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Article Title: Be Prepared!
Article Date: October 3 2003
By Bryan Hersh

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Another week, another loss. Is this getting depressing or what? I’m sitting here, it is one thirty in the morning and I just can not get the thoughts of the past three weeks out of my head. At first it looked like the 49ers were just a little – well a lot – banged up. If it only the case was really that simple. The problems go much deeper than that as we should all really be able to tell right now.

You hear players talking about execution, and that is certainly a start. But the problem is deeper than that too.

You hear fans talking about thirty penalties in three games and you think that could be the problem, but it is not either.

You think maybe it is the team ironing out the new wrinkles of a new offense, but that would involve seeing a new offense on the field, and we certainly have not seen that.

You think it might have something to do with not establishing the run game, or perhaps backing off the new found ‘aggressiveness’ when it matters most, but if that were the case these issues would have been seen in all the games and they have not been.

In fact all of the problems above are really just symptoms of the biggest problem at hand. That problem is really quite simple. The 49ers have not been prepared enough over the past three games. Ludicrous you say? How can this be, after bringing in a new coaching staff to prepare this team better than ever before? Consider the following:

If the 49ers were prepared would they have 30 penalties in their last 3 games?

If the 49ers were prepared would they have been able to counter the half time adjustments of their opponents?

If the 49ers were prepared would they be able to score touchdowns in the redzone?

If the 49ers were prepared would they have dropped kick offs and punt returns?

If the 49ers were prepared would Jeff Chandler have entered the season at kicker?

If the 49ers were prepared would the backup players starting because of injury be able to execute?

If the 49ers were prepared would injured players have to take the field, knowing that their backup would be able to perform at a high level?

If the 49ers were prepared do you think they could complete a pass of over thirty yards?

If the 49ers were prepared do you think a roster that is nearly identical to last seasons (when the 49ers started 3-1) would start the season 1-3?

By now you should be seeing my point. The 49ers have not been prepared for the past three games. One could argue that they haven’t been prepared at all this season and that the Bears are just THAT bad a team, but is not even relevant at this point, and I will not be trying to make that case one way or the other.

What I will tell you is that there is still a chance that this season can turn around. That this team can be prepared for the remaining games of the season. It will not be easy. It will not just happen. But the season is not over yet. Heading into last weekend Jeff Garcia was complaining that the practices were not focused enough. Heading into this weekend, the team seems to be saying just the opposite. That is encouraging, but it is NOT enough to win me over. Neither will a win against the Lions this week. After seeing what I have seen the past three weeks, I can tell you that I will not be happy until I have seen this team win and be prepared for each and every game it heads into. It is one thing to lose a game to a team that is flat out better (then of course you can only complain about the lack of talent on the squad) but there is no excuse for being outplayed, outcoached, or for simply not executing and not being prepared. This should not come as a surprise to any of you who read my article two weeks ago “Winning’s Not Good Enough”. Yes I would rather win ugly than lose, but a team that is winning ugly is certainly a team that is not feared.

All this talk about being prepared is even more important considering that the team is facing former 49ers head coach Steve Mariucci this weekend. The talent on Mariucci’s Lions roster doesn’t even compare to the 49ers, so a loss this week could very well be the nail in head coach, Dennis Erickson’s 49ers coffin. Mariucci knows the 49ers like the back of his hands and is an all around great coach, that will make the 49ers job infinitely more difficult as it looks to avoid going 1-4 to start the season.

The 49ers have talked about using more of rookie Brandon Lloyd at receiver. This is a good idea. A change I have been campaigning for. The team is also talking about using the audible to try and keep the Lions and Mariucci off balance, not a bad idea if they can pull it off. The 49ers are talking about promoting Jimmy Williams ahead of Rashad Holman as the third cornerback, and ahead of Cederick Wilson on kickoffs – two more ideas that I have campaigning for, and thus obviously agree with.

It is all just talk though if this team is not prepared. And gosh, I hope we are finally prepared.