Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Why the 49ers scare me far more than the Cardinals do

Yes, I know, the Cardinals played in the Super Bowl last year.
Yes, I know, the Cardinals have two horse receivers and are still young.

The NFL is about sustainability.
The other Kurt Warner is old, and oftentimes in sports, the aging veteran has one great year where everything comes together perfectly, its the perfect blend of wily experience and remaining athletic ability. And then, its over. Kurt Warner had his year, the old greybeard is nearing the clearing at the end of his football path. He was what made the Cardinals, a uber talented, soft team with no identity, into the NFC Champions.
Lets look at what could happen to this team:
Warner could leave or retire
James is gone
Boldin wants out
Dansby is a FA and could bolt(couldn't you see Detroit overpaying big time for this guy)
Wilson is a FA (has Oakland Raiders written all over him)

Five key players, potentially gone. When teams make it to the Super Bowl, the players want to cash in on the new notoriety and bad teams will overpay these players to inject a "winning attitude" into the locker room. The Cardinals have no idea how hard it is to stay on top, much less get back. They rely on a gimicky passing game and turnovers on defense, both are feast or famine.
Now, my friends, the 49ers...
Tough, physical defense coached by a tough physical coach. For whatever reason, Nolan didn't press the right buttons, didn't get everyone on the same page and didn't bring in the right talent. There's no way this team should have had to get on fire to end 7-9 last year. It didn't click. The offensive line was terrible, lazy, didn't work together and was poorly coached. The skill positions were littered with "Me" guys and the offensive scheme was never suited for the talent.
Nolan gets canned, Crazy Eyes comes in, scales down the offense to rely on running the football and minimizing mistakes(which is exactly what it was built for), simplifies the already solid defense, instills accountability and ends the season on a tear.
The offseason is here, they hire Jimmy Raye as offensive coordinator, I know very little about this guy other than what I remember of the offenses of the teams he's coached. It just might be the right fit, but it might not, this guys teams never have been any good.
Here is the thing, the 49ers were built with one goal in mind. Beat the Seahawks. The Seahawks haven't changed, they run the same offense, will run the same defensive scheme, the 49ers are big, physical and like to hit people, they also run a 3-4(Although I think Patrick Willis would make more of an impact in a 4-3, with a 3-4 you are limiting him by playing him at the inside spots), the Seahawks always struggle with a pure 3-4 with pure 3-4 personell(I don't count Arizona as a pure 3-4 team). The Cardinals will rise and fall, but, if the 49ers can get their act together, recommit to running the ball, they will be a 9-10 win team for a while.

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