Alright, the last few seasons, it seems like every year is supposed to be our year. Then something seems to come up. For instance, we lose Norv Turner, Alex Smith's shoulder gets destroyed, and the offense regresses. Then we hire Martz, fire Nolan, and promote Singletary. Last season was competitive, but we lacked an offensive identity, and that hurt us.
With the weakened division, retention of most of our core players, continuity on offense, etc. etc., we are EXPECTED to make the playoffs this year.
But.. what if we don't?
I really do believe that this year is our year to make the playoffs and have a shot at making it to the Super Bowl, but I do see some issues with our team if we fail again.
It really depends on how the team fails, but if there's one weakness that seems to be highlighted this offseason, it's that the team's infrastructure (the coaching staff and front office) is relatively unproven.
I think the theme the team has been trying to follow the last few years has been a stable approach that builds through the draft and always has young talent in both the roster and the front office. It has some merit, I think. When McCloughan left, we still had Baalke and Gamble, two guys who seem competent. We have Raye as our OC, but it looks like Mike Johnson is going to be his successor. So I think they're trying to build a stable franchise in the LONG-RUN.
The thing many people have pointed out is that we don't have a proven football mind in the building. Even Mike Singletary is weak in terms of X's and O's, and evaluating talent. His major skill mostly is to be a motivational coach (which isn't a bad thing.). I'm just saying things might not always fit as well as we'd like.
So if we fail and miss the playoffs this season, I imagine things will get shaken up. I believe York is going to give Baalke a try-out through the draft, and if things go well, he might serve as the temporary GM, just as Singletary served as an interim coach a few years ago.
If it all fails, I see that "proven" football mind coming in here and letting him shake things up. It worked when we were rebuilding in the late '90s when Bill Walsh returned, but unfortunately, "The Genius" is no longer with us. So we'll see. I see that as the "next step" though. What do you guys think?