of the Rams, should they really like a player at that draft slot. But it has to be appealing getting two guys at 31 and 34, and using the ammo to move up in later rounds, where the price for ammo is a lot less expensive.
The concussion lawsuit against the NFL took a credibility hit recently, as a couple of guys who were members of the suit decided to resume playing in the NFL despite their claims of debilitating injuries which impaired their normal lives, let alone their NFL lives. Obviously, these players were either straight out liars and greed heads concerning their injuries, or their brains really are so severely ruined that they are now attempting legal suicide by resuming their careers. Perhaps Jim Harbaugh can get Judge Judy to weigh in on the matter.
One guy who’s not currently a member of the class action lawsuit, but perhaps should be, is our very own special teams guy Tavares Gooden. He’s currently a free agent and has adopted the curious strategy of announcing his retirement while also looking for a team to sign him up for next year. This does not appear to be the action of a guy whose brain has passed its smog test.
1 Reid, Eric FS
2 Carradine, Tank DE
2 McDonald, Vance TE
3 Lemonier, Corey DE
4 Patton, Quinton WR
4 Lattimore, Marcus RB
5 Dial, Quinton DE
6 Moody, Nick OLB
7 Daniels, B.J. QB
7 Bykowski, Carter OT
7 Cooper, Marcus CB
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