I happened to spend weekend one of the NFL season in Cleveland, visiting my mom. Consequently, I missed most of the 49er game, except for the Ted Ginn Show at the end. I hope he settled doubts about his roster spot. But I digress.
As compensation for missing most of the game, I had the opportunity to read the opinion of an impartial sportswriter, Toni Grossi of the Plain Dealer, regarding the 49ers' season prospects. Here was his NFC West projection:
"Predicted order of finish
"1. St. Louis, 9-7
2. Arizona, 9-7
3. Seattle, 7-9
4. San Francisco, 3-13
" Last year the Seahawks became the first team to claim a division title with a sub-.500 record. We think the Rams will be better than that. The Seahawks are going to struggle. The 49ers aren't going anywhere until they replace Alex Smith at quarterback.
. . .
"49ers: Former coaches Mike Nolan and Mike Singletary couldn't win with quarterback Alex Smith. Now Jim Harbaugh will try. Harbaugh left a better quarterback at Stanford in Andrew Luck. If the 49ers play their cards right, there could be a reunion of QB and coach in April."
The same writer, Tony Grossi, had this to say in his "annual fearless forecast":
"• Braylon Edwards will drop off the face of the NFL map in San Francisco. He will complain about not getting the ball and will talk his way out of the 49ers' plans as the franchise angles for position to draft Andrew Luck in 2012.
. . .
"• Jim Harbaugh and Andrew Luck will be reunited in San Francisco when the 49ers make the Stanford quarterback the No. 1 pick in the 2012 draft."
You may recall that Edwards was drafted #3 by Cleveland in 2005. In 2007 at his peak, he accounted for 1289 of the 3787 passing yards achieved by QB Derek Anderson. His production dropped off thereafter and he parted ways with the Browns (along with Anderson) after logging only 4 games in 2009. [Elsewhere I have expressed my low opinion of the "Lose for Luck" strategy.]
Keep in mind that these predictions were made before Week One. Grossi also picked the Browns and the 'Hawks to win their opening games. From my viewpoint after those games, the Browns seem more likely than the 49ers to get the opportunity to draft Luck. But, if you believe the sportswriters, they have confidence in Colt McCoy as the answer to a longstanding question mark at QB. (The last time the Browns won on opening day, Jeff Garcia was behind center.)