49ers Studios

49ers Studios



Starting over is never easy, but it beats the alternative of coming in second to last in the conference year after year. Here's why the 49ers are banging on the door of competition and ready to leave the basement in a hurry.


Here we are again, knee-deep into the offseason and the excitement is already beginning to build. Every year it's the same old pattern. Fans harness their excitement for the season that could be, yet somehow this particular offseason feels entirely different. The franchise is finally building it's future on stable ground.

For three years, the 49ers brass has been playing a very careless game of Jenga with the future of this team. It doesn't matter how many new stadiums you build, if your formula is off, the team will not produce wins.

After years of stacking bricks on a uneven foundation, team owner Jed York has finally realized that in order to build a proper structure you must level what remains and start fresh. That's what the hirings of John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan represent. They have created a cohesive environment that takes the vote of both parties to move forward on team matters.

They have stripped the team of players who are not the proper fit moving forward, and together they have brought in people who can succeed on a sufficient level.

It seemed as though fans went through a state of shock when the team was gutted for the greater good, but here's the reality: if you want to change a 2-14 team, you have to change every aspect of it. The team was in such disarray last year that the regular old pep talk just wouldn't cut it. Cuts had to made, and hearts had to be broken.

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Nobody expects this team to make the playoffs this year, that's a given. Remember: it's not a reboot, it's a rebuild. It may take a few years for this team to make the playoffs. However, once its reaches the top, if the needs of the roster are handled carefully, it could sit atop its conference for many years.

So what does it take to be elite? Is it conference trophies, consecutive division titles, or is it multiple winning seasons? Sure all of that would great, but right now the 49ers would settle for progress and consistency. If the roster can learn to gel and play effectively together, then it is well on its way back to contention.

Defense wins championships, and after three straight years of drafting players to shore up the defensive front, the 49ers look as though they are ready to compete. Not because the third time's a charm, but because the defense finally has a clear direction under new coordinator Robert Saleh.

The franchise boasts one of the youngest rosters of all 32 professional teams, most notably across the defensive front. Provided that the young standouts on the roster pan out, the 49ers could be set at those positions season after season.

On the offensive side of the ball, they have made many changes as well. The receiver core figures to be completely different once preseason hits. The running back position has also been fully revamped. The front office has not only added sufficient competition for Carlos Hyde, but it has fielded a platoon of running backs instead of working with one horse out of the gate.


The core to watch in particular is at the tight end position. After continuous insufficient play, we could see a full facelift that will provide an upgrade, to say the least. Vance McDonald will need to bring his best game if he plans to beat out newcomer George Kittle. Kittle had more than a successful career catching passes at Iowa, and provides a reliable pair of hands for quarterback Brian Hoyer. Cole Hikutini will also be in the fight to round out the position as far as depth.

Lynch and Shanahan have already done so much in terms of trimming the roster and bringing in young talent to secure the future. It's a good start, but the process is far from over. Expect more cuts of high-priced veterans, and the search is still very much in place for the highly coveted franchise quarterback.

After an aggressive session of free agency, and a highly productive draft, the 49ers have shown that they are fully committed to bringing back their championship ways. To achieve this, all they need is leadership, a winning formula and clear-cut direction.

Shanahan and Lynch bring all three of those traits to the table. Because of it, the 49ers are well on their way back to contention.