In the FA period before the 2009 Draft, Scot McCloughan signed Titans WR Brandon Jones to a five year contract. At the time, the 49ers starting WRs were Isaac Bruce and Josh Morgan. The #3 WR, a stiff named Bryant Johnson, was getting the old take a hike treatment. WRs #4/5 were the resilient and gritty, but chronically wounded and marginally talented Arnaz Battle, and the he might-be-good or maybe-not Jason Hill.
Jones was signed to compete with Morgan for the #2 WR, and at the least to be a solid #3, leaving Battle and Hill to scrap over the scraps. Even though this was a sensible signing, given our lack of depth and quality, plus the impending retirement of Bruce, the blog world did not throw a gala fiesta over it. Though Jones had shown a knack while in Tennessee for making 3rd down conversion catches and was gifted with very good hands and superior speed, he also had collected a lot of time on the nicks and bruises bench. The main complaint from the blog world was that the 49ers had overpaid for him, not that he didn’t have some useful skills.
Then Michael Crabtree parachuted into our backyard after a blast of wind ripped through a gaping hole in the head of the neighboring franchise and altered his designated landing area. Suddenly, the 49er WR situation went from are-any-of-these-guys-any-good to we’ve got a lot more applicants than we have openings.
And Jimmy Raye smiled. And pondered his offense.
Then the fun began. And the smile faded. First Crabtree held out. Then, in the first week of Training Camp, Jones continued his injury prone ways by breaking his shoulder. Jason Hill thereupon seized his opportunity and vaulted into the mix – NOT. Where was he? Apparently, nursing leg wrinkles of some lingering sort or attitude wrinkles of some disheartening sort – nobody really knows. He didn’t appear is the only factoid available. Nor would he for the entire 2009 season.
And Jimmy Raye frowned. And pondered his offense.
Season approaching. No Crabtree. No Jones. No Hill. Bruce, Morgan, and Battle were it. Not a fear inducing lineup. To add further to the tremble, Alex Smith got injured in the 2nd Exhibition Game, making him unavailable for the start of the season, and leaving the team with weak-armed QB Shaun Hill.
It was then that the fateful announcement issued forth from 49er HQ: “This offense will run through #21.”
The Sardine Can Offense (SCO) had been born.
Was the SCO a one year wonder/gag me? Will we see it again this coming season? Will it suffer a horrible, book-burning, hard disk wipe out, files carted from the office death? Hmmmm. Inquiring minds, and even expletive in your face minds, would dearly like to know.