To quote one of my favorite 80's hair bands of all time, Cinderalla "Don't know what you got... 'till it's gone." Now that a lock-out is impending, I am feeling very sentimental. Like many things that you don't appreciate until they are no longer here, I thought I would take a reflective moment to speak to the top 10 things I will miss about the 49ers if the lockout jeopardizes this upcoming NFL season:
1. Jim Harbaugh's fiery first entrance onto the field leading the 49ers through the tunnel
2. Frank Gore rushing 30 times for an average of 2.2 yards with one 80-yard sprint down the field to increase his average yards per attempt
3. Pouring all of my emotions and frustrations onto Alex Smith - the perfect scapegoat
4. Patrick Willis. Period
5. Fantasy Football. Period
6. Vernon Davis trash talking after every reception, 1-yard or more
7. Joe Nedney turning 75
8. The Michael Crabtree Diva Show/Coming Out Party (whatever that really means)
9. "Sundees in my undees" (just made that up... copywriting it right now)
10. Offseason rumor mill, speculation, player movement buzz... what are we going to be able to talk about outside of the draft?
Bottom line - this SUCKS for every football fan. As a fan, I have the right to boo everyone who had a hand in this process. BOO!!
Get ready for 24/7 draft coverage... and lot's of 'what if's'
While we eagerly wait for the Collective Bargaining Agreement to (hopefully) come to an end on Friday, it hasn't stopped the rumor mill from connecting the San Francisco 49ers to lots of available or soon-to-be-available quarterbacks. Most recently, here are the names that have surfaced in connection with the Niners:
Matt Hasselbeck: The former Seattle Seahawk QB appears unlikely to return to Seattle. Could the veteran free agent stay in the NFC West and help a young 49er team make the playoffs? My hope is no but I do think Hasselbeck would be an upgrade over Alex Smith. I was also really impressed with Hasselbeck's play in the playoffs this year against. He's pretty fragile but if the alternative is Smith, then I'll take Hasselbeck.
Kevin Kolb: Michael Vick is clearly the franchise QB in Philly. The Eagles are looking to trade Kolb but it sounds like they are asking for at least a first round pick. Is Kolb worth it? Has he played in enough games to show he can lead a team through an entire season? Also, sounds like Arizona and Seattle are interested in Kolb as well. Could be an NFC West battle for Kolb. Of course, he's an upgrade over Alex Smith (sorry Alex), but at what price?
Cam Newton: Sick of hearing this guy's name? You are not alone. But "The Hair", Mel Kiper Jr. puts the 49ers on a short list of teams he thinks would be a good landing spot for Newton. I've read in some places that Newton doesn't even deserve to go in the first round but there's no way he lasts past the 10th pick. Would Harbaugh take a gamble on a rookie QB? Would Newton actually be an upgrade over Alex Smith? Would he use his 7th pick on a quarterback when there are other needs that are greater? I'm not convinced on any of these.
Carson Palmer: Palmer claims he won't play for Cincinnati again and will choose retirement as an alternative. The Bengals don't seem eager to trade him but they might be handcuffed. We know the 49ers would be interested. Would the Bengals trade Palmer for a second rounder or below? Does Palmer have enough good years left to make it worthwhile? Is he an upgrade over Smith? I say hopefully, yes and most definitely.
It's official, the Clinton Portis era ended today in Washington with the Redskins. The nine-year veteran needs only 77 yards to achieve 10,000 in his career.
Despite the fact that he has been injured over the last couple years, playing a total of 13 games, it's not like the guy is ancient - he is only 29 years old. Interestingly, he was drafted out of the University of Miami three years before another notable running back with some recent injuries... Frank Gore.
With Anthony Dixon still working his way up the roster, the 49ers signed Brian Westbrook last season as insurance for Frank Gore and just like in Blackjack when you get a 21 with the dealer showing an ace, they needed that insurance using both Westbrook and Dixon.
I am of the opinion that Frank Gore is not a durable guy. Call me crazy! He's a very good running back when he's healthy but he hasn't been. Neither has Portis but both Portis and Gore are guys who need the ball multiple times to establish a rhythm. If Frank Gore goes down again this year, do they call on Dixon to lead the way? I'm not ready to anoint him the heir apparent just yet. I would like the 49ers to have another established running back on the roster like Clinton Portis. Someone who can step in immediately if (or when) Gore gets hurt.
Portis woulnd't be the long-term answer of course, but another stop-gap to allow the 49ers to assess whether or not Gore can handle the full workload over the course of a grueling NFL season and if not, can Dixon? Or, Portis would give the 49ers a chance to draft another RB and let him get some work.
Either way, the 49ers need running back depth and Clinton Portis would provide that.
As the NFL combine rolls along, I checked back in with my friends at the Davis Sports Deli and recorded a podcast talking 49ers football. We addressed some offseason issues, the challenges that the Collective Bargaining Agreement poses, who will play QB for the 49ers, and who would the 49ers be foolish to pass on in the draft. And we managed to squeeze in some A's baseball too. Check it out.
Episode 155 – The Red and Gold Show: Oakland A’s with Strong Offseason « DSD: Sports Served Cold Cut http://bit.ly/ht8AC3
This whole collective bargaining agreement is a total drag. The 49ers can't trade for Carson Palmer or Kevin Kolb. They can't sign Donavan McNabb or Kyle Orton. The only players they can sign are their own which means... (cue dramatic music - dun dun dunnnnn) - Alex Smith. And even that might not be legal. In addition, even though they have the option of placing the franchise tag, it looks like they will decline to do so.
And the March 3 CBA deadline is very quickly approaching. Very quickly.
So what does that mean? Basically, in terms of personnel change, 49er fans can focus all energy on the draft. Yes the combine is happening now, that's great. But until a CBA is reached, we are stuck with almost the same roster that Mike Singletary lead to a 6-10 record along with some new rookies.
See what I mean about this being a total drag?
Even though the NFL Draft isn't until April 28, we can still begin to think about who the best player might be at the 7th pick who also fills a need for the San Francisco 49ers. Based on everything I've read and heard so far, I'm giving you my "Top 3 Most Likely To Be Drafted by the 49ers". Here they are:
1. Von Miller - OLB from Texas A&M. Apparently, this guy's stock has already risen considerably over the last month. A month ago, it seemed like he would be there for sure at #7. Now, he could already be off the board. If he's there, he seems like a great fit for the Niners, a defensive end skill/mentality as an outside linebacker. It's seeming like Manny Lawson is all but gone so the 49ers will need an OLB. And, I hear they are pretty good at drafting linebackers...
2. Patrick Peterson - CB from LSU. Again, if Peterson is still on the board, I can almost guarantee that the 49ers select him. Cornerback is a major need and this guy is the best of the best in this draft, someone who can start right away. Nate Clements is either gone or demoted or re-positioned. They need a CB... badly.
3. Blaine Gabbert - QB from Missouri. Whether or not Alex Smith comes back (please God I hope not) or the 49ers make a trade or sign a free agent, given the frequency of injuries in the NFL having depth at QB is not a bad thing. Gabbert at #7 would not be a bad pick for the Niners. And, if Harbaugh endorses him, I'm fully on board.
As the combine rolls around, I'll keep updating my top 3 predictions and see how we do.