Thursday, March 11, 2010

"If I was the 49ers Head Honcho...."

-- Antonio Bryant, who I've been harping on about for days now, has finally found a home in Cincinnati. It's a good fit for the Bengals, who desperately needed someone who defenses would have to scheme for to take some of the coverage away from Chad Ochocinco. But the deal is what concerns me. I like Bryant. He makes tough catches, has great hands and is good after the catch. But a 4 year deal worth $28 million dollars? That's $7 million per year. I'm not sure if I want to chew that much cap for a number 2 guy. -- Kevin Faulk will return once again to the New England Patriots. Brady must be sighing in relief knowing he's getting back one of the better hard runners and catchers to line up in the Patriots backfield in recent years. -- Jake Delhomme could find his stay in Free agency short as he's expected to meet with the Browns today (Thursday). -- Derrick Mason, the 9,000 year old WR will be coming back to Baltimore for another year at least. The Ravens receiving corps now looks much healthier than it did in the playoffs, with the addition of Anquan Boldin and Dante Stallworth to supplement Masons, errr, experience. -- Terrell Owens was very gracious in a tweet he left regarding the Bengals signing of Antonio Bryant. Further proof, along with his maturity in Buffalo last year, that Owens has made a concerted effort to solve some of the question marks people had over his character. On a more bizarre note, a friend of mine asked me this question: "if you were the 49ers Head Coach (& presumably GM), who would you take in free agency and the draft?" Well, sounds like a challenge to me..... So we're assuming that I'm the Head Coach and GM of the 49ers ('cos I'm a 49ers fan). Probably going to take control of the offense in this capacity and install something very similar to the Bill Walsh style offense. So first off, I'd be happy to stick with Alex Smith, who did a great job last season, and by all accounts young Nate Davis was impressive, so we'll keep him too, but I'm afraid Shaun Hill is for the chop, because we can't be having a QB controversy. In his place comes Jeff Garcia. I still rate Jeff, who's spent almost his entire professional career working in a similar offense. He knows the calls, understands the kind of plays and style that we'd be using and can help the entire offense learn the scheme quicker. I'm also pleased to have FB Britt Miller on board. Miller used to be a LB in college and converted for the Niners. He showed promise last preseason in running routes out of the backfield, a big part of this offense. So the clock ticks down to the start of Free agency and I grab myself a nice cup of coffee and sit by the phone waiting for the clock to strike midnight. As soon as it does..... I'm off home, because it means I've probably been at the office too long. On Sunday Night I come back to the phone at about 11:00-11:30pm, a fresh coffee in hand and still laughing my butt off at how much money the Bears paid Peppers. No I start dialing agents. But whose? Well, I fancy a number 2 wideout to go with Crabtree so Antonio Bryant is on the list. I could do with a backup to Frank Gore, someone who might be cheap and preferably is a good catcher, so Brian Westbrook is next. I need someone to bolster the pass rush so I give Joey Porter a ring. I need a corner to replace Dre Bly so I'm also going to bring in Leigh Bodden and finally to seal up the back end, I call Darren Sharper. Yes, Sharper. See, I know I was moaning the other day about Sharper, but that's purely because people are drooling over him like he's gods gift to defense. Meanwhile, I take a more objective view of the guy. I like his leadership skills, I think he can make a few plays (though I don't expect 9 picks out of him again) and his return skills with the ball in his hands make him an attractive prospect for occasional punt/kick return duties. I'm also going to give Ladell Betts a call. He's from a similar system and can catch. I might give Todd Yoder a call and see how he feels about backing up Vernon Davis. Again, he would be reasonably familiar with the system. I might offer a small deal to Artis Hicks, formerly a Viking (technically still), as again he roughly knows the system, and let's face it, we need O-linemen. Kevin Mawae gets a shout for a veteran minimum deal, probably would start and would bring vital experience and confidence to our line. I'd also test the water on Chester Pitts. Coming from Houston, again he might have a passing knowledge of our offense. Providing the price is right (and by that I mean, very low) I'd see what Jarvis Green of the Patriots was up to, maybe come in and give our D-line a bit of stability. With our suspicious D still needing a look, I'd see what Keith Bullucks price was, and also feel out a vet minimum deal to Bertrand Berry of the Cardinals, who if nothing else will give us a look at the Cards D (and I think he could give more). I also might give Tyrone Carter a call, again looking for a cheap deal as a backup. So that's my free agent list dealt with. I wouldn't be expecting to pay out huge deals to any of them (even in an uncapped year, you still have to consider the future), so some would probably fall though the net, but I'm not breaking the bank for any of this free agent class and to be honest, there's no one else out there that catches my eye, not for the type of system I was planning. Maybe if Willie Parker was willing to sign on a minimum deal and sit as a backup then that's maybe one more. So now we move to the draft. Oh boy. So we have two first round picks here at 13 and 17. I already know who I want at 17 and I know he'll be there. The question is 13. As you'd expect any self respecting offensive minded coach to do, I'm going to go offense here, and I badly need linemen. Probably looking at any one of: Russell Okung, Bryan Bulaga, Anthony Davis or Trent Williams, depending on who falls to you. So that's number 13 done, but who is this certain pick at 17? Mike Iupati. I know, I know, every draft board going has him rated as a late first, maybe early second round pick, but again, this is where that whole system thing comes in. I'm looking at Iupati and thinking that this guy blocks like a demon, so could help anchor either end of my line, and a lot of plays in the Walsh style system require double reads by the guard in pass protection, and I think Iupati has the agility to make that a reality. He makes my team so much better, he's worth going at number 17. After that? Mainly the picks will be defense minded. I could use another corner, another safety and another LB. Maybe feel out the market for defensive linemen. With Aubrayo Franklin coming back I don't need a NT really, but I could still use some youthful depth. Corner would probably be my priority in that second round, but we don't pick till 49 so it depends as I want to get some value out of it. The trouble with this stage is that even by number 49 you're not sure whose on the list and who isn't. Add to that the fact that most teams picking ahead of us could also do with a corner or safety in the second round, and it means our personnel people had better be red hot...... We'll that's me done for another day. Still intrigued as to what possible connection there could be between Temporary Restraining Orders and Belichicks' fateful 4th and 2 decision? I promise, Friday Night, all will be revealed. Maybe Saturday Morning. Until then, have a great day.

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