I like our chances for 2011. There are a lot of similarities to the 2006 Norv Turner season.
Like 2006, we have a coaching staff that understands offensive execution; although Norv’s approach emphasized more vertical passing, and power running, his roots are in the WCO. The biggest positive difference between 2006 and this year is that the team has better players at almost every position; see Grant Cohn’s summary from today’s Press Democrat – he does a nice job of detailing the improvements at the key positions.
I include Alex Smith in that list of improved players. He’s a veteran, and under Harbaugh’s instruction (like with Norv), Alex will improve and gain better control of his game. I know it’s just one week and the pre-season, but the dramatic improvement from week 1 to 2 is encouraging – you can see Harbaugh’s impact and influence with this team.
Another thing about Alex – a lot is made of ‘Alexcuses’ (mostly fans and the media). The one person not making excuses is Alex. He takes responsibility for where he is at – as an example, he put last night’s INT squarely on himself.
I see success. We finished 2006 with a 7-9 record. With the pieces we have in place now, and with what seems like a favorable schedule, I predict 10-6, division champs and in the playoffs.
Call me crazy . . . you gotta believe.