The long offseason is finally, mercifully concluded. The lads have put on the pads and now get down to the business of impressing a skeptical fan base.
To do that, for starters, they’ll need to clean up their act in the NFC West. They finished 1-5 last year and 1-5 the year before that. At the very least, they need to go 4-2. A sweep of the Cardinals and a split with the Rams and Seahawks. Then they need at least a 6-4 mark against the rest of the league.
Easy peasy. And the 49ers will have returned to the upper level of the NFL and the warm recesses of our thumping fanly hearts.
But, if the 49ers fail to accomplish both tasks, they will have to be considered a disappointment. The “faith” will not have returned to the “faithful.” And the hot seat will be placed under Kyle Shanahan come January.
If they accomplish one of the tasks, they’ll be seen by the dreaded faint praise as a team “making progress.”
Which of the tasks would be more progressful than the other? It would have to be 4-2 in the division. You can’t get anywhere in this league if you can’t control your own division.
Any way you look at it, the days of gaining sustenance from hard fought losses and scrappy defeats are long past their due date. It’s time for Shanahan and the team to prove their worth on the field.