The blogs have been around for only about five years or so and this will be the first 49er offseason of that era which features a winning team and organization as its subject matter. Uncharted waters.
And calm waters, versus troubled. Troubled waters call for a lot of screaming and yelling on the decks as the crew attempts to stay afloat on the NFL ocean. Calm waters would seem to indicate a lot of staring peacefully out to sea, sunning on the poop-de-doo deck, and lots of yo ho ho and a bottle of rum. Nice, but possibly boring.
Thank god for Alex Smith!
Early returns from the offseason chatter indicate Alex (as usual) will be topic number one, with Michael Crabtree occupying a distant number two spot. At least until Free Agency begins on March 13th.
Some old standbys from recent years will not be appearing, though. “York is a dork” and the “franchise is a laughingstock” and “we need a real GM” have pretty much been erased by 13-3, NFC West champions, a scheduled ground-breaking on a new stadium, and an epic win over the Saints in the playoffs. So long, punching bags. Have fun in Maui!
Between the blogs and the O-lines, Alex has absorbed more punishment than all three Ali vs Frazier fights combined. His psyche should have caulifower neurons.
Still, there has been a dramatic shift in abuse from previous years. Alex is no longer a guy who is nothing but a second stringer, and no longer a guy who will get benched after six games, and no longer a guy who will NEVER take his team to the playoffs, and no longer a guy who will NEVER win a playoff game. No, those assurances by Bloggers Who Know, Inc. have been replaced by Alex Will Never Win A Superbowl! One blogger, whom I will not name out of respect for NoFear’s privacy, even suggests the bar of Alex acceptance should be He Will Never Win TWO SBs.
My, my, my. How far we’ve come in Year One of the Harbaugh era.
Year Two has already been anointed as a We Won’t Be As Good year. The early Vegas lines seem to think so. The Niners are only around the tenth favorite to make it to the SB. Last year, Vegas had them at about the 27th least likely to get there. Again, My, my, my, how far …
Still, some things don’t change. Last year, Harbaugh was stupid to re-sign Smith and this year he’s expected to be stupid again. Hmmm. Give me some of that old time stupid!
The real question of the offseason, IMHO, is whether Trent Baalke can repeat or even approach his near flawless efforts of 2011. His FA signings were sensational contributors and his draft produced FOUR major first year contributors. Plus a talented QB to groom for the future. It will be tough to replicate that golden touch. Especially from the bottom of each and every draft round.
The first solid inkling is that we are not seeing Trent hamming it up at Pebble Beach this week or spotted at a local bar slugging down tequila. In fact, he is not visible at all. We shall surmise he is hard at work attempting to stay off the front pages of the blogs and back on page six, where the real news is carefully hidden.