I am setting up a new theme from which I will be posting a weekly column called "The Whole 49 Yards" which is named after the colloquial American phrase "The whole 9 yards," which means "everything, the whole lot," as Wikipedia explains.
In The Whole 49 Yards I will be commenting and bringing up hot topics on the life of the San Francisco 49ers. My goal will be to be as positive as possible about the 49ers but this column will be speaking candidly about the affairs of the whole 49 yards of the Niner clubhouse atmosphere, and the thoughts that come with the daily news coverage of the 49ers.
In the past I would try things and give up due to being uncertain on the theme, it wasn't becoming defined, so this newly created theme The Whole 49 Yards will be written with definition and a sense of direction. I am starting with a small roll of yarn and the goal for this yarn is to take on the "snowball effect."
I am going to start short and sweet on the first volume of The Whole 49 Yards and here I go:
It has been a pretty interesting off-season so far, we are learning more about Baalke's vision for the 49ers, even as he was embroiled in a controversy over not getting along with Harbaugh recently which was all over the news, with enough news coverage to cover a Hollywood scandal or something to that effect.
As for Baalke and Harbaugh my conclusion is that they both want to win, and Baalke has final say over personnel (who will be on the roster) and Harbaugh has the final say who plays. Simple as that, and if Baalke and Harbaugh continue to work together as a team, there will be disagreements at times and stubborn stances to vent over, but it brings to fruition the term "Iron sharpens iron." It is just a classic case of iron sharpening iron, behind closed doors at the 49ers headquarters at 4949 Centennial Blvd, Santa Clara, 95054. If it is made out to be more than that, that is up to the sports media to bring on the hype about it.
I think the top two players we have lost to Free Agency was Donte Whitner and Tarell Brown. Other than these two, I don't care who else was released or lost to free agency so far. Whether people realize it or not, Antoine Bethea will improve the 49er tackling game, even if he is not the impact hitter like Whitner was. Bethea is a sure tackler. This will allow the defensive backs to close the gaps and prove that the signing of Bethea is a marginal upgrade over Whitner.
But the 49er locker room, especially our new safety Eric Reid, who played like a veteran as a rookie, will miss Whitner. This change from Whitner to Bethea will only prove to be successful if Bethea both picks up where he left off the last 4 seasons and takes over as Reid's mentor as well as being properly utilized (and even better) by Defensive Coordinator Fangio.
I have a troubling trend to put up a smokescreen about: The most coveted free agents opted to sign with other teams other than the 49ers, despite the fact the 49ers have been in the NFC championship in the last three consecutive years. Players like Julian Edelman, Anthony Dixon, Donte Whitner, Emmanuel Sanders, Walter Thurmond III, and Hakeem Nicks all opted to sign elsewhere instead of the 49ers.
Is this because players are worried Harbaugh won't last as long Baalke remains as the General Manager (GM) of the 49ers, or because the sportswriters hyped up the fact Harbaugh's "act is wearing thin" in the 49ers locker room?
Or do players feel the 49ers are not forthcoming enough about players' roles on the team, with gripes about playing time in a roster full of depth? Another possibility is some players want to play in a scheme that fits their game the best regardless of fact whether the team are playoff contenders or not.
Finally, money talks. Players don't always want to play for team management that do financial affairs like the major league baseball (MLB) team Oakland A's MoneyBall philosophy, a trend of signing players' contracts in the lowest amount possible, bringing in players who had been injured but rehabbed or players whose computed analysis had concluded the upsides of these players under the radar.
Trent Baalke is the poor man's Billy Beane.
The 49ers don't always do multi-million dollar contracts. The Nate Clements 8-year $80 million contract or the Alex Smith 6-year $49.5 million contract are rare nowadays with the 49ers. If anybody stands to put ink on a mega-contract, that would be Colin Kaepernick, maybe for $17-$20 million a year. I am not sure if the Moneyball reference is accurate for the 49ers, but it seems like that is how the free agents view the 49ers.
Otherwise, those who signed with the 49ers want to win a Super Bowl and figure they can flourish under Jim Harbaugh and Vic Fangio and just be an additional key piece to the 49er offensive and defensive schemes.
I hope we get Sammy Watkins in the draft! Not doing a draft mock here, but now you know I have a crush over Sammy Watkins. Sounds like a good name, he could be as good as Cordarrelle Patterson.
As for Sammy Watkins, that's is serious wishful thinking on my part, because he will be gone by the time the 49ers trade up even halfway close to where Sammy Watkins is projected to be in the 2014 draft.
That is it for The Whole 49 Yards for now...
High-steppin' into the Red and Gold end zone!