Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to 'First and Goal'. This week we'll take a guess as to what a possible 53-man roster will look like. We'll also throw out some season projections for our players and add them all up to create a possible team projection. With so many unknowns facing us this season it really is hard to say what kind of team we're going to be so I'll try to keep my projections cautiously optimistic.

The first thing that jumps out at you is how hard it is to cut the field down to 53. We are going to be facing some difficult decisions and it wouldn't surprise me to see someone traded in order to make room. We have way too many TE's on the roster right now. We even have too many FB's which is a shame. I love Bruce Miller and I think Millard is a player but the current trend in the NFL is to go without a FB entirely. We could keep a promising WR or CB stashed away but we maintain a desire to run the ball with a FB. I think this is an opportunity lost but I'm not the GM.

As always, be sure to check out our Hero of the Week.

Let's get to it!

53 Mighty Men, including #53!!

Our QB's are set, though I really wish Baalke had drafted a QB instead of relying on Gabbert. Like most other teams, let's hope the backup never plays.

  • Colin Kaepernick
  • Blaine Gabbert

I'm really loving our RB depth. We've got the workhorse, a bulldog backing him up, a scat-back for 3rd downs and an underrated draft pick to round it out. Youth, speed and power. I like.

  • Carlos Hyde
  • Kendall Hunter
  • Reggie Bush
  • Mike Davis

Our offensive line is in flux but I believe there is talent there and with some better coaching and better health we should be pretty good. Richard Sherman went on national tv and laughed at our offense and it's incredible predictability. It's very hard to block anyone when people know exactly what you're going to do. I have the starting 5 first with Boone at RT.

  • Joe Staley
  • Brandon Thomas
  • Daniel Kilgore
  • Marcus Martin
  • Alex Boone
  • Erik Pears
  • Joe Looney
  • Trenton Brown
  • Dillon Farrell

Our TE depth is pretty ridiculous and we'll probably end up cutting someone we shouldn't have. Things get murky with Carrier vs Bell, since Carrier got a new contract and Bell is a 4th round pick. I'm going to take a chance and run with Bell, hoping that they put Carrier on the PUP list until someone else gets injured.

  • Vernon Davis
  • Vance McDonald
  • Blake Bell

Last year people loved our WR corps but this year I think we're much, much better. Shame on our last coaching staff for not involving Patton or Ellington more, we needed more speed on the field. This year it seems we have lots of speed and that's music to my ears. I'm tired of seeing 10 men in the box. Kap has a cannon, unleash the man!!

  • Torrey Smith
  • Anquan Boldin
  • Jerome Simpson
  • Bruce Ellington
  • Quinton Patton
  • DeAndrew White

I can't see this team keeping two FB's on the roster and I really wish the extra space went to the OL or TE group. In a ZBS the FB becomes unnecessary. We should just commit to it and drop the FB altogether but hey, what do I know? In a true camp battle I'm picking the upset because I'm thinking Bruce Miller might actually get something back in a trade since he is one of the best FB's in the league.

  • Trey Millard

That brings the total number of offensive players to 25.

Our DL has a nice mix of youth and veteran leadership. If this group stays healthy (I'm looking at you Ian Williams!) it could turn into a dynamic unit. I'm expecting the starting group of Dial, Dorsey and Williams to be nasty against the run. I'm also hoping to see a lot of Tank when we switch to nickel. I'm really high on our draft pick Arik Armstead because I think Tomsula will maximize his potential, though I have no idea how long that is going to take.

  • Quinton Dial
  • Ian Williams
  • Glenn Dorsey
  • Tank Carradine
  • Darnell Dockett
  • Arik Armstead
  • Tony Jerrod-Eddie

I love-love-love our LB unit. Getting Bowman back as a leader and playmaker will help us get some of that swagger back. So will having a motivated Aldon. And a trim Brooks. And a 2nd-year Lynch. And our rookie phenom Eli Harold. I don't know why so many people are down on Michael Wilhoite, the guy is supposed to take on blocks and pave the way for Bowman. He's more than capable enough.

  • Aldon Smith
  • Ahmad Brooks
  • NaVorro Bowman
  • Michael Wilhoite
  • Aaron Lynch
  • Eli Harold
  • Philip Wheeler
  • Nick Bellore

Our safeties are the tits. Yea, I said it. We have two pro-bowl starters and our backups are dripping with potential. I'm listing Ward as a backup safety for 2 reasons. That's where I think he belongs and it also saves us a roster spot by cutting Dalh instead. Ward can still play nickel back while being the backup at FS but he's going to have to win that battle in camp and personally, I think we have better CB's on the roster than Ward. He's a playmaker going forward, not backwards.

  • Eric Reid
  • Antoine Bethea
  • Jimmie Ward
  • Jaquiski Tartt

OMG! We didn't draft a CB high! Baalke is terrrrrrible. Yea, yea, we hear the same thing every year and every year Baalke inserts another CB into the mix and we keep rolling right along. I think a lot of that has to do with our pattern-matching secondary play, which makes it awful hard on QB's. I like our CB's. There's a lot of youth, speed and desire. There will be a lot of competition with pretty much every spot up for grabs except for maybe Brock, if he's fully healthy. I think we're going to be just fine here.

  • Tramaine Brock
  • Dontae Johnson
  • Keith Reaser
  • Chris Cook
  • Kenneth Acker
  • Shareece Wright

That brings the total number of defensive players to 25.

That leaves three spots for Special Teams and we already know who they are. One of these days I'm hoping that Baalke drafts a K instead of getting old FA's but if Pinion can handle kickoffs then I'm ok with it.

  • Phil Dawson
  • Bradley Pinion
  • Kyle Nelson

Season Projection Time!!

