Saturday, August 1, 2009

My Sleeper Playoff Pick

I will be keeping an eye on the San Francisco 49ers this year. I think that the combination of having Mike Singletary as head coach for a full year, with having a run oriented Offensive Coordinator in Jimmy Raye will tranlate into a lot more wins in a division that to me is up for grabs. Nobody knows how the Seattle Seahawks will react to new head coach nor how their offense will fare with the return of Matt Hassleback. The St. Louis Rams also have a new head coach in and look to be rebuilding with their jettisoning of perrinial Pro Bowlers, Orlando Pace and Tory Holt. Now I know a lot of people would say that the Arizona Cardinals are an obvious choice to repeat as Division Champions, however I don't know about that one. First they lost their Offensive Coordinator, Todd Haley, to a head coaching job. Second Kurt Warner is coming off hip surgery, and third due to offseason discord with several key players over new contracts, it remainns to be seen what kind of team chemistry they will have.

The 49ers have been quietly assembling a lot of talent over the years but I don't think they ever used that talent effectively until Singletary took over at the end of last year. They had one of the better running backs in the league in Frank Gore, yet they ran the ball all the time. On the flip side they had a very athletic Tight End in Vernon Davis but they made him into mostly a blocker. And of course we know how bad their QB play has been until the end of last year. Well I personally think that was a product of throwing too much and also not being able to protect very well.

On Defense they have a LOT of talent but they were moving them around so much that most of their guys never could get into a groove. Now we learn that for the most part they are going to let guys play their position this year. I think that will help them tremendously and a guy I think will have a big year this year for them is Manny Lawson at outside linebacker. I really liked the guy coming out of NC State where he played along side the Texans' Mario Williams.

Now obviously some things have to happen for them to turn it around in one year. For one they have to pick a quarterback who won't give the game away. For two they have to avoid injuries. I think those are the two most important factors in them getting to the playoffs this year. I think both are doable and that they will get it done.

Lastly I think rookie Glenn Coffey out of Alabama will make a major difference this year spelling Gore at running back. He may even end up in contention for offensive rookie of the year.

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