The retirement of Patrick Willis on Monday was a big shock to 49er fans, but everything else this week has played out like expected. Anyone who could leave town, did. The team was unable to re-sign any of their free agents, except 2nd string QB Blaine Gabbert.
One of the lone bright spots this week was luring speed receiver Torrey Smith to re-join his Baltimore fellow WR, Anquan Boldin. Why Smith would exchange playing for one of the best deep ball QBs in the league, Joe Flacco, to play for an imploding team with one of the most erratic deep heavers, Colin Kaepernick, is a mystery explained only by mucho dollar signs.
Boldin claimed credit for helping recruit Smith, showing that the old veteran is no dummy. With Smith around to draw double coverage, Boldin will be singled covered all year.
Thank goodness we have an outstanding coaching staff to row the boat through these troubled waters. A QB coach who was out of the league for three years, an OC who last ran an offense fifteen years ago, a DC who last ran a defense ten years ago, an HC who’s never been anything more than a D-line coach, and a D-line coach replacement who was a scout last year. Are you guys feeling the tingle of excitement here?
Despite the mass exodus of players and coaches, the Niners still have a team good enough to beat somebody in the NFL. Seriously. All they need is a RB, LG, RDE, LDE, an ILB, a CB or two, and some leadership. An accurate passer might help, too, but let’s not be greedy. It’s definitely not going to be the roster we’ve all gotten familiar with over the past five years. More like the new coaching staff — a patchwork quilt. The coaches have to learn to work together, and so do the players.
Still, not to sound heretical, but this might be a good year to cultivate a secondary NFL rooting interest, just in case the 49ers fall out of contention by, oh say, October. Frank Gore and the Colts is a solid choice — and an SB contender, no less. Who wouldn’t like to see Gore get a ring?