San Francisco 49ers lose ground and David Baas right out of post-lockout gate 

Suddenly the 49ers faithful need some good news. And quick.

Losing center-guard David Baas right out of the free-agency starting gate was not what 49ers fans were imagining when they were cheering the end of the NFL lockout.

Nobody attached a single negative to bringing football back for the 2011 season. Until Baas abandoned ship.
Testing the patience of a 49ers fan is not recommended as a strategy for the latest new beginning. The faithful is a proud group beyond ready to jump back into the Super Bowl ship Bill Walsh and George Seifert built for them so many years ago.

Too many years of bad football impacts even the heartiest of fans. They begin to flinch easily, assume the worst and prepare for that I-told-you-so moment to begin sinking into skepticism.

At the first sign of bad, they go right to worse. And 49ers fans have every right to do just that. After the Dennis Erickson-Mike Nolan-Mike Singletary parade through Santa Clara, who can blame them?

Patience and optimism has netted the 49ers fan absolutely nothing the last four years. And that patience was tested the past few months with one report after another pronouncing new coaching staffs, like the 49ers, and teams with quarterback questions, like the 49ers, as the most likely to stumble in 2011.

Not only does Niners coach Jim Harbaugh have to mold a winning team in four weeks, he has to keep the story on a winning track. Harbaugh and general manager Trent Baalke have to notch some early positives into the fence posts they’re planting around the 49ers’ facility.

Baas signing with the New York Giants was a body blow to the Niners’ offensive line, already tasked with giving Alex Smith time to prove he can successfully quarterback an NFL team.

Vernon Davis and Michael Crabtree are that much less scary with a porous offensive line. Frank Gore’s comeback will be that much more difficult if the holes aren’t there.

While letting Takeo Spikes move on to the San Diego Chargers may have been the right move from both a personnel and financial standpoint, what about the mindset of Patrick Willis? Don’t want him missing his linebacking partner.

None of this is insurmountable. Just untimely for a team whose head coach was still introducing himself to players arriving for training camp.

Pile onto that a couple of player defections, mix in the skepticism surrounding the idea of Smith as the focal point for the 49ers rebirth, and you have a recipe for concern that needs to be minimized by some good news. And quick.

Tim Liotta is a freelance journalist and regular contributor to The Examiner. Email him at

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