So Far So Good So What?

Week One of training camp is in the books, and well, they are knocking the rust off.  The takeaways are that Mike McGlinchey has already established himself as the starting RT, McKinnon is being used everywhere, including on deep routes to create mismatches, Richard Sherman is progressing well in his rehab, and Jimmy G is working hard with Marquise Goodwin on timing. As he is with all the wideouts.

Spots up for grabs are RG, where Joshua Garnett is trying to re-establish himself as a starter, and the back up RB spot being fought for by Matt Brieda, who at this point is in the lead, and Joe Williams, who Shanny likes, and special teams ace Raheem Mostert.

Here’s a synopsis of the winners and losers from the first week of camp.

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Good Morning, Campers!

In less than 24 hours, the 49ers will officially start the 2018 season.

  • A season fraught with expectations that belie their 6-10 record. A season that starts with an incumbent head coach for the first time since the St Jim era.
  • A season about showing off our newly minted franchise quarterback, Jimmy Garoppolo.
  • A season that saw a major overhaul of talent, to the tune of 13 players left from the bad old days of Chip and Trent 2 short years ago, and half the starting lineup looks to be different from last year’s start.
  • A season that head coach Kyle Shanahan said is about the chance to be “a lot better” than last year (whispering “super bowl”).

Vegas certainly noticed, giving the 49ers 200-1 odds last year of hitting the Super Bowl. That has dropped to 20-1. You have a GM in John Lynch and a head coach in Shanny who are both on the same page, and moving in the same direction. Something not seen since the heady days of 2011 when Baalke was hired to lure St. Jim away from the Farm.

Gonna be a fun season I’m sure, if the expectations meet the hype. Unlike the Rams last year, who went through a similar coaching purge (bye Jeff Fisher and company) but had the players (and subsequently ran away with the West under Sean McVay), the 49ers got the coaching staff in place before they themselves built the team in the image of Lynch and Shanny.

Yes, it has been a slog under this current ownership group. I will give Jed this, though. He seems to have learned from his father, Dr. Dorkian, how not to run the franchise. And yeah, it took Young Sir Jed a few years to learn how to shut his mouth, and his twitter account, stay in the background, and let the football people do the heavy lifting.

Huzzah! Let the good times (start to) roll.


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Can I Get a Witness?

The Jimmy G love-fest is in full bloom. Say what you will about the hype and all the expectations suddenly thrust upon him with his play down the stretch last year, but NFL folks notice shit like this.

And isn’t this the best scenario for him? Excellent pedigree learning his craft behind the 2nd best QB in history? His NFL upbringing in a first-class organization? The trade to a team with a sharp young offensive mind, and a no-nonsense GM who are building the team from the ground up? A spotless 7-0 record as a starter with NE (2-0) and SF (5-0)?

The latest to jump on the bandwagon is Peter King, recently of SI and now writing for MSNBC. He recently said in as phone interview that Jimmy G the ‘most compelling story’ of the 2018 NFL season. He says:

“We’re all totally fascinated with Garoppolo. You know what my take on Garoppolo is? I’m going to write this at some point soon. I think it’s hard to imagine a player, a quarterback prospect —this is going to sound ridiculous— a quarterback prospect in NFL history who has the bedrock of quality upbringing as an NFL quarterback as Jimmy Garoppolo does. Because think about it. You’re drafted by the Patriots. You’re in a quarterback room with Tom Brady. You’re being coached every day by Josh McDaniels. You go sit in the team meetings and listen to Bill Belichick. And you get basically inculcated into the winning way of the NFL through Belichick. OK? You do that for three-and-a-half years, and then you go to a guy [Kyle Shanahan] who is as imaginative.”

Yeah, the league is littered with backups who were groomed for greatness and failed spectacularly (Matt Cassel, Elvis Grbac, Guy Benjjamin, etc etc etc) but then you have Aaron Rogers behind Brett Favre, and our own Steve Young behind Joe Cool.

No, I have no idea how this plays out, but I’m pretty excited to see how this season goes. Here’s the full article:


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So, What’s the Scoop? Playoffs. Playoffs!! PLAYOFFS?!?!?!?!!?

The bandwagon is ready to pick up the slowpokes not paying attention, and the prognosticators are at least thinking the Niners will be better than the +/- 8.5 wins they are getting from  Vegas, and there are a lot of folks (me included) who think the 49ers can win 10 games this year, but the end game of course is the playoffs. Does this team have a shot? The good news is that they have the easiest schedule in their division, and they have a stretch of games from week 8 to 13 that are fairly winnable, if this team is as good as they appear to be. They have @ AZ, Raiders, Giants, @ TB, @ Sea.

Easy may be a misnomer here, but compared to the first 5 games, it is. Four of their first five opponents had wining records last year, and three of those five are roadies (Minn, Chiefs, Chargers). Playing Minnesota is a tough task anywhere during the season, but to open 2018 in their house is very daunting. They are facing one of the best (if not the best) defenses in the league, and Minn of course got Kirt Cousins to lead them this year and RB Dalvin Cook is back from his knee injury.

A Niner win to open the season could be a harbinger of 2011 and a superb season. A loss, while not a crushing blow, would be a bit hard to overcome. if the team has playoff aspirations.  Yeah, that sounds ominous, but the NFC is loaded with talented teams, and like the 1991 Niners, they could miss the playoffs with 10 wins. Or worse still, go 11-5 and miss a la the 2008 Patriots.

So, unless there’s a raft of injuries that hurt other NFC teams, it looks like we may have one more year of looking in from the outside.  I’m still thinking they do have the makings for winning 10 games, the question is, will that get them in? I don’t think so.

Just with wild-ass guesses, the double digit win teams in the NFC are (in no particular order):

  • NO
  • Atlanta
  • Carolina
  • Minnesota
  • Green Bay
  • Rams
  • Eagles
  • 49ers

On the fence are the Cowboys and the Lions. So, you have six spots and 10 teams vying for them. The state of the NFC is really one of strong teams, and dogshit teams. I think AZ and Sea now fall in that also-ran category along with the Redskins, Bears, TB, and the Giants. Should that play out to form, 11 wins IS possible. The five losses being Minn, GB, Rams on the road, and maybe the Sea game in their house.

Gonna be a tough season, but it should be a fun one. Just have to try and not get so wasted by injuries. What pisses me off is all our good games are on the road. The only home game besides the Rams I’d be interested in is the Trubiscuit Bears game.

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Rumor Me This

Talk around the league is that the 49ers are looking for a pass rusher, a good one, say Brandon Graham of the world champ the up-against-the-cap-wall motherfucker-ing Iggles. They can either ride his deal 2 more years, try to sign him to an extension in the next 2 years, or trade him for some needed cap relief and, say, a 2nd round pick.

That’s where we come in. We have more than enough cap space, and we have the picks. And we also have the desperate need for an elite pass rusher. They don’t exactly fall out of trees, but I don’t even know who would be available, or near the end of their current deals, or just MAY fall out of the proverbial numbers tree come training camp cut-down time.

Maybe another Elvis Dumervil type guy who just may have one last season left.

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The Supplemental Draft is Coming!

With so little to talk about (except Skeebers) infatuation with a certain someone), the Supplemental draft is coming up on July 11th. Yeah, its 2 weeks away, but there’s nothing but baseball now, and the Giants are semi-riveting, semi-boring, and semi-in-the-race at this point. Fun? Sure, but this looks to be a strong season by the 49ers, and I can’t wait for the games to start.

The supplemental draft, started in 1977, is in place for players whose eligibility has changed since the official draft, and is kinda wiggly in the process of how players are drafted, if any are drafted at all. All a team has to do is say what round they’d like to use to pick the guy, and they lose that pick in next year’s draft. If someone wants to jump them with a higher pick, they can. In the last eight years of the Sup draft, three guys have been drafted:

  • QB Terrelle Pryor by the Raiders (3rd round) – 2011
  • WR Josh (what, me worry?) Gordon by the Brownies (2nd round) – 2012
  • OT Isaiah Battle by the Rams (5th round) – 2015

Amazingly, all these guys are still in the league. Although Pryor is now a wide receiver, Gordon has been suspended for the better part of the last 3 years, and Battle has bounced from team to team, and taxi squad to taxi squad. Of note, Ahmad Brooks was a 3rd round Sup pick by the Bengals in 2006.

The guys who are garnering the most interest form the Niners, (and the rest iof the league) are:

  • Former Mississippi State DB Brandon Bryant
  • Former Western Michigan CB Sam Beal
  • Former Virginia Tech CB Adonis Alexander

As the defensive backfield is a concern heading into the season, the more depth the 49ers can garner, the better. The 49ers are fairly interested in at least a couple of these guys as they attended  CB Adonis Alexander’s workout last week, and are planning on attending safety Brandon Bryant’s workout today. Bryant is getting the most press for being a possible starter in the league. I think we are pretty good at safety, and don’t think we will get him.

Adonis Alexander on the other hand brings size, speed, and solid cover ability. He’s 6’3, 207 lb, and ran a 4.24 40. Impressive and teams should be drooling over this guy. They are, but the problem is his off-field issues. He’s in the Sup draft because he was declared academically ineligible for his 2018 season due to various pot and team-related suspensions. His motor is inconsistent, and his desire is iffy, so there’s a large red flag on the guy.

Not sure we are in the market for another iffy character guy, but shit, at that size and speed, someone is going to sign this guy, Sup draft or no . . . A guy like Sherm could possibly get into the guy’s head and straighten his shit out. Worth at least getting him into the building for a chat.

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To Gronk, or Not to Gronk

This is the latest tizzy in the blogospheres. The fact that the 49er had a fairly solid chance of landing ROB!!! Gronkowski last month as he mulled his options outside of New England, and the team made preliminary inquiries into moving him. It wasn’t a league-wide foray, but merely a sub-set of ‘trusted’ teams that NE talked to. This includes the 49ers, the Titans, the Lions, and the Texans.

(In case you were wondering what the connections to those teams are:

  • 49ers – Belichick respects the Shanahans, and they have a strong working relationship (see: Garoppolo, Jimmy)
  • Lions – Matt Patricia was NE’s DC previous to taking the HC job in Detroit
  • Texans – HC Bill O’Brien was the OC in NE
  • Titans – HC Mike Vrabel was an NE linebacker back in the day)

In the feeling-out process of all this, Belichick met with Gronk to discuss things. Gronk affirmed his desire to stay in NE, and they then decided to rework Gronk’s deal rather than trade him.

Color me happy that we didn’t end up getting Gronk. I’m sure the ask for his services would have been fairly high (a couple high picks?), and cashola. Not that we couldn’t afford him, and sure, he’d be a huge upgrade over Celek/Kittle/Hikutani, but I think his injury history precludes signing him to a large deal. He’d likely ask for 4 years/$40 mill. Again, not a big deal given our cap space, I just think we can use that money elsewhere.

Like maybe an elite pass rusher somewhere down the line this offseason.

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