A couple of days ago, one of the most commented upon stories here at NN was "Has Anthony Davis Really Made a ‘Jump'?" I think Tre9er did an excellent job highlighting what will probably be our biggest concern this coming season: the right side of the o-line. Tre's point is super valid. As he says, this completely "bears monitoring once the pads go on." Big time.
Davis has a ton of potential, and his age really says it all. He is 22 years old and in the NFL. I'm 22 and just turned in my Undergraduate Thesis, which I hope will get me into Graduate school. In football terms, I just made my High School highlight tape and am about to send it to USC, or whatever. I mean, holy crap, am I pathetic in comparison, or what? Davis is at the height of his field and I am just getting started on my quest to punishing lazy college students with Latin vocabulary. We all have every reason to be optimistic about Davis. He has played well in a tough league at a young age. He has some serious things to fix, but most second year athletes do.
This is straying from the point, though. I didn't intend to write about Anthony Davis in this post, except to say that the whole reason Davis is a topic of conversation is because of Jim Harbaugh.
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Jim Harbaugh does a lot very well and not much poorly. It's much too early to assume that he will follow suit for the rest of his coaching career here in San Francisco, but, conversely, he hasn't given us much of a reason to doubt either. I believe in Jim Harbaugh.
The guy has an uncanny knack for diagnosing another team's game plan and then choosing the perfect play to counter it. His offensive prowess is well known, but pretty quietly at first, the best defense in the NFL popped up under his watch. He runs a tight ship, instills hard work and good ethics in his players, and partners up with Trent Baalke for some kickin' drafts (though jury's still out a bit on the most recent one).
One of the best things Harbaugh does, though, is coachspeak.
It's not easy. Not by any means. And it can make or break a coach. Mike Singletary is a perfect example. His impassioned speech about Vernon Davis essentially earned him a job. And, a few piss poor game plans later, and his inability to explain what he was doing and why essentially got him fired. Is this a bit reductionist a view? Sure, but there is a kernel of truth in it. Maybe more than a kernel.
This is in complete contrast to Jim Harbaugh who is in total and complete control when dealing with the media. This leads some to think of him as a child (stupidly, I might add), but that's the wrong perspective. A child is obstinate because he or she is irrational and is easily backed into verbal corners by parents. No child wins an argument; they just complain and stubborn their way into a victory.
Harbaugh is the total opposite. He is cold, calculating, and rational. His praise of Alex Smith last year was, more than likely, instrumental in Alex's Renaissance. All the coaching pressure was off. Alex had the support of a staff that wanted to teach him. All he had to do was go out and play. That must have been a huge relief after he had to dodge all the buses Mike Nolan threw at him.
For a young team like the 49ers, having a coach who can deal with the media almost single-handedly is huge. It allows them to focus. And, if it makes some of them feel better and somehow inexplicably aids in their play, then I'm all for it.
I'm not saying that because Harbaugh is saying nice things about Anthony Davis that his play will shoot up. But, given the whole Alex thing last year, it might indicate a multi-pronged attack upon Davis' weakness. If anybody can make a player better by means of coachspeak, it's Harbaugh.