I'm done being upset about this. We were right there, but nothing can be done to change it. It's time to look back on what we saw and look forward to a promising future. There are alot of things I liked, and more than a few that I didn't.
1) Linebackers: The 49ers are 1 LB away from a remake of the Dome Patrol. Obviously no Dome, but Willis, Bowman, and Aldon Smith are BETTER than Sam Mills, Vaughn Johnson, and Pat Swilling. We just need out RIckey Jackson. I like Brooks, but in the long run I think we can improve that position. Brooks may be a casualty anyway as he's a Free Agent....so that position might be filled by Parys Haralson. I like Parys as a run-stopper, but he leaves alot to be desired as a pass-rusher.
2) DBs: #1 priority this off-season is resign Carlos Rogers. Gotta have him back. Brown played well and Culliver looked good at times, but Rogers is a must resign. Whitner is what I expected him to be. Great tackler, big hitter, not-so-great in coverage. I was strongly against putting the Franchise tag on Goldson early on and I faught with many of you about it, but I think I may have turned on this one. It may be the only way to keep him this year. I think they need to draft a guy to take that spot, but I don't think we can expect a guy to come in and play better than Deshon right away.
3) Turnover Diff: This one worries me. The 49ers play a style of football that sets up opportunities to create turnovers and they play very safe on O so they don't turn it over, but that can't last. We can't COUNT on +28 every year. The O needs to do a heavier share of the lifting next year. They will be in the second year of the O, so maybe they woould be better with the exact same personell....but in reality they need more players.
4) WR: We have been arguing all week on another thread about Kyle Williams and his future, but I really think that will take care of itself. I like Kyle, but this team needs to add a FA, draft a guy, resign Morgan and resign Ginn. I don't know if that leaves any space for Kyle anyway. These guys need to spend the offseason with Alex and Colin (or someone else) and get to know this O like the back of their hand. Personally, I like Wright or Floyd in the draft (both might require Jerry Rice-like trade up). IN FA, I like Bowe and maybe Colston. Bottom line tho, this position shouldn't look anything like it did this year to start the season. This is the biggest position of need on the team.
5) O-Line: I actually like the line as it's presently constructed (assuming Snyder is resigned), but I wouldn't be against drafting a guy semi-early or go after a big fish like Nicks. Some peeps are down on Staley and Davis.....I think both guys are cornerstones for the future. Goodwin was a good stablizing force and Iupati is a monster.
6) RBs: We need another one. Dixon aint the answer. Kendall is a good change of pace guy, but he isn't going to shoulder any kind of load. I love Frank, but he ain't getting any younger. He is showing aloit of wear and tear. He just can't stay healthey all year. We need another guy in there. Again...draft. 3-5th round.
7) D-Line. Fan-freakin'-tastic. I have no complaints here of any kind, other than to say they might need some depth. Justin is over 30 and he can't keep that motor up indefinitely. If he were to ever get hurt, the D would look completely different.
8) Special Teams: Resign Ginn. Resign Spillman. Resign Costanzo. These guys were HUGE this year. Find another #2 returner either in the draft, FA or on the present roster (I know Culliver did that in college). It's time for Ginn to become a full-time returner. No more WR for him unless peeps get hurt. He got hurt on offense and it was HUGE in the Championship game. HUGE. When I saw him just kinda fall down before the snap vs. the Saints, I had no idea that our season had essentially ended.
9) Coaching: What can I say. I have no comlplaints of any kind in this regard (other than that I wish they would take the quick draw out of the playbook...it hasn't worked once this season). We wn't from the numbskull Mikes to one of the most creative coaching staffs in the NFL. It's been a long time since we've had a staff like this.
10) QB: I am a realist. I don't often buy into the "Wow, what if" stuff. As much tho as head is tellign me that the Niners will put their hopes in Alex Smith, if a certain #18 hits the open market I have a hard time believing they won't be a player. It just seems too perfect. Super Bowl ready team. A relationship with Harbaugh. Weapons in place. The ONLY weakness of the team is the one thing that he would add. It just makes too much sense to ignore.
Having said all that, it makes no sense to get too invested into it until we see what happens in March. I think the Niners have to sign Alex regardless of what happens with #18 (I don't want to say his name). The PRICE then is a huge factor. If #18 signs elswhere, I really don't think he'll get the $$$$ everyone thinks he will. No team can bank 20 mil on him staying healthy without a pricy second option should he be unable to play.
ANYWAY...lol. Alex will be better next year no matter what. He's got a REAL offense. He's got a REAL OC. He's got a QB friendly HC. Most of all, he has TIME. I'll also be interested in seeing how Kaep plays in the preseason. This was his redshirt year....just like Luck had a redshirt year. ;-)
My biggest fear for next year is that the schedule gets much tougher. Everyone see's us coming now. No surprises. We may go 9-7 or 10-6 next year and be a far better team.
It'll be fun. I for one can't wait.
[ Edited by Marvin49 on Jan 27, 2012 at 5:13 PM ]