The hysterical outcry to the release of Nate Davis, which swamped the lowlands of the blogosphere for two days, abruptly calmed down and receded into a whimpering “Ooops. Heh heh” yesterday, as all 31 teams in the league were disinterested in claiming Davis and he quietly rejoined the 49ers via the Practice Squad. Mike Singletary was allowed to continue coaching the team and the clamor for his head turned into a clap on the back.
Just another mid-week crisis in Ninerland. Take that, you soap opera lovers. You ain’t got nuthin’ on football by the Bay.
Not much ink or oink was devoted to Troy Smith, the QB the team picked up to be the 3rd string QB this season instead of Davis. This Smith comes to the team with knowledge of the digit offensive terminology, but squat exposure to Jimmy Raye’s playbook. Yet he is viewed by the team as more game ready than Davis. That in itself, as well as the emphasis put on Smith’s leadership abilities and willingness to work hard, spoke volumes about why the team was dissatisfied with Davis.
Clearly, the next five months will be critical to Nate’s future in the NFL. Between now and the off season, Davis has to get in shape, learn the playbook, and get serious. If he fails to do this, he will most likely see his next football action on the local playground with his buddies. If he succeeds, he will be viewed as a candidate to be a 1st string QB in the NFL. Troy Smith, however, seems destined to be a candidate for a nice long career as a valuable 2nd stringer. A Shaun Hill with better legs and a better arm.
At any rate, with this last minute crisis happily resolved, the blogs finally settled down to getting hyped up for Sunday’s game against Seattle and hyped up for the 2010 season itself. The great majority of fans, and even the writers and league pontificators, see the 49ers as winning the NFC West and getting somewhere between nine and eleven victories. IOW, the jinx factor is now seriously in play.
We can only hope the players on the team don’t bite on the hype and realize victories still have to be earned week by week on the playing field. It’s difficult to imagine them forgetting this, since the only history they have is walking off the field at the end of December after another season of failure. But, you know, kids will be kids. And usually at the damnedest times.
The first game of the year for most NFL franchises is all about winning. We know, for instance, that the Colts and Patriots and Saints will come out passing, and the Jets will come out running. The 49ers are a bit more of a mystery. Last year, we saw the team devote itself to running, then devote itself to passing. What we didn’t see was a recognizable offensive style and approach.
Much of that bipolar behavior can be attributed to the disarray that occurred with the Michael Crabtree holdout and the mid-season change at quarterback. Offensive systems are installed and practiced during OTAs and Training Camp, not during the season itself. This year, the 49ers have had an entire off season to install their offense and an entire off season with the players who will actually perform that offense.
So, what we will see come Sunday is a bit of a mystery. The game will be significant not only for winning it, but for giving fans a glimpse at what Jimmy Raye, Take Two will look like. Most fans fear the team will run too often and call plays too predictably.
Winning, of course, heals all wounds and dilutes all complaints, but it would be very nice to see an offense on Sunday that shows poise, confidence, rhythm, and variety. And production. On the scoreboard. Lots of it. Ghastly, humongous, obscene numbers up there, fellas. Got it?