Joe-Pinions: Sports

18 Oct 2011 – Quick Slants

Posted in Auto Racing, Football (NFL) by txtmstrjoe on 18/10/2011

A few quickies:

  • I’m filled with enthusiasm and joy from the amazing turnaround my San Francisco 49ers have made.  Entering their bye week, they sit firmly atop the NFC West with a record of 5-1.
  • The roster is improved, but the core of the team is essentially the same as last year’s.  The big difference:  Head Coach Jim Harbaugh and his entire coaching staff.  In all phases of the game, they have coached up the team.
  • As ecstatic as I am with the 49ers, I’m despondent over the death of Dan Wheldon.  
  • I can’t say I was a fan of his – I only really know about him through name recognition, to be perfectly honest – since I lost my love for US open wheel racing a long time ago, but it almost always makes me unspeakably sad when someone dies in auto racing.
  • By all accounts, Dan Wheldon was a highly-regarded driver amongst his peers.  Moreover, he was well-loved by fans, members of the media who regularly cover IndyCar racing, and his on-track competitors.  As much as people talked glowingly about Wheldon’s abilities as a racing driver, they said that he was an even greater guy.  That’s hugely impressive to me.
  • Back to the 49ers:  I thought the post-game Schwartz vs. Harbaugh shenanigans was 1) silly, primarily on Schwartz’s part, and 2) overblown by the sports media.  
  • Coach Schwartz, apparently, is characterized by many fans and media people to be a bit of a classless oaf, routinely taunting competitors during games.  One hard backslap, and he chases after Harbaugh since Harbaugh’s team escaped Detroit with a win and handed the Lions their first loss of the season?  Something does not compute.  
  • I readily admit I’m biased for the 49ers.  But while I’m obviously biased, I’m not stupid, either.  Schwartz over-reacted, and he looks like a very sore loser at best.
—–
I’m still working on my next post in my Personal Top 10 F1 Drivers series.  I’ve been buried by other projects, and it’s proving to be hard to muster energy for my write-up for the #8 driver in that countdown.  But I’m working on it as much as I can, folks.  🙂
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4 Responses

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  1. Tim said, on 19/10/2011 at 01:04

    I can only echo your views on Wheldon. Any loss in sport is a saddening one, but as a fellow Brit it is a shame that he is barely known in his home country as IndyCar is such a minority sport.

    As for the Schwartz/Harbaugh spat, I can only laugh at the over-reaction on both Schwartz’s and the media’s part. Real storm in a teacup stuff, but if it means the Niners continue to fly under the radar that’s fine by me. We have the makings of something very special starting up here – we may not see it fully come to fruition this year, but watch out next season!

  2. txtmstrjoe said, on 19/10/2011 at 08:54

    I’m with you: I prefer the 49ers sneaking up on people. And I think that’s how Harbaugh is approaching his game plans week in, week out anyway (at least on the road). If you notice, except for the Tampa Bay blowout, each game has been won in the fourth quarter. They keep the game close, confident in the defense to keep the other team out of the end zone. On offense, they always do just enough to win.

    I’m not sure the offense can be explosive on a consistent basis; the personnel isn’t suited for that, with only one transcendent player (Vernon Davis). Davis can’t be used that way, though, since every defensive coordinator worth his money will make sure Davis is bracketed in coverage. Crabtree is showing signs of becoming a very good WR, but I don’t think he’s got it in him to be a true game-changer like Vernon Davis is. I do like Braylon Edwards a lot, though.

    It’s too early to declare our boys a playoff team yet, but I am enjoying watching Niners games again! Too bad they’re not in the London game this year, though.

    • Tim said, on 20/10/2011 at 02:08

      You have to figure that Harbaugh is smart enough to know he doesn’t have the personnel to win shootouts yet, but he may well bring in more explosive players over time. Like you, I’m not sure we have the depth to sustain a run to the playoffs, but if we go .500 to the end of the season and finish 10-6 that will be one hell of an achievement.

      • txtmstrjoe said, on 20/10/2011 at 08:31

        Believe it or not, more than a few of the talking heads over here actually fancy the 49ers to have a fairly deep playoff run, maybe even locking up the 2nd NFC seed, mainly because of our defense and because of the fact we play in such a pathetic division. As a fan who really loves the team, suggestions like that are a little hard to ignore, yet all to easy to buy into. I find it’s a little tougher to stay more objective when the team is doing really well, and especially if the team is over-achieving.

        As much as I really like Alex Smith, I just don’t believe he’s got enough of the instincts that truly top-flight QBs like Brady, Manning, Steve Young, and Montana all have. He has a definite ceiling, and unfortunately it’s not that high; Harbaugh and staff, though, have done wonders to really capitalize on his strengths (athleticism, book smarts, toughness) and minimized his weaknesses (he seems slow in reading coverages, for one thing).

        It will be fascinating to see just how far this team can go.

        One thing’s for sure, though: It’s finally FUN to watch 49ers football again!


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