The 49ers are a testament to becoming comfortable in uncomfortable circumstances. It started with Jim Harbaugh’s secret courting of Peyton Manning during the spring of 2012 after Alex Smith nearly impelled the 49ers into Super Bowl XLVI. No one is safe. Whereas most teams wound up this tightly would snap, the Niners have used that tension to strike back.
During the offseason, general manager Trent Baalke put Jim Harbaugh on the trading block due to a rift between the pair. Since then, sources have leaked information detailing how his vinegary personality has rubbed players the wrong way.
On Monday evening, NFL Network’s Ian Rapaport reported that the 49ers allegedly told running back Frank Gore that after their selection of Carlos Hyde and Marcus Lattimore in consecutive years, his spot with the team was in jeopardy.
The head coach is sitting on a seat so hot that Harbaugh protested a horsecollar tackle by pulling at his own collar and stretching it out to expose the tan line on his shoulder.
The heat Harbaugh feels rising to his neck has also spread to his personalized quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
Kaepernick is Harbaugh’s pet project. Their success and lack thereof is linked.
Kaepernick is in the midst of a six-game end zone embargo and has not scored a rushing or passing touchdown during the fourth period. However, the Niners feel like Kaepernick is the Maine lobster to Harbaugh’s shrimp scampi. The quarterback is a more valuable commodity.
Through his first 29 starts, folks are beginning to make judgments about Kaepernick. On one end of the equation are his maddening inconsistencies.
On the other is his penchant for throwing high heat when a lob is what the situation calls for.
Yet, in those 29 starts Kaepernick compares favorably to Steve Young.
Colin Kaepernick's career with the 49ers is off to a great start. pic.twitter.com/VD7hJVT9Lu— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) October 14, 2014
Like Young, Kaepernick is also weighed down by the Super Bowl monkey on his back.
Although, it’s important to keep in mind that passing numbers have been inflated by rules that have pumped passing offenses up like Barry Bonds’ head, allowing someone like Andy Dalton’s first three seasons to compare favorable to Peyton Manning’s.
Kaepernick’s natural ability is evident when you glance at his game tape. The 60-yard dimes, the fastballs on a rope, the accleration into the open field and the outside the pocket accuracy are all executed smoothly.
His unorthodox fadeaway throw on the run to Anquan Boldin in the back of the end zone was about as difficult as throwing a straw into a martini glass from the other side of a room.
However, his shortcomings are glaring as well, and they are magnified by the constant storm clouds swirling around Harbaugh.
Despite all the toxic rumors clouding the water in San Fran’s tank, the Niners ship is steering the correct course towards the Super Bowl’s dock once again. Boldin is on pace for another 80-catch, 1,000 yard season while he inches closer to what appears to be his 49th season in the league.
Brandon Lloyd is the And 1 receiver high-pointing lobs, going horizontal for catches and leading cornerbacks on wild chases to the end zone. Last night he had a light day catching one pass which scorched an 80-yard path to the end zone.
Next week against Denver, Kaepernick will have another standardized test laid in front of him
If the Niners want to send a statement about where they stand in 2014, even with Navarro Bowman, Aldon Smith and Patrick Willis out, a victory against Denver in their home stadium next weekend is the cool breeze they need to get the heat off of their head coach.
Parrying Austin Davis is a much different task than dueling Peyton Manning on a short week's rest, but Harbaugh trained his players at the French Montana School of Havoc Management. They ain't worried about nothin'.
They'll have shorter than usual to savor this victory, but the Niners have bigger aspirations; Super Bowl or bust.
The DEF CON level in San Francisco has been lowered to a minimal emergency state. The ability to chart turbulence is the sign of an organized franchise and a competent head coach.
If the Niners are smart, they won't allow themselves to allow the perfect to become the enermy of the good by unraveling a cohesive winner that doesn't get phased by circumstances tht would leave lesser teams crestfallen. If they do, this dead man's switch could explode in their faces.