From bad to much, much worse

on Jul 29 in Blogroll by

The NFL lockout is over and free agency has begun, much to the delight of NFL fans such as myself. Whereas free agency is normally a drawn-out affair, because of this year’s lockout, it’s been a frenzy.

As a 49ers fan, the offseason started just like any other recent offseason. Coming off a losing season, there was great reason to be optimistic about the team’s future. This year – just like every other recent year – would finally be the year where we would turn the corner.

The primary reason for this year’s optimism was a new coaching staff. Out was head coach Mike Singletary and his 1980s offensive vision, in was Jim Harbaugh, a former NFL quarterback and stud college coach. He also hired a new offensive coordinator and defensive coordinator.

But free agency and injuries have reduced my optimism considerably in just 72 hours. Gone are inside linebacker Takeo Spikes and centre David Baas. Who has been hired to replace them? Nobody. At this point, the Niners will probably go with second-year player Navarro Bowman to replace Takeo and the team is looking for a centre to replace Baas.

Frank Gore, the centrepiece of the team’s offence is holding out for a contract extension. Frankie, are you serious? Let’s look at the facts: Gore is 28, which is a point where running backs start slowing down. In other words, this is the exact time in a running back’s career where you don’t want to offer them an extension. He hasn’t completed a full season in the last four years. This most recent year, he broke his hip. (That really makes him sound old, doesn’t it?)

Yesterday, it was announced the team’s best wide receiver Michael Crabtree was put on the physically unable to play (PUP) list. Crabtree hasn’t played in a preseason game the last two seasons and it doesn’t look he’ll play in one this year either.

These developments have put the team in a pretty crappy situation, besides the fact the team is already behind the eight ball because of a new coaching staff. Needless to say, the team has gone from being in a tough situation to a very crappy one.

But the one thing this means is that the expectations for the team’s success will fall. In recent years, media expecations have declared the Niners to be the frontrunner to win the weak NFC West. That probably won’t be the case this season. That might actually be a good thing for them. Maybe without this pressure, the Niners will surprise people. I certainly hope so, but I’m not holding my breath.

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