Alex Smith

We’re the nation’s punching bag

This is getting old.

Maybe it says in the sports blogging handbook (which is only available in soft-copy, as far as I know) that on the day the 49ers’ season ended and the Raiders’ season got even more surreal, that I should write about each teams’ seasons as a whole and where they go from here.

But I just can’t do it right now. It’s officially another playoff-free year in the greater San Francisco Bay Area, and the pattern is becoming all too familiar. If watching the 49ers from 1981-95 was the sports equivalent of selling our souls to the devil, I’m about two more years of this b.s. away from regretting Bill Walsh’s and Eddie D’s mutual decision to negotiate with Lucifer.

January will mark the 15th anniversary of this region’s last championship in any of the four “major” sports (yeah, I tie in hockey whenever it strengthens my point…what of it?). And if you claim that any of the teams around here are legitimately close to breaking that streak anytime in the next three years, you’re either working for the Niners, Raiders, Giants, A’s, Warriors and Sharks or you’re under the age of 12.

Alright, I’m done venting. I guess it’s time to dissect this bitch…

– What we saw today from Alex Smith was extremely damaging. Sure, it was cold and stuff, and nobody expected the 49ers to win at Philly blahblahblah, but when A-Dot got sacked on 4th-and-7 from the Eagles’ 22-yard-line with less than 4 minutes to go and the Niners down 27-13, he showed his major problem: he’s as spontaneous as frozen caramel. When Steve Young pleads on KNBR for Alex to show us that he can be the reason his team wins a game at least 5-10 times a game, it’s not just standard analyst jive. Young knows that Smith is not a charismatic leader of men, a guy who not just thrives, but gets off on throwing caution to the wind.

Smith is just so damned tentative, and his best plays are when he’s methodical — when he looks as if he’s throwing that post route to Vernon Davis in slow motion. When asked to act quickly Smith more often than not forces throws into traffic or gets his pass deflected. He can’t be given the worst label a quarterback can shoulder in the NFL, which is undoubtedly “happy feet,” but the guy will never be more than slightly above average. He’ll make a 2-5 good throws in each game he plays, but he’ll never perfect the “craft,” as Young so often calls the process of playing quarterback.

– Delanie Walker has nice receiving skills for a tight end, but the guy’s a moron. I thoroughly enjoyed how he held the football like you’d hold a bucket of large popcorn in a movie theater today so Sheldon Brown could easily poke the ball free and ruin what should have been a 49ers 1st-and-goal. With as many penalties as Walker has, and the fact that’s more likely to run his mouth on KNBR about the next week’s opponent than to make an impact play in the second half, I’m about ready for the Delanie era to end. Or at least for everyone to start calling him “Dana Delanie.” And yes, I know my audience is probably a little young for references to lead actresses from China Beach, but at this point I really don’t care. Walker’s so dumb, I’d pick Monta Ellis over him as a teammate in Trivial Pursuit.

– I’d be open to trading Frank Gore at this point, because he’s still good enough to have some trade value before his inevitable decline in the next season or two, if only Glen Coffee didn’t look so darn ordinary. Admit it, the prospect of hearing the words, “starting tailback, Glen Coffee,” sounds about as exciting as the prospect of being forced to watch a  Sing Off marathon, or a constant loop of the latest iPod commercial with all those people dancing. Ugggh.

– Here’s where I stand: I love Frankie, but if the Raiders would give the 49ers Michael Bush for Gore straight up, I’d do it yesterday.

– Why do the 49ers play the Eagles pretty much every…single…year? Talked about a forced rivalry. Maybe it would be a little better if the 49ers didn’t lose 4 games to the Eagles (2005, ’06, ’08 and ’09) by a combined score of 147-66.

– After today’s game, the rankings for what the 49ers should go for in the draft are in this order:

1. Offensive Tackle

2. Offensive Guard/Center

3. Pass Rushing DE (Unless you’re ready to trust Ahmad Brooks forever and ever…)

4. Cornerback

5. Quarterback (Only because I don’t like Jimmy Clausen or Sam Bradford as much as I like Nate Davis…Otherwise this ranking would be much higher after today’s Alex Smith-esque performance from Alex Smith, if that makes any sense.)

6. Safety

7. Running Back

8. Defensive Tackle

9. Wide Receiver

10. Linebacker

11. Tight End

12. Kicker

13. Punter (Sometimes I just feel like giving Andy Lee a hug.)

– Easy to look over on a day like this, but Josh Morgan had a good day both receiving and returning.

– Can the 49ers just get it over with and make Arnaz Battle a coach? We get it, you like him. That doesn’t mean he has to keep returning punts.

– On a related note, nice Brandon Jones signing. Fucking brilliant. We should start calling him Brandon Renteria, or Javon Jones.

– At this point it would shock me if the Niners and Raiders both didn’t finish 7-9.

– Will the 49ers lose to the Lions at home next week or to the Rams on the road to end the season? I say they lose next week. 7-9 is a record that the Niners need some chicken blood and a couple natural disasters to stay away from at this point, and the Raiders look like they’re ready to win out.

– As with our local baseball teams, it’s kind of sad when the radio broadcasters routinely outperform the teams they announce for. Ted Robinson, after a rocky start with his tepid “Touchdown…Niners” calls to start the year, can pretty much make Joe Starkey call him “daddy.” Greg Papa’s talk show is on the boring side most of the time, but he can even make the worst Raiders game sound somewhat important — no small feat.

– Near the end of today’s Niners loss, Darryl Johnston talked about 49ers who’ve never been to the playoffs, like Justin Smith, Nate Clements and Takeo Spikes (only their two most expensive free agents and their most valuable waiver-wire pickup in years), and how they wanted to go the playoffs or something. Perhaps the 49ers should start throwing their cash at proven winners under the age of 38? That is, unless you’ve really enjoyed the Isaac Bruce era.

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