The Football Blues
Yes, the Niners suck right now. Many had them pegged as a suprise team for the year, and I guess it's a good thing that I didn't quite buy it, even if I wanted to. The play calling has been pathetic, almost scared, and the team has made a lot of stupid mistakes.
It hasn't helped things that Alex Smith, Vernon Davis and Manny Lawson have barely played together this year. (For a defense that's played pretty well all year, the 49ers defensive rush hasn't done much all year. Lawson could have helped.)
But what worries me the most is that I'm still not sure whether Mike Nolan can coach or not. Sometimes when he talks, his language is positively Herm-Edwardsian -- it sounds great, makes for good copy and soundbytes, but...might not mean anything. (I'm not convinced that the Chiefs are leading their division this year means anything besides the fact that the division sucks.)
This week they face the Saints, and while I wouldn't have said this in the pre-season, this is a game the 49ers not only have to win, but they really should. The Saints aren't really that good for whatever reason, and the 49ers have to right the ship after four straight losses. If they can keep Alex Smith (or, worse yet, Trent Dilfer) pass protected, the Saints aren't good defensively.
If the 49ers lose, however...they are going to struggle to win five games this year. (But never fear...even if they get yet another high draft pick, it's going to the Patriots! Even though the Pats lost their own first round pick in the lamely called SpyGate, they'll keep their much higher pick courtesy of the Niners.)
I'm holding out hope - it's not called the 49ers Faithful for nothing. And there's a lot - a LOT - about the team that I like and look forward to watching for awhile. (Frank Gore, Patrick Willis, and yes you, Alex Smith - I'm talking to all of you. Vernon Davis? You still need to show me a little more.)
Nolan - do us all a favor and get creative with the play calling - don't play scared, and don't RUN ON THIRD DOWN, EVERY SINGLE TIME. Utilize Darrell Jackson, Arnaz Battle - and yes, that WAS Ashley Lelie who caught his FIRST TWO PASSES on Sunday. A vertical passing game is not crazy, not reckless - and to think that a 49ers coach might think that is pause for at least a bit of concern.
This actually started as a post about my betting on the NFL (for fun only, of course.) A few weeks ago, I decided that I was so off in my "gut feels" that I was going to wing one set of picks - choosing randomly, I outperformed my own picks (though by only 5 to 4.) This last week, I set one set of picks to choose whatever city I liked more, and outperformed 9 to 8. So, I'm continuing the theme of one ridiculous picking structure, since that's leading 14-12.
I'm choosing -- man, it hurts to even admit this even when it's purposefully stupid -- the team whose uniforms I like more. I'd bet that wins over my own bets, sadly.