• By Denis Griffin
    Apr 22, 2007 at 1:49 AM 0 comments
    With the NFL Draft a week away and fast approaching (faster every year, it seems), now is as good a time as any to break it all down. With pro-days out of the way and most team's draft boards pretty much set, it's unlikely that much will change before Jamarcus Russell or Calvin Johnson is handed his Raiders jersey on Saturday. A pet-peeve of mine has always been internet guys who seem like they think they know more than the professionals. The opinions of guys who watch hundreds of hours of tape before they make a single pick should probably take precedence over mine-- I'm lucky if I get the chance to watch a dozen non-Stanford college football games in a season. The real test of a team's success with a pick an entire draft class comes three years down the line,...
  • By Denis Griffin
    Dec 25, 2006 at 2:19 AM 0 comments
    With Sunday’s loss to the Arizona Cardinals, San Francisco’s season and playoff hopes effectively came to an end on Christmas Eve, in front of a boisterous home crowd on Fan Appreciation Day. And sure, it was disappointing. I was there, and could hear the angst from fans on all sides. And there must have been no one more upset at the way his team lost than Mike Nolan, who had to watch his defense give up first down after first down in a Cardinals drive that chewed up the final five minutes of the fourth quarter. Maybe it was the absence of defensive lineman Ronald Fields, who was lost for the season to a broken arm during the week’s practices, but San Francisco just couldn’t stop the run when it counted this week, and were once again frustrated by the often complete lack...
  • By Denis Griffin
    May 9, 2006 at 10:42 PM 0 comments
    There are two things that make the offseason tolerable as a fan. The first is seeing the future of the team and getting to know the new players you’ll soon be cheering on Sundays. The second is learning what coaches and executives think of the team they already have. If you think about it, the only way to really get honest answers from those in power in the NFL regarding players already on their roster is to watch how they deal with their personnel in the offseason. You can’t trust what a coach or GM says, because there’s a good chance they’ll be lying. Don’t be fooled, the smoke and mirror tricks are running all year, not just at draft time. That’s why the offseason is so refreshing. If a team spends a first round choice on a QB, then you can bet they weren’t...
  • By Denis Griffin
    Feb 11, 2006 at 12:00 AM 0 comments
    After another down year for the San Francisco 49ers, one would think the team might be due to catch a break. And luckily, for the first time in quite a while, the salary cap, at least, won't be breathing down the team's neck, as the 49ers finally acquired about $20 million worth of separation between themselves and their most dreaded of foes. So it's finally all smooth sailing ahead, right?       Wrong. It seems that in the NFL, especially when you're the 49ers right now, you just can't win for losing. The best stocked position on the team—indeed the only position that's fair to call well-stocked—is going to need some major work to maintain this offseason. Starting linebackers Derek Smith, Andre Carter, Julian Peterson, and...
  • By Denis Griffin
    Dec 25, 2005 at 12:00 AM 0 comments
    Back home in St. Louis for Christmas, I had the opportunity to see the 49ers pull out their third win of the year over the Rams in person yesterday. The game was unique in several ways. For one, it was played in front of a stadium that was half empty, allowing me to snag some of the best seats I've ever had at a football game. For another, I, like so many 49er fans, had adopted a more pragmatic goal for the end of this season; it's safe to say visions of a blazingly quick running back from USC were dancing in my head. And while this vision of a future laden with chants of "Reggie" was shattered, nevertheless, I left the game with a positive feeling, as Mike Nolan showed once again why he was hired to turn this team around. So let's get the ugly part out of the way...
  • By Denis Griffin
    Nov 4, 2005 at 12:00 AM 0 comments
    There have been complaints. They were unrealistic, impossible goals, some said. They'd only inflate the team's hopes, and, when they were later dashed, deflate the team's faith in Coach Mike Nolan. Maybe even you, loyal readers of this, my second column, were among those who said Nolan was crazy when he told his team their task was to win the NFC West. Okay, then, here's where you're wrong. What so many fans and commentators seemed to miss was that in this case, the goal of winning the West complimented the long-term purpose of rebuilding the team. You see, what Nolan must have realized was that the first thing that needed rebuilding, before the talent, before the old 2-14 record, even before the fans perception, was the team's shattered...
  • By Denis Griffin
    Oct 20, 2005 at 12:00 AM 0 comments
    It's a funny feeling, not really caring about football on an autumn Sunday. It's that odd state of limbo—a football purgatory, if you will—known as the bye week. On the bright side, things can't get any worse, but they can't get any better either. For a young team like the 49ers, it's difficult to guess the effects of a week without a game. True, it gives young players like Alex Smith, Frank Gore, and the other rookies (who have yet to really get their feet wet in the NFL regular season) one more week to mature. That's one more week to study film, work on technique, and get a feel for what their relatively new teammates will be up to on any given play. However, it also gives the entire team an extra week to brood about a 28-3 defeat at the hands of the Indianapolis...
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