I forewarn you now, I would very much like to say something about time. In doing so it appears I will take up a lot of yours, so fair-do's, thi sis a bit lengthy, but hopefully worth it if you get started
So, it's been a while since I communicated on NN, I posted a couple of times, One Prophetic piece on Ted Ginn's punt return skills pre 2011 season I think:
and a comparative post about length of season and a bunch of other stuff that Fooch liked:
Then a couple of posts I wasn't too proud of, especially considering the quality of a lot of posters on Niners Nation, I felt foolish and silly, I returned to the old adage of 'better to keep your mouth shut and have everyone think you are a fool, than open it and prove them right'.
I am hoping a little experience has helped me learn when it came to putting a new post together, be sensible, be sure of what I want to say before I put fingertip to keyboard, write it, edit it, edit again and then, when I am sure I like it, post it. So here goes, with that ‘little more experience'...
It feels almost odd reading about a successful team after the Nolan and subsequently Singletary years when I first discovered Niners Nation. I don't have the greatest football knowledge, I thought I knew stuff but was keen to listen to other guys talk about the game and have Florida Danny, among others, blow my mind with statistical analysis as every possible chink of light was looked for, examined and discussed almost scientifically. So I like to think that reading Niners Nation has provided me with a massive amount of information from the many excellent contributors and posters, which means what I am saying at least makes sense, in essence benefitting from the experience of others
Experience, a little education, flavoured with a dash of perception and context. So, the Niners woes in Seattle has me deep in thought, then the trade of Trent Richardson and the subsequent furore surrounding the Cleveland Browns (they definitely don't have it better than us), their woeful draft class, particularly in light of the number of picks they had, and Brandon Weedon's situation got me to thinking about perspective. Not the same front office in Cleveland (again), not the same coaching staff (again), not the same system, schemes and styles (again)...but also sounding a little familiar, a feint whiff of Alex Smith syndrome, no?
Say you could start this thought, 'Hi I'm Aaron Rodgers, if I came into the league right now and sat on my behind for 4 years, you'd all call me a bust!' Yes I know. Exceptional circumstances, but what seasoning for the guy - compare him to his draft class buddy, something many of us have probably done. 'Hi, I'm Alex Smith and I got the snot kicked out of me almost from the get go, along with a succession of Co-ordinators and old school thinkers, even now some consider me a bust because of my draft position'.
But no, this isn't, despite that, a re-hashing of oft covered ground. Aaron Rodgers is frankly the best QB in the league, I love Kaepernick and am delighted he's our QB...but come on, who, if offered wouldn't want Aaron Rodgers? And I think it is safe to say after Alex's third win in a row in KC that he is definitely a good, if somewhat cautious QB, ideal for a franchise with a lot of talent wanting to build on it. He won't shatter your guys by being reckless and putting them in bad places. They are both a little seasoned to under-state it. They have both benefitted from Downs and Ups (mostly seems that way round for them). Who is to say if it goes the other way and they swap places it works out differently, time machine and parallel universes aside, it's a mute point, the point is several years in the league has benefitted both and even if you don't like Smith I bet he has a lot of information you'd like to hear, know, understand etc and damn if his Chief aren't 3-0 and he isn't one of the winnings QB's in the last 3 seasons, you can what you like about the rest of the team but he hasn't lost them the game with costly mistakes, I think he finally has nothing to prove and I am sure that Rodgers doesn't either but that again is a different set of circumstances.
Now our guys, Harbaugh, Roman, Kap, well...let's be a little generous and say, in their respective situations at this level they are not veterans. Sure they are experienced in many ways but they are not as seasoned as I bet we like to think they are. I bet there are times when doubt creeps in, a little too much to prove, a little too much to worry about; a little too much had it all your own way until now.
For the coaching staff it is a matter of recognising strengths and weaknesses and re-examining what they have done. They may not have NFL coaching seasoning but they are not young men and they have the experience that the course of their lives and their work has brought them. So, they should be given the benefit of any doubt, especially considering what they have done, but they must recognise the flaws in their planning and draw inspiration from that knowledge and experience. They are expected to works towards preventing a lapse becoming a malaise.
There is no education like adversity. Benjamin Disraeli
Smooth seas do not make skillful sailors. African Proverb
Now Kap, is a slightly different matter, no matter how mature he appears...and at this point shall I receive a chorus of approval from those over 35 and howls of derision from those under 35...life has a way of reminding you how foolish you once were even when you thought you were being so sensible and mature. Even the most mature at a young age have not yet been shaped into who they will be, this I believe is true all your life, but when young you don't realise it. Kap has at times flashed brilliance, even sustained it for periods but he looks a little lost right now, during that Seahawks game it's fairly clear that he tries to load up the team on his back and take risks in that game. It looked...well it was too much for him, against an excellent Seahawks defence. And numerous people have pointed to open receivers he missed and mistakes he made. Like the game got a little too fast for him and he tried to do more and more.
