Albert Breer over at NFL.com wrote what I consider to be an excellent short profile about Jim Harbaugh and the trials of the offseason.
In case you missed it, there was a lockout that was stoopid and sucked. Poopy lockout. Well, petulance aside, the lockout was supposed to seriously hamper the abilities of new coaches to prepare their teams. I argued this. You did too. We all did. Heck, even my grandma did, and this was one of the reasons why Harbaugh was going to have some initial difficulties in bringing the team to a successful inception.
But, as Breer points out, five nascent coaches embarking on a new NFL career are 2-1, thus fighting conventional wisdom. While I would argue that the 49ers are not playing as well as they could be and eventually will be due to the lockout, the success this team has achieved in such an abbreviated time is commendable, and as Breer points out, probably related to the work ethic and teaching prowess of Jim Harbaugh.
Is it safe to label this off season a success at this point? I would argue that one could answer with a tenative yes - at least from the coaching standpoint. Draft and all that is way too early to judge, and my initial instinct is to assume that it is too early to judge the offseason as a whole as well. But, whatever, I'm going to do it anyway.
So if the results on the field indicate a successful off season (for sure when it comes to run defense, pretty sure when it comes to pass defense, and somewhat sure when it comes to offense), what do the injuries indicate? Traditionally, and this is just my impression, most people argue that the foundation for good health in the season is laid in the off season. So what to make of the injury specter haunting the 49ers? Follow me after the jump to find out.
First off, I want to say that I am in no way a doctor - or even medically inclined for that matter. I watch House. So, I know that Lupus is a disease that nobody ever gets, but doctors don't learn this in medical school for some reason. Oh yeah, evey doctor is hot, except for the one that isn't, and he still gets all sorts of womanly attention.
There you go. That's the extent of my medical knowledge, so take whatever I say here with a grain of salt; my argument is built upon reasoning and just mentally tracking injuries through the years. Nothing more.
Here's the thing, it doesn't seem to me like the off season has any real impact on injuries, after a certain point. I mean, being woefully under prepared is not a good way to ensure health. But, as I would assume that no NFL team really takes it easy during training camps, I've got to believe that the vast majority of players are in tip-top, criss-cross, apple-sauce shape.
So, this begs the question, does the team's injuries have anything to do with the way this year's training camp has gone? By all reports and Breer's confirmation, Camp Harbaugh has been tough. Really tough. Sure it doesn't feature the uphill nutbusters, or something or other, but according to Breer's article, Donte Whitner claims that practices are typically three hours long in full pads. I played High School ball, and I cannot stress how exhausting it is just to put on pads, let alone wear them for three hours.
To answer my question, therefore, I would say no. I don't think that Harbaugh's camp makes the 49ers more or less inclined to injury than Sing's or Nolan's or Walsh's, for that matter. That's the thing about injuries that are so deplorably annoying: they strike without any warning or cause. We caught the plague this week. Let's pack it on a few rats and send it to another country for a while. That would be nice, and ultimately, lucky.