Well, this has been very informative! It appears that even the doom-and-gloom pessimists can't -- or choose not to -- come up with any SPECIFIC areas where they expect the Niners to be worse this year.
Most of the responses (some of which were very funny!) are more worries and fears, mostly pertaining to depth and injuries, than genuine feelings that we're headed downhill in some area. The age of some players, and the inexperience of some others, seem to be the biggest fears.
Maybe this means that the often-voiced WebZone pessimism is based more on weariness -- and wariness -- after so many bad years, rather than on any specific concerns about the present team. (Or maybe there was just a lack of interest in this thread!)
Thanks for your responses -- and non-responses: silence can speak volumes.
My conclusion: the WebZone really feels that there's a high probability that we'll have a significantly better team to cheer on, this year.
Q.E.D. -- and Go, Niners!