When the 49ers started 0-9 last season, it may have been hard for us fans to reconcile, but it really was par for the course.
San Francisco was only into its first season of a major rebuild, there was a lack of depth on the overhauled roster and injuries ravished the starters.
All seemed lost until they acquired quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo late in the season.
The 26-year old helped lift our beloved 49ers to win its last five straight (against three playoff teams) and reinstated hope for an accelerated rebuild.
In the offseason, the hype has been off the charts. We fans are giddy and most of us think our team is a legitimate playoff contender. The problem with such high expectations is that despite a strong finish in 2017, we don’t yet know who our team is as we head into 2018.
Yes, the roster has more depth and talent now. But, Garoppolo has never started a full season, the team is full of young players still maturing and developing, and the regular season schedule is not going to be a cake-walk.
No, I don’t mean to be a Debby-Downer here. It’s just that with our desire to see the 49ers kick ass, we may not realize that growing pains are a normal and healthy part of the process.
Teams need to experience losses and figure out where the vulnerabilities are over the course of several seasons to make them stronger. It also takes time to put together a balanced roster with strength and depth. Sometimes it can take several years to accomplish this goal.
Listen, I want the 49ers to win just as bad as every other fan. But the team still needs to face adversity in order to get stronger for the future. The 2017 season certainly proved that, and we still have a ways to go.
So, if San Francisco turns out to be a nine-win team in 2018 and fails to make the playoffs, it’s okay. Really, it is…
Vince Lombardi once said, “The greatest accomplishment is not in never falling, but in rising again after you fall.”
There’s something beautiful to take away from that. We should all keep that in the backs of our minds as we think about the future of our team.
The good news is that our leadership is strong and our guys seem to be a tight-knit group. Remember: even when 0-9, Shanahan did not lose the locker room.
I’m going to remind myself the following as we head into Year 2 of the rebuild, and I will advise all other 49ers fans to do the same: Try to be patient when the growing pains come and they will, I promise.
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