Thank you for a thoughtful and interesting post.
I concur with most of what you said. I agree with your QB assessment. In fact, I still disagree with the decision to bring him back. This regime, I felt, needed to build a whole new attitude which is more difficult to do with one of the major reasons for past failure returning. My preference (voiced much earlier) would have been to make a strong play for Hasselback ( I believe that he would have come, judging from remarks Steve Young made, and the fact that he has family in the Bay Area, if only Harbaugh wasn't singing the praises of the current guy - completely unnecessarily). With Hasselback, I believe that this team would go deep in the playoffs, which I don't believe possible with AS.
While, like you, I am buoyed by the team's current success (achieved off the back of it's excellent defensive play), it could still go all wrong and the next couple of weeks will be critical in determining this. If the team plays well, even if they lose, it will still be OK. But if they show the old propensity for playing poorly at critical times, it will revert back to the same ole - same ole. Alex is capable of managing a game. But, as you point out, he is not an instinctive player. And certainly not inspirational. Which is sometimes needed in moments of adversity. And is IMO an essential component of a franchise QB.
That said, his mistake free second-half play was central to the Niners' comeback win over the Eagles and he did do it against Seattle five years ago. I just don't believe it's a trend. But time will tell.
On the defensive side: The team made excellent moves in the off season. Both in draft and FA. Unlike some, I was really stoked by the Smith and Culliver picks. Smith, not surprisingly, is already showing good returns. However, with proper coaching and mentoring, I believe Culliver will also prove a better-than-average pick up. I strongly agreed with the Lawson, Franklin (partly for money considerations), and Clements (obviously) releases. And did not believe that Spikes was much of a loss. Pleasantly surprised by how much better Bowman has played than expected, though.
Don't believe Franklin is missed
Your post was good reading though!
[ Edited by Rsrkshn on Oct 6, 2011 at 10:32 AM ]