It only took three practices to answer the question about what to do with the crowded situation at running back. The answer was “Never mind.”
First Kendall Hunter went out for the year with an ACL tear, then LaMichael James dislocated his elbow during pass blocking drills. He’s only expected to miss a month, but by the time he heals, his RB job will likely be gone and his punt return job may belong to someone else, too.
James is not likely to get much sympathy, either. He spent all last year complaining about his role and announcing via Twitter that he had been traded. He’s part of the ill-fated 2012 draft class where Trent Baalke went against his own credo (big is better) by drafting two small guys with his first and second picks. Don’t expect Baalke to draft any miniature boys again any time soon.
In fact, the only guy currently practicing from that draft class is a big ole guy, RG Joe Looney. If Alex Boone isn’t careful with his hold out, Looney could be the starter on opening day. Here’s a tip, Boone. Baalke would like nothing better than to have one redemptive pick from that draft.
Scot McCloughan didn’t place a ton of value on offensive guards and apparently Baalke shares that view. In the past year, the 49ers have extended the contracts of both starting tackles, Joe Staley and Anthony Davis. But both guards are nowhere near to extensions. Boone’s holding out and talks with Mike Iupati are clearly not progressing.
With Iupati, it seems a little strange that the team appears reluctant to pay the man. They drafted him in the first round in 2010 and he’s more than lived up to that first round abiity. What were they expecting? Why draft a guy that high if you aren’t going to keep him because he’s performed well? Maybe Iupati is making super exorbitant demands, but I tend to doubt that.
Then again, the team restructured Ahmad Brooks Tuesday, creating another $2 mil in cap room. So maybe somebody else is going to get a contract extension any day now.
John Madden recently raved about the job 49ers’ HC Jim Harbaugh has done, pointing out that the negative rantings of brittle-boned alcoholics from Pinole should be laughed off the stage. The Outsider, of course, would never be so brutally frank.
Harbaugh is the first coach in NFL history to reach the conference championship game in each of his first three seasons. It took Madden eight years to win a Super Bowl, overcoming three consecutive AFC Championship game defeats along the way, so he knows a bit about perseverance. Not a favored virtue of the blogosphere, but worth noting nonetheless.