Can someone please start the 49ers season?
Another week of dubious news like this, another week of bad news like this, another week of what The Athletic’s Matt Barrows called on our show “weird vibes”, and an “odd smell” around the team and we’ll forget what it’s like to see Nick Bosa shrugging after a sack, or Christian McCaffrey wide open on a wheel route.
The 49ers need to get to Pittsburgh, beat the Steelers and calm everything the (blank) down.
What should be a celebration of Brock Purdy’s successful return from UCL surgery, and a rejoicing over one of the NFL’s most complete rosters staying mostly healthy throughout the summer as they barrel into the Sept. 10 opener in the Steel City has instead morphed into one big argument over Trey Lance, one big pining for Bosa to don that reassuring No. 97 jersey, one big bowl of angst over the kicking situation, and one big eyebrow-raise at our old pal Jimmy G firing shots from Las Vegas.
Weird vibes, indeed. Most peculiar, Mama.
The latest came from the guy who never caused a ripple, Jimmy Garoppolo. Ol’ Jimmy G was supposed to be the guy who deflected any controversy with a winning smile. If you felt any stress over anything inside the building, that stress would dissolve the longer you looked at his handsome Italian-American face. A jawline went a long way with Jimmy.
But none of that impish charm was on display when Garoppolo told a Sports Illustrated podcast that there have “been a lot of weird situations over there in San Francisco, I’ll just leave it at that.” Who knew Jimmy G, friend to all, foe to none, would be the guy to light the stink bomb? His comments make those still ambivalent about the Trey Lance trade doubt whether or not Kyle Shanahan can handle a QB depth chart, now that Jimmy and Trey can form an anti-Kyle alliance.
The counter, of course, is to say neither QB ran Kyle’s offense as cleanly and efficiently as Brock Purdy did in seven undefeated starts, and that if either guy was better, he’d still be here. The counter to that, of course, is to ask how many championships Shanahan has won. And then you’d be countering and countering all day, as 49ers fans seem to like to do on social media.
And then there’s Bosa. What went from a confident John Lynch all spring and summer has turned into a the-plane-is-leaving-for-Pittsburgh-in-a-few-minutes-and-they’re-about-to-close-the-jetway-and-Bosa-isn’t-on-the-plane sort of tension. There remains the historical precedent that these things almost always get settled, that cooler heads prevail, and that negotiating is negotiating. But every team meeting the squad has without one of the NFL’s top-five players is one more day the squad lacks cohesion.
Surely, Bosa will sign, at some point. He likes to play football, and he likes money. But would he miss Week 1, which is now at least a talking point? And if so, how long would it take for him to regain game quickness? These are unsettling questions, to say the least.
Toss in to this stew of bunkness the whole kicker fiasco. I hated using a third-round pick on Jake Moody, the kicker out of Michigan, not because I hate Jake Moody. I’m sure he’s a fine young man with a big ol’ kicking leg. But NFL history tells us you can find kickers almost anywhere, if you take the time to do it right. And once you spend a 3rd-rounder on a leg, that leg carries with it extra pressure to perform. Moody was already showing signs of that burden when he went and bonked a few kicks in August. Now, he’s toting a quad strain that makes his availability in Week 1 that much more murky.
Was it Bill Walsh, or Vince Lombardi who might say: Oof.
To recap: the 49ers currently don’t have a kicker, currently don’t have Nick Bosa, currently are dealing with a fan base wondering how you can use 3 first-round picks on a guy you trade for a 4th-rounder, and wondering why Jimmy isn’t writing love letters to Kyle.
Can someone please bring on the Steelers game? Our sanity hangs in the balance.