Last year we had a lot of injuries, a lame-duck coach who lost the locker room, an offensive coordinator who didn't know the meaning of halftime adjustments, a frustrating offensive style that bled every play clock, no idea how to use the challenge flag, a coach with a needless desire to burn timeouts and a stupid, stupid game plan to win every game 17-10. And still, to this day, ESPN doesn't know why we fired such a successful coach.

Everyone knows the NFL stands for Not-For-Long and if you can't play chess then you're not going to last. It's all about the counter-moves, all about the adjustments. This year's coaching staff seems to understand some of the ways we failed last year and are taking steps towards improving our team. When Joe Staley says this camp (OTAs) was the best of his 8-year career, I believe him. I have no idea what the offense is going to look like but I'll bet anyone $1,000 that it's going to be better than last year.


Last year we passed for an average of 191.4 yards a game which was good for 30th in the league. PUKE!!! But we did run the ball very well at 136 yards a game, good enough for 4th in the league. I think we're going to pass the ball much better for many reasons: better plays, better players and better preparation (Kap). I think we're going to run the ball just as well because I believe Hyde is a stud waiting to be unleashed. Let's hope his bruising style doesn't put him on the shelf for any stretch of time. We also scored 19 points a game, good enough for 25th in the league and I expect us to be at least a full TD better than that this year.

I know what you're going to say, that Kap can't throw for 4,400 yards, that's what Aaron Rodgers threw for last year. I think it's a little high too. But when you start adding up all the numbers, with all our weapons, I don't see how he doesn't throw for that many. I'm using conservative estimates and it gets to 275 pretty quickly. For the record, 4,400 yards was good enough for 7th in the league last year while 32 TD's was also good enough for 7th. And he IS #7! Sweet dreaming I know but it's not impossible. Add up the numbers yourself.

  • 275 yards and 2.0 TD's a game (4,400 yards and 32 TD's season)
  • 40 yards rushing and .33 TD's a game (640 rushing and 5 TD's season)
  • 10 INTs

  • 80 yards and .75 TD's a game (1,280 yards and 12 TD's season)
  • 20 yards receiving and .125 TD's a game (320 receiving and 2 TD's season)

  • 40 yards and .25 TD's a game (640 yards and 4 TD's season)
  • 15 yards receiving and .125 TD's a game (240 receiving and 2 TD's season)

  • 20 yards and .25 TD's a game (320 yards and 4 TD's season)
  • 30 yards receiving and .25 TD's a game (480 receiving and 4 TD's season)

  • 40 yards receiving and .25 TD's a game (640 yards and 4 TD's season)

  • 20 yards receiving and .125 TD's a game (320 yards and 2 TD's season)

T. Smith
  • 60 yards receiving and .50 TD's a game (960 yards and 8 TD's season)

  • 50 yards receiving and .33 TD's a game (800 yards and 5 TD's season)

  • 40 yards receiving and .33 TD's a game (640 yards and 5 TD's season)


I didn't want to get rid of our defensive coaches but let's not act like Fangio was the second coming of Buddy Ryan. He is a very good coach who had very good coaches around him and very good talent to work with. Hmmmm.

Mangini is a good coach, he's surrounded by good coaches (few former DC's) and he has pretty good talent to work with. So what should we expect?

Last year we were the 5th ranked defense, giving up an average of 321 yards per game while surrendering 21 points a game. Considering we only scored 19 points a game then you can see how our record was 8-8. And who was responsible for our offense again? I digress…

Last year we led the league in INTs with 23. An average NFL team intercepts at least 14 passes a year so I say we're probably good for roughly 18 or so. Where we really got unlucky last year was in fumbles recovered. As you know, fumbles are fluky. We only recovered 6 fumbles, tied for 4th worst. An average NFL team recovers closer to 10 fumbles and I see us getting at least that many. That would put us right around the same number of takeaways as 2014.

Last year saw us grab 36 sacks, tied for 21st in the league. Not having Aldon hurt that number a lot. Top 10 teams in sack numbers get 40+, which I can see by switching from Fangio to Mangini and having Aldon around all year. It wouldn't surprise me if he gets close to 20 this year, the man is extremely talented and motivated.

I think we're talented enough to field a top 10 defense this year and if we get lucky, top 5 just like 2014.


Hey, with a top 10 offense and defense, we should be 11-5! Let the flaming begin!

Hero, I mean GOAT of the Week

GOD I'm tired of Tom Brady… I don't care what he says all you have to do is consider the following.

It's not like someone randomly tested the footballs and they happened to be light. The Colts CLAIMED there were shenanigans going on. They told the refs to watch out. So what happens on game day? The footballs mysteriously can't be accounted for after the refs check the PSI. AND THEN they measure light. AND THEN the phones are confiscated and we find out one of the employees is known as 'the deflator'…

That's why the investigative report, while inconclusive as to a smoking gun, thought there was a preponderance of evidence that shenanigans were going on. And the footballs were indeed light afterwards.

Brady, you POS. You're threatening to sue the league if they suspend you at all. That's what pampered, rich white men do when they are faced with the law. I'll tell you who had a right to sue. Ray Rice. He got burned when Goodell didn't come down hard enough (not his fault) and then got suspended for the year and possibly life. But Rice is African-american and hit a woman so the world is mad at him.

Brady got accused for cheating, got found to be cheating in the game he was accused in and then throws a hissy fit for the thought of missing even one game. Whatever respect I had for him as a competitor is thrown out the window with all this BS. I hope they keep the suspension to 4 games but they won't because well, he's Tom f*****g Brady.

EDITORS NOTE*** The writer does not imply that all white people or all black people act any which way and hopes the readers understand this point. He also does not use Ray Rice as an example in an attempt to trivialize abuse against women.