The NFC West has one team that knows it will be in the playoffs, one team that assumes it will make the playoffs, and one team that hopes to make the playoffs. And one team that will be wildly enthusiastic if it goes 8-8 this year.
Of course, the average Joe “in season” Fan has no idea that Jed York and Trent Baalke will be ecstatic with an 8-8 record. They think the 49ers are still a big time team about to go on another SB run.
The beginning of a new NFL season has been pretty exciting the past four years. It seemed exciting in 2010, too, the year this blog began. Mike Singletary‘s 2009 squad had finished 8-8, the first non-losing season in seven years. The team was bragging about how good it was, the blogs were arguing about the pros and cons of the nutcracker drill.
Then the team opened the season in Seattle and got thoroughly trashed. After the game, Singletary began his season long slide into dumbfounded cluelessness by thanking Pete Carroll for waxing his butt. Can Jim Tomsula top Singletary for sweaty incompetence at the press conference podium?
At any rate, Training Camp opens at the end of next week and we will begin the “Not Harbaugh Era.” Calling it the “Tomsula Era” would be laughable, since Jimmy T. won’t be around long enough to qualify as an “era.” More like a lost year. Or worse — two. The NHE, however, could very well last for quite some time. Longer than the Pre Harbaugh Era? It’s possible, folks. Highly possible.
Speaking of eras, the McCloughan Era brought in a Super Bowl quality team. It was officially dismantled this past offseason, so it’s time to start chronicling the Baalke Era input.
The current roster has six starters brought in during Baalke’s six drafts: NaVorro Bowman, Aldon Smith, Colin Kaepernick, Daniel Kilgore, Eric Reid, and Carlos Hyde. We might also see five more become starters this year: Aaron Lynch, Marcus Martin, Quinton Dial, Brandon Thomas, and maybe Dontae Johnson or Keith Reaser, plus UDFA Ian Williams.
Are these guys a Super Bowl quality nucleus?