Akash's Monday Morning Blitz XV: Looking back on 2017
The San Francisco began 2017 with a loss against the Seahawks at home, but close the year out with a road victory against the Rams.
Colin Kaepernick, NaVorro Bowman, Chip Kelly and Trent Baalke were key names in the 49ers' organization in that Week 17 showdown against the Seahawks. 364 days later, none of those names were in the organization. A 2-14 season in 2016 left a bad taste in 49ers' fans' mouths, with no future plan in sight.
Immediately following the final game, Jed York cleaned house, showing the door to long-time general manager Trent Baalke and first-year head coach Chip Kelly. In came in a rookie head coach - general manager pair, Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch. Most fans were skeptical of the hire, with Lynch leaving the TV booth to return to football and Shanahan handling a full rebuild in his first head-coaching gig.
Via the Draft, the 49ers added franchise cornerstones such as LB Reuben Foster, DB Ahkello Witherspoon, WR Trent Taylor and S Adrian Colbert. Though Free Agency, San Francisco was able to plug in the holes with veterans like FB Kyle Juszczyk, WRs Pierre Garcon and Marquise Goodwin, K Robbie Gould and CB K'Waun Williams.
Suddenly, San Francisco's roster had a 75 percent turnover and the team looked completely different heading into Training Camp. Cautious optimism was in the air, based on the organizational transformation over the offseason, but it was quickly clouded by the poor QB play of Brian Hoyer and C.J. Beathard. A 0-9 start plagued the 49ers, as they were headed for another top-five draft pick.
Yet it all changed on the day before Halloween, when the 49ers traded for their franchise quarterback, Jimmy Garappolo -- for a second-round pick, nonetheless.
Once "Franchise" took over, San Francisco won a NFL-leading five games in a row to close the season and finish with a record of 6-10. It was their highest win total since the 2014 season, when San Francisco went 8-8 and ended the Jim Harbaugh era.
49ers' fans should look back on 2017 as one of the greatest years in the history of the franchise, not for the wins that the team racked up during the year, but for the transformation of the entire program. San Francisco has a front office, coaching staff and a franchise quarterback in place for the foreseeable future.
Don't let all this positiveness blind you, the 49ers still have a lot of work left to do this upcoming off-season. There are a lot of holes in the roster, but $116 million in cap space and nine draft picks should help address those concerns.
But the #BrickByBrick foundation is in place, as we turn the page to 2018. Happy New Year, 49ers' fans, it's going to be a great year to be a fan of the Red and Gold.