What’s funny is I remember saying this last year amidst the trade rumors around our head coach, the talk that the GM and HC hadn’t spoken in months, and the innuendo around the Jim Harbaugh insanity whirlwind hyperbole generation machine. Brought to you by Deion Sanders, Jay Glazer, Jayson Stark, Trent Dilfer, Steve Young, ESPN, Comcast, Fox Sports, and the millions of other media types that weighed in on the state of the franchise as they struggled through an injury-ridden and thoroughly disheartening season.
8-8 at the start of the Harbaugh regime would have been seen as a nice improvement over the previous staff. Fortunately (for the fans) and unfortunately (for St. Jim) Harbaugh took them to 13-3. An amazingly quick turnaround, especially due to the fact that it was a strike-shortened preseason. The offense was what it was, and the defense was what it was. The numbers all remained fairly similar.
Except for one thing. Wins and losses. A team that couldn’t win close games or win with any consistency suddenly became an NFL juggernaut. From laughingstock to Super Bowl favorites in short order. After coming oh so close in 2012, the 2013 season was another let-down on the doorstep of the Super Bowl. While the team was still considered a contender, the shit show gained full momentum. Not even going to rehash all that except to say we’ll never know who did what to whom, but it sure seemed like all sides were hell-bent on parting ways. Throw in a forgettable season, and there you go. It played out how it did. Harbaugh and most of the coaches left, and players retired, re-upped elsewhere, or left via trade.
So where are we now? Well, this is the crux of the biscuit. I’m of a mind that despite the changes and roster turnover, we still have a very good team. Especially defensively. Something that was already a strength. Mangina has plenty of NFL experience and has some HCing (varying levels of success) under his belt. LB coach Jason Tarver has DC experience with the Raiders, D line coach Scott Brown has 35 years in football, and had DCed for Colo St. DB coach Tim Lewis, a great DB back in the day, has DC experience for the NY Giants among other stops in his 21 year coaching career.
So much for the theory that this team didn’t start good coaches.
Offensively we have ex-Dalphin and Raider HC Tony Sparano, tasked with getting VD, VMcD, and Derek Carrier going after a shit season for all the TEs, RB coachTom Rathman, who has been instrumental in the continued development of the run game, and O line coach Chris Foerster, a guy with a track record of nothing but success in his different schemes that he’s used over his coaching career. A new set of WR coaches in Ronald Curry and Adam Henry (LSU’s WR coach for Odell Beckham and Jarvis Landry) and the departure of Michael Crabtree give me hope for a resurgence among the WR corps.
The big question mark remains the duo of QB coach Steve Logan and OC Geep Chryst. Logan traces his coaching roots to Jimmy Johnson at Okla St, and he head coached the college powerhouse East Carolina winning a couple bowl games along the way and beating Miami 31-6 in their worst home defeat in years. He’s well-versed in the West Coast Offense, and appears at least to be installing an up-tempo rhythm-based offense. All good news to me. The Geepster? He’s the guy I don’t have any real concept of his game. He was OC in San Diego at a time when the Chargers were dogshit. I mean really. Jim Harbaugh was his starting QB. Erik Kramer was his backup. They did manage to break even at 8-8. The next year, of course was the Ryan Leaf Experience, and one last gasp of Jim Harbaugh as an NFL QB. A 1-15 debacle of epic proportions.
I guess that’s impetus right there for Chryst to get off to a hot start.