The greatest thing that a football team can have! This is why it's good in this case:
-We seem to have a good coaching staff that can adapt well and be clever, and that will play the best talent (Alex Smith, Josh Morgan, Michael Crabtree), and will encourage the talent to develop (Vernon Davis, Manny Lawson, Ahmad Brooks, Shauntee Spencer, Dashon Goldson). It hasn't always been pretty (Offensive miscues, defensive collapses, run/pass ratios), but there is more talent sure to come in the offseason, and consistency will help a lot of these shortcomings.
-Since he was drafted it was known that Alex Smith can become an upper echelon quarterback once he masters an offense. And this will be the FIRST opportunity that we'll have to see if this is true. This is the organization's fault for not testing yet. Alex has shown great flashes of ability this year and deserves this opportunity. I've been disappointed in him the last two games, but can also understand the causes of the turnovers. A better o-line, more familiarity and receivers that know what they're doing will only help big-time!
-Jimmy Raye is showing some variety with power formations and spreads. As he becomes more familiar with our players, and is able to develop the pass attack over an offseason, things will get much sharper. He has also shown flashes.
-The 49ers are a player away from posing huge matchup problems. Parcells likes the two-tight-end better as defenses are getting used to three wr sets and preparing their nickel corners well. Two-tight-ends is a great way to go as it challenges linebackers into coverage. We can run a spread or power out of this with pre-snap motions. If we can get a Reggie Bush type receiver/running back to supplement Gore and Coffee, with Delanie Walker and Michael Robinson going, we can cause fits!
-The defense is finally capable. It just has to show a greater consistency, and we can hopefully add a couple more playmakers.
-O-Line help! And a new offensive line coach (the only coaching upgrade necessary).
-Another pass-rusher (Brooks, Haralson, and Lawson are good, but any chance to improve this should be jumped on).
-Improved team speed (Brandon Jones could be tried again as a slot to help this, as with Gore, Davis, Walker, Crabtree, and Morgan we're very talented but we don't have that field stretcher to open things up yet. Also, improved defensive-back speed would be nice!)
-Improvements on team-depth (The depth at TE could especially be improved).
-An explosive kick/punt returner (This can also be solved with a speedy Reggie Bush type rb/wr).
And I really truly believe that we can contend next year, thanks to a crazy and unfamiliar thing in Ninerland (since we started losing) called consistency and familiarity!