Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports


State of the 49ers: Post Training Camp Edition

Stewart M. Cockrell
Sep 4, 2015 at 10:34 AM


Videos are auto-populated by an affiliate. This site has no control over the videos that appear above.
Now that the preseason is officially in the books, the 49ers can finally turn to getting back to real football. Most of us can agree that this has been one of the craziest offseasons for the organization in at least a decade and that is the biggest reason that nearly the entire sporting world is not expecting much out of our beloved 49ers.

I can agree with tempered expectations to a degree, but I can also disagree with them just the same. It wasn't long ago that the 49ers were put in the same situation they are in now with a new coach, new staff, and a many unproven players. That team, then under coach Jim Harbaugh exceeded expectations coming out of the players strike and nearly made it to the Super Bowl. I will admit that going into that 2011 season, I was very skeptical of how good the team would be, mostly due to the team's schedule.

Fast-forward four years to this season, and you see a lot of the same opponents that our last new head coach faced in his first year. Outside of the six divisional games that are always on our schedule, the 49ers face six of the teams they faced in 2011, mostly due to the match-up with the AFC North this season. The 2015 squad and storylines are oddly familiar to the 2011 team. The 49ers are breaking in a new secondary much like they were that season. The 49ers had issues with the center and guard spots leading into the 2011 season as well. All the 49ers did in 2011 was go 13-3.

It is a big leap to say that 2015 49ers will be able to catch that same magic and put together a successful campaign. There are a lot of question marks on this team that surely will cost us some big plays and games, but I do think that there is talent on this team. While my gut instinct says this team will likely go 6-10 or 8-8 under Tomsula in the first season, it wouldn't shock me one bit if this team went 10-6 or even 11-5 because there are some winnable games on our schedule and you have to think the 49ers will sneak in and steal a few on the road late in the season based on their defense and run game.

A few thoughts on the 49ers' preseason...

Early Returns: All signs point to Jarryd Hayne making the team and there is no reason that he shouldn't. The 49ers have not had a fearless return man like Hayne since the days of Vinnie Sutherland. While that is a rather odd reference, you might recall in 2011 the 49ers brought in another electric return man in Ted Ginn Jr. Ginn himself practically beat Seattle in game one of the 2011 season with two returns for touchdowns. With the passing game likely to struggle this season due to the offensive line, the 49ers need yards anyway they can get them. As long as Hayne is careful with the ball, I see no reason why he shouldn't be our primary punt returner.

Getting Defensive: While the offense was offensive against Denver in the regular season tune up, how about the defense? Bowman clearly is showing no signs of his injury and appears to be close to his All-Pro form. Even the secondary played really well against Manning and company. The biggest question for this team will be pass rush and how it equates to getting off the field on third down. Opponents were 27 of 65 against the 49ers on third down this preseason - which is about 41.54%. The 2014 team gave up 43.35% (88/203) while picking up 52 sacks and 23 interceptions. In 2013, the team was much better with 34.08% (77/223) and picked up only 38 sacks and 18 interceptions. If the team can get under that 40% conversion mark again, I think you are going to see a pretty good team. I was a little surprised by the Darnell Dockett release, but it makes sense to get the young guys playing time this season if the team is playing the long game on developing players. They have sat some potentially good defensive linemen behind other starters the last few years, and now is the time to see what they have.

Wide Open Wide Outs: It is clear the team is going to focus around a two wide-receiver and two tight-end set, but there will be times when the team will need to go deeper into the wide receiver stable. This is where I was hoping that Jerome Simpson would be able to contribute, but we won't see that until mid-season. The question is, 'Who will fill the void?' That likely will fall on Bruce Ellington who proved he has speed to play the slot. The biggest key to our passing game this season (outside of the offensive line) is Vernon Davis. The success of Davis and Torrey Smith are directly related because both are big play threats. Early season success with deep passes could make for a field day for Boldin and others on the underneath routes.

Offensively Offensive Offensive Line: Good thing we are a running team right? The passing game is going to be interesting for sure. While the 49ers have a few interesting prospects on the line, they are nowhere ready to contribute on a regular basis. While I called Boone moving to the left side of the line earlier in the off-season, I was really shocked they didn't try him at tackle in a game situation. He has experience there and could have been a pleasant surprise. Don't be shocked if the team makes a move after the cuts to bring in a guard or tackle. I'm assuming the team will go to a short passing game that relies on Kaepernick to get rid of the ball quick and reserve deep shots to a few times a game. This line is simply not ready for the vertical passing game being the centerpiece of the offense. Hopefully Colin Kaepernick is ready to run this season and would be well served to study some tape of Jeff Garcia circa 2000-2001 when he was a very advantageous runner when forced to be.
The opinions within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.


0 Comments

  • No Comments


More San Francisco 49ers News



49ers rookie Dominick Puni can't wait to learn from Trent Williams

By David Bonilla
May 9

Rookie Dominick Puni is stepping into an exciting opportunity, with many speculating whether the third-round pick can contend for a starting position on the San Francisco 49ers offensive line. The team was so intrigued by Puni that it traded up eight spots, securing his arrival in the Bay Area. ESPN analyst Matt Miller, a longtime 49ers fan, recently shared his enthusiasm for the Puni pick, lauding the offensive lineman's physicality, athleticism, and versatility. "I think he'll be a guard," Miller said on the "No Huddle" podcast. "I don't see any chance of him playing tackle unless it's a little bit of a



49ers' Dre Greenlaw on whether Super Bowl practice fields led to injury, rehab status

By David Bonilla
May 9

Dre Greenlaw initially thought someone had stepped on his foot as he returned to the football field during Super Bowl 58. The idea that he had suffered a severe injury didn't cross his mind. Even after he made his way onto the sideline, the San Francisco 49ers' star linebacker didn't anticipate exiting the game permanently. It wasn't until he started trying to put pressure on his foot that he realized more was going on with the injury. Further tests confirmed what the training staff suspected: Greenlaw had torn his Achilles. His absence was a blow for the San Francisco 49ers, who had to continue the game without him. Ultimately, the 49ers lost Super Bowl 58 to the Kansas City Chiefs in overtime, a devastating defeat for Greenlaw, who watched from the sidelines as



49ers' Ricky Pearsall invited to NFLPA Rookie Premiere in Los Angeles

By David Bonilla
May 9

The NFLPA has extended invites to 40 players for its annual Rookie Premiere in Los Angeles from May 16-19. Among the invitees is the San Francisco 49ers' first-round draft pick, wide receiver Ricky Pearsall. The NFLPA invited 40 players to its annual rookie premiere in Los Angeles from May 16-19. A list provided by the union to teams of players invited, which includes the top 4 draft picks from Caleb Williams to Marvin Harrison Jr. 👇🏼 pic.twitter.com/2zOWBqmyGr— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo)



Legendary 49ers cornerback Jimmy Johnson passes away at 86

By Site Staff
May 9

The Pro Football Hall of Fame has announced the passing of former San Francisco 49ers cornerback Jimmy Johnson at the age of 86. The Pro Football Hall of Fame is saddened to share the news that the Class of 1994's Jimmy Johnson has passed away at age 86. #HOFForeverMore info: https://t.co/Rikll8EsV1 pic.twitter.com/tGIdRgbQXB— Pro Football Hall of Fame (@ProFootballHOF)


Latest

More by Stewart M. Cockrell

More Articles

Share 49ersWebzone