All righty. This game was pretty disastrous, but if we had been paying attention, we should have expected it. The signs were all there, from the coach signings, the draft, free agency and preseason strategy.
I'm not talking about individual plays, or the game plan, or the skill of any particular player. What I see is a problem of TEAM.... which means all levels..
Hindsight, as always, makes everything clear. Except the solutions.-- Instead of a highly-respected former head coach as OC, we have a placeholder line coach near retirement, while our highly respected line coach was replaced by ... um, I'm not sure. We've seen this before, and it is basically because the head coach wants to be the OC but won't admit it. Bad, bad bad.
-- Our locker room leaders are breaking our rookie's thumbs, not bringing them up.
-- Come to think of it, why are Charles and Jones binking on Baldwin, anyway? Where is Cassell? Why isn't our QB the leader? Is it possible that the team doesn't respect him? If anybody should be breaking thumbs, it's the QB, and if thumbs should not be broken, he should be preventing it.
-- Clark Hunt is widely reported as not putting restrictions on Pioli's FA spending, but shouldn't he be insisting that the available funds be spent if his goal is to win? It's a subtle but real difference.
-- The Pioli / Haley way was supposed to be high character professionals... but our draft this year was all about high value talent, with diva Baldwin, druggie Houston, etc. No wonder there is locker room dissension! How do you build team that way?
-- I don't want to hit this one too hard, but it may be the case that the preseason strategy of playing mainly UDFAs was an expression that the coaching staff didn't have faith in our core players and were hoping to find some gems.
-- On the other hand, it's clear that SERIOUS preseason play helps prepare starters for the season.
-- This might not have been foreseen based on the ridiculous preseason, but our success running last year came from Jones banging defenses (for limited yards) for a few series, wearing them out, then Charles zooming by the tired defenders for big gains. Jones/McLean hardly ran this game. Was Weis a genius, or do Haley/Muir/Zorn just not get it? Or is it just that we need Waters back?