There was a time, a time before quarterback controversies and lowered expectations, when as a collective fan base, 49er fans were, to use the slogan, Rollin’ with Nolan. Talent was being assembled, a young QB was maturing under the watch of one of the league’s best offensive minds, and progress was being shown, offering a glimmer of hope for a future that could have ranked around the brightest of the bright.
Fast forward to now.
Wait, can I not? Can I rewind? No? Gotta fast forward…fine.
Many things remain the same. There is talent abounding. One of the league’s best offensive minds is in tow. Progress has been shown, albeit not where one would have assumed it would have shown. But the big difference is that nobody, and I mean nobody, is Rollin’ with Nolan any longer.
What a difference a year makes (just ask Dennis Erickson).
Let me state a few things for the record:
1) I did not want Mike Nolan as head coach. I was initially in favor of Jim Fassel, a retread, but a retread with a Super Bowl appearance under his belt.
2) I did not want Alex Smith. I hoped (like everyone else) that the 49ers could trade down. If they were stuck at #1, I was hoping for Braylon Edwards. I thought Tim Rattay had shown some promise…enough to warrant a good look. I did, however, prefer Alex Smith to Aaron Rodgers head-to-head.
3) 2006 made me buy in. I started getting behind the coach and the player prior to that to some degree, but like many I was really on board the what-I-thought-was-a-bullet-train to a Super Bowl down the road after a promising 7-9 season.
4) 2007 did not make me buy out. The expectations were unrealistic, the Norv Turner dog-and-pony-show was crippling, and Alex Smith fought with some tough injuries. I considered myself a realist. I liked the hiring of Mike Martz, and I was still on board the now-it’s-a-choo-choo-train-at-the-zoo.
5) July 30 made me buy out. As an aside, July 30 is my birthday, so buying out on my birthday is somehow doubly cruel. July 30 was the day JT O’Sullivan ascended the throne to become the “we haven’t made any decisions yet” starting QB.
I consider myself a straight shooter. I’m a musician for a living. You can fly across the country (or the world) and pay every expense of a trip to audition for a job, only to play your instrument for less than one minute and be told “thank you, next.” Criticism abounds, and you know very quickly where you stand. So a little honesty (like “save your money because we already have someone in mind for the trombone opening”) goes a long way with me.
Which is why the current quarterback situation is so bloody troublesome.
Look, Coach, I’m not a genius. But I have a Master’s Degree, I got an 1160 on my SATs, and both my girlfriend and my mom tell me I’m special, so you’ll have to excuse me if I take a surprisingly high degree of offense when you tell me that this is an open competition. According to my mom, I solved a fairly intricate logic puzzle from the back of a magazine when I was 6 years old, and my glasses cost $200, so I can put together a few things in the old noodle with this glorious gift I’ve been given called being a human being with even a modicum of reason and intellect.
Let me see if I can put this together. JT O’Sullivan takes all practice snaps with the 1st team offense. JT O’Sullivan has started the first two preseason games, and will start the third game as well. JT O’Sullivan is not the starting quarterback. It is an open competition. Am I right so far?
You can see how that looks a tad confusing, can’t you Coach? Maybe you should call a timeout and think about it for a second and get back to me.
Meanwhile, I’m going to sit back and hope that you get the hell out of the way long enough for this team to pray to any Gods out there that will listen for even ape-level QB play, there by enabling the rest of this rather talented squad to make a run at this Katrina/9-11/Iraq fiasco they call the NFC West.
And I hope that sometime soon you roll with the lovely Mrs. Nolan down to the unemployment office. You’ll probably run into Alex Smith there. You’ll remember him…he’s the one who lost the open competition.