After yesterday's massacre, which I believe has been far too dramatized on the board by many (in the grand scheme of things, it is one game, and the first bad overall game the team has played all year), the next couple weeks could be a blast to watch, as I surmise Singletary is open up competition all across the offense. The problems are far and wide, and do not seem to be getting better. Hence, the potential for a massive overhaul before the Niners face the Texans.
Here are some of the competitions I expect to see:
1) Rachal vs. Wragge vs. Snyder- While Rachal is far more athletic, the bottom line is that he is struggling. Struggling against a backup lineman last week with the Rams, struggling this week against the Falcons; heck, he's struggled all year. While is has been more convenient for fans to blast Baas (since he will probably depart in FA this year, and Rachal is young), Rachal simply has been terrible in pass protection. He is a lost puppy right now. Wragge is a savvy vet who may need to give the kid a break to get his head together. I have added Snyder just in case he is the loser of the battle below.
2) Snyder vs. Pashos- A showdown between two mediocre RT's, I've got a feeling that the extra two weeks in this offense will help Pashos, and he will emerge the starter. This would allow Snyder the potential to move inside to replace Rachal or Baas. We need to get our best five guys on the field, and Snyder would be better than Rachal at this point of the season.
3) Bruce vs. Jones vs. Crabtree vs. Battle vs. Hill- So, who wants to be the starter next to Morgan? It seems like Morgan has emerged as the top guy the past two weeks (although besides his breakway run yesterday, we still did not see much). However, he is contributing, something we are not seeing elsewhere. Bruce looks like he is 80 years old. Jones is coming back from injury. Battle has been sitting on the sidelines a lot due to Raye's offense, and Hill has been playing special teams. I expect the Niners to give Jones every shot to move up the depth chart and possibly push for a starting role. Crabtree is not going to be ready for the full package, so he's competing for the third WR role. This will be a fun week to see who gets the chance to start and play backup.
And, I think someone surprising is going to get cut this week: Hill? Battle? Rossum? Even with Spurlock headed to the waiver wire, I'm just not convinced the Niners will keep 6 WR's, and a PR. I could be wrong.
4) Smith vs. Hill- I fully expect Singletary to allow Smith some first team reps, and this may be his shot to run the offense. I still expect Hill to emerge the starter after the bye, but Hill was pretty shaky, and the passing game has been inconsistent all season. So, if Smith lights it up in practice, we may see a change. Something has to pump up this dreadful offense.
Anyone else think the practices the next couple weeks are going to be intense?
P.S. As for the defense, I'm not going to panic. I think they simply had a bad game, and this unit simply needs to move on. If it becomes a week-to-week issue like the offense, then we have a major problem.
One final note: We may be seeing the future at SS come sooner than expected. If Michael Lewis has experienced his third concussion since August, the writing is on the wall. I fully expect the team to target either Eric Berry or Taylor Mays to be the starting SS next season, and the other first rounder to be a RT.
[ Edited by MadDog49er on Oct 12, 2009 at 12:35:43 ]