This holiday season, the "Nutcracker" is not something which gives the 49ers any visions of sugarplums.
The "Nutcracker" was a demanding drill coach Mike Singletary installed into the 49ers' 2009 training camp. Back in August, ESPN's Mike Sando observed, "I'm not sure if the 49ers can sustain this type of pounding through a full camp without wearing down during the season."
The 49ers started the season 3-1. Since then, they are 3-7. Something caused them to start playing lousier football as the season wore on.
"How could the 49ers look so good early and so mediocre late?" Kawakami writes. "My best answer: Singletary had them over-achieving early and under-achieving late due to his stringent camp, and what you want is a much more middle ground."
"Has the slide been all about tired legs?" Kawakami wonders.
The 49ers' December swoon may be about those tired legs. Or it may be about those cracked nuts.
Joe Kukura is a freelance writer who exhausted all his best "Nutcracker" jokes way back in August.