Brian Westbrook appeared in the 49er backfield at Thursday’s practice, paired with Frank Gore. It’s possible this was a sop to the fans who were attending the last open practice of Training Camp, a sort of “look what we got here, folks” deal, but more likely it is a real sign that Westbrook will be more than just insurance against a Gore injury.
As a 49er fan, Westbrook is one of those guys I hated to see us have to play against. Dave Meggett was another, as well as Marshall Faulk. These guys are defense deflaters, always sneaky farting around and through on third downs and weaseling out a first down just about the time you thought your defense had shut the door and was on the verge of trotting off the field. The kind of player that makes you throw your headset on the ground or your beer at the TV screen. A guy who always manages to be standing somewhere wide open for an easy pass and skedaddle. A true chain mover.
His signing produced a rarity in the blogosphere — pretty much universal approval. It’s wily old vets like him that can sometimes be just the thing to kick-start a young group of players that are trying to get over the fence that separates nobodies from somebodies. On into the magic land of Swagger.
Westbrook brings more than just his skills, which have no doubt declined somewhat over the years. He brings a Scary Rep. A guy that causes opposing defenses to start pointing at each other and doing the “It’s him. It’s Brian Westbrook. Shit!” type of pre-snap nervous dance. The Niners do not have anybody who creates that sort of sweat — yet. The team is still a young, hard working group that is gathering respect in the league, but not yet fear.
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Practices keep toddling along these days, with fewer and fewer guys padding up, and more and more resting up. The team is set for the opener and the final roster spots are about the only drama left in camp. Still up for grabs are the 4th OLB, 5th CB, the backup OL pecking order, 7th D-line guy, 5th WR, 3rd TE, and 5th ILB. Not a lot of hot blogger’s material in these team depth battles.
No, the momentum on the blogosphere has shifted now that there is an actual game in the books to completely beat to death until the next game comes along. And they will be coming along weekly now, all the way to January and hopefully beyond.
The blogosphere has its own rhythm, much like the team’s, with a one day lag time. Monday is the bloggers’ game day, full of adrenalin, hysteria, euphoria, mayhem, exasperation, bloody noses, fingers in the eye, etc. Tuesday the list of complaints/observations from Sunday’s game get winnowed down to what will become the blogs’ main topics of argument for the coming week — the game plan installation. Wednesday through Friday, it’s the Optimists vs the Pessimists Debate.
The upcoming game against the Raiders Minnesota has more than the usual drama for a second exhibition game. It’s the Battle of the Bay and braggers rights are at stake, as well as a mini-preview of the real game that will happen later this year return of the worst memory from last season, the dreaded and haunting Bret Farve miracle pass, as well as one last wrenching memory of Mark Roman’s ill-fated tenure as a Niner. It’s also the debut of Nate Davis as possible second string QB. Next week promises to be quite entertaining and lively on the blogosphere. It’s definitely feeling like the football season is finally getting under way.