Coaching changes may be appropriate
Early in 2019, the 49ers fired strength and conditioning coach Ray Wright. The results of that reverberated in an significant improvement to the team’s overall health. Right now, the Rams director of strength and conditioning is Ted Rath. Fixing the epidemic of injured players must be addressed quickly by himself and assistants Fernando Noriega and Dustin Woods.
This same group played key roles in sustaining a very healthy group through both the 2017 and 2018 seasons. While the results of 2019 were so very different, it invites a complete review of how the team prepared players for an NFL season. Has the team failed to track hydration, nutrition, sleep, exertion? Has the team abandoned quality measures in a “refinement” to fast-track based on artificial timelines? Has the group focused too much time and attention to the highly paid players, and left the new rookies and depth players to fend for themselves too often?
All these questions and more must be resolved as the team prepares for a new NFL season. Added to that list, the Sports Medicine department headed by Reggie Scott must take a more proactive role in players development this season. Ensuring an injured player returns to the roster fully recovered is not the ultimate goal. A better goal is to avoid player injury in the first place, and that can certainly be addressed more effectively this year.
Another area of the team which regressed was the special teams. Of course, changing coaches will already be a sure thing as the Dallas Cowboys have poached both John Fassel and Matt Daniels to spearhead their special teams play in 2020.