As fans we (most of us anyways) buy into the hype that our team is THE team. We tend to be optomistic and tend to overexaggerate our teams' strengths and alternately underestimate their weaknesses.Even coming off of an upswing of a second half of a season in 2009, in hindsight it was misleading to extrapolate that performance into a new year with new variables in opponenets, coaching changes, and team changes.And how misleading it was...
So as I wander around the various posts on here I am confounded by this. I see many of my niner nation brethren, similiarily shellshocked, not quite knowing what to say.. Jumping from one quickfix (Draft this guy) to another (Fire this guy). The image one gets is of the dutchboy putting his finger in a hole in the dam. One finger plugs the offensive hole that was gushing..only to have another hole appear (defense, coaching, ST)..alternately, absolutely maddening one by one until yes you guessed it: GUSH...the dam breaks and another lost season is upon us.
So following some classical psychology, I feel the need to come to acceptance about our team. Yes, Yes, I understand some of us want to point fingers still. Blame this guy, blame this coach, blame the refs..or whatever. I was there..I thought A. Smith was the devil incarnate sent on a mission to down our lofty team. I was wrong. But at this point, we need to come to acceptance: OUR TEAM JUST ISNT VERY GOOD.
Oh sure, I might take some flack for this. Be called not a "true fan" and all that. But really folks, its 1 and 6. Poor. Maybe with the flashes of competence not Horrible. But certainly not "average" or even "fair". We are a Poor football team.If this offends you, maybe you're not ready to admit this--I understand, go rant do whatever you need to do. But for those of us ready to get closure and close the door on the season of "what could have been."--keep reading.
After the jump, lets discuss the future.
It didn't have to be this way. Today could have turned out better. Heck we could have said that about at least three of our last minute defeats. Good coaches say you can learn from victories what to do right. Great coaches say you learn most from your defeats. Well if thats true, then we've learned ALOT. Here's my take on what we've seen and learned from this year's team and what needs to change:
Coaching. Leadership is how a team goes. Singletary knows this, but started off the season overconfident, prideful it seemed when he thought a ball control offense could overrun other teams. What's sad is, usually good coaches look at their personnel first and then plan strategy from there out.It got worse when he continued with said strategy even after multiple failures, literally coaching his team out of early wins that could have given the team momentum.
Unfortunately, it doesn't stop there. Continued sluggishness and repeated mistakes on offense and defense do not seem to be getting corrected. This points directly to coaching. Questionable decision making and lack of creativity (failure to use B. Westbrook) cannot be overlooked.
Current 2010 Grade: D- Prognosis: Next year barring a strong finish, he will not be back.
Defense: The supposed strength of the team is not. Blown secondary assignments or penalties, weak pash rush, and inconsistency at key times of need has helped cause the team's poor start. It gets penetration only consistently on the front four from J Smith, A Franklin a two down player, and an occaisonal OLB. The team needs a serious consistent pash rush threat and another stud on the DL. The LB core looks solid, usually but need stronger more consistent play esp. on passing downs. Secondary...I think the niners just got Goldson's contract down to about half of much as what he was asking. We need bigger, faster cover corners desperately.
2010 Grade: D+ (recent turnovers help grade, but inconsistency dooms team) Prognosis: Look to upgrade next year in draft and F.A.
Offense: The team whipping boy is bad. We just didn't know how bad. The foundation was weak (playcalling) and has since gotten better. But how many know when you start to investigate an old house you find other problems. The line is still undisciplined--too many penalties & allowed pressures. The qb is still a Major weakness. Inconsistency, inaccuracy, and missed opportunites is the theme there. RB is perhaps the lone bright star, with a possible keeper rookie, but the failure to share with B. Westbrook is a detriment.
2010 Grade: D- No more excuses, too many coaching changes expose the weakness here: Oline, QB, lack of creativity. Prognosis: If Sing stays so will Johnson, with a revamped offense. If not look for a new coach, QB, and some new players.
Special Teams: After gutting ST of some poor players (A battle at returner), Sing & co. also gutted it of key contributers (M. Rob). Injuries also played a role in taking out some players. In years past, special teams has been a strength of the niners--perhaps because of the consistency of punts and field goals caused by a below average offense. None the less, they haven't performed great this year..even their all pro punter hasnt been his usual self. Ginn has been an upgrade in returns, but lack of blocking and some dumb penalties has mitigated his effectiveness.
2010: Grade: C- They need to make more big plays, and less stupid ones (punt fumbles). Also, when has Nedney gotten touchbacks recently---lack of leg strength is becoming more apparent.
Prognosis: A. Lee will rebound, Nedney will return but they probably need a younger, strong leg to bring in to stop opponent's field pos. We need some spec. team blocking improvement from within for next year.
Why grades and prognosis so soon? Because these games determined their season, and this is what they did. Which of these do you agree with? Disagree? Other considerations? Draft. Put your opinions in for the future.