The San Francisco 49ers are looking to rebound from an ugly 2015 season, and The Sporting News thinks the franchise is at the bottom of the NFL's bottom-feeders. The author points to a lot of the usual stuff. He talks about the decision to get rid of Jim Harbaugh, the ignominious Jim Tomsula era, Colin Kaepernick wanting out, and the hiring of Chip Kelly. It's all about the greatest hits.
There are plenty of other teams to suggest as the worst in the NFL, and the author ruled them out fairly quickly.
Oakland at least has a quarterback. Cleveland at least has a vision. Jacksonville, Tennessee and Tampa Bay have both a quarterback and a vision. Washington has a 2015 playoff appearance and a proven general manager to justify its direction.
San Francisco has ... a fancy stadium.
There is a certain amount of laziness to this, but he at least hits on a key point for each team. Let's take a look at each team he mentions.
Oakland: They definitely seem to be moving in the right direction. They do have a quarterback, but they also seem to finally have some semblance of direction. They have a head coach in Jack Del Rio who seems to know what he's doing, and they have a ton of cap space to rebuild that defense.
Cleveland: Hue Jackson could burn out there, but there is plenty of potential, and I think it was a good hire. They have turned over their front office, making some outside the box hirings. It could all remain crappy, but for now it at least feels different from "same old sorry Browns". Now, given the Browns history, I'd say it takes a lot to give them anything resembling the benefit of the doubt, but I am at least moderately intrigued.
Jacksonville: Jaguars fans were not exactly wild about the return of Gus Bradley. Having Blake Bortles seems to have them moving in the right direction, but expectations are raised for Bradley in 2016. If they don't get up to .500, Bradley might get a pink slip.
Tennessee: They added their quarterback of the future last year, and have the No. 1 pick this year. Retaining Mike Mularkey is far from inspiring, but they have pieces to start the turnaround.
Tampa Bay: Jameis Winston looked good last year, and his OC is now his head coach. That's something
Washington: Scot McCloughan and the hope that Kirk Cousins is for real are the only two things they've got.
As Chris Biderman pointed out, it is far too early in the offseason to assume the 49ers are not going to improve. The article seems to operate under the assumption that the Chip Kelly era is definitely going to go poorly. The author acknowledges the 49ers cap space and large number of draft picks, but then says, "[t]he bad news is there's little reason to believe the carpenters won't argue about how to use those tools."
It seems to be entirely about Chip Kelly's ego and not much more. If you want to argue against Kelly's offensive ideas, or the quality of roster talent, so be it. But instead, the articles focuses more on the lazy side of things. It is entirely possible this won't work out, but give me more than some of the same talking points.