Out of The Woods
My take on the 49ers game is essentially the same as my take after the Cardinals game: (1) the outcome, in terms of the final score, is immaterial; (2) the good news resides more in what we are attempting as opposed to how we are executing; and (3) Daunte Culpepper is our guy at quarterback.
Regarding point number one, here’s all you need to know: The Raiders were 4-1 and the Colts were 1-3 at the conclusion of last year’s preseason.
As for how we’re executing—well, they must be dipping that pigskin in bacon grease, because we have a bunch of guys who can neither grab it nor hold it.
However, I attribute much of this to the fact that they are trying to re-learn normal football after last year’s experiment in absurdity. They are like children orphaned in the woods and raised by wolves for a year. You can’t teach them English overnight, because they still want to bark.
If you think I’m kidding, I’m not. On offense, we’ve got a bunch of guys who’ve been jerked around with three coaches and systems in three seasons, coupled with two new quarterbacks each on their third stop in three seasons, coupled with another quarterback who was a human piñata last year—all throwing to a guy who wore street clothes for most of the 2006 season.
If that ain’t coming out of the woods, I don’t know what is.
So I don’t mind if the execution is a bit rough right now, because it will get better. What’s important is that our players have been reintroduced to civilization by Kiffin, Knapp, Cable and crew. I still wouldn’t let them near the china cabinet, but at least they’ve stopped chasing cats and chewing on bones.
Exhibit A of our assimilation back into society: Our offensive line, which played relatively stoutly on Saturday night.
So I’m not worried. I think that our offense will steadily improve in the coming weeks, that the mistakes will lessen and that the resurrection will begin in earnest.
As for Daunte Culpepper, I still think he’s the key to everything, even though no one is saying it. I think he’s the team’s trump card in the Russell negotiations, and I think he will be the starter on September 9.We are damned lucky that Culpepper fell in our lap, that’s for sure. Even if he isn’t our starter at the beginning of the season, he adds a level of depth, ability and injury insurance that, considering the ongoing Russell debacle, is both comforting and vital.
I've said it before, but this time I mean it: The Return to Glory starts now.