Yesterday, we took a look at which teams might be the proverbial favorites in the NFC post-Free Agency. I think ya'll presented some good choices. After reading them, I, for one, am a bit ashamed that I forgot the Bears. I'm not necessarily sure where I would work them in, but I think they can be a good, maybe great, team next year.
Anyway, I've been thinking about the 49ers in relation to other NFC teams since then, and now I've worked myself up into a tizzy. I think the 49ers are in great shape for next year. In fact, I think they have a window, now, in which they can lay down some serious foundations for long term success. It's a great position to be in.
That said, I started thinking about what would happen to cause the 49ers to slip up next year. Maybe they still have a good season, but they don't achieve the same success as last year - or even close to it, for that matter. What would have to happen for that?
There are many good answers for this. That's the beauty of the modern NFL: the game is so volatile that anything can happen any given Sunday (which begs the existential question, is it a cliché if it's true...?). A major (or, God forbid, multiple) injury is the obvious reason. We also have a brutal schedule next season. But, and the title gives this away, but I think that last year might have been a touch lucky.
A little explanation after the jump.
I'm not trying to be a downer, and the achievements of last year's team were not inconsiderable. I had many a moment of "out-of-my-chair" excitement. We all did. I don't have to describe this for you. Presumably you all are Niner fans already; you know what I'm talking about (and if you don't, then go youtube the new Prometheus trailer and try to stay seated during the ending of that!).
But if I were to be forced to be Debbie Downer about last year, it's pretty easy to look at the turnovers. Alex Smith threw only five interceptions. Think about that a moment. I mean, this should be mind-blowing worthy. On the Christopher Nolan scale of mind blowing, which officially is measured on a sliding scale of "one" to "Memento" this is worth, at least, an Inception.
Likewise, the amount of turnovers the defense generated was astounding. And again, on a scale of "one" to "ten," how likely is that to happen again? If I'm being cynical, and for some reason this post just reeks of cynicism, then I would have to go with a "five." I mean, we have an elite defense - don't get me wrong. Fumbles just bounce funny, and next year they could all go against us. It could happen.
In regards to sustainability, what about special teams? If the NFC Championship taught us anything, it's that our special teams cannot devolve into Arnaz Battle territory. Kyle Williams used to be a Super Bowl contender, and then he took a football to the knee. Andy Lee may be a god amongst men, but he's only one god amongst men. How will the team handle the loss of Blake Costanzo? I know that special teamers are, like, the definition of replicable in the NFL. I only bring this up because so much of our success last year was predicated upon dominant special teams performances.
What about you guys? Are there other areas of potential unsustainability that are worth pointing out? If you had to be a Debbie Downer, what other possible problems can arise next year?
Look at me, from a post about how we are the favorites in the NFC to a post about how we will totally suck next year. Just don't know what to expect!