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If Mike Martz livens the offense up, the 49ers should have a decent year and may exceed some expectations. The 49er defense is sturdy enough to keep the team in games and if the offense is improved from last year's horrid Jim Hostler mess, the 49ers could surprise in the NFC West.
The 49er offense is now predicated upon a complex passing system that Mike Martz has mastered throughout the years, culminating in Super Bowl appearances as a member of the St. Louis Rams.
Question marks at quarterback and wide receiver still plague the team, but Martz's direction may do the trick for Alex Smith. If Smith grasps the offense, expect a decent year out of him and his receivers. Although Shaun Hill and J.T. O'Sullivan are battling with Smith for the starting position, Smith is too young and too talented not to win the job.
Frank Gore's versatility has drawn comparisons to an old Martz favorite, Marshall Faulk. However, I do believe Gore is a better inside runner than Faulk. Gore is able to run the ball efficiently while having the hands to catch passes out of the backfield, something Faulk did consistently in Martz's offense.
Once a liability, the wide receiver corps is now a crowded bunch. Isaac Bruce's knowledge of the offense and his veteran presence should be a sight for sore eyes that has seen Antonio Bryant and Darrell Jackson fail in those roles. Bryant Johnson is a first round talent and should make an immediate impact on the offense.
Mike Martz has never had a talent at tight end like he has in Vernon Davis. Expect Davis to draw double coverage therefore enabling Bruce and Johnson opportunities for catches. Davis has been vastly underused since being drafted by the 49ers and Martz will find ways to get him the ball.
As for strengths, the 49er defense is it. The Niner defense has two major cornerstones in cornerback Nate Clements and linebacker Patrick Willis.
Veterans Walt Harris and Michael Lewis help add depth to a decent secondary. With speedy Manny Lawson returning to the linebacking corps from a major injury, the 49er defense could potentially be a top 10 defense in the NFL.
Free agent acquisition Justin Smith, 1st round draft pick Kentwan Balmer, and veteran Isaac Sopoaga lead a defensive line that has both power and speed. Ronald Fields and Aubrayo Franklin at the nose rounds out the unit.
All in all, the 49ers have a shot of making it an interesting season. All we can do is speculate with the season approaching in a few months.
Only time will tell, but if the offense clicks, expect eight wins. Although that prediction may startle some, I believe that the 49ers can be a tough team to beat this year only if the offense wakes up.
Mike Martz, do your thing please.