It’s That Time of Year Again…
Well people, what can I say? I have been gone for some time now and I am being completely forthright when I say that I have missed writing, blogging and generally getting under some of your skins. Alright that last comment was a bit much but I am sure that some of you know what I mean.
We have already had some pretty interesting and heated conversations since I have been writing for this site. That is what makes sports and being fans of the same team an overall fun experience. We can debate and argue with each other about the team we love and in the end we all are focused on the same outcome, this team winning as much and as often as it can.
That being said it is going to take these men awhile to reach this peak and I for one am just a bit intrigued to see how far this current group of 49ers can take it this season. One of the focal points of the team which will have a significant say in the answer to this question will be the quarterback position.
It’s a funny thing, wanting to see a man succeed who you haven’t even met face to face. Such is the case though with myself and 49ers quarterback Alex Smith, a young man who I feel has not had anything even remotely in the vicinity of a fair shake during his time in the NFL.
It began with such promise and expectation, Smiths career did. The #1 overall pick in the 2005 NFL draft, Smith saw time at the helm of an offense so devoid of talent or direction that it never ceased to amaze me the depths to which that team sank. The situation he was thrust into by then head coach Mike Nolan resulted in one of the worst rookie seasons an NFL quarterback had ever seen. Many were labeling him a bust even then.
The following season Smith fared marginally better under the tutelage of Norv Turner, registering 16 touchdowns and 16 interceptions. After orchestrating a second half comeback reminiscent of his 49ers predecessors against an over-matched Seattle team on national television and beating the Denver Broncos in the season finale, both games on the road, Smith had seemingly served notice that he was not going to take the bust label lying down. He had led his team to a 7-9 record and all signs pointed to an even better campaign in 2007. Signs can be misleading however and as anyone who kept even a semi-watchful eye on the league can attest, these signs were not only misleading but downright blasphemous.
Essentially Alex Smith has had a different offensive coordinator for each of his five seasons in the NFL.This has not exactly been conducive to producing a winning product on the field, at least not on the offensive side of the ball.
Once Turner left after the 2006 season to man the ship in San Diego, Smith’s career has taken a nose dive, one from which the young man has yet to recover. After the team went through coordinators Jim Hostler and Mike Martz in consecutive seasons and Nolan was jettisoned in the middle of 2008, the team appears to be on the right track. There finally appears to be some form of direction within the 49ers organization.
Thus far in camp Smith appears to have a much better handle on his long passes then he has shown in quite some time and while he appears to be struggling with his accuracy, this could be the offense and the year where he finally puts it together and begins to become what he was supposed to be when he was drafted.
So, Michael Crabtree has decided that not being in camp and waiting for money that isn’t going to arrive is a better deal than learning his new offense and becoming acquainted with his teammates. Not sure what else to say about this, other than that I see Crabtree as doing a complete and utter disservice to himself by carrying on with this charade.
Then he makes himself the grand champion of stupidity by allowing his know-nothing cousin; David Wells to speak to media, apparently on his behalf. Let me just say that this man obviously has not been around this much media attention before. This became even more evident when Crabtree’s agent; Eugene Parker made a statement to the media after Mr. Wells verbally crapped on his cousin about having never threatened the 49ers with his client sitting out the season the 2009 season.
Wells very well may be the poster child for why today’s athlete should not hire their uneducated, uninformed and unqualified family members as “advisors”. This label is actually pretty amusing to me. Since when did athletes need advisors? The President of the United States needs advisors, football players? Not so much. At this stage of life these guys should know the difference between right and wrong and how to make decisions based on this knowledge. Besides, isn’t the advising of athletes best left to the player’s agent?
I’m not trying to discount Crabtree’s relationship with his cousin, I am merely saying that there is a time and a place and this comment, now, was neither the time nor the place.
I will end this by saying that I predict the following:
- Michael Crabtree will sign a contract before the preseason ends
- He will be behind the curve once he does arrive at camp and his game will suffer as a result. Wit the receivers this team employs at the present time his presence or lack thereof is an afterthought.
- Alex Smith will win the camp battle and be the starting quarterback on opening day in Arizona. (I remember the first game of the 2006 season ( I was there) when the Niners came to the new stadium in Glendale and Alex, Frank and Vernon all had good days and came within a touchdown of taking that game to overtime.
- The 49ers will make the playoffs this season. I see the NFC West as winnable by a 9-7 record and I think they have as good a chance as any team in the division to accomplish this.
I will be back soon guys.
Looking forward to the conversations that will undoubtedly ensue as a result of the words written above.
Chirp, chirp… Chirp, chirp.