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Blog Entry

Offseason Checkup: San Francisco 49ers

Posted on: April 15, 2011 12:33 pm
Posted by Will Brinson

Eye on Football's playing doctor for every NFL team with our Offseason Check-ups

The 49ers were doomed almost from the very start of last season. After all, check out their schedule for the first five games – the Seahawks, the Saints, the Chiefs, the Falcons and the Eagles (all made the playoffs and combined for a 51-29 record while knocking off the 49ers) – but two weeks after running through that gauntlet, San Francisco fell to the Panthers also. So, that’s not too good.

Neither, for that matter, was coach Mike Singletary, who was fired after Week 16, and neither was much of anybody else. The offense ranked 24th in the league – almost a miracle considering Alex Smith and Troy Smith traded off starting QB spots and RB Frank Gore missed the last five games because of a fractured hip – and though the defense was actually slightly better than average, San Francisco just couldn’t put it together under Singletary’s leadership.

Quarterback Issues

When Singletary named Troy Smith as his starting QB midway through the season, you knew neither of them were long for their respective jobs. When Singletary replaced andinjured Alex Smith with Troy Smith in Week 10 and then switched back to Alex the next week (and then continued to switch the two throughout the rest of the year), there was almost no chance San Francisco would win consistently.

Actually, the trouble began earlier in the season during that infamous Sundayy Night Football game when the San Francisco fans booed Alex Smith and demanding to see the backup QB, and Singletary thought hard about replacing him with David Carr. Smith then led a near comeback attempt vs. the Eagles. Still, not a great sequence for San Francisco.

1. Patient History
We gave the patient history of this position in the section above, so now, let’s figure out what the 49ers will do about it. They actually could keep Alex Smith – they’ve already offered him a one-year contract – but it’s unclear whether Smith will sign it. But yeah, it might make sense for San Francisco to look for quarterbacks in the draft. And remember, Kevin Kolb and Donovan McNabb are still out there as well.

2. Jim Harbaugh
He’s got zero NFL head coaching experience, but 49ers fans have to be excited about the possibilities (considering his success at Stanford and because his brother, John, has done such a bang-up job with the Ravens), and considering he’s getting paid $25 million over five years, he’d BETTER have more success than Singletary. And don’t forget: San Francisco also hired Trent Baalke as GM in the offseason. So, the 49ers are kind of starting over.

3. Cornerback
Nate Clements is fine at one CB spot, but Shawntae Spencer didn’t have a great year last season. Which is why it makes sense for San Francisco to grab either LSU’s Patrick Peterson or Nebraska’s Prince Amukamara with the No. 7 pick in the draft.

The defense is good enough to compete. The 49ers LB corps with Patrick Willis and Takeo Spikes (and maybe Manny Lawson) is pretty darn good, and the defensive line, led by Justin Smith, does a nice job as well. The problem here is offense, and not just at QB either.

Gore is coming off a bad injury, and WR Michael Crabtree still hasn’t broken out in a big way. Assuming Harbaugh can get the respect of his team right away – something Singletary struggled with last season – San Francisco could get back to 8-8. Which means the 49ers could contend for the NFC West crown.

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Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: January 8, 2012 10:28 pm

Offseason Checkup: San Francisco 49ers

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Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: January 3, 2012 10:18 am
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Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 6, 2011 11:50 pm
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Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 5, 2011 12:09 am

Offseason Checkup: San Francisco 49ers

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Since: Nov 28, 2011
Posted on: December 1, 2011 7:47 pm
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Since: Apr 28, 2011
Posted on: April 28, 2011 5:51 am


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Since: Jan 14, 2011
Posted on: April 24, 2011 11:53 pm

Offseason Checkup: San Francisco 49ers

Because they are not playing the AFC West this year, schedule is much more difficult.  So, record will most likely be worse.  But that wont mean Harbaugh is doing a bad job, or the wheels have come off.  They are already off.  2 and 3 years from now is when Harbaugh may be saying that was a mistake.  Remember, Walsh didn't do much the first couple years, it takes some time.  Guys like Harbaugh love the challenge of succeeding at the highest level, that is why he left Stanford for the NFL.  Time will tell if he made a wise choice. 

Since: Jan 14, 2011
Posted on: April 24, 2011 11:40 pm

Offseason Checkup: San Francisco 49ers

Also 49er fans are hoping that Harbaugh duplicates what another ex Stanford coach (Walsh)  did.  Difference is Walsh had alot more NFL coordinator coaching experience.  But anything is better than coach Sing.  WOW unbelievable how lame he coached.  His people skills were atrocious.  He had the innate ability of alienating players and putting them in positions they could not succeed at.  Not sure what Harbaugh can do, but it cant (I hope) be worse.  I doubt 3 players will decide it is better to quit and walk away from their salaries than deal with a dysfunctional coach this year.  Embarrassing for the organization, and tough for us fans to watch.

Since: Jan 5, 2009
Posted on: April 16, 2011 1:37 pm

Offseason Checkup: San Francisco 49ers

you can't win with alex smith he fumble or turn it over in the finial minutes 5 out of 10

Since: Dec 10, 2006
Posted on: April 16, 2011 3:40 am

Offseason Checkup: San Francisco 49ers

Just the fact Singletary isn't there is a sign things are already better.  That numb-skull is the worst coach I have ever seen and the team were still alive in a pathetic division until week 15. 

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