Sunday was the first monthiversary of the 49ers ignominious Super Bowl defeat. Some of us have moved on and some of us haven’t. Not sure which category I belong in, so maybe there’s a third group of somes that are undecided on moveingness.
Next week, the 2013 season kicks off, whether we’re ready for it or not, and the 49ers are expected to be active players in the free agency market. At least we fans expect them to. Perhaps HQ has other ideas.
On offense, the only pressing need is at wide receiver, but the defense will be undergoing a retrofit this offseason, especially after its abysmal performance in the playoffs which, ultimately, kept a sixth Lombardi from joining the other five in the championship display case at 4949 Centennial Blvd. The injury to Justin Smith turned the whole crew from a stellar unit to a scrambling mess. No defense should be so fragile that an injury to one guy sinks the entire boat.
The most troubling player on the defense is strong safety Donte Whitner, who seems to be the reincarnation of our old, much reviled, Mark Roman, who anchored the collapsing defenses of Mike Nolan, which are now located in Atlanta and still collapsing, doing so twice in the playoffs, surviving the first but not the second. In all fairness, Atlanta’s pre-Nolan defenses collapsed in the first quarter, and now don’t fall apart until the fourth.
Whitner is a smart player, helps set the defense, plays the run well, can’t cover a lick, and tries to make interceptions with his face. It hasn’t yet gotten to the point of tar and feathers, but a ticket to Siberia has been making the rounds. Still, the 49ers will probably keep him here for another year.
It appears Ricky Jean-Francois will be taking his hyphenated mouthful somewhere else this offseason. He wants more playing time and more money and he won’t get it here. Ricky was a 49er for four years and never developed to the point of being a viable member of the D-line rotation. He was little more than a speed bump at nose tackle and wasn’t good enough at DE or DT to be preferable to a one armed and ineffective Justin Smith in the playoffs.
At any rate, time to set your clocks. We’re eight days away from the 2013 season and a brand new year of heartbreak and disappointment will roar into being.