Sunday, October 16, 2011

Harbaugh Rubs Another Coach Wrongly, but Alters Niners’ Mentality


By now, his purpose should be precisely clear. He was brought to the 49ers to serve a purpose and walk into the footsteps of Hall of Fame predecessors Joe Montana and Steve Young. His coach was brought to the Niners to accomplish the same.

There's a hunch swirling around, bringing a sense of hope, the kind of humanity to cure all souls as Alex Smith is more impressive than he's ever looked in the past, of the Niners evolving into an elite powerhouse in the NFC West all because of Harbaugh. It's been a long, a very long time since the Niners felt a pile of joy, cheering and applauding the acclaimed franchise in the Bay Area bearing the circumstances of widespread calamities and unworthiness.

But this time, without much debate and politics firing up absurdity to initiate national disturbance for the reformed football team under much pressure and scrutiny, Smith discarded any political arguments. The politics and bad publicity faded out of conversation when he ran a well-executed scheme, eluded the pocket from a swarming Lions defense with his stylish footwork, scanned the field and released a 6-yard pass to Delanie Walker that gave San Francisco the clinching touchdown with 1:51 left, piloting the Niners to a 25-19 win.

The Niners are worthy, friends. Harbaugh is worthy, my friends. Smith is worthy, friends. The dubious assumption, which gave San Francisco a bad name for the mediocrity and separation in a dispirited locker room with no discipline or continuity, is that the Niners have implanted a bonded relationship and wholeness under new head coach Jim Harbaugh. When he arrived to finally coach his first ever pro team, he brought largely a fiery and stimulated attitude.

But maybe sometimes he's overzealous, such as after Sunday's game when Lions coach Jim Schwartz chased Harbaugh and shoved him for what he seemingly felt was an exuberant celebration. With the Niners roaring over on the sideline, completing another victory that silenced the sellout crowd at Ford Field in Detroit, he rejoiced with his players as he jumped wildly like a kid and crossed the field to meet Schwartz.

As a push-and-shove match escalated eventually, a fierce confrontation after successive chest bumps, Harbaugh shook Schwartz's hand firmly and backslapped him, and then continued to celebrate. It's time to take the Niners seriously, no longer a pushover, no longer intimidated or vulnerable, so assertively dominating top-notch opponents on the road and relishing the victories as exultant afterglow.

The good vibes were observed heavily when Harbaugh filled the coaching vacancy to become Mike Singletary's successor, and unlike the ones before him, he believed in Smith while few others refused to adore the sputtering quarterback. Harbaugh, a quirky and well-focused coach, is credited greatly for uplifting the franchise's culture. It ended with Harbaugh, a new NFL coach who played for Michigan, having to be restrained from Schwartz as emotions broiled for a pair of turnaround teams.

"That's totally on me," Harbaugh said. "I shook his hand too hard."

Certainly, it is on him. His players, and again, his players knew the significance of professionalism, sportsmanship and dignity by gathering around their ill-tempered coach to restore order when the Niners were tired from the penalties in a four-lead changing game.

"I went to congratulate coach Harbaugh and got shoved out of the way," Schwartz said. "I didn't expect an obscenity at that point. Obviously, when you win a game like that, you are excited, but there is a protocol that goes with this league."

It seemed all so familiar that the Lions, which have won a few games in their improbable season by rallying from behind, would come back and defeat the Niners with a game-winning touchdown. When he tried to drive the Lions, and couldn't convert on a first down against a blistering defense, Matthew Stafford was hit and sent directly to the ground. The rushing Niners' defense delivered a hit on the last drive and sacked a baffled Stafford to suddenly end the game -- setting off an overzealous celebration.

"It fires me up a lot," Harbaugh said. "If that offends you or anybody else, then so be it."

Either way, that is, the Niners are well en route of punching a ticket to the playoffs, if they continue to believe and finish with a winning record for the first time in eight years. So far, as we speak, San Francisco is 5-1 with a three-game lead in the NFC West, arguably the best team in its division. This team is really good under Harbaugh. Really good.

He has turned around the culture for many of whom are talented players with the most productive skills on offense and defense, and with harmony finally erasing the mess that plummeted the fun-loving mood of an eminent franchise because of its legends and world championships, Harbaugh is the savior for a successful turnaround. This year alone, the Niners have won five of their six games for the first time since 1998.

"He loves football," Smith said. "He's an emotional guy, and it's showing up on this team."

It never took long for Harbaugh and his staff, directed by offensive coordinator Greg Roman and defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, to drastically modify the mentality or psyche. Through it all, surrounded by a crafty coaching staff, Harbaugh and company are devoted to creativity and psychological approaches. Much is expected of his players as they demand rigid preparations during workouts and drills, emphasizing the significance of all details and critical mistakes.

Surely, for losing his mind, he is perceived differently, but he is still described as one of the greatest rookie coaches, if not one of the best to begin a regime in San Francisco for successfully making an instant impact. The demands are highly stressed each week and now the players have gradually improved to string together a functional nucleus.

As a result to all this, speed racer Frank Gore is more offensively proficient, pleasing his bosses every time he quickly storms past defenders, find the openings and race down the middle of the field pushing to the end zone. It is notably visible that tight end Vernon Davis has not been sent to the locker room for an early shower as if he's a mischievous teenager but has had the willfulness and driven mentality to score touchdowns.

In his first season, Harbaugh has brought the Niners together, although he may have acted like jerk and had a confrontation with another coach. It's a rarity whenever a rookie coach uplifts the culture and produce wins instantly.

For Harbaugh rather, he became the fifth 49ers coach to begin his career by winning five of his first six. Despite his chest bumps and backslaps, which was unnecessary and unacceptable, he is the main reason why the Niners are elite, and so is Smith becoming a quality quarterback

Frankly now, Harbaugh and Smith gives Niners' faithful every reason to believe.