Against Indy I thought he looked a little gun-shy, I am sure...and I imagine the week will bear this out from people looking at film, if he had stepped into the face of pressure and unleashed the ball he might have made some of those throws he can make, to receivers who were, if not completely open, certainly in positions to make plays. Instead he took a look, didn't like it and tried to do it all himself.
I am disappointed in the coaching staff here for 2 reasons. The first that the play-calling, what happened to a power-run team, run it at them til they can prove they can stop it and a young QB's best friend is a good run game? It never looked to me like Indy could stop the run; it looked like the game plan was unnecessarily clever. And the more complicated it becomes, the more it asks of a QB and the more you ask of a guy who is struggling, usually the more he struggles. I think Kap is brilliant and I do believe he will one day have those qualities but at this time, there is no need for it and you have to grow into that role, even the best don't come ready made. Peyton Manning made mistakes in his early years; Brady relied on a defence that was stunning. No one is that person early.
Secondly and maybe I am wrong here, I can accept that, but it looked like even once Smith had lost his starting gig last year he was always talking to Kap and Colt McCoy is not that guy. I think Kap had a respect for Smith and Smith's only priority seemed to be on helping him get it right if he was taking the job. At the moment I don't see that happening for Kap. In essence he is being asked to do a lot more and there is no one there in his ear with thoughts and suggestions that he trusts or respects and is alone at the top of the QB chart without a fellow number one, past or present. Who doesn't have a whole bunch of other things to contend with during a game (Harbaugh).
I listened recently to The Ross Tucker Football Podcast, he interviewed Shaun King and they were talking about the end of his career and how in Indy he looked like he won the number 2 job going into the season. But Peyton Manning preferred the other guy holding the clipboard and helping him set up, even though he wasn't as good. Maybe the Niners coaching staff have to find someone like that for Kap now that a selfless, experienced guy like Smith isn't around (BTW I Alex Smith apologist from way back I would love to have had him around still but it was for good reasons he moved on, footballing and financial, no need for any do-overs there). Maybe less at QB 2 is more and QB 3 is the replacement game to game while QB2 is the in-game replacement and No 1's sounding board.
In the end though Kap has got to learn and grow as we all do. He just has to do it on a football field in front of millions, with a ton of expectation and pressure. He will get stronger but in the short-term does it not behove the fans of this team to support him whole-heartedly. We can see his flaws and mistakes and accept them for what they are...growing pains on a path to brilliance.
We can accept the coaching staff makes mistakes, we know they can be brilliant, we accept as fans (even I am going to a Niners game this year) that we don't want to be in Cleveland's perennial position, We were there, Eriksson, Nolan, Singletary et al (Jimmy Raye?) but we have also been the best...a much better feeling, I'll give the benefit of the doubt, I hope you will too.
I also hope here on Niners Nation everyone will keep doing what they are good at, and seem to be getting better and better at...I mean I remember a time pre-Nuggets and that was a dark, dark time indeed! Look for the light maybe be unnecessary, but examine the flaws, discuss them and compose excellent posts about them but let's not call for heads or lose our own...down that path lies madness and Jacksonville...(oh no wait, that's Wembley)...I mean Cleveland (though they are spoiling this thought process somewhat with Sunday's victory, I still trust to my analogies). Lets support our guys, questions them certainly, but a little positive criticism don't you think?
Will Kap be worth the mega money that will cost us some of our other talent? He looks like he just might. So fellow Niners fans bury your woes, look at the talent we have now and the potential, already part realised to come. I seem to recall a dark time, a low time, a time where we wondered if we had wasted Frank Gore (They got to the Superbowl, can only do a little better than that). We wondered if we were cursed by the football gods for the hubris of the 80's and 90's. We looked at the front office and wondered what was going on.
I'll take an away loss to one of the best teams in football, with a 12 game starter QB, even if it is a divisional rival. I'll even take a learning experience from Indy..And maybe thank them, because if anything its experience (early in the season) and you learn something new every day. Experience can make a great deal of difference and you really do find the damndest things happened when you look back.
I mean, Alex Smith, at the start of 2010 if you told any of us he'd end up QBing a team to a conference final, or being one of the winningest QB's in 3 seasons time we'd have wondered what you were on...possibly have asked for some too when thinking about Jimmy Raye's offense.
Adversity must be good, there bloody hundreds of quotes about it!
If you can find a path with no obstacles, it probably doesn't lead anywhere. ~Frank A. Clark
We must embrace pain and burn it as fuel for our journey. ~Kenji Miyazawa
Bad is never good until worse happens. ~Danish Proverb
It just wouldn't be a picnic without the ants. ~Author Unknown
You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you. ~Walt Disney
Adversity is like a strong wind. It tears away from us all but the things that cannot be torn, so that we see ourselves as we really are. ~Arthur Golden, Memoirs of a Geisha
When the Japanese mend broken objects, they aggrandize the damage by filling the cracks with gold. They believe that when something's suffered damage and has a history it becomes more beautiful. ~Barbara Bloom