Man, this is one of the better threads in recent memory....at least my recent memory...
NCommand...love the posts and positive waves.
Oregon9er...nice insights as always
Corva...also some good points
On paper (and that is really all we have to go by at this point, gentlemen), it appears the Niners are better if for no other reason than the "depth players" are younger and more talented. However, talent is not always the measure of a truly great team. I have felt that the Niners have had as much or more talent than any team in the league the past 3 years but they have yet to win a SB.
Luck is often involved......a
voiding key injuries, getting a couple of key calls by the refs at the right time, having a fumble bounce right into a Niner's hands at the right moment. I think the 9ers win the SB in 2012 if Cowboy is 100% and the refs don't blow the call on the kick return. I think they beat the Giants in 2011 in the NFC Championship game if the refs don't blow the fumble non call ("forward progress") in the last 2 minutes of that game. Finally, I think they beat Seattle last year if the refs don't blow a couple of key calls (the roughing the punter non call in particular)... What I'm saying is that winning a championship depends on so many factors, many of which have nothing to do with talent.
Now, all of that stated (still with me?...
), I think this roster is loaded but I also think the team still depends on guys like Cowboy and Gore and if they tail off this season, the Niners could struggle for awhile while their eventual replacements (Tank, Hyde) adjust to the NFL. Remember, Tank, Dial, and Lattimore will essentially be rookies this year and there is no guarantee that Lattimore will be really healthy. That was a ridiculous injury he had. I'm more optimistic now that the team drafted Hyde, who is just a bigger version of Gore....great vision, great feet, tough as nails, and loves the game. Also, Hunter will likely get better because he will be a year removed from his serious injury
So, to sum up...
Areas that the team obviously got better:
WR, OL, RB, QB, and S / slot CB (well documented by others...much greater depth and hopefully, health)
Areas that the team likely improved:
CB (with 3 draft picks all of whom are fast and athletic)
Areas that will probably stay about the same:
TE (Vernon may lose a half step but Vance will probably improve), DL (Cowboy and McD take a step back but with healthy versions of Tank, Dial, and Williams coming into the mix, the team should still be solid here)
Areas that will likely take a step back:
LB (I hate to be the pessimist here but I don't believe that Bowman will play at 100% this season, period. That was a bad
injury he had and I just don't think that he will be fully recovered until the following season. The team has decent depth now but let's face it....Bow when healthy is an absolute stud and game changer and simply can't be replaced. Let us also not forget that Brooks is now 30+ and so he may take a step back too. Aldon is also likely to be suspended for at least 4 games. I'm just saying that even though the Niners took good steps to fill the gaps at LB, they may not be enough. As a result, with the front seven not being quite as strong as in recent years, I can see the secondary (even with younger, faster guys) struggle at times
Now, the biggest question is this....do the Niners have enough to beat Seattle? To that I would answer.....YES! Now, if only the damn refs would get the calls RIGHT!!
[ Edited by nw9erfan on May 19, 2014 at 11:20 PM ]