It’s tough being a 49er fan these days. The team is being ridiculed from sea to shining sea. Mike Singletary is taking a severe beating in both the local and national blogospheres. All my favorite reading holes are poisoned with Niner disrespect. Last Monday, my brother sent me a picture of a tombstone, in case I wanted to post it on this site.
Hopefully, the team is taking all of this scorn to heart. Getting ready to ride the Nobody Respects Us factor to a win Sunday, then boarding the attitude train and pounding the snot out of one team after another. Get mad, guys. Then get even.
It’s tough to quibble with the critics, though. Singletary came in promising a team that played tough and smart. This team has done neither. An admitted non X and O’s guy, Singletary has hitched his entire worth as an HC to being a leader of men. Every coach in the league is a leader to some degree, though, and most of them know something about offense and defense as well. In the end, no matter who a coach is or what his style is, it all comes down to wins — and the Niners ain’t got none.
The Philadelphia blogs probably aren’t too team friendly these days, either. Last week, the Redskins came to town fresh off a beating by the Rams and proceeded to squash the Eagles at home. Making it doubly insulting, Donovan McNabb was the Redskins QB and his wunderkind replacement in Philly, Kevin Kolb, was already on the bench after the first game. Trading McNabb to a division rival, then seeing them beat you is not a crowd pleaser. In truth, though, McNabb didn’t exactly light it up, throwing for an entire 6 whole yards in the second half.
The Niner defense just held the high powered Falcons to sixteen points in a road game. There should be no reason for them not to completely shut down the Eagles’ offense come Sunday. How our offense performs is the key to the game.
The Eagles, as usual, have a pretty good pass rush, but a not so stout run defense. I’m hearing the groans already. Another 3.5 yds per play game in the offing. Whether we run or we pass, it’s 3.5 yds per play. That sort of offense needs to have good, short field position to score points. So far this year, it seems like the team is always starting drives from the twenty or less. We’re not getting any kick returns or punt returns.
The other team, meanwhile, seems to always be starting from their 30 yard line or better. We’re losing the field position battle decisively, and for a team with this feeble an offense, that spells disaster. It spells 0-4. If it doesn’t improve, it will soon spell 0-5.
With the injury to Delanie Walker, Brian Westbrook looks to finally get some playing time Sunday. And more 3 WR sets. I prefer the latter preponderance, but the blogosphere has been beating up on Singletary for not getting Westbrook on the field to date. He got on the field last Sunday for one play, but lined up on the wrong side of the field, and Alex Smith had to burn a time out. You know Jimmy Raye was not going to bother much with Westbrook this year, but with Mike Johnson now running the show, who knows?
In fact, the most entertaining aspect of the offense right now is finding out what kind of an OC Johnson is going to be. He had a terrific start in the Falcons game, and then threw up a zero for the entire rest of the game, helped along by two Smith interceptions on the Falcons side of the fifty. Act Two comes Sunday. I’m trying to get pumped up for it, but my dauber meter is getting near the Empty line. It’s hip hip hooray and Jeez, guys, will you win a damn game here.