Throw in the towel? Not yet 

Forty-Niners fans, step back from the ledge, put down the sharp objects, don’t do anything rash. Not yet, at least.

An NFL team should not be judged by a game in which it surrenders five turnovers. It can be scolded, mocked and ridiculed for last week’s performance, but not judged accurately.

When a team’s kick returner fumbles away the first offensive possession and the team is down 10-0 before the center snaps one, that’s not when you say, "They’re this bad."

When it’s three-and-out in between the other team driving for touchdowns, that’s when you say it. Not now.

There still may come a time when it will be right to give up on this group. But now’s not it. Give them a mulligan, a do-over, whatever you called it as a kid.

The Niners may get trounced a couple of more times this year, but the biggest mistake the Yorks could do right now would be to give up on the progress they’ve made.

This isn’t the Arizona Cardinals. Those guys are toast. Denny Green is done. There’s no hope there. The Niners are still playing for Mike Nolan. This rebuilding process just needs more time. More new players. The right new players. And the patience to find them.

In spite of last week’s debacle, this team has taken a big step forward from last year. When the offensive line is intact, Alex Smith and Frank Gore look like players, Antonio Bryant looks like the deep threat they need and when Vernon Davis gets back, things will start clicking better.

Defensively, there are big issues, and it may not get better between now and the end of this season. Next year’s draft will help take care of that.

Still, there are no guarantees, and a couple of shredded ligaments could derail the whole thing, but with a little luck ... and some time ... they just might be all right.

"Patience is active. It isn’t passive," Nolan said this week. "That means you have to be aggressive in everything you do to make it happen. I’m not one of those that sits around and says, ‘Well, I’ll wait till then and things will be better.’ I believe in going after things right away and trying to rectify them now."

Now, the same can’t be said for Warriors and Giants fans, it might be the right time to panic.

I realize it’s only a couple of games into the season for the Warriors, but it just feels like there is a ceiling to the team as it is constructed.

A .500 team?

A first-round-and-out team?

Sure, better than Warriors fans have faced in recent years, but any more satisfying? I don’t think so.

On the Giants’ front, it feels like this is a team that, if it is not going to sign a big-time free agent, has to endure taking a step or two backwards before things start to improve. There just won’t be enough difference-makers if the team proceeds as planned.

WHILE I’VE GOT YOUR ATTENTION: Doesn’t it feel strange that the Cal football has it all laid out perfectly for it to reach the Rose Bowl?

You know every Bears fan is going over his or her list of things that can go wrong, no matter how well this team plays. That concern comes from being a Bears fan over the years.

» And, if you find yourself in control of the remote tonight, be sure and check out the Sharks. Not only are they emerging as a force this year, but they’ll be playing a Pittsburgh Penguins team has won six in a row and three of the NHL’s most exciting young players — Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and goalie Marc-Andre Fleury.

Tim Liotta hosts the weekend edition of "Sportsphone 680" on KNBR (680 AM).

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A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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