Through the San Francisco 49ers first two preseason games the team that many considered among the best in the NFL has been outscored by a combined 57-3. Today a report surfaced in which the writer stated that these losses have caused frustration to surface among players due to contract situations and a demanding practice schedule. Members of the lunatic fringe have come to the conclusion that Trent Baalke suffers from obsessive compulsive disorder and the team is in shambles with only 2 weeks left before the start of the season in Dallas. They are asking:
"What is wrong with the 49ers?"
The answer is absolutely nothing other than an unsettled situation at backup quarterback, which is the case for about 29 other teams in the NFL.
Here's the situation as it stands now. Through the first two preseason games the starting offense has been on the field for a total of three series. The starting group has played without Michael Crabtree and Frank Gore for all but three plays, and starting right tackle Anthony Davis hasn't played a single snap as he recovers from offseason shoulder surgery. Davis is expected to start practicing with the team today, going through only individual drills as he ramps up to be ready for the season opener.
Despite playing without three of its best players, the 49ers first offense under the direction of Colin Kaepernick has moved the ball into scoring position on each of it's three drives. They are progressing very nicely as the season draws near.
"Trading for Blaine Gabbert is Baalke's worst decision as an NFL general manager. Gabbert is horrible, actually worse than horrible. If Kaepernick goes down the 49ers are doomed!"
I disagree. Not with the argument on how poorly Gabbert has played, but that the 49ers are doomed. Let me explain. After a two game losing streak early in 2013 left them with a 1-2 record, Jim Harbaugh and Greg Roman changed things up and went back to their strength. Strong defense, and the running game. The result was five straight wins while scoring an average of just under 35 points per game. During that stretch the quarterback threw the ball on less than 40% of their offensive snaps.
If Gabbert can hand the ball off and keep from turning the ball over the 49ers will be fine should he be forced into action.
"But the starting defense has been terrible! Didn't you see how Peyton Manning carved them up on Sunday!"
You mean the group that didn't include any of the starting defensive lineman, and was playing without Patrick Willis or Tramaine Brock? The group that played so vanilla that Christian Grey had to turn off the TV?
On Sunday the 49ers defense sat in it's base defense for the majority of the time that Manning was in the game. A future Hall of Fame quarterback like Peyton Manning should have no trouble finding holes in a standard zone defense. It's like shooting fish in a barrel. When these two teams face off again in week 7 you can rest assured that the defense will be mixing things up quite a bit more than they did on Sunday.
The other issue that missing so many starters on defense has caused is the 49ers basically have been playing their backups against starters. This also means their third string unit is taking on the opponents back ups and so on. While it has been ugly to watch so far, having to "play up" will begin to pay dividends during the regular season when the starters get back in their. Now the backups will have experience playing against the best competition and that is a good thing.
For the members of the lunatic fringe, take a deep breath, relax, and realize that this is the preseason.