San Francisco 49ers: 5 Biggest Mistakes Of 2013 So Far
5 Mistakes So Far In 2013 For The San Francisco 49ers
The San Francisco 49ers, specifically under the regime of Trent Baalke as GM and Jim Harbaugh as head coach, have made some very sound decisions in terms of player acquisition and drafting. Last year, Harbaugh made a bold decision to bench Alex Smith in favor of Colin Kaepernick. While many cried foul and stated that a player shouldn't lose his job because of injury, it was clear from Harbaugh's perspective that Kaepernick gave him and the team the best chance to win the Super Bowl. Kaepernick's play was a large part of why the 49ers made it to Super Bowl and came close to winning it.
While that proved to not be a mistake, the 49ers are not going to be right on in each and every decision. Before hitting on them for their mistakes, they deserve to be lauded for a few of the decisions they have made so far in 2013. For starters, they have done a good job of managing the salary cap and doing so with the full knowledge that within the next few years, they have players on the current roster who will command some raises, and the need to balance current salary cap number to the one in the future will not easy.
The 49ers should also be given kudos for drafting players like Marcus Lattimore, who won't see any playing time this upcoming season, but is a prospect for the future who could be one of the best running backs in the league. Another smart move was the contract extension given to Anthony Davis, which not only ties him up for several years, but also was done in at a salary cap-friendly number. While those are a few of the best decisions made by the 49ers in 2013, here are five mistakes.
5. Drafting of Injured Players
Sometimes in order to reap certain rewards, organizations must take risks on certain players. On the case of the 49ers, the team decided to take a gamble on a couple of players whom had some medical red flags going into the draft: Marcus Lattimore, Tank Carradine and Quinton Dial. While Lattimore could play at some point during the 2013 season, he will not see any game action at all given that the 49ers want to make sure he is fully recovered and since they already have three running backs on the roster.
With Carradine and Dial, the situation(s) is a bit different. Neither player been an active participant during training camp as both are currently on the non-football injury list. Carradine is still recovering from an ACL injury he suffered last November while Dial is recovering from a torn ligament in his toe which he had surgery on back in January. While it is possible that both players could be activated, the fact is that they will not see any game action due to the numbers game. In this case, taking a risk on medical red flags might turn out to be a mistake.
4. Not Drafting A Cornerback
Entering the offseason, one of the biggest question marks which the 49ers had to address was adding depth and playmakers to their secondary. While the 49ers addressed the loss at strong safety, they've been less decisive in addressing the situation with the cornerbacks.
To be fair to the 49ers, the signing of Nnamdi Asomugha might turn out to be a steal, but he alone does not solve the situation. Clearly, the 49ers should have used one of their draft picks to get a cornerback.
3. Backup Quarterback Not Settled
While it is very clear that Colin Kaepernick is the starting quarterback what is less clear is who will be his backup. The 49ers traded for Colt McCoy and drafted B.J. Daniels to go along with Scott Tolzien, who was the third-string quarterback during the 2012 season. While Daniels is a nice prospect and someone who could be the backup quarterback in due time the same cannot be said of McCoy and Tolzien. The lack of inspired play so far by McCoy and Tolzien has led the 49ers to bring in journeyman Seneca Wallace. The fact that the 49ers have had to sign Wallace at this last stage of preseason speaks to the fact that they could have done a better job addressing the backup quarterback situation.
2. Being Settled At Wide Receiver
The minute that Crabtree went down during organized team activities with a torn Achilles tendon the wide receiver situation for the 49ers was up in the air. The team signed a number of players at the wide receiver position who have not proven anything with their prior teams so far in their careers. While having the likes of recently-released Ricardo Lockette, Chad Hall, Marlon Moore, and Lavelle Hawkins could have worked with a healthy Michael Crabtree, this is playing with fire. The fact of the matter is that the 49ers would have benefited from having signed someone like a Brandon Lloyd, who would have given the 49ers the necessary stability at the wide receiver position.
1. A.J. Jenkins Charade
Drafted in the first round of the 2012 Draft by the 49ers, one naturally assumed that A.J. Jenkins would come in a be a contributor. During minicamps and organized team activities, much was made of how good Jenkins looked and that he could be a legitimate contributor as a result of his offseason work. In the end, it was clear that all the talk propping him up was just hot air as the 49ers admitted to themselves that Jenkins could not cut it, and traded him to the Kansas City Chiefs in exchange for Johnathan Baldwin.