Mister Obvious Says – After all of San Francisco’s off-the-field turmoil, do not expect eight-year defensive line coach Jim Tomsula to match what Harbaugh did as head coach. Harbaugh’s record was 44-19-1 in four seasons with three playoff appearances, including a run to the Super Bowl in 2013. Six players, including DE Aldon Smith, have been arrested for various offenses over the last year. Smith’s release means only 11 players remain from the 53-man roster that was in the Super Bowl two years ago. Harbaugh bolted after a power struggle with the front office. Looks like he is not to blame for this mess.
Biggest Additions – DE Darnell Dockett, a veteran in his 11th season, left division rival Arizona to sign with 49ers, which needed to alleviate significant losses on defense due to retirements. WR Torrey Smith comes in from Baltimore to replace Michael Crabtree, a free agent who signed with Oakland. Another big transition is at running back with Frank Gore off to Indianapolis and Reggie Bush entering from Detroit.
Biggest Losses – Besides Aldon Smith, Crabtree and Gore, three prominent contributors to San Francisco’s defense retired after last season, including 30-year-old veteran LB Patrick Willis. DE Justin Smith cited recurring toe problems for his retirement. The biggest surprise was LB Chris Borland hanging up the pads because of concussion concerns following a productive rookie season.
Rookie To Watch – DT Arik Armstead of Oregon was drafted to help fill the void of talent on the defensive line. Armstead has the skill to be an impact player, once he improve his pass-rushing skills.
Marquee Match-up – How about San Francisco traveling to Pittsburgh in Week 2? Those franchises have combined for 14 Super Bowl appearances with a combined record of 11-3.
Game Most Likely To Win – Week 9 at home against Atlanta. Tough, tough schedule.
Game Most Likely to Lose – So many possibilities with San Francisco playing Seattle twice, Pittsburgh, Baltimore and Cincinnati. The Thursday night game against the visiting Seahawks in Week 7 looks like a defeat, four days after playing a physical Ravens defense.
Overall Thoughts – With Tomsula as the new coach San Francisco has new coordinators, both of whom are trying to prove their worth. Geep Chryst, San Francisco’s quarterbacks coach the last year four years, takes over as offensive coordinator. Former Cleveland and New York Jets coach, and ESPN analyst, Eric Mangini is the new defensive coordinator. The 49ers have ranked 20th or worse in total offense three of the last four seasons. Mangini did not last long as a head coach with the Browns and Jets. The 49ers are very much a mystery this year in a tough division.
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