I never fail to find it amusing when an event takes place within the inner workings of a sports franchise and someone makes it their personal mission to discredit and disparage said franchise with what they believe to be reality.
Case in point; Jim Trotter’s latest piece on SI.com and his attempt to put the most negative of spins on the recent happenings involving Kurt Warner and the San Francisco 49ers. After reading this article I was prepared to drive down to 4949 Centennial Drive and bear witness to 1,000 49er fans (as opposed to the original 500 which have already been there for the past few years) calling for the York’s and Scot McCloughan’s heads.
It’s no secret that the front office and ownership have failed to instill confidence in the 49er Faithful and in fact have shown little to no signs that the team’s fortunes are due to change anytime soon. For someone to state though that the reason the public should see a seventh consecutive losing season on the horizon is a result of the Warner courting is just a tad irresponsible.
I agree there are reasons why the team could post another losing season in 2009 however I don’t see how coveting and at least attempting to sign a two-time NFL MVP and the man who led his team to the Super Bowl last season is one of them. Trotter implies that the 49ers didn’t “get the memo” that Warner had always preferred to stay in Arizona otherwise they would not have brought him in for talks in the first place.
He also mentions that the decision to so do was “flawed on so many fronts that it’s difficult to decide where to begin.” I fail to see the logic in this statement in that he first broaches the idea that there were numerous errors in brining Warner in for talks yet he cites only one. That one being that making the attempt to sign the quarterback away from Arizona would necessitate changing the power running offensive philosophy which Singletary has been standing strong on since the firing of former offensive coordinator Mike Martz at the end of last season.
Forgive me if I seem naïve here but would it not make sense to make whatever changes are necessary if a player of Warner’s caliber were to suddenly become available, especially if the move takes the player away from a fierce division rival? Color me puzzled as to how this isn’t a given. Keep in mind also that I was never behind the meeting with Warner nor would I have been too excited had the 49ers actually signed him. I just didn’t see how the signing would have helped the team overall unless it was only a good quarterback away from making a run at a championship, something I am sure we can all agree is not the case with the 49ers right now.
Trotter almost redeems himself in this man’s eyes with the idea that perhaps the San Francisco front office was merely trying to drive up Warner’s price thereby causing the Cardinals to spend even more then they would have been required to originally. That thought is nixed though once Jim decides that he has “a hard time giving McCloughan or anyone else in the organization the benefit of the doubt.”
Trotter also says that the current brain trust has made nothing but personnel mistakes in its tenure with the team. He continues to belittle them by making reference to only two players of any significance in Frank Gore and Patrick Willis being drafted in the last four years. He claims as well that Joe Staley is “on the bubble”, something I find to be ludicrous for a player who is only coming into his second full season as a starter. Also using the Alex Smith argument as a reason for the front office’s shortcomings is getting far too tired. Trotter says that the team overpaid for Smith after taking him #1 in the 2005 draft. Perhaps someone should tell him that the going rate for #1 overall picks is not something that a team can dictate, whoever was in the position to draft first that year would be in the same category as the 49ers are with Smith now.
Of the 35 players who the team has drafted since 2005; seven of them were starters last season and another five have the chance of being starters in 2009. It is somewhat difficult to say a player is nothing special when they haven’t had a chance to showcase their talents on a consistent basis. Players like Dashon Goldson, Terell Brown, Reggie Smith, and Chilo Rachal will have this chance this offseason and players like Josh Morgan and Jason Hill could be starting come September as well.
He also mentions what he perceives as overpayments for Jonas Jennings, (something I completely agree with) Nate Clements and Justin Smith. As I said I could not agree more on Jennings. He was Mike Nolan’s first big free agent signing and has been nothing short of a disappointment. I could not however disagree more on Clements and Smith. The former has been great in his time here, sure his interception numbers have not been astronomical but he has brought with him many more intangibles which have helped the defense. Smith has a motor that is constantly running and with the possibility that he could be moved to OLB in the 3-4 this season his numbers could get increasingly better.
Lastly the implication that the 49ers are not comfortable with any of the quarterbacks on the roster is asinine. They are plenty happy to see Alex Smith (should he be resigned to a reduced contract) and Shaun Hill battle it out in training camp. The opportunity to upgrade the position came up and they pursued it plain and simple. Reading too far into something that did not come to fruition in the end is just grasping at straws in my opinion and has honestly already been written by too many reporters to count. Trotter is merely one of many as am I, but his opinions were more off base then any I have seen thus far and I felt compelled to address it.
Perhaps Trotter is still harboring resentment towards the 49ers from the drubbing they dropped on the Chargers in Super Bowl XXIX when he was a columnist in San Diego. Whatever the reason, he might want to wax poetic about the ineptitude of the Washington Redskins front office after they broke the bank on Albert Haynesworth, Chris Canty and (drum roll please) DeAngelo Hall. When Daniel Snyder’s latest spending spree fails to produce a winning team I can’t wait to see if Trotter exposes them for being inept.
For anyone who cares to read Trotters piece.