I must come off as a 49er hater with the constant negativity that I level on my favorite storied franchise, but in reality I’m a passionate fan who hates to see his team commit screw up after screw up, all the while other more organizations run by more competent people succeed. I only say the negative things because I hold out a small bit of hope that someone in the know or in a position of power pays attention. Having got that off my chest it’s frustrating to see Mike Nolan lobbying to be the head coach of one of the Senior Bowl teams for the 3rd (4th?) straight year. I know that at some level it allows the 49er coaching staff to get additional time to scout potential draft picks, but it’s not as if they have much to show for it. Sure Nolan was blown away by Patrick Willis last year, but it’s not like Willis was an unknown. He was the SEC defensive player of the year for crying out loud. I knew who he was and I barely follow college football before December. Discounting a fall in your lap superstar like Willis, and what phenomenal scouting has the coaching opportunity brought? I’m not bitter, I just wish that I could proudly proclaim that my team’s coach was to busy planning for a playoff game, rather than scheming up a no-blitz vanilla game to be watched by 384 people on a Saturday in late January.
Having mentioned Patrick Willis, I’d be remiss if I didn’t offer a blogosphere & ninernoise.com congratulations to him for being the NFL’s Defensive Rookie of the Year. Quite simply Willis was the most dominant linebacker I’ve seen since Ray Lewis first burst on the scene. What’s even more frightening is that Willis hasn’t learned to defend the pass yet. Once that occurs, we’re looking at possibly the best LB since his coaching mentor Mike Singletary played the game. Everyone knows he has an uncanny nose for the ball, and an innate ability to sniff out where a play will be going. Combine that with his unnatural speed and humble attitude and you have a recipe for victory (at least on the defensive side of the ball).
Finally, I want to address Vernon Davis. He had a good year at the TE position (if you discount the 823 fall start penalties called on him) with over 50 catches on a team with no offense, and he certainly was filled with energy and passion for the 13.5 games he was available to play (he played every snap this season when healthy). What I wanted to discuss was how he finally fulfilled his obligation (along with the people at Washington Mutual), of delivering a check to Glen Park Elementary School in San Francisco. In his radio PSA, Davis told listeners that WAMU would donate $500 for each touchdown the 49ers scored, and today they made good on that. Davis (without any handlers from the 49ers) delivered a check for $12,000 today and even offered an additional $1000 from his own pocket under the seat of car to pay for a new play structure. Good for him.
I don’t have anything snarky to close with so I’ll finish by saying my nameless roommate who was on site for the check delivering ceremony, says that VD was probably intimidated by performing in front of 500 elementary school kids and gave mostly short answers to their questions.
Kid: “What’s it feel like to get hit?”
Kid: “How long have you played football?”
VD: “Since I was 2, when my daddy first threw me a ball”
I foresee a long career as a play by play announcer upon retirement for Vernon Davis. Sad as it is to say, he might just be better than Thom Brennaman