I have to eat major crow for my 2009 preseason prediction that this year, the 2010 season, would be the year the Niners returned to the playoff. It is not going to happen. At 2-6, the Niners look to split the final 8 games, and go 6-10 for the season. Some team in the division is going to hit 8-8 or better, even though it looks unlikely at times. Someone will emerge, as they always do, to hit .500. So, to pretend this team has any realistic chance of making the playoffs is silly.
So, where does that leave us? Answer: Back at ground zero again. The team will dump Singletary, and bring in a new head coach. The new head coach will undoubtably bring in a new offensive coordinator, and new offensive system. It will probably also be the end of Manusky as the DC, and possibly the end of the 3-4 defense.
On player personnel matters, the new head coach (probably a seasoned vet) will more than likely demand some ability to have a strong hand in choosing those who will be signed, re-signed, or dumped. So, players currently on the roster will be in a state of uncertainty heading into 2011.
At QB, it appears that not much can be learned from the rest of the season. It is doubtful the Niners will maintain either Smith at the end of the year. Both have exhausted contracts, to my knowledge, and a head coach will surely like to bring in his own QB to run his system. The others would be simply buying time. At RB, the team may keep a 2-back system, or go to a multiple WR set, which eliminates players like Norris having a large role. The 2-TE sets could also be limited in the future. The offensive philosophy under Singletary is to play "smashmouth" football, so is there anything to learn the rest of 2011 if our OC plays a more wide-open style? Do we keep the same personnel, or do we make changes at C, LT, RG?
On defense, the Niners use a 3-4 defense, and Franklin is on a one year contract. If the new coach employs a 4-3, what players would remain from this roster on the DL, and how would this impact the LB core? Finally, the Niners are probably done with Clements, but that will remain in the hands of the HC and DC, who may see him perform better in a cover-2 scheme, or another defensive system.
So, with all the upcoming changes that we will begin to see in 9 weeks, is there much to look forward to until the Niners reset the button. My answer is, no. Fast forward me to early January 2011. Until then, the only thing that really counts is where we will draft.
[ Edited by MadDog49er on Nov 5, 2010 at 8:25 AM ]