Sunday, August 11, 2013

NFL 2013 Preview - San Francisco 49ers

SAN FRANCISCO 49ers                                                   

Head Coach: Jim Harbaugh

2012 Record: 11-4-1 (1st in NFC West)

New Players: WR Anquan Boldin; CB Nnamdi Asomugha; S Craig Dahl; WR Austin Collie; DL Glenn Dorsey; QB Colt McCoy; K Phil Dawson; LB Dan Skuta; OL Adam Snyder.

Gone Elsewhere: QB Alex Smith; TE Delanie Walker; S Dashon Goldson; DL Isaac Sopoaga; DL Ricky Jean-Francois.

Offense: The 49ers turned to quarterback Colin Kaepernick last season and he showed he can do the job as former starter Alex Smith was sent packing to Kansas City in the off-season.
Kaepernick took over midway through the 2012 season and wound up passing for 1,814 yards with ten touchdowns and just three interceptions. He also is an effective runner who gained 415 yards and scored five times. Colt McCoy comes over from Cleveland and will be the backup.
QB Colin Kaepernick
The running game was the fourth best in the NFL a year ago, averaging 156 yards per game. Led by nine year veteran Frank Gore (1,214 yards, 4.7 ypc average and eight TD) and Kaepernick, the team has a nice blend going into this season. Kendall Hunter (371 yards, 5.2 ypc and two TD) and second year man LeMichael James provide good speed and depth to the running game.
The wide receivers will have Anquan Boldin coming over from the Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens, where he grabbed 65 passes for 921 yards and four touchdowns last season. Boldin will start along with either A.J. Jenkins or rookie Quinton Patton (Louisiana Tech) until Michael Crabtree (out with a severe Achilles injury in the off-season) returns possibly by December.
Crabtree had a breakout year in 2012, catching 85 passes for 1,105 yards and nine touchdowns and his presence will be missed by the team. Mario Manningham is another option who made 42 receptions for 449 yards with a touchdown.
The tight end is Vernon Davis, who may also line up outside on occasion this year to keep opposing defenses honest. Davis made 41 catches for 548 yards with five scores. Rookie Vance McDonald (Rice) may get a chance at tight end as well.
The offensive line is comprised of center Jonathan Goodwin, tackles Joe Staley and Anthony Davis. The guards are Mike Iupati and Alex Boone.

Defense: The 'Niners play the 3-4 look and have nose tackle Glenn Dorsey along with ends Justin Smith (three QB sacks) and Ray McDonald.
LB Patrick Willis
The linebackers are the strength of the defense with Aldon Smith (19 1/2 sacks to lead the NFC) and Ahmad Brooks (6 1/2 sacks) on the outside while NaVorro Bowman and Patrick Willis man the inside spots.
The secondary has a few tweaks this year as gone is safety Dashon Goldson, but coming on board will be veteran corner man Nnamdi Asomugha along with rookie safety Eric Reid (LSU), who may get the starting nod.
Carlos Rogers and Tarell Brown are the starting cornerbacks and Donte Whitner is the strong safety. Either Reid or possibly Craig Dahl or Trenton Robinson will be the other starter.
San Francisco picked off 14 passes that contributed to a plus-9 in the turnover charts while finishing second overall in scoring defense, allowing 273 points last season. In addition, the defense was ranked third overall, allowing 294 yards per game.

OUTLOOK: It's all or nothing for the 49ers this season as they look to atone for last year's Super Bowl loss.
Head Coach Jim Harbaugh is very intense and will stop at nothing in motivating this team back to the big game, led by Kaepernick on offense and Willis on the star studded defense.
With a nice mix of running and passing on the offense, the 49ers trust that Kaepernick was no fluke in 2012 and as long as no key players go down with injuries, this team can produce once again.
The defense is solid and stops both the run (94 yards allowed per game) and pass (200 yards allowed) effectively. They also can get after the quarterback as Aldon Smith showed last season.
The 49ers will have many teams circling them on their schedules this season, so they better be ready. They will be tested early on with the first two games against Green Bay and on the road against the Seattle Seahawks.
The NFC West is pretty strong and they are expected to go neck and neck with the Seahawks for the division title all season. But the 'Niners are gearing up for another Super Bowl run in 2013 and the only way to do that is to prove it on the field, which they are definitely capable of doing.
Look for a 12-4 season and depending on how Kaepernick performs in the post-season, the 49ers just might take the next step and win it all this year.

Sept. 8- vs. Green Bay
Sept. 15- at Seattle
Sept. 22- vs. Indianapolis
Sept. 26- at St. Louis
Oct. 6- vs. Houston
Oct. 13- vs. Arizona
Oct. 20- at Tennessee
Oct. 27- at Jacksonville
Nov. 3- BYE WEEK
Nov. 10- vs. Carolina
Nov. 17- at New Orleans
Nov. 25- at Washington
Dec. 1- vs. St. Louis
Dec. 8- vs. Seattle
Dec. 15- at Tampa Bay
Dec. 23- vs. Atlanta
Dec. 29- at Arizona

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