San Francisco 49ers 2009 NFL Projection:
The trend for the San Francisco 49ers the past few years had been to allow 100+ more points to their opponents than they scored
overall in a season.
But last year the 49ers' net points differential showed an improvement to just (-42) overall, and only (-4) under Singletary.
The 49ers were
certainly headed in the right direction as San Francisco went (5-4) under Singletary's leadership.
In 2009, the 49ers want to get away from another kind of negative... That means limiting sacks...
With Mike Martz out as offensive coordinator
and Jimmy Raye in, the Niners
will cut those long developing routes typical of the Martz scheme
which resulted in so many sacks.
In place the 49ers plan to feature a run heavy offense with Frank Gore and impressive 3rd round rookie
draft pick Glen Coffee (San Fran's 2nd selection overall) out of Alabama.
They'll run behind what figures to be an improved offensive line headed by LT Joe Staley and center Eric Heitmann.
San Francisco was expecting to upgrade the right tackle position with