As I have mentioned in my previous piece, the San Francisco 49ers have once again finish the football season with a sub par record, this time amidst high expectations. Pretty much they have been stinking up the joint for the pass half decade. It went all downhill ever since the Niners did not resign Jeff Garcia and roll out Tim Rattay as the starting quarterback (good times, good times).
Lack of consistency doomed the team. In a league where it is what have you done for me lately, it is clear that having something consistent year after year to grow is paramount to winning (especially the offense). There are many examples out there, but the two glaring ones are obviously the case of Peyton Manning and Tom Brady, who respectively have been in the same system for close to a decade. That consistency, or the lack there of, doomed our former number one pick Alex Smith. Niners fans might get incense every time they see Aaron Rodgers doing well, but Rodgers had the benefit of consistency: head coach, and Niners’ former OFFENSIVE coordinator Mike McCarthy.
Alex Smith is a good quarterback. There are flashes that fans can see his good abilities. I believe that if he was afforded the chance to be in the same system for at least three years, he would be at least an above average quarterback. I remember that one good season where he showed signs of improvement under offensive coordinator Norv Turner. Unfortunately as fans know Turner was plucked next season by San Diego to be their head coach.
The part of the team that remained consistent through the last couple of years and was above average league wise was the Niners’ defense. Clearly, consistency with a system is paramount for success. But on this day when Baseball Hall Of Fame announced its Class of 2011 inductees, I channel my inner Mark McGuire to say that the Niners should not dwell on that past, and instead look ahead to the future.
So they obviously need a head coach, and while Jim Harbaugh from Stanford might be the best thing since sliced bread, ultimately he is unproven in the big leagues. Sure he comes from a family of NFL minds, and he even played in the league himself. However when it comes down to it he has ZERO coaching experience (not just head coaching, coaching of any kind) in the NFL. I believe that is not what the Niners need. They need a proven head coach, with championship winning experience. The likes of Bill Cowher, John Gruden, etc. The current team is VERY talented (well, maybe not the QB position), and a guy coming in with experience will be able to take them to the next level. Harbough coming in will not only have to try to do that but have to also learn on the spot! He will find that dealing with paid players is suddently different than college kids who’s only compensation is the glory of victory and a full scholarship.
it goes without saying, the team will need to draft a quarterback come April. My hunch is Alex Smith will not return. If I were him I would be fed up with all the instability and leave town for a fresh start.
There is also this issue with a new stadium. Having finally experienced a football game at Candlestick this season, I was like hell yeah the team needs a new stadium. Candlestick is a state of the art facility…when it was built. It just cannot handle the people load and revenue generation requirement (needs WAY more seats). I can see why the Niners brass wants a new stadium, and plans are ongoing for one right next to Great America in Santa Clara.
Now there are San Francisco purist that say the team should play right here in San Francisco, otherwise it will not be the same. I would have to disagree on that one. Building a new stadium at candlestick is just not a viable option. Not to say it will not fit a stadium, but the logistics of traffic handling the way I see it is just much better down there in Santa Clara. The commute down south cannot be too bad with two major freeways and Caltrain. Not to mention, there is a ginormous parking lot. It is just less crowded in Santa Clara. Look at it this way, the two New York teams play in NEW JERSEY, so it is not too far fetched to have to travel to Santa Clara for Niner games.
My hope for the team going forward is have a modicum for stability in terms of the staff and personnel, and get a capable quarterback to lead the team. The NFC West is a week division thus improvements can be immediate.