Good News, Bad News

I suppose it’s time to crack open the door to the 2018 offseason. When we last viewed the 49ers, they were in the process of beating three playoff teams to close out the year on a five game winning streak.

All three of those teams had very little to play for, so the wins have an iffy nature to them. The first two wins of the streak were squeakers over the awful Bears and Texans.

Nevertheless, however you want to view the validity of these five games, it’s most certainly clear the 1-10 team that preceded them would not have won all five, or maybe even one or two.

Can one player drag an otherwise mediocre team to a Super Bowl? In this watered-down era of the NFL, maybe so.

At any rate, for the next seven months, Jimmy Garoppolo fever will be inflaming the hearts of 49er fans all over the country. And perhaps making the Seahawks, Rams, and Cardinals extremely sweaty.

If the Cardinals manage to land a decent QB this offseason, the NFC West will be a roaringly competitive division next year.

One thing’s for sure: Over the next seven months, Garoppolo will become the most hyped player in franchise history.

That’s the good news, of sorts. The bad news is the team may have to outscore everyone to have a winning season. The defense took a major hit over the weekend with the second arrest in a month for budding star linebacker Reuben Foster. The first arrest was for possession of weed. The latest, which occurred Sunday, was for domestic violence and possession of an assault rifle. He also failed a drug test at last year’s combine. He’s likely looking at a six to eight week suspension at the least for the 2018 season and an offender in both substance abuse and personal conduct.

Last year, CB Tramaine Brock got a DV arrest and was released within 24 hours. We’ll see today whether the 49ers reveal a double standard for star players versus expendable players like Brock. GM John Lynch could accuse himself of overreacting with Brock, since Brock’s charges were ultimately dismissed and he was also cleared by the NFL, thus enabling Lynch to take a wait and see approach with Foster.

On the silver lining side of things, at least Foster screwed up now, when the Niners have time to find a replacement in the draft or free agency, and not next summer, when they’d be SOL.



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Posted in Vacant Observations

As the Alex Turns

The first week of the 2018 offseason has passed quietly into history, taking with it all the nothingness of its existence. Although, to be fair, 1,063,462 persons around the globe croaked last week, so perhaps the week has significance to those who knew these departed souls. Or, in the case of Hell, perhaps the week was the last semi-pleasant moments for the bad apples for the rest of eternity.

Harsh stuff, this bad appling business. Somebody should warn Jed York before it’s too late. Or maybe not.

Alex Smith is back in the NFC, traded to Washington on Tuesday night. In the past seven years, Smith-led teams have missed the playoffs only once. He’s becoming a specialist in resurrecting franchises, then handing them off to young QBs. The first youngster was a spectacular failure. Will Patrick Mahomes fare better with Kansas City or flame out, too?

The NFC East will now have two teams led by older QBs and two by youngsters. It will be the Generation Gap division.

The NFC West will have Jimmy Garoppolo, Russell Wilson, Jared Goff, and … Kirk Cousins? If I’m Cousins, I’d think hard about signing with the Broncos. With their defense, he might finally make an SB run. Right over Kansas City, if the football gods have a quirk of amusement available.

The NFC South is set at QB, with Brees, Newton, Winston, and Ryan. And the North has Rodgers, Trubisky, and Stafford. Which leaves Minnesota and the Cardinals with the only QB vacancies in the NFC.

You can bet the media will re-launch their failed Pimping for Kaepernick campaign from last offseason regarding these two openings. Can’t wait to see the howls of protest when their boy is passed over yet again.



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Conference Title Games

Bleccccchh!

And another tedious NFL season bites the dust. Next up, two weeks of shameless, overhyped, self-aggrandizing nausea.

Fortunately, this is a 49er site and we can legitimately ignore the whole pile of steaming hot crap.

Sorry, but apparently I’ve reached my horseshit limit for the 2017 season.

They say winning cures everything, so maybe next year we’ll find out if that’s true, or how much it’s true. Enough to make the NFL seem less than the tired act it has been the past two years? Enough to overlook that Jed York is still the owner?

Jimmy Garoppolo‘s performance over the last five games of the season made it abundantly clear what a really good QB can do for a team, taking a 1-10 disaster to five straight wins and making an unremarkable offensive line and group of wide receivers seem like a solid bunch. He’s got everyone in Santa Clara making plans for the playoffs next year.

Whether that happens or not, his ability to lift everyone on the offense is something Colin Kaepernick never came close to accomplishing. Nor did Alex Smith, Brian Hoyer, or anybody else since the York’s took over the team. Pretty much wiping out the central excuse for all of them — that they were victims of a poor team around them. In fact, it makes it clearer that the only one who lifted the 2011-2014 Niners to greatness was the HC, Jim Harbaugh.

