With Crabtree injured most of the season, and Boldin still getting used to the 49er Offense, the 49ers placed 30th in the NFL for passing yards per game last year, in front of only the Jets and Bucs. Boldin was the leading receiver for the team last year, gaining 1,179 yards of the 49ers 2,979 total receiving yards. San Francisco is looking to improve greatly in this area next year, not only because they signed Stevie Johnson, but also because Boldin is now used to the Offense, and Crabtree is fully recovered. Vernon and Patton are also valuable receivers for San Francisco.
In my opinion, the unsung heroes of the San Francisco 49er Franchise is their offensive line. They do a great job of protecting Kaepernick, and providing great running holes for Frank Gore. This impressive offensive line includes all-pro linemen, Mike Iupati and Joe Staley. They are a vital piece of the 49ers tough offense, and they are, in my opinion, what makes the 49ers such a great team. If Mike Iupati can come back healthy from injury, the 49ers should have nothing to worry about in terms of the offensive line.
The 49ers are constantly being compared to their rivals up north, and this year, I think they may have a secondary that matches them. Over the offseason, the 49ers drafted Jimmie Ward, a safety from Northern Illinois University, that is praised for his aggressiveness. Next year, every defensive back will have to compete for their starting job, and I think that will make them all better. Ahmad Brooks puts it this way, "If you compete, iron sharpens iron. The more we compete with each other, the better we’ll be."
Last Year, the 49ers had the 3rd most rushing yards in the NFL, with an average of 137.6 yards per game. Sustaining this stat would be substantial for the 49er offense, by forcing opposing defenses to sink in, and letting their receivers get open. I think 49ers RB Frank Gore is one of the best running backs in the league. He is certainly one of the most fun to watch, bulldozing through defenses, then using his breakaway speed. Gore is certainly someone you can rely on for big plays, when they are needed.
Defensive backs all around the league are aware that Michael Crabtree is Kaepernick's go to guy in clutch moments. It seems when the game gets close, Kaep throws to what he is used to, but it is time for him to get a little bit out of his comfort zone. Now that the 49ers have more seasoned receivers, they need to start using them when the game is getting close. For example, take last years NFC Championship Game. In the closing moments, Kaep threw a risky pass to Crabtree in the end zone, when he could have thrown a safer pass to Vernon Davis or Quinton Patton. If Kaepernick can use all of his receivers in the clutch, the 49ers will be the team to stop next year.
One of the biggest things holding the 49ers back is getting in trouble off the field. The 49ers have tied for the most player arrests in 2014 so far, and some players may face multiple game suspensions. Some of the franchises best players have been arrested so far this year, including Aldon Smith and Chris Culliver. Daniel Kilgore was also arrested. It is projected that Smith will be suspended anywhere from 3-6 games due to his arrest.
Jack is an 8th grade student who enjoys participating in multiple athletic activities, including cross country, basketball, soccer and track. Jack was recently selected to be a Sports Illustrated Kid Reporter.
Featured in the San Francisco Chronicle