For What It’s Worth

There’s something happening here
What it is ain’t exactly clear
There’s a man with a gun over there
Telling me I got to beware
I think it’s time we stop, children, what’s that sound
Everybody look what’s going down

There’s battle lines being drawn
Nobody’s right if everybody’s wrong
Young people speaking their minds
Getting so much resistance from behind
It’s time we stop, hey, what’s that sound
Everybody look what’s going down

What a field-day for the heat
A thousand people in the street
Singing songs and carrying signs
Mostly say, hooray for our side
It’s s time we stop, hey, what’s that sound
Everybody look what’s going down

Paranoia strikes deep
Into your life it will creep
It starts when you’re always afraid
You step out of line, the man come and take you away
We better stop, hey, what’s that sound
Everybody look what’s going down

– Buffalo Springfield

It’s getting harder and harder to squeeze sports into the news cycle these days. Comedy isn’t faring too well, either.

It is a bit bizarre, though, when you see citizens obedient enough to wear COVID masks while ignoring social distancing to commit thievery, assault, and arson. These interludes of mob insanity are beginning to make the future look more like Blade Runner than Star Trek’s gentlemanly United Federation of Planets.

June should be a pivotal month for the sports world. The country is gradually opening up again and if the past few days of close encounters of the weird kind don’t spark a spike in COVID cases, we should soon see just what kind of football season we’ll have this Fall. Full stadiums, partial crowds, or no crowds at all.

As an old guy who can’t get around much anymore, and have no desire to, TV sports is vital to my shrinking world. So I don’t care if there are empty stadiums, as long as the games are being played and broadcast. The crazy people who inhabit stadiums and seem to fascinate the camera boys only urge me, however whimsically, to perhaps take up praying for lost souls. I can definitely live without them crowding into  the spotlight of an otherwise entertaining game.

You’ll notice, hopefully, that for purposes of this blog I’m not assigning blame for recent events to democrats, republicans, Trump, ANTIFA, white supremacists or any of the other theories polluting Twitter these days. Just the individual goofballs and reprobates and the actions they have been filmed doing.

Not that that disclaimer will keep the door to Pandora’s Box closed, but it’s at least worth a shot.

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Posted in Existential Elbows

Eras Come, Eras Go

The retirement of Joe Staley closed the books on all the players drafted from the Mike Nolan/Scot McCloughan era. In fact, only two players from those years are still on NFL rosters – Alex Smith and Frank Gore. If Michael Crabtree finds a team sometime this season, it will be a threesome of pre-2010 49er players still employed.

The longest tenured 49er now is, oddly enough, Jimmie Ward. From  the 2014 draft class.

Looking at the current roster, there are only three, maybe four guys whom you might expect to still be here ten years from now. Jimmy Garoppolo, George Kittle, Mike McGlinchey, and maybe Nick Bosa. Although the ferocious way Kittle plays might preclude him from having a very long career. Fred Warner might also be a candidate, but linebackers don’t usually have long careers, either.

At least the franchise finally has the QB situation resolved. For twenty years, they had Joe Montana and Steve Young, then a couple years of serviceable play by Jeff Garcia, followed by fifteen years of trotting out one failed candidate after another. You can’t necessarily win a lot of SBs with an elite QB, but having one guarantees your team is at least in the mix each year (see Dan Marino: 0 SBs, 10  playoffs).

Of course this flies in the face of Jed York‘s professed disdain for anything other than SB wins, but it’s possible he’s shelved his arrogance after five years of self-inflicted pitiful teams. At least he’s been quiet lately, so perhaps he’s learned his lesson.

Another new era of players for all of us to form attachments to. Either good or bad.

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Posted in Vacant Observations

Luck of the Draw

It looks like everyone pretty much agrees that, barring any weird shit, the 49ers will once again be contenders this year.

In the NFC, the list of possible contenders is not daunting. There’s the Eagles and Cowboys, Bucs and Saints, Vikings and Packers, and the NFC West. That’s ten teams fighting for the seven available slots. Though it might be overly charitable to include the Rams in this mix.

The teams they’ll have trouble with are the Saints, Cardinals, and (once again) the Seahawks. Maybe the Bucs, if Brady doesn’t get squashed and their defense isn’t near the bottom, like it was last year. At least Brady will finally have to play in a competitive division for the first time in his career.

