Podcast: 49ers Playoff Expectations With John Chapman →
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


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

Facebook Comments



More San Francisco 49ers News



49ers-Dolphins: How to watch, stream, and listen to the Week 13 matchup

By Site Staff
Nov 30

The San Francisco 49ers take on the Miami Dolphins at Levi's Stadium this week in the second of a three-game homestand. This game marks the 14th meeting all-time between the Niners and the Dolphins and the second time that the Dolphins have visited Levi's Stadium. The Dolphins lead the all-time series between the two teams, 8-6. Previous game The 49ers are coming off a 13-0 win against the New Orleans Saints. On offense, the 49ers tallied 317 total yards, with 222 yards coming through the air from QB Jimmy Garoppolo, who completed 27 of his 36 passing attempts, including a five-yard touchdown pass to WR Jauan Jennings, which was his first touchdown reception of the season. Jennings finished the game with six receptions for 49 yards and one touchdown, while WR



Christian McCaffrey won't practice Wednesday as 49ers prepare for Dolphins

By David Bonilla
Nov 30

San Francisco 49ers running back Christian McCaffrey played through some knee irritation on Sunday against the New Orleans Saints. While Kyle Shanahan didn't sound too concerned about the injury after the game, the 49ers coach said his running back would miss the first practice of the week as the team prepares to host the Miami Dolphins at Levi's Stadium on Sunday. "He just felt something in it (during the game), some irritation," Shanahan told reporters before Wednesday's practice. A reporter asked if there was any concern about his availability for this weekend. The coach paused and looked at his injury sheet before responding. "It's



49ers-Dolphins Injury Report: Christian McCaffrey, Charles Omenihu don't practice; Deebo Samuel, Arik Armstead limited

By David Bonilla
Nov 30

The San Francisco 49ers are preparing for their Week 13 contest against the Miami Dolphins on Sunday at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California. Christian McCaffrey didn't practice. The running back worked through some knee irritation on Sunday against the New Orleans Saints. Head coach Kyle Shanahan wasn't sure if the situation would keep McCaffrey from playing this weekend. "It's keeping him from [practicing] today, so I hope not," Shanahan told reporters. Defensive end Charles Omenihu is also dealing with a knee issue and did not practice. Another defensive lineman, Arik Armstead, was a limited participant. Armstead has not played since Week 4 and returned to the practice field last Friday. He did not play against the Saints,



49ers Notebook: Bosa looking to silence Dolphins-loving friends; McGlinchey ready for 'fun challenge'; Mason impressing

By David Bonilla
Nov 30

Nick Bosa grew up in Fort Lauderdale. He spends his time off during the offseason there, training with his brother, Joey. The Miami Dolphins are his hometown team. On Sunday at Levi's Stadium, the San Francisco 49ers defensive end will be looking to end the Dolphins' winning streak and maybe silence some of his friends. "I've got some friends coming out," Bosa told reporters before Wednesday's practice. "They'll be wearing Dolphins jerseys. It would be good to shut them up." Bosa is excited about the matchup and believes it may be a preview of things to come. Maybe these two teams will see each other again in February. For now, the pass rusher is focused on getting the win this


Featured

More by Stewart M. Cockrell

More Articles

Share 49ersWebzone