49ers Not Feeling So Sunny After Trip To Philly

Owen Clark@@OwenDClarkCorrespondent IIIDecember 23, 2009

PHILADELPHIA - DECEMBER 20: Joselio Hanson #21 of the Philadelphia Eagles tackles Vernon Davis #85 of the San Francisco 49ers at Lincoln Financial Field on December 20, 2009 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Nick Laham/Getty Images

  The final flicker of hope for the 49ers' season died a frosty death in Philadelphia Sunday, leaving behind some stark realities and lingering questions. First, the realities:

    - The defense can't play on the road. Rod Brooks mentioned this stat Monday on KNBR, but the 49ers didn't even touch Donovan McNabb Sunday. At one point I think Donovan actually ate a bowl of Chunky Soup before throwing to DeSean Jackson. It's no coincidence that the D's three signature performances (St. Louis, Chicago, and Arizona) all came at Candlestick. Without the home crowd to pump up the pass rushers and throw off the snap count, this team can't get pressure and everything falls apart. Adding legit D-End needs to be a priority in the off-season.
    - Jimmy Raye isn't going to win ball games. When you don't score a touchdown all season on your opening drive, you're not preparing very well for defenses. When you go 0-11 on 3rd down conversions, you need to send some receivers past the first down marker. It's like Raye is playing original Tecmo Bowl and thinks there are only four plays (run Frank Gore up the middle, Vernon Davis down the seam, wide receiver screen, long pass play that fails because Alex Smith get's sacked). Raye would have been a perfect play caller on Singeltary's 85 Bears, because he rarely calls anything that will lose a game, but he certainly isn't going to win anything when his play selection. 
    - Not drafting DeSean Jackson was a bad choice. Like leaving voice mails with your mistress bad. Only consolation is nobody on the 49ers could throw it far enough to reach Jackson anyway. 

  Now on to the lingering questions:

    - Is there anything Alex Smith can do to get demoted? The buzz from the newspaper columnists following the game was Singletary's endorsement of Smith (kawakami get's my nod for best analysis). The truth is nobody in the organization actually thinks Alex is a franchise QB, there just aren't any other options. It's like the girl who hits thirty and settles down with the first marginal guy she can find. Yeah he's fat and works at Walmart, but he doesn't cheat and he hasn't robbed a bank in the past six months. Sometimes the search for something better get's so exhausting that you're just ready to roll the dice with what you got. Barring a dog fighting scandal or lost limb, Smith is your starter in 2010. 
    - Is Glenn Coffee a bust? If Frank Gore get's another carry this year, that's one too many. The rest of the season should be an audition to see where running back falls on the Niners wish list. No doubt the team needs someone to help Gore shoulder the load and fill-in during his inevitable injury. Coffee has looked okay in limited duty, but remains mostly a mystery. If he can show flashes over the next two games, the team can probably grab another runner off the scrap heap this off-season. If he remains pedestrian, time to think about using a draft pick to add a little explosiveness to the offense.
    - Has this team disgraced the vintage unis? Going back to the traditional red jersey's was great from a PR perspective. It reminded us that once upon a time this franchise was relevant. But there's always the risk that the painful performances we're witnessing now will supplant the great one's within our memory. I'm worried that number 84 will forever conjure up images of Josh Morgan falling down after a two yard screen pass.  Brent Jones going over the middle to snag a touchdown pass will be just a foggy memory. I say we give this squad one more year in the cardinal reds, if they finish 8-8, it's back to maroon of the Jeff Garcia era.