2010 NFL Preview: San Francisco 49ers
The San Francisco 49ers have been knocking on the playoff door for the past couple of seasons. However, with only the Arizona Cardinals standing in their way, and the chances of them having a down year higher than ever, the 49ers have an opportunity to take the NFC West.
But 49ers fans still have to wonder if Alex Smith is the right man at quarterback. The season will depend on if he can lead this team in the right direction. With good reliable weapons around him, and a very good defense that supports, the pressure is on Smith, and it is a make or break season for him. Can he succeed? Technorati goes inside the San Francisco 49ers.
- 2009 Record: (8-8, 2nd NFC West, missed playoffs)
- Key Additions: QB David Carr (New York Giants), RB Brian Westbrook (Philadelphia Eagles), WR/KR Ted Ginn Jr. (Miami Dolphins), DE/OLB Travis LaBoy (Arizona Cardinals), CB Will James (Detroit Lions), CB Karl Paymah (Minnesota Vikings).
- Key Departures: QB Shaun Hill (Detroit Lions), RB Glen Coffee (retirement), OT Tony Pashos (Cleveland Browns), DE/DT Kentwan Balmer (Seattle Seahawks) , CB Marcus Hudson (Carolina Panthers), CB Karl Paymah (free agency).
Offense: So the fate of the 49ers and the success of the team is essentially on quarterback Alex Smith. The former #1 draft pick has no excuses as he has the chance to take advantage of a very lowly NFC West. He has worked on his leadership and commanding the respect of his teammates during minicamp. The good thing is that he's coming off the best season of his career, throwing for 2,530 yards and 18 touchdowns to 12 interceptions in 11 games. However, if he is to lead this team, he will have to play a full slate of games, make wise decisions. He will also have to find a way to play better against teams of playoff caliber as well.
The running game was already dynamic with Frank Gore coming out the backfield. Gore has emerged as one of the team's best players and one of the top running backs in the NFL that nobody really talks about. He ran for 1,120 yards and caught 52 passes out the backfield, which is really good for this team. With the sudden retirement of Glen Coffee, the 49ers were very thin at the position, and they were able to pick up Brian Westbrook after the Philadelphia Eagles let him go. Westbrook will most likely be the third down back, and it is another good option for Smith out the backfield, as he has a good set of hands as well.Continued on the next page