Article Title: 49ers still on life support.
It has been nine long years since the San Francisco 49ers have seen a playoff appearance and we are now counting on head coach number four in Stanfordís extraordinaire Jim Harbaugh to apply the paddles and yell ďclear,Ē to resuscitate a failing 49er heart that has seen more traumas then any other throughout the entire league. Watching the NFL Draft was a tainted experience with the NFL Lockout and now seeing us waste a shot at acquiring needed quarterback experience has been even more of a call for Obama healthcare reform.
The need for a new head coach was blatantly apparent following the 2010 NFL season, acquiring Jim Harbaugh was a welcoming sight for all 49er fans as was purging the existing coaching staff to try something anew. The need for a new quarterback was just as apparent as the head coach when you look back on all the broken promises and lack thereof in the mental and physical skills of the coveted 2005 NFL number one draft pick from the University of Utah in Alex Smith.
In that same year and in that same exact draft went the now 2010 NFL Super Bowl MVP in University of Californiaís Aaron Rodgers who is now wearing that life changing signature ring that will cement him within the framework of so many champions previously before him. We see ourselves as 49er fans exasperated with what has been a total lack of real insight into the most important position in any professional football team that being the quarterback.
Our best attempt to address that this year was drafting Nevadaís Colin Kaepernick who shows true potential but is at the very best a few years away from ever being considered a true caliber starting quarterback within this win-now philosophical league mentality. To off-set the doubts the San Francisco 49er top management being President Jed York, General Manager Trent Baalke and head coach Jim Harbaugh painted the picture that resigning troubled starting quarterback Alex Smith to a one-year contract worth five million dollars was our most tangible option.
I like so many of you strongly disagree with what we all can plainly see out on the field and from sitting at home watching on the big screen that Alex Smith will never be the true West Coast style of quarterback the San Francisco 49ers have been engraved by in the likes of Joe Montana, Steve Young and Jeff Garcia. Mike Nolanís insistence in picking him has been our utter unraveling into multiple annual despairs one right after another.
Our flirtation with former nemesis Seattle Seahawk veteran quarterback Matt Hasselback was an instance where we could have had a legitimate seasoned veteran quarterback actually driving us towards a distinctive shot at acquiring the division title, but our inability to get a deal done with him encouraged him to sign with the Tennessee Titans as their starting quarterback. This was again a major mistake on the part of management in believing we would see progress in Alex Smithís inconsistencies and or we would look to the bargain bin in free agency in case of emergency.
After the first pre-season game against the New Orleans Saints in a 24-3 loss that highlighted Alex Smithís and Colin Kaepernickís inconsistencies and the offensive lines inability to provide any sort of adequate protection, Jim Harbaugh and the coaching staff signaled the need to desperately find a solution should the impending season be in danger. In comes former Minnesota Viking three-time Pro Bowler Daunte Culpepper for a workout at the 49ers training camp facility. At 34-years old he hadnít played since 2009 when he was acquired by the Detroit Lions to salvage their season. After the workout the coaching staff decided against a serious signing involving Daunte, indicating that they were not sufficiently satisfied with what they had seen.
Another un-drafted quarterback that was signed by the San Francisco 49ers was Sacramento Stateís McLeod Bethel-Thompson who was seen in very brief playing time this pre-season and was just released prior to getting to the required 53-man roster. Most shocking was the cutting of journeyman quarterback Josh McCown who was signed as the teamís third-tier quarterback on the roster.
McCown is well versed in appearances around the entire NFL having played with several teams in the league as an experienced back-up quarterback with varying accomplishments always short of being able to become a starter someday with someone that he had signed on with. Last year he played in the United Football League and coached high school players outside the Charlotte, North Carolina area. In fact Josh had played with four different NFL teams within his eight-year NFL career and never was able to supplant the competition on any team that he was in contention with for oneís position.
So goes the notion that the San Francisco 49ers is serious about elevating the most important position on the entire team in my opinion. One year ago as all of you will recall we signed Ohio State Troy Smith as a third-tier quarterback who actually contributed in a most positive direction in actually starting and winning some games now the San Francisco 49ers look to Wisconsinís Scott Tolzien who led his team to the Rose Bowl and had won the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm award as the nations top senior quarterback. Tolzien an un-drafted rookie joins Alex Smith and Colin Kaepernick on the roster as the teamís third best option after being claimed of waivers from the San Diego Chargers.
Head Coach Jim Harbaugh has publicly insisted that he is confident that Nevada quarterback Colin Kaepernick is capable of backing up the clearly inconsistent Alex Smith even after showing shaky statistics at best in the exhibition games with five interceptions and no touchdowns. I cannot see any upside to such an analysis and see injury to this position as being beyond catastrophic for us going forward.
Finally I want to say that after hearing San Francisco 49er President Jed York say he was not worried about the quarterback position because his greatest acquisition was head coach Jim Harbaugh this year that sent a wave of nervousness throughout the legions of fans of who we are. Yes Jim Harbaugh is a great teacher at the quarterback position and has had success as a coach with that particular position, but it is evident since 2005 that we made the wrong decision in that draft and have never addressed that real issue since.
Sources of Information: Mercury News.com, SF Gate.com, Inside Bay Area.com, NFL.com and my own personal analysis and opinion.