Friend of the site, Bay Area Sports Guy has put together a couple of posts breaking down the 49ers at the midway point of the season, the latter of which is in today's Golden Nuggets. In one he evaluates the six surprises of the season (well, seven, since he lumps Stevie Johnson and Brandon Lloyd into one group); in the other he lists the disappointments of the season. BAGS does a good job identifying the types of guys who fit both categories, starting with the two biggies (Perrish Cox is a surprise and Vernon Davis a disappointment).
Whenever I see a list like both of these, I always start trying to either augment or disprove them. That's the fun of lists! I first thought of putting Justin Smith on the surprise list since he anchored the defense for the first few weeks of the season, but then I remembered that this isn't a surprise in the slightest. The dude is expected to be an anchor. By the same rational, I don't think Michael Wilhoite should be on the surprise list; he's come in as a backup before and always performed about as well as one could hope. In contrast, I thought about putting Frank Gore in the disappointments list (and then vomited in my mouth a little for ever doubting him). I think, however, that given the fact that Gore has had a few big games where he looked quite good and given the fact that the o-line has been a wreck this season, it is fair to say that Gore isn't a disappointment. Arguably, however, BAGS should have put more o-linemen on the disappointments list. Mike Iupati is a pretty obvious candidate.
The one guy who really stumps me, however, is Jimmie Ward. I think it's fair to say that his season started out as a disappointment. We all had pretty high expectations for him. But, was that disappointment his fault or were our expectations of him too high? A rookie starting out the season is going to make mistakes. That should be expected. Then, he started to play better and better, really shoring up his defense. The rookie started to develop. Based upon the first couple of games, we could count this as a surprise, but then again maybe we shouldn't. That's what rookies do. They develop into better players.
And then he was injured. Which was a disappointment all on its own. Again, not his fault, but I think we had all gotten used to watching him get better.
So I have a question for you all. Are there more people who belong on either list? If so, tell us why! And, are there weird cases, like Ward?