Are you ready for some football? Niners’ football, Chip Kelly style?
Hear the buzz? Feel the excitement? Feel tingly all over?
Don’t worry, Faithless, you’re not alone.
The Niners will be lucky to win as many as five games this season, but on-field success isn’t what the 2016 season is about in Santa Clara. It will take several months for Kelly to build a team with his guys. A year from now, you won’t recognize much of the roster.
What Kelly needs most to succeed is a franchise quarterback who can make his spread offense work. That guy isn’t on the current roster, either. So in a best-case scenario, the Niners will lose one more game than the Cleveland Browns, which should give them first dibs on a quarterback in the next NFL draft, be it Clemson’s DeShaun Watson or someone else.
So let’s not write off Kelly before he has lost his first regular-season game. The guy has some creative ideas, and even if you’re among the many who consider them to be a bit foolish or downright dumb, a much-too-predictable league can use more of them. Let’s give Mr. Smarty Pants a chance to prove that he really is the brightest bulb in the room, that his unconventional ways really can work as well in the pros as it did for him at Oregon in college.
When Kelly entered the NFL ranks three years ago, he looked to be onto something. Then it went downhill for him and his Philadelphia Eagles in a hurry, from 10-6 and a playoff berth to 10-6 and out of the playoffs to 7-9 and out of a job. Last season was such a disaster on and off the field, it was a wonder that the guy could find an organization desperate enough to hire him this soon.
Eternal optimist that it is, Bally Bright Skies sees the opposite here — a crummy start followed by gradual, steady improvement. It says this for two reasons: 1) the draft can’t help but make the Niners better, and 2) they can’t get much worse.
The question is, which comes first — Kelly to lead his players to the postseason or Kelly to wear their butts out to the point that they want no part of him and his hurry-up offense?
IT’S MILLER TIME: Congratulations to those who had No. 49 on their Niners’ Bad Boy Bingo card.
That would be tough guy Bruce Miller, of course. The ex-fullback was released after his alleged drunken assault of a 70-year-old man and his 29-year-old son early this week.
Then again, it was evident that Miller had a problem one year ago, when the thug admittedly pushed a woman to the ground and trashed her cellphone.
Know how coaches like to say “Next man up”? In Santa Clara, it’s next felon down.
Or “Winning with class,” as CEO Jed York likes to call it.
THE END IS NEAR: When you consider that the baseball season could be over on Third and King in a few hours for all intents and purposes, the NFL season can’t get here soon enough.
Giants have lots of problems but are running out of time and ways to fix them. Start with the offense. It hasn’t hit a lick since the All-Star break. What does it say when leadoff man Denard Span is the biggest threat? Not much, kids.
The closer situation is a major spill on Aisle 46. Santiago (Gas Can) Casilla had been so flammable in game situations, manager Bruce Bochy handed the ball to 41-year-old Joe Nathan in the thin air of Denver the other night. Know how many games Nathan has saved the last two seasons? Exactly one.
Meantime, the first-place Los Angeles Dodgers will send ace Clayton Kershaw to the mound tonight. The three-time Cy Young Award-winner last pitched in late June because of a herniated disc, yet the Dodgers gained 11 1/2 games on the Giants in the interim.
If Kershaw is good to go for the rest of the season, the Dodgers may have the final piece to their championship puzzle. And the Giants are cadavers. No way could they survive as a wild-card qualifier, not with their hit-and-miss offense and unsettled bullpen.
THE LIST: Can’t-miss picks for Week 1 of the NFL season. Or your money back.
— Cincinnati Bengals (-3) at New York Jets.
— New York Giants (-1) at Dallas Cowboys.
— Los Angeles Rams at Niners (+3).
WHERE HAVE YOU GONE …: Jim Tomsula?
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