A place for me to talk about San Francisco Bay Area sports.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

49ers end season 4-12

Mike Nolan, prodigal son of former Niner coach, Dick Nolan, returns to the 49ers as head coach, promising to restore the franchise to respectibility and did an OK job of that. Yes, there were misfires, like the Winborn situation, or the various mistakes in decision making on the sidelines handling timeouts and the like, but the Niners doubled their win output in his first year, which is more than what Bill Walsh could say in his first season at the helm (then again, Walsh didn't get the first pick of the draft in his first go around).

Lots of nice things came out of this season. Alex Smith did horribly, as any rookie QB would be expected to with a talent-deficient team but was starting to figure things out at the end of the season. Frank Gore showed a lot of grit and ability and other draft picks did well too, making a pretty good haul out of Nolan's first year draft. They ended with a two game win streak but had started the season with an encouraging win over the Rams so the fans went through the gamut of feelings and expectations this season. I found myself sucked into his proclamations of making the playoffs that started the season - the NFL has had a number of these total reversals in recent years - so I was not immune to his siren call either.

They still need a lot of talent at numerous positions and a number of key free agents will most probably leave the team but that also means that there is a lot of budget opened up that could be redistributed towards adding talent at key positions as Nolan rebuilds the Niners. Plus the poor record again means the Niners get a high draft pick, 7th, though not high enough to get one of the sure consensus impact picks - Bush, Leinhart, Young - and, ironically enough, the tied the Raiders in record and lost the coin flip so the Raiders will pick 6th. The 49ers look good for the future but there is still more to do. At least Nolan was perceptive enough to realize that he needs an experienced front office guy helping him out. However, York apparently did some things behind his back without, obviously, his knowledge - we'll see how that plays out over time.


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