New-look Niners could be behind before first kickoff

Jim Harbaugh has repeatedly said all obstacles can and must be overcome, but this could be getting ridiculous.

After the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the NFL’s stay Monday, a doomsday scenario – no minicamps and an abbreviated training camp – became more likely.

The 49ers, you might have heard, would appear to be at a distinct disadvantage if the lockout lingers deep into the summer or beyond: First-year NFL head coach, first-year NFL offensive coordinator, new offense, new defense, 10 rookies and a starting quarterback yet to be officially determined.

A tough spot? Consider that Patriots coach Bill Belichick, the NFL’s second-longest tenured coach who has a quarterback in Tom Brady entering his 12th season in New England, is preparing to possibly lop off parts of his playbook due to the lockout.

“We’ll have to take the windows that we have to teach things and try to see how much we feel realistically we can get done,” Belichick said in this Boston Herald article. “Something’s going to have to go, I would think. The progression’s got to stay the same, but the breadth of that amount of installation could be subject to being trimmed back, maybe drastically.”


Harbaugh has been relentlessly optimistic when asked about the lockout and he even seemed to relish the challenge prior to the league’s lockdown.

“There’s something I really like about being in uncharted waters,” Harbaugh said in a KNBR interview on Feb. 18. “… There’s just something I like about being in a different situation, uncharted waters and having to figure it out. So I’m not worried about it. We’ll get it done.”

A month later, at the NFL owners’ meeting in New Orleans, Ravens coach John Harbaugh relayed a conversation to the Philadelphia Inquirer in which Lions coach Jim Schwartz talked with Jim Harbaugh about the lockout’s potential ramifications.

“We were having dinner the other night and Jim Schwartz told him basically there’s no way you’re going to be able to get it done (if the lockout lasts into the summer),” John Harbaugh said. “He told him there’s no way you’re going to be able to accomplish what you need to accomplish in two weeks if this thing lasts a while. Jim just kind of bit his tongue, which is what you’ve got to do in this situation. Because there’s nothing you can do about it.”

Given Harbaugh’s personality, it’s safe to assume he remains resolute and undeterred.

He was known for pulling rabbits out of a hat as a player, but, as he’s noted, these are uncharted waters.

And it appears Captain Comeback, now a first-year NFL head coach, could be facing a deficit before the game even begins.

• The NFL is dark, but it will be lights, camera and action for Harbaugh and general manager Trent Baalke today.

Harbaugh will be a guest on NFL Total Access on NFL Network at 4 p.m. PST as part of its 32 teams in 32 days series. The series is looking at the 49ers today.

Baalke will appear on CSN Bay Area’s Chronicle Live at 5 p.m.

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