Jim Harbaugh told the fans attending the Pasta Bowl fundraiser Tuesday night that his team will be pushing a tempo that will “eventually overwhelm our opponents.”
This comment is similar in purpose to Mike Singletary’s “impose our will” battle cry, but vastly different in technique. Singletary wanted his team to out-physical its opponent. A sort of “our fat boys are tougher than your fat boys” approach. Harbaugh wants his team to set a pace that will exhaust the opponent fat boys, both physically and mentally.
It appears that Singletary’s vow to not out-think our opponents has been retired from the 49er lexicon.
What Harbaugh didn’t say was whether “eventually” referred to each game we played or how long it would take for this approach to work. We’ll assume it will be evident for the first game of the season against Seattle. A good, solid thrashing of Pete Carroll’s boys would be an excellent way to begin the new era.
One thing we do know about Harbaugh is that he won’t be sitting on any leads. Not in the fourth quarter and certainly not in the first, second, or third quarters. After all, nothing stops the opponent’s running game quite like a twenty-one point deficit in the second half.
When Jimmy Raye exited the premises last year, he took with him a remarkable stat of never producing any opening drive points during his tenure. His replacement, Mike Johnson, promptly produced an opening drive TD in his very first effort. What happened after that opening TD? Out came the running game and bye-bye went the momentum. We’ll have none of that nonsense now, laddy. Oh, no. Not here.
Some of our bloggers feel this is a rebuilding type of year for the team. That may be true for the defensive secondary, but it certainly isn’t true for the rest of the team. In fact, this is a team poised for a break though year. They’ve been more or less poised for two years, but have been held back by an archaic coaching philosophy that shackled their efforts. Do not be deceived, as many are, by that 6-10 record last year. That was a Mike Singletary production, through and through. As he melted down, so did the team. And his melt down began after the very first game in Seattle.
Some bloggers will say we’ve played the “break through year” card before and look what happened. What if that playing card was true all along, is still true now, and we simply had a dunce playing the hand. Surely, there can be no argument that our card player was heavily related to some form of mutant Ozarkian species. Does that mean the cards are no good?
By now, many of you are probably either rolling your eyes or reading some other blog. A few dedicated meanies will remain to scoff on my sleeve, however. We have another new coach, you will say. We’re starting all over again. The team has a learning curve to overcome. How can we expect any initial success?
It’s true we have new offensive AND defensive philosophies — again. BUT, we have a new HC. That is much different than just a new OC, which has pretty much been the norm around here the past six years. New HCs often have early success. New OCs do not rejuvenate a team’s spirit, but new HCs do. Pete Carroll did it in Seattle. Ken Whisenhunt in AZ. Our own Mike Nolan started off with a rousing squashing of the Rams. Even the maligned Singletary got off to a promising beginning that may have led to a division crown if not for a treacherous Hail Mary in Minnesota in game three of the 2009 season.
So go ahead, scoffers. Scoff and harrumph till you weep. Not me. I’m all in for the Harbaugh Era. This team is going to shock the league this year. I can’t see us finishing with anything worse than an 11-5 record.