Normally I favor the longer posts that develop ideas and provide a somewhat sophisticated perspective for y'all to comment on and discuss. Today, I want to propose more of an open-ended question because it is one about which I have been thinking, but I can't necessarily provide an answer.
Essentially, what changes should we make going forward now that we have the cupcake walk of schedules?
The fact of the matter is that within the next few weeks, we will wrap up the division. I have been trying to deny it for a long time; all my Niners instincts tell me that I cannot rationally admit that the Niners are going to the playoffs, but hey: the Niners are going to the playoffs. It's pretty much a lock.
In terms of playoffs, the big question is: what seed? By golly gosh, I would love to be the number one seed and the number two seed would run me quite peachy. These are also realistic goals and ones I think we will achieve. I think the Giants have a tough schedule or something. They have to play Satan's team later in the season - and the Jets too.
But with the benefit of an easy schedule, can we try some things out? Experiment a bit?
Now, I get that this is dangerous. I love the fact that Harbaugh et al. are preaching week to week thinking, but we shouldn't actually believe that is accurate. Harbaugh is clearly thinking long-term, and not just this season, but even next.
So what? Is this a fruitless exercise? If so, tell me why. If not, follow me after the jump.
I've got two questions to think about and I would love to hear some more.
First, to what extent should Frank Gore play? From a practical stand point, I would argue that this is a necessity. We need Gore to last throughout a longer season than he will ever have experienced as a pro.
But I would also love to see what Hunter and Dixon could do with extended touches. Moreover, I think that this would force Alex Smith to throw the ball around more, and his emergence this season has been fun to watch.
Speaking of quarterbacks, question number two: should we get Colin Kaepernick some playing time against some weaker NFC West opponents?
I think Alex will be back next year (at least). We can debate whether or not it's a good idea, but quite frankly we should expect that he's coming back.
But that doesn't mean that Colin can't jump in for a bit against weaker opponents. Honestly I think we can beat some NFC West teams sans Alex or Gore. Maybe both.
But, hey, maybe I'm an idiot. Let me know.