Very well well. What a brilliant start to the year for the 49ers so far! Who doesn’t want to start the season 2-0? I’m sure you’ve read elsewhere how 2-0 increases the chances of the 49ers making it to the Super Bowl. It looks like we have the elements in place to make this happen. So far defense and offense have each won a game, with special teams playing a role each time (yes, I know it takes the whole team, but in one game each one part has made the heavy work while the other struggled).
So many reasons to ignite! Jimmy G didn’t pick a pick. Trey Lance’s 1st pitch was a touchdown. Nick Bosa comes under pressure, tackles and sacks at a constant initial rate. At the very top and bottom of the list, there is a multitude of strong players. Established veterans like Trent W, Jimmy W and newly added veterans Alex M. Up-n-coming veterans like Messers Kittle and Warner or Promising-Yet-Unproven Sophs Aiyuk and Kinlaw round out the squad. Even our standard surprises for later rookies quickly appeared in the forms of Mitchel, Talanoa, and Lenior. From a competition and entertainment standpoint, this list is loaded.
Therefore, with 11.7% of the season on the books, there are high hopes among fans of The Faithful and The Casual-49ers. (Side note: Are casual 49er fans called The Swingers? The Daters? … food for thought … (lmk if you have any suggestions)). Not only are we winning, but almost everyone involved can clearly see that the team is playing closer to their average potential than their cap so far. This can only make us expect things to improve as the season progresses.
As the other 3 NFC West teams look to set up several types of potential agony for the 49ers, the rest of the schedule is littered with games up for grabs. Also, while the division may seem difficult to the rest of the league, this is the fourth time Coach Kyle has bowed to these particular windmills, so it might not be as difficult to win some division wins than it seems at first glance. For many players of several years in the team, revenge matches also await our greatest pleasure.
It all lends itself to a well-deserved feeling of excitement from fans and pundits alike. I, too, got caught up in these feelings of “Could this finally be the season of the Shanahan era where it all comes together?” Certainly, in Year 4 of the said era, we the fans are right to hope that all of our emotional investment in this dramatic real-life sports entertainment experience will pay off by winning The Big Show and going back in our rightful place at the top of the NFL.
However … I can’t help but zoom out a bit and watch the whole meal in front of me. Sure, there’s a healthy main course of red and gold blood smeared on the seasonal table, but what is it here, in the sad little dish right on the edge … Oh shit. .. It’s a side of Brussels. Doubts.
Please keep in mind that I do not intend to make happy fans think or feel negative thoughts. I’m not trying to throw a rotten cherry on the sundae of a 2-0 record. Think of me as that friend who just makes sure you don’t get hurt by raising your expectations too high. I’m the spoon you eat the sundae with (at least while you’re reading this) and as this shaved youth puts it in The Matrix:
Young monk: “Don’t try to bend the spoon, it’s impossible. Instead, just try to realize the truth.
Neo: “What truth?”
Young monk: “There is no spoon. “
Spoon or not, let’s stop this dish full of Brussels doubts and dig a second. It might not be as delicious as the red and gold cake we can eat elsewhere, but it might turn out good for us in the end.
So why does doubt creep into my perception of this team when I so want them to win for so many reasons (history, pride, entertainment, etc.)? Examine the characters in this story and we quickly see that despite all the good news, there is good reason to doubt. Let’s take a look at James G, who to date has had a solid but unglamorous start to the season. Although it has been noted above that he has yet to return the ball, history tells us that not only will it happen, but it will inevitably come at an inopportune time, and soon.
Jimmy doesn’t just throw pickaxes and fumble around, but he also has a high number of “interceptable balls”. The universe seems to bail him out on a regular basis with invisible little pigskin sprites that slap the ball out of DB’s hands, helping him in the same way that the birds in Disney help Snow White hang up her laundry. While those poorly lifted balls don’t result in possession changes, they do make the whole squad tighten up as players and coaches subconsciously wonder when The Next One is coming. We watch some players without expecting an error to come. Others, like Jimmy, have scared us so many times that we can’t escape the vague feeling that something bad is coming soon.
Jimmy may have erased that trend over the offseason, but as training camp reports and history indicate, this is a statistically unlikely event that has been scrambled by the small set. of data from two games on which we are basing our expectations so far in 2021. Hence the head of Jimmy coming out of that bowl of Brussel Doubts with a mischievous smile.
I would love to say what I hope happens is that Jimmy Lights It Up is super tough and having his best season ever, showing growth as a player and evolving mastery of a fully developed QB. My super secret fantasy is that he hooks up with Trey, the guide, and they become friends. Trey ends up playing about 17% of the games and we go to the Super Bowl where they both score 3 TD each. I really believe the potential is there, although it’s unlikely. After all, the main course IS one of delicious hope.
Buuuuuuut… .These Brussels doubts will not be eaten like this until the next source of consternation. To annoy my East Bay buddy Chris even more with a second quote from The Matrix:
Trinity: “This is the question that drives us. This is the question that brought you here. You know the question, just like me … ”
(Notice, dear reader, that in my metaphor, YOU are Neo, The One … enjoy what you feel for a second …)
In this case, the question is not about Matrix. When I think of Coach Kyle, the question becomes:
“Is Head Coach Kyle Shanahan ‘A Closer’? ”
This question clearly wasn’t asked by me first, but rather dates back to his tenure with the Falcons. Without going through all the instances, suffice to say that we have all experienced this quality in our brilliant coach. Look at him here, with a miserable look on his face, which in turn is glued to his playbook. Sometimes I wonder if he’s one of those guys with such a sharp mind that he cuts it off. reality, trapping it in the realms of schema, theory and thought.
Coach Kyle’s bizarre changes in energy, skill, creativity and results weren’t only evident in the 4th quarter, but also in his relationships with some players. One wonders about the source of this clearly observable behavior. Either way, it’s hard to see how the classic human weakness of being bored and then distracted, being lazy or both, could apply to things like quarterbacks in football games or the career paths of footballers. players. What then is the source of Kyle’s frequent shortcomings at times of engagement? For now, that remains a mystery for another day.
The element of that question that applies to the current circumstances is that this quality of coaching Kyle allows doubt to enter the minds of fans, reporters and, I presume, staff and players as well. Whether it’s whether a 38-17 Q4 lead will be enough for a W or how things are going to turn out with THIS pick traded for a draft that’s currently on the bench, the feeling we can’t not feeling confident about how things will end up coloring the experience of following this team.
Obviously, all the fans want Coach to be closer and often times he is exactly that. So far, however, his career as a whole as well as the two games played in 2021 support the case for doubt.
Of course, life is never safe, and it may even be unfair to ask if Kyle is A Closer given all the random elements that go into a football game, let alone an NFL season. However, my thesis here today has been that despite many causes of current enthusiasm, there is indeed a reasonably healthy accompaniment of doubt at this point. I hope if my case was made or not, that you enjoyed the verbal and visual ride.
Here is a high quality match on Sunday. We hope with enthusiasm that he clears the doubts even more with a resounding victory at home!
PS If for some reason it makes you unhappy when people criticize Coach Kyle, here are some wise words about his best qualities: