The 49ers don’t know it, but they lucked out.
They think they’re unlucky, because injuries ruined their chances to make the playoffs. Now, be honest, they probably won’t win more than four games.
But that’s OK. They probably wouldn’t have made the playoffs anyway, even if Jimmy Garoppolo and Jerick McKinnon had stayed healthy and played like Pro Bowl performers. The rest of the roster just isn’t good enough. The 49ers are rebuilding.
Now, they can focus on rebuilding, which should have been their focus all along. In a way, all these bad breaks have been good for the 49ers. This season still can be positive. They can set themselves up to be even better next season, better than if they had fruitlessly pursued a playoff spot. Now, they can really build a team that can really win in 2019.
Now, they can evaluate their young players. Develop ones who will be around the next three seasons. Build a foundation, so there’s hope for the future. So Garoppolo doesn’t have to be the savior when he returns from his torn ACL. That’s too much pressure on a young quarterback.
In order to evaluate the young players, certain established ones must step aside. Their time is up.