It’s not yet clear whether current HC Kyle Shanahan will turn out to be a great HC. He’s a pretty good OC, but, like Garoppolo, the team has never played a BIG, pressure packed game yet. Maybe the answers to that challenge will come in 2018.



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Posted in FOS Speculation

Divisional Round

Defense trumped offense in the NFC Divisional round, while offense stomped defense in the AFC.

It’s a strange year. The Jaguars were known for their defense during the season, but gave up 44 points to the 49ers in the next to last game of the regular season, then coughed up 42 to the Steelers on Sunday. This is not how I remember great defenses performing.

We’re going to have either Case Keenum or Nick Foles playing QB in the Super Bowl. Could the Football Gods have possibly handed the Patriots an easier path to another Lombardi? Depressing.

It was enjoyable watching the Steelers trip over their own arrogance yet again. The failed 4th and inches play call has got to be one of the dumbest plays in history. You’ve got a 6 foot 4 inch, 240 pound QB who could gain six inches on a sneak just about anytime he tried, but you call a pitch to the RB instead. Everyone in the world was conceding the sneak at that moment, but the Steelers have demonstrated all year a disturbing disconnect, as though nobody is in charge when it really matters. Maybe it’s time Mike Tomlin stepped aside.

The only advice I can give to the four remaining teams is: If you have a guy named Williams on your team, make sure he’s not on the field in the fourth quarter. The Saints’ Marcus Williams joined the 49ers’ Kyle Williams as big time playoff goats Sunday. Making Monday morning the worst day either one of them will ever experience waking up and not being able to make themselves go away.

Kyle Williams, BTW, went on to get a Super Bowl ring with the Denver Broncos after the 2015 season. At the time of the victory, he was recuperating from a torn Achilles tendon and did not play in the game. Hidden moments of history.




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Wild Card Weak End

The first wave of pretenders were tossed aside over the weekend. The Rams, Chiefs, Bills, and Panthers all swung and missed. And see you next year.

Of the four losers, only the Panthers had a realistic hope of getting to the Super Bowl. The rest were just playoff fodder.

The 49ers played four of the wild card teams during the season, losing to the Rams and Panthers, and winning against the Jaguars, Titans, and Rams in the year end rematch that the Rams failed to attend. Both losses, of course, occurred during the pre-Garoppoloan era, when anybody who could field 22 guys could beat the Niners.

The Jax/Bills game was a true QB clinic. Tyrod Taylor: 17/37 for 134 yards and Blake Bortles: 12/23 for 87 yards. Bortles had more yards rushing (88) than passing. He demonstrated every conceivable way to throw an inconceivably ugly pass. His receivers were working overtime to not display a WTF!! face as they watched balls wind up everywhere but anywhere near them.

The Falcons were the final team to qualify in the NFC, but probably have the easiest path to the Title game. First they got the not-ready-for-prime-time Rams and next week they get the crippled Eagles. New Orleans had to beat the Panthers and next week travel to Minnesota.

The AFC has virtually no drama until the Title game weekend. The only thing the Steelers and Patriots have to worry about in their games next weekend is injuries to star players. Not to be a cretin, but if the Titan defense could manage to break one of Brady’s legs next Sunday, I would gladly tolerate listening all week to the whining and wailing coming out of Foxboro, MA. After all, who doesn’t want to see Brian Hoyer leading his team to the Super Bowl?




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Posted in Around the League
2017 Schedule
Sept. 10: vs Carolina: L 3-23
Sept. 17: at Seattle: 9-12
Sept. 21: vs. L.A. Rams: L 39-41
Oct. 1: at Arizona: L 15-18
Oct. 8: at Indianapolis: L 23-26
Oct. 15: at Washington: L 24-26
Oct. 22: vs. Dallas: L 10-40
Oct. 29: at Philadelphia: L 10-33
Nov. 5: vs. Arizona: L 10-20
Nov. 12: vs. N.Y. Giants: W 31-21
Week 11 — Bye
Nov. 26: vs. Seattle: L 13-24
Dec. 3: at Chicago: W 15-14
Dec. 10: at Houston: W 26-16
Dec. 17: vs. Tennessee: W 25-23
Dec. 24: vs. Jacksonville: W 44-33
Dec. 31: at L.A. Rams: W 34-13
 
2017 Draft Class
1. DE Solomon Thomas
1. ILB Reuben Foster
3. CB Ahkello Witherspoon
3. QB C.J. Beathard
4. RB Joe Williams
5. TE George Kittle
5. WR Trent Taylor
6. DT D.J. Jones
6. LB Pita Taumoepenu
7. CB Adrian Colbert
 
2017 Prognostications
NJ49er: 6-10
Skeebers: 6-10
Bullit: 5-11
Mr Fletch: 5-11
RTFirefly: 5-11
Chuck: 9-7
Grumpy: 4-12
Rob: 9-7
Winder: 4-12

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