This Fanpost isn't about Ted Ginn, vertical passing attacks, stretching the field or other minutia that frankly I know jack [site decorum] about. This is about going long in a market making sense- putting on risk because you believe in the future prospects of the bet you're making. In other words, it's about the coming 12 games of our 49ers wiping the floor with the competition.
See, you'd never know it from how I comment here on niners nation, which generally serves as my sole cathartic release valve for all things 49er frustration, but I'm actually quite happy with the talent level of our football team, (if not its starting qb and management but whatever). I know how many blog posts and opinion pieces there are out there about how we're not good enough to overcome our mistakes and how many holes and questions we have, but its time for us fans to recognize that stuff for what it is: idle talk. The reality is we're all football fans, not just 49er fans. We watch these other teams play and recognize that this team, our team, can play with and better than most teams in football, (excepting, IMO, Pittsburg and Baltimore and to a lesser extent the teams with elite qbs).
Want evidence? Take a look at the ESPN power rankings. This week they've got the 49ers sliding down three places to 28th behind such illustrious squads as Tampa and Jacksonville as well as the rest of the NFC West. That slide is on the strength of a would-be b-slap of the 5th best team in football in its own house but for the atrocious situational awareness of one cornerback (who, it must be said, otherwise had an outstanding game, and who on balance still helped his team). Meanwhile that 5th ranked team that got patently outplayed for three quarters and 13 minutes by supposedly the worst team in football in its own backyard stood pat at #5, (ahead of such teams as Baltimore, New England and Indi).
How does that math work anyway? Nate slides and the 9ers are, what, the 20th best or 18th best team in the league and Atlanta is 15th? Nate doesn't slide and we're worm food? I don't know about you, but that's not what I'd call a robust metric.
Now, before anyone gets the wrong idea, I'm not suggesting the 9ers deserve to be ranked highly in these types of things. I'm not even suggesting they should be ranked higher than at the bottom of the league (though how Atlanta notches #5 will remain a mystery to me). What I am saying is this:
These stories aren't about the future, they are about the past, and not even the part about the past that tells us anything about the future. Nate Clements slide or no slide is the epitome of what a math geek quant type might call an idiosyncratic or non-recurring or transient or specious factor. In other words, it's not meaningful. What is meaningful though is that this team can play the game. They're not there yet, at all, but with Johnson in the booth now instead of Raye, some of our guys getting healthy, and more and more experience for our large number of rookies and young starters, who knows what could happen.
All this to say that I'm finally over the shock impact of how badly this season has gone thus far. I've gone through the stages of grief, and I'm back to looking forward to our team taking the fight to them, and making the crowd at the Stick roar with delight. Of course, I don't take back what I said before- I continue to believe in my heart of hearts that Alex Smith will always be the team's Achilles heel no matter what the rest of the team does around him or what he can manage in fits and starts. But I also continue to believe in the other ballplayers we've got who are damn good at the game, and who can go out there and prove it. And I'll continue watching this team with the full expectation that these capabilities will assert themselves, starting with a statement game on, oh I don't know, network prime time national television. Sunday night is just around the corner folks.