Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Digesting the 49ers loss

The reason this post is not coming to you immediately after the 49ers game is because I needed to give myself time to digest the loss. And after giving myself 3 full days, I realize that I really don't want to talk about that loss. But I will.

First of all, I do not entirely blame Kyle Williams. He made two terrible mistakes, yes, but he also is only a 2nd year player who was drafted in the 7th round out of Arizona State by the old coaching regime in San Francisco. The fact that he is even on the roster is a testament to how much this team desperately needs a wide receiver (more on that later). Basically, he's here because there's no one better than him. So I can't possibly blame him for his mistakes when the 49ers should have had a better player in his position anyway. Of course, we had Ted Ginn, but it was clear after Williams made a diving fair catch earlier in the game that he is a very risky punt returner and he should have never been placed in that precarious position.

That being said, Williams was our most consistent wide receiver late in the season when teams would focus on Michael Crabtree and Vernon Davis and force Alex Smith to find other places to throw the ball. Kyle Williams made some nice catches this season. He is not a bad receiver or a bad player. He was just in the wrong place at the wrong time, or rather, his knee was.

Alright, enough of Sunday's game. I'm over that. What's really important now is to not point fingers but figure out what this team needs to do to make itself Super Bowl caliber. Number 1: WIDE RECEIVER! I'm not even making this up, the 49ers only generated a whopping 3 yards total from their wide receivers in Sunday's game. Once teams figure out that they can double team Vernon Davis and take him out of the game, Alex Smith is left with no other option than to dump it to Frank Gore every time. With San Francisco's deep threat injured, Ted Ginn, and best receiver covered, Vernon Davis, there was simply nowhere to throw the ball against the Giants. There are several wide receivers available in this year's draft. Justin Blackmon is expected to be the 2nd overall pick and the 49ers likely will have to trade up to get him. Michael Floyd will probably also be gone when the 49ers draft at number 30. The 49ers have to hope that Alshon Jeffery, Mohamed Sanu, or Kendall Wright are still available when they pick.

Finding a wide receiver through free agency is another option. However, seeing how the Braylon Edwards deal flopped, I doubt the Niners will try to grab a big name receiver like Vincent Jackson. The Niners like to build through the draft, and I sincerely hope they draft a wide receiver because it was agonizing to watch the 49ers fail to convert on 12 of 13 first downs in that game.

Another need for the 49ers is the secondary. Hopefully, we can re-sign Carlos Rogers, but if he leaves, there will be a big hole at cornerback. Janoris Jenkins out of North Alabama is a corner who can also return punts, so that might be an attractive pick seeing as how we failed at punt returns on Sunday. However, he has not always gotten along with coaches and it's not yet clear whether Harbaugh likes to draft that kind of player.

Overall, the 49ers have a pretty solid team. if they fix their problems at wide receiver and re-sign Carlos Rogers, and maybe even shore up the offensive line a bit, they should be able to make a run at the Super Bowl next season.

As for Kyle Williams, please don't cut him. That would send the wrong message: "Make a mistake and you're out." It's not like he fumbled on purpose. He was just trying to make a play.

Keep Williams, draft a WR, resign Rogers, and limit the injuries. Sounds like a plan, a good offseason plan, for the 49ers.

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