The 49ers season has come and gone and it has left us feeling devoid and unfulfilled. Maybe its just me, but this was the fastest, yet quickest season I can remember in a long time. Maybe it was the repetitive way the games went that gave me the “seen one, seen ’em all” feel. Or maybe it was the lack of adjustments at halftime during the games that made it pointless to continue watching the second halves of games. Either way, I think we can all agree that as excited as we were for football to return, it seems as though the season just ended way too abruptly.
But how did the San Francisco 49ers do this season? I will give some grades for various areas of the team and conclude with an overall grade. **PLEASE NOTE THAT THERE WILL BE TWO GRADES FOR HOW WE STARTED AND HOW WE FINISHED**
Start – C+
The season started with the 49ers firing Tomsula and getting their man in Chip Kelly. Jed York and Trent Balke made it a point to have staged photo-ops that made it seem like a match made in heaven. BOY WERE THEY WRONG! But they get the “B-” because they really sold the deal. The grade would have been higher if the supporting staff was better, however, bringing in Browns’ castoffs was a clear sign of what was to come
Finish – F
There is no way to hide it so I won’t waste a lot of time. This was one of the worst coaching staffs EVER assembled. The team set records for various lows, and the fans were left with the highest rate of disappointment. Trent Baalke flat out refused to pick up anyone who would help improve his roster. Never considered making any trades, and often times, we heard coaches and coordinators hint that their hands were tied as far as the players available to them. And if that wasn’t enough of a clue that the front office failed, Jed waited mere minutes to fire his new Head Coach and long time General Manager
Start – B
At the beginning of the season, it was clear that the roster needed more help (another reason the front office didn’t grade well). Trent made no attempt to go out and acquire better talent with the ton of cap space available to him, nor was his roster up to snuff. But when healthy, the team was projected to be something special. There were rumblings of how dominant of a defensive lineman Arik Armstead was. All we heard about was how Ellington was going to be unstoppable in Chip Kelly’s system while playing in the slot. Bruce Miller was also productive in the system and made us wonder if there were tricks up Chip’s sleeve for him. But all 3 were injured or cut before week 1, and the effects were evident. But when the season started, so did the injuries. But the roster looked to be competitive at least in the beginning, and that wavered when the injuries piled up.
Finish – D+
Yes, I am giving bonus points here. I think we all know that this grade should be a big fat “F,” but because this roster was decimated by injuries all season long, I am giving them some leeway. The team finished the season with 19 players on injured/reserve (I/R), one on the “Injured” list (Fahn Cooper) and finally an injury settlement with NT Ian Williams. That totals 21 players that weren’t able to be utilized for a full season. This isn’t counting players that missed games or snaps due to injuries either! All that being said, the teams’ performance was “poor” at best. That is from every position possible. There were times where things seemed to click, and players showed flashes of potential, but lets face it; Statistically speaking, this is one of the worst units in the National Football League and not many would argue against that. Some added perspective: The 49ers’ leading WR had 667 yards. That is good for 64th in the league!
Start – B-
There were some fans who tried to be positive but for the most part, people weren’t happy about the hiring of Chip Kelly. The flip side is that the fans widely celebrated the firing of Tomsula. The fans seemed to be united in their desire to move on
Finish – D-
As the season concluded and Jed York promptly fired the coach and GM and proceeded to find the best man available. As of this very moment, neither Trent Baalke nor Chip Kelly have been replaced, and that should give fans reason to complain. But there is actually just cause as to why York hasn’t replaced them yet. As it turns out, Jed York wants the hottest name on the market, and his team has yet to be eliminated from the post season. In fact, his team is playing in the Superbowl in a few weeks, but the fans are extremely skeptical and most doubt that the signing will happen. There is a broad brush being used amongst Bay Area media that has painted this organization as toxic and undesirable for top candidates. The truth of the matter is that it’s not, and all top candidates have not only expressed interest in the openings, they have even accepted the request for interviews. Candidates that are notorious for denying those same requests, have happily accepted, but the negative narrative has poisoned the minds of the fans. I would give this grade an “F” but there are some true faithfuls still out there who believe that we will land the top guy, and at some point in the future (near or far), right this ship! If you are one of those, please share this with someone else!