The San Francisco 49ers, prior to last season’s disappointing campaign, had an unprecedented run of success under Jim Harbaugh that included three straight trips to the NFC Championship game and a loss in the Super Bowl. CEO Jed York decided to clean house after the year and hire sycophantic yes-man Jim Tomsula to replace the franchise’s most successful coach in at least a decade, jump-starting speculation that the 49ers are headed for a train wreck of a season followed by a rebuilding period. To further the point, perennial All-Pro Patrick Willis is retiring, and it looks like Justin Smith might be headed down that same road. Wide Receiver Anquan Boldin recently told 49ers.com that he thinks the team has set itself up nicely to make a return to the playoffs. Here are three reasons why he might not be completely crazy.
1. Colin Kaepernick Can’t Get Much WorseREAD MORE: Modesto's Vintage Faire Mall Seeks Help Gathering Gifts For Kids
Kaepernick posted career worst numbers in terms of interceptions and quarterback rating, leading the 49ers to their most disappointing season of his career. The overwhelming opinion seems to be that Kaepernick’s struggles last year are a more accurate indicator of his future production than his successful seasons. The other line of thought, however, would be that every player, especially young ones (he turns 28 in November), have down seasons, and that his regression is more likely to lead to a bounce back season than another poor one.
2. Torrey Smith Adds A Much-Needed Deep ThreatREAD MORE: CHP: Man Shot On I-5 After Reports Of Road Rage Incident In Sacramento
In signing former Ravens WR Torrey Smith, the 49ers have reassembled the majority of the receiving corps that defeated them in the Super Bowl a few years back between Smith and Anquan Boldin. Smith has the speed to take the top off of a defense, and threat that the team has been lacking since, well, Terrell Owens left town. Couple that with a (hopefully) healthy Vernon Davis, and the 49ers offense might actually be competent.
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In a lot of ways, this will be viewed as a negative. They never had a chance of replacing Jim Harbaugh or defensive coordinator Vic Fangio with a coach of equal quality. The offense, however, led by Greg Roman, had been stagnant for the better part of three years. Fans had clamored for Roman to be replaced since his unit was unable to muster a single yard to win the Super Bowl, despite having four downs to do so. The point is, if there is a positive to all the upheaval with the coaching staff, it’s that somebody new will get to run the offense.