A bye week is certainly useful for rejuvenating the team. However, it can also be rejuvenating for the fans. For 49ers fans, it's been a rough season so far and an opportunity to recharge the batteries has to be a good thing. We were able to watch all sorts of football with no real rooting interests (aside from fantasy football and the prediction contest).
I was inspired to write this post while watching the Raiders embarrass themselves against the Atlanta Falcons. Stat of the day? After the first half, the Raiders had -2 total yards of offense. They finished the game with 77 total yards of offense. The Raiders defense did what it could but was absolutely picked apart through the air and on the ground all day long.
So considering their matching 2-6 records, who has it worse? Personally, I think the Raiders are much bigger trouble going forward, but it's always worth breaking down. The 49ers have plenty of issues, so maybe it's just all doom and gloom for Bay Area professional football.
Advantage: 49ers - As bad as people think of the York's, would you prefer to have a senile Al Davis running things? The Yorks have developed a succession plan to son Jed, while Al Davis probably figures he'll run things till he dies and then all hell can break loose at that point. I realize people have big time problems with the Yorks but if you actually think Al Davis would be better (at this moment, not at his peak), then please let us know why.
Advantage: Raiders - Even with Shaun Hill taking over the reigns, the 49ers QB situation is an absolute train wreck. Maybe Hill ends up being the answer we've wanted all along, but either way I'd expect another QB of the future to be drafted at some point in the 2009 NFL Draft. So in looking for a QB of the future, I don't think we have on quite yet. Maybe it'll be Hill, maybe it won't but confidence is not high overall.
Then you look at the Raiders and Jamarcus Russell. The man-child has an absolute rifle of an arm. Of course, in 8 starts this season he's had a sub-50% completion percentage in 4 of them and stands at a 50.3% completion percentage on the season, 51.3% for his career. When I get a chance to watch him play, it's astonishing how wild he is every week. He's got the physical tools to become a good quarterback, but if he can't improve that accuracy, all the arm in the world won't help him.
Head Coach Situation
Advantage: 49ers (slightly) - I give the 49ers the edge more due to Mike Singletary's motivational abilities and rising unintentional comedy contributions. Both coaches enter situations about as toxic as one could imagine. Cable came in after the highly publicized Kiffin-Davis feud came to a close. Singletary took over after Mike Nolan was shown the door with a popularity among fans close to George Bush's right now.
Looking at the head coach position beyond this year is as big a question mark as one can imagine. Assuming Al Davis doesn't keel over anytime soon, I suppose Cable could remain as head coach. If there struggles continue I'm not so sure about that. As for Singletary, I don't really know what will happen after this year. Of course, considering he's only has one game under his belt it's way too early too tell. I honestly don't know which of the two coaches will survive longer.
The Raiders have Kwame Harris manning left tackle. I don't care about what he can do well. All that matters is that he will always be Kwame Harris. Damn I wish that holding youtube video was still around.
There are plenty of other areas where things are pretty rotten with each team, but I thought I'd go with these few for now. Feel free to contribute your own areas where one of the teams has the advantage (if there are any). The Shaun Hill crowd would argue the season reached its lowest point and will begin its rise from the ashes. Pessimists will argue 2-14 is the way this thing will end. As for me? Well, I'm remaining optimistic and thankful I'm not a Raiders fan.