Relief Insight

This Sunday, the San Francisco 49ers will play in the second of their four primetime games. The schedule makers definitely did not think the 49ers would be looking for win number one at this time. I know everyone is frustrated, and even from a fan’s perspective, you can really feel the tension rising. With every firing, every Mike Singletary interview blow-up, and criticisms from under-performing wide-receivers, the state of the franchise becomes more and more uneasy. Fingers are being pointed in all directions.

But believe it or not, there is some good news to look forward to. San Francisco had a tough first four games with three of them on the road, and two of those at notoriously hostile environments. Sunday marks only their second home game this year, and they play at Candlestick again the following week. The next three opponents are the Michael Vick-less Eagles (2-2, both those losses occurred when Kevin Kolb played), the Oakland Raiders (1-3), and the Carolina Panthers (0-4). And after that, will be an international game versus the highly efficient, but touchdown inept Kyle Orton and the Broncos (2-2), two home games against the St. Louis Rams (2-2) and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-1), and a Monday Night showdown at Arizona (2-2). And who knows who is going to be the Cardinals’ quarterback by then! 7-4 here we come.

I am getting ahead of myself because I can taste the playoffs already. When your team is winless, all you have are your dreams. Interrupting my illusions is the primary order of business: get that elusive first win. I really like the chances the 49ers have Sunday night. Last season’s version of Kevin Kolb is nowhere to be found, and fortunately for the hometown team, he is starting for the visiting Eagles. Kolb currently has completed 60% of his passes, for 225 yards, one touchdown and one interception. He has been sacked four times in two games played and has a quarterback rating of 71.1. Not that Alex Smith really has anything to boast about, but the defense must be jumping for joy that the resurrected Michael Vick is out.

Without Vick’s scrambling ability, and rocket arm, the dangerous receivers of Philadelphia aren’t much of a threat. Speedster DeSean Jackson only caught three catches for 19 yards with Kolb under center last week. Compare that to the two weeks Vick was the quarterback where Jackson caught four and five passes for 135 yards, and 153 yards, scoring in both of the games. His counterpart Jeremy Maclin only had one catch for 15 yards and no touchdowns. Last week was the only game Maclin did not score. For some strange reason, Kolb ignores his two best receivers, and looks for his worst–Jason Avant. Avant had four receptions for 31 yards and was the intended target for the hail-mary that any other eligible receiver on the team would have caught. The only player I’m deeply concerned about is running back LeSean McCoy. An imitation of Brian Westbrook, McCoy thrives on swing, screen, and check-down passes. Fearing to throw the ball downfield, Kolb hit McCoy 12 times and he gained 110 yards. It is however uncertain whether he will play this week due to a rib injury. If he does, I hope Patrick Willis is up to the task of punishing the most likely threat.

I’m focusing on the Eagles’ shortcomings because we’re all aware of the flaws of our team. But doesn’t thinking about how much better it is to be playing against Kevin Kolb than Michael Vick put your mind at ease? Then take into consideration they’re playing the team from across the Bay Bridge, doesn’t that make you believe a turn around is possible? No team is going to run away with the division. The NFC West might be won with an 8-8 record. All the 49ers have to do is get in the win column, and build from there. Simple enough right?

I have been a 49ers fan my entire life and will continue to be one long after I'm dead. My plan for the afterlife is to haunt the Dallas Cowboys and ensure they will never win another Super Bowl. My favorite 49er of all time is Steve Young, and my favorite current 49er would probably be Alex Smith. (I take a lot of sh** for that, even from Niner fans.).
  • Danny

    Great column. I'm withholding my expectations this week because I think the team, obviously, still needs to prove it can win, even against seemingly inferior opponents. But the Niners do have a few things going for them this week. They don't have a short week (like they did against the Chiefs) and they are at home, where they play much better than when away. Vick not playing is a boost and I think the defense especially will be hungry to prove they are better than people think. This could be a turn around for the 49ers season — but the players a coaching staff need to get it right, and Smith needs to limit turnovers.

  • Superninerfan

    why havent the niners tried to trade for Randy Moss, why havent the niners made a move period. Trade Alex for Tarvaris Jackson thats who we need really. Alex is scared to pull the trigger. its like he is scared. comn and try to go after Tarvaris he will be perfect. fucc i wish the niners went after Mike Vick when we had the chance.

  • Adam

    Hahahahaha. Tavaris Jackson would be perfect? That's the funniest sht i've heard in a long tome. The puppy killer would be perfect also. Are you kidding? Rany Moss in San Fran? Are you a comedian? If you're gonna talk about trading for a QB, at least mention good QB's into the mix. Alex is our QB, get used to it. The whole team has to play better if we wanna turn this around. The recievers have to catch the ball and the Corners have to hold onto the ball after the get a pick.

  • LoneTexas49erFan

    HAAAHAAAA, Adam are you kiding me! We need a QB desperatly, a star QB! We old school fans are too spolied from the 80's and 90's. You need to go back to your Cowbilly blog and preach that shit to them. We need a QB desperatly and we need to pull off a trade, but a trade for a star QB, not a shit QB like when they proposed bringing in Edwards, that wouldnt scratch the surface. Adam you sound like the same punks who keep knocking down the idea for any progress, I think bringing in Stars like Moss would be awesome. We need as many stars as possible on this team. When your Cowbillys were getting T.O., did you complain. We need a high powered QB. If Alex loses this game, he will be lose his job to Carr temporarly and the 49ers behind the scenes will try to find that "IT" QB. We are not going anyhwere adam unless we make radical changes at QB. Alex is a backup thats it, and he will not be consistant every game. We need consistancy and accuracy, something Alex does not have.

  • LoneTexas49erFan

    And they play with clements was a mistake, he got excited and wanted to show boat. He will not alow that again, you leanr from your mistakes, but yes he should of hold the ball with 2 hands, mental mistake he'll correct.

  • Adam

    Not sure what the Cowbilly blog thing means. But thats not suprising considering you think our team needs stars. What's Frank Gore, Vernon Davis, Patrick Willis, or Justin Smith. Those are stars and we're still losing. We need to put together a football game where we're not shooting ourselves in the head. Alex Smith is a scapegoat for fans like you who watch niner games without a clue of whats going on in the game. You don't sit back and watch how often our recievers drop the ball, or how often very catchable balls get tipped and intercepted. Or how a cornerback loses the game for us by intercepting and then fumbling the ball right back to the opponent. Alex isn't the problem. I gaurantee the niners will not trade for any high powered QB. Alex is our QB so sit and watch as he takes into the playoffs. Hows that for progress.

  • wickerman

    It's official. Our secondary sucks. Our pass rush is nonexistent.

    I don't want to hear shit about the offense sucking unless the defense can stop ONE FUCKING PLAY.

    I feel better now.