Most of them, anyway. Some. Okay, just the rookies and a few vets.
But it’s once again “What have you done for me lately?” time. Last season? Old news.
The team’s veterans won’t be reporting until Thursday, with the first full team practice scheduled for Friday. We dedicated bloglodytes will be watching closely to see if Dashon Goldson shows up for work or decides to engage in a foolish, selfish, sickening, repugnant, infantile, criminal hold out. The Outsider will reserve judgment until said Thursday deadline, assuming this dumb, preening, arrogant, greedy, overinflated numbskull will accidentally do the right thing and get the hell in here on time.
The 49ers will enter training camp viewed by most as one of the top five teams in the league. Football Outsiders (no relation to 49ers Outsider) has them pegged for around seven wins this year, courtesy of their million simulation robotoids, which is enough to dissuade youngsters from choosing math or statistics as a career choice. When your formulas result in cartoonish results, it’s time to rework the model — or discard the whole silly hypothesis.
The 49er defense made believers out of the entire league in 2011, but no such acclaim redounded to the 49ers QB, Alex Smith. Pro Football Talk calls him the “weak link on offense,” while Football Outsiders views his 2011 effectiveness as unsustainable. IOW, last year was a fluke, carefully orchestrated by Jim Harbaugh, and Smith is not a QB on the rise, as his statistics suggest, but a mediocre talent, as his reputation insists.
The NFL schedule makers certainly are curious to evaluate Smith and the team. They have the 49ers facing Green Bay and Detroit to open the season with a challenging bang. The Detroit game is a prime time Sunday nighter, proving that a handshake still carries a lot of weight. But the fact that this game made prime time, rather than the more significant Green Bay game, shows the NFL still knows a good feud is more marketable than a good game.
There’s no denying the importance of these two games, though. We fans will get a crash course in just how much better, if any, the offense is compared to last year. We were in the same position in 2010, hoping to see a much more sophisticated offense in the second year of the Mike Singletary/Jimmy Raye reign of error. Alas, the offense trundled out the same grunt look as the first year, and the team went 0-2 on its way to 0-6, sucking the life out of the season before the team even reached the bye week.
Almost nobody thinks Jim Harbaugh/Greg Roman will duplicate their predecessors ineptitude, but there’s no denying an 0-2 start would send shivers through the fan base. Even a 2-0 start, if achieved mostly by defense and special teams, would cause unrest and a smidgeon of doubt.
Let’s face it, the 49er offense has been kind of an embarrassment for quite some time now. This is a franchise with a long history of potent offenses. This is the season fans hope to finally see something scary happening when the 49ers have the ball. And I do mean good scary, not cover your eyes scary.