The 49ers have a host of weapons that they have not had in years and may have actually found a system that fits who they are. For the first time in seven years, and I can't believe I am saying this, the 49ers could bring back the same offensive coordinator.
Of course, one might say I'm getting ahead of myself. But, look at it this way; the Niners were severely mismatched with their personnel compared to their offensive style last year, and still made strides forward toward the end of the season even with Barry Sims technically playing right tackle. (I say technically because it wasn't apparent that he ever blocked anyone, yet he was on the field and was given a jersey with a number).
Brandon Jones has already endeared himself to the coaching staff with his size, athleticism and willingness to go up and get it.
Josh Morgan had a run of bad luck at the beginning of last year and was only a rookie. He now has another offseason under his belt and everyone is going crazy over him, as if he was part of the Jonas Brothers. Obviously, they had different dads. I guarantee that Morgan's wallet has "Bad A** Mother F*****" stitched on it like Samuel L., in Pulp Fiction. He will be the real deal.
Mix in a heavy dose of Isaac "I'm Still Breathing" Bruce and Jason Hill and you have more talent at the position than most teams in the league. Where the 49ers will finally benefit, thanks to the style of offense they will be running, is at the tight end and running back position.
The last two seasons have been a nightmare due to their choices at offensive coordinator. Norv Turner walked away in 2007 and left the Forty Niners holding the bomb. That bomb was model type, A457-JHostler.
Jim Hostler couldn't have coordinated his way from one end of the Golden Gate Bridge to the other if you gave him a map, a compass, and one of Mike Nolan's snazzy suits.
Mike Martz on the other hand was extremely capable. In fact, he was probably a little too ingenious. He was asking guys to pick things up in year one what they probably wouldn't have picked up until years two or three.
Worst of all, the 49ers were not using their stud running back, or their stud tight end, and their receivers were pretty young. The most glaring issue was the offensive line's lack of talent for pass blocking. Not to point fingers, but it often seemed as though San Francisco was playing without a right tackle for most of the year.
For the first time since Norv Turner was in town, the coaches appear to be on the same page. This, in combination with the increased talent on offense, seem to have the Niners poised for big things offensively without Michael Crabtree.
Which is a shame, because the prospect of having two receivers play together with the physicality and athletic ability that Crabtree and Morgan possess, should have fans beaming with excitement. Instead, they're left to wonder.
The 49ers will be a better team with Crabtree, just not this year. It's already a struggle for receivers to come in and contribute in their first year, and that's if they get to camp on time and are ready to play.
The Raiders signed their first round draft pick, Darrius Heyward-Bey to a monster contract of which $23.5 million is guaranteed. Crabtree, who already was bent about being picked after Heyward-Bey and is trying to hold out for top-five money, is probably using this as ammunition.
Sadly, for Crabs, he picked the wrong time and the wrong team to do this to. His services, which were once in the highest demand, have quickly moved far down the list. Instead, he is being looked at as a nice addition, like seat-warmers in a new car. My only hope is that he doesn't wait so long that he becomes 22" spinners.
These holdouts have a way of changing careers.