Season Preview: San Francisco 49ers

Season Preview:

sf-49ers-helmetSan Francisco 49ers

 

What to make of the Niners?

Colin-KaepernickWhoa. New Coach, New RB, New MLB. Yeah. Good luck here. Colin Kapernick should be an interesting watch. He spent the offseason doing what all fans hope their QBs do, quickening the throwing motion and working better under a tight pocket.

I think Colin is an above average QB, but he wont have the security blanket that is Frank Gore around. He has to do better than 19 TDs and 10 Picks, no matter who is targets are.

Frank Gore being gone means Carlos Hyde becomes next man up, and he has buddies like Reggie Bush- back in California and Mike Davis out of South Carolina, who I have to think is more of a fullback than running back with his blocking, but everyone is going to get a chance here.

Anquan Boldin is in a contract year, and is still the best guy on the team, but Torrey Smith should easily pass Crabtree’s paltry numbers and make a decent duo- until DeAndre Smith comes off the IR, plus the Niners have a TON of bodies in camp. Vernon Davis is still the TE of note- even though he might not be the best in the division anymore. He’s also in a contract year, and if he plays like he did last year, he won’t be a Niner going forward.

Joe StaleyLet me mention Gore again, his best blocker, Mike Iupati is gone as well, and the line has to be rebuilt. The good news is, the line is getting 3/5 back from IR -center Daniel Kilgore  Guards Alex Boone and Brandon Thomas so that’s a nice start, and hopefully Anthony Davis is healthy this year. The bad news is there is no depth and only Joe Staley played every game last year. Staley is a ROCK, however, but why oh why did the Niners almost ignore this group with only a 6th and 7th rounder and one free agent?

Defense

Darnell DockettOn the other side of the line, I have more trouble. Ray McDonald is gone, Justin Smith might not be back this year, and the new signee, Darnell Dockett is coming off an ACL injury. Yaay! Also Glenn Dorsey is still around, coming off a biceps tear, and Kalib Ramsey is off the injured list. Its amazing how many ER cases this team has- maybe they should have drafted Dr James Andrews instead of a Lineman, who, while not hurt, is not going to be a day 1 starter, according to the plan. he’s a pick that teams that are in the title chase can make. The Niners have had a good defense the past few years, but again- look at all the new bodies here.

The Next level is missing Patrick Willis- who is a top 3 MLB by any means, and quite a few made a good case for the best. In his place is Michael Wilhoite- who had been replacing NaVarro Bowman, who is finally back. I think he’s going to have more trouble with this years replacement duties. Now Aldon Smith is gone, and at a horrible time, plus even more outside issues surrounding this team. On the other side, Ahmad Brooks is on the chopping block if he can’t live up to that cap figure- or he gets outplayed by Aaron Lynch replaces him, since he did play well in limited action. Thankfully, there is some depth here, the questions, is the starters that much better than the backups?

Eric ReidIn the final line, we lead off with losing both corners, but there are a BUNCH of new bodies here, and 7 have less than 6 years in the league, but there are some high picks here, and some size. Tremaine Brock is going to get one spot, and he could be a solid corner with the big-boy pants on. The other side is muddier, but Shareece Wright should start the season, since he is next on the list with experience. Expect a lot of rotations here.
Safty is more stable, with Eric Reid at one spot, and Antonie Bethea proving he is more than worth his contract in year 1 with the Niners. Only question mark here is Bethea is getting older( Class of 2006) and Reid already has two concussions, another one is going to cause issues for a hard hitter.

Special Teams

So you have a three time pro-bowler at punter, and you spend a 5th rounder after a down year? Don’t understand that. Either way, punter should be above average, either Leen returns to form or the best kicker in NCAA Football is going to take his job. Phil Dawson is almost my age, but far better than I ever was, and solid as a kicker for any age. Andre Ellington is not a good return guy, but do follows his blockers until getting hit, and the coverage teams are decent, but not great.

Final

The Niners are almost 3 teams.

Patrick WillisThe team that was really good last year but is not now gone (Gore, Patrick Willis, Iupati, Crabtree,  Parrish Cox, Etc )

The Team that is coming off IR or other injury

The team that is still there.

I’m not sure who is the best lineup, but I have to think the guys that won’t be playing on Sunday is the stronger grouping. How the guys that come back off injury- or stay off IR will tell the story of the season. Kaepernick might be better, but if the injury list swells like it did last year, not even 84 Montana could drag this team to the Super Bowl.

I think the days of the 13/14 win seasons are gone for a time, and judging by the draft, I’m not sure its coming back anytime soon. There are a LOT of depth problems here, and I really can’t land a finger on the unit that that the Niners can build  around, no matter who got the coaching gig. San Fran had a solid defense under the Harbaugh regime, but not only is he gone, but so are most of his players. I almost want to think that the Niners are willing to stink a year or two then rebuild- and are using Tomsula like Dallas used Dave Campo, but with  Kaepernick being so young, that can’t be the case, can it?

NinersFar as this season. I’m not sure how to judge. 1 or 2 players going down could turn them from a decent team to the Jaguars. Only for sure wins I can really see are uh, Atlanta at home in November! – before then the schedule is HORRID. Pitt/Minn/Ariz/GB/NYG/Bal/Sea- thats 7 hard games, unless you don’t have faith in those teams. After that is gets much easier, after another Seattle beating. Then I really could see a major winning streak- with Ari/Chi/Cle/Cin/Det/Stl all winnable games, depending on the health. I’ll say they win one or two of the early 7, but lose one or two of the closing kick. I’ll go 7-9 here, and embrace the hate.

Lets end on a positive note, they are the one franchise in California not looking to move to LA.

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