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At what position(s) will the Niners be WORSE in 2009 than in 2008?

The main activity for football fans at this time of the year is trying to guess how good their teams will be in the coming season. One way to approach this highly unreliable -- but highly enjoyable -- activity is to look not at how good we will be relative to other teams -- there being a strong tendency to think that other teams all have demigods at every position while we have incompetents -- but relative to our own recent past: will we be better or worse than last year? And we can break up the question into smaller parts: where will the team be improved over last year and where will it be worse?

Every team tries to improve in all areas, but it can't always do so. Players leave, players age, players disappoint. Ditto the coaching staff. Every team hopes that its improvements outweigh its declines, so that it will be better overall. Obviously, some teams get not better, but worse.

With this thought in mind, what can we expect from the 49ers in 2009? I think it is fair to say that we can reasonably expect improvements in nearly all areas. No, of course there is no certainty. No, of course we don't have crystal balls. Yes, of course there is always the possibility of injuries having a substantial and unexpected effect. Given those obvious caveats, at what positions do you EXPECT the Niners to be WORSE in 2009 than they were in 2008 (averaged over the whole year)?

- Offensive line
- Tight ends
- Wide receivers
- Quarterback
- Running backs
- Defensive line
- Outside linebackers
- Inside linebackers
- Cornerbacks
- Safeties
- Special teams

And one might take some intangible facets of football into consideration, too:

- Coaching
- Preparation (practices, game planning)
- Teamwork
- Conditioning
- Motivation (read: hard work!)

I find it hard it to name an area where I truly expect worse performance this year than last. Perhaps our young receivers don't progress as fast as we would like and our older ones hit the age wall. Likewise, maybe our key special team players (Nedney, Rossum) turn out to be a bit past their prime. But -- injuries apart, remember -- I can't imagine the OLine, for example, or the team's conditioning (thanks to the Hill of Pain) being worse than last year.

In fact, I expect equal, significantly better, or at least slightly improved, performance in virtually all of these 16 areas. I needn't enumerate all the reasons to expect improvements in each of these areas -- you all know them and have been discussing them for months. And since football is a team sport, even small improvements in lots of areas can have a synergistic effect: A better OLine makes the quarterback improve even more than he would by himself, which makes the receivers better, etc., etc. You all know how that works. So I'm expecting a substantially better team this year.

But what am I missing? Are there positions or other aspects of the game where you truly think -- not just fear or worry -- that we will (even assuming no injuries) be WORSE next year? I think -- and hope! -- that will be a shorter list than the list of expected improvements. I'm very much interested in your thoughts.

Unless we go backwards in a number of areas, there is reason for considerable optimism this year! What could those areas be?

(Pardon the length! Perhaps it would good just to Post Reply rather than Quoting the whole beastly thing. )
Not one position gets worse and many get better.
Fanbase
first of all...nice thread.


I think you will see a drop off in receiver statistics. Without Martz calling the passing game, I fear our offense will be bland in the air attack. I think we will be ok because our running game should pick up the slack. But I dont think you will see big numbers out of bruce, morgan, crabtree, hill, or davis.

I also think our secondary will have an early season learning curve. With Goldston and brown/bly making adjustments as the season progresses. Hopefully our pass rush will step up and help them out.
The only areas I see the Niners getting worse is where the players are getting older.

KR: Rossum
SS: Lewis
#1 WR: Bruce (unless he's replaced)
Originally posted by Nuns:
The only areas I see the Niners getting worse is where the players are getting older, and already in the twilight of their careers.

KR: Rossum
SS: Lewis
#1 WR: Bruce (unless he's replaced)
Originally posted by 7square:
But what am I missing? Are there positions or other aspects of the game where you truly think -- not just fear or worry -- that we will (even assuming no injuries) be WORSE next year? I think -- and hope! -- that will be a shorter list than the list of expected improvements. I'm very much interested in your thoughts.

I don't think any position will actually be worse than last year (with any certainty, anyway). But I am worried about a couple.

The DL - I think Soap fit better at DE than NT, so I am skeptical of his rumored move back to NT. I also have doubts about Balmer because he didn't show much last year, but I recognize many rookies struggle (Glenn Dorsey REALLY struggled in KC last year and he looked like a monster in college).

The TE's - Vernon, to this point, has been a better blocker than receiver. I want to see him more involved in the offense, but I am worried he simply can't do it. If he spends less time doing what he's good at and more time doing what he struggles with, than I could see the TE position struggle. Unless Bear really shines or Walker becomes a more complete TE.

Special Teams - Age is a concern. 'Nuff said.

Like I said, I don't "think" we'll be WORSE at any position next year, but there are a few to worry about.
Originally posted by notsoempty86:
first of all...nice thread.


I think you will see a drop off in receiver statistics. Without Martz calling the passing game, I fear our offense will be bland in the air attack. I think we will be ok because our running game should pick up the slack. But I dont think you will see big numbers out of bruce, morgan, crabtree, hill, or davis.

I also think our secondary will have an early season learning curve. With Goldston and brown/bly making adjustments as the season progresses. Hopefully our pass rush will step up and help them out.

That's the thing homie the passing game can't afford to be bland b/c teams are just gonna stack the box making the run game ineffective. I don't think the passing game will be bland at all, but I do agree WR numbers will dip due to a different system.

On that list I think CB may be worse. Don't know what they have in Brown and well Bly hasn't looked good in bout 2/3 seasons. Walt was very underrated.
[ Edited by lamontb on Jul 20, 2009 at 12:01 PM ]
Originally posted by Moonshae_D:
Fanbase

This.
Coaches Wardrobe
CornerBack losing Walt was big, lots of expierience to replace.
1) Underhanded Backstabbing Double-talk

2) Sideline Whiteboard Skills

3) "Big Nipple" Bend Then Bend Over Defense -- where the Offense gets to suckle

4) Postgame Nonsequiturs
  • WillisWillKilYou
  • Info N/A
singfan to troll this thread in about 5 minutes..
Originally posted by AC49er:
Coaches Wardrobe

Zing
I wouldn't necessarily say worse at OLB but we're very THIN at this position