Of course, this rosy picture depends on one or both first round picks getting their NFL legs as early as possible. DT Javon Kinlaw and WR Brandon Aiyuk. If Kinlaw struggles early, the defense will too, and if Aiyuk struggles, the offense will need the return to health of Trent Taylor and Jalen Hurd or, pinch me if I’m  dreaming, Dante Pettis suddenly springs to life and escapes the notion that he’s a complete and total bust.

All of which makes the early season schedule fairly important. Last year’s first half games were far less challenging than the second half games. The Niners will need that kind of luck again if they want to get out of the gate quickly and avoid playing catch up all year.

We’ll find out later today when the league releases the 2020 schedule.

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Posted in FOS Speculation

Virtually the Same

Well, that was a pretty weird draft for the 49ers. Fairly effective overall, but decidedly lacking in fan appeal.

There’s an old saying that if you aren’t getting better, you’re getting worse. In the Niner’s case, however, staying pretty much the same could be considered a triumph, I suppose.

The team lost Joe Staley, Emmanuel Sanders, and Deforest Buckner, but replaced them with Trent Williams, Brandon Aiyuk, and Javon Kinlaw. Net gain: salary cap relief. Net loss: TBD. They also traded Matt Breida and Marquise Goodwin, but neither player figured in their plans this coming year.

How everything plays out from here is anybody’s guess right now. My own belief is there will be a football season this year. The Niner FO certainly needs to act like that will be the case, which means we will, too.

As  Grumpy stated, this coming season will not be the golden ride last year’s was. With the new playoff format, the NFC West is unlikely to produce the number one seed this year, the only seed that earns a BYE week. The division competition will take its toll  on all four teams. No  team  in the NFC East is good enough to finish number one, either. Which leaves the North and South for the likely top dog.

As for now, we officially enter the Limbo Zone. No OTAs, no minicamp, no idea when the NFL will resume.

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Posted in Draft Reaction

Seven Days to the Clock

One of the enduring screen shots of the Super Bowl was John Lynch frantically signaling for a Time Out from his sky box while down on the field Kyle Shanahan calmly let the clock run out shortly before halftime, even though there was plenty of time left to mount a drive and maybe pick up some points before heading to the locker room.

Shanahan explained his reasoning after the game, and it made sense – sort of. But it didn’t hide the fact that the coach signaled to his team a lack of confidence in them, both the offense’s ability to move the ball and the defense’s ability to stop KC if the drive failed.

This moment probably did not cost the 49ers a win, but it was a timid, non-aggressive move. And KC coach Andy Reid coached his team just the opposite. He went for it every time there was a situation available.

Next week, it will be Shanahan’s turn to sit in the spectator seat and watch Lynch calling the plays on Draft day. I suspect Lynch won’t be timid.

For you homemaker types, we should see a whole bunch of elaborate garage and basement decor, which is where the various GMs will be setting up shop for this draft. They won’t resemble the garages and basements most of us are familiar with, which would feature boxes and boxes of precious junk, rusty tools, broken bicycles and toys, lawnmowers, grease and old car parts …

At any rate, it’s hard to go wrong with the 13th pick in the Draft, unless your GM is an idiot or the player gets in a car wreck and breaks his back. We’ll just have to trust that Lynch isn’t the former and the football gods don’t conjure up the latter.

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Posted in Draft Board
2020 Schedule
9-13: AZ
9-20: @ NYJ
9-27: @ NYG

10-4: PHI (SNF)
10-11: MIA
10-18: LA RAMS (SNF)
10-25: @ NE

11-1: @ SEA
11-5: GB (TNF)
11-15: @ NO

BYE

11-29: @LAR

12-7: BUF (MNF)
12-13: WAS
12-20: @ DAL (SNF)
12-26: or 27 @ AZ

1-3: SEA

2020 Draft Class
1. DT Javon Kinlaw, South Carolina
1. WR Brandon Aiyuk, Arizona State
5. OL Colton McKivitz, West Virginia
6. TE Charlie Woerner, Georgia
7. WR Jauan Jennings, Tennessee
 
2019 Prognostications

Closest to the Pin:
   Bakkentom: 10-6
   Bullit: 10-6

Grumpy: 9-7
Skeebers: 8-8
Mr Fletch: 7-9
NJ49er: 7-9
Winder: 7-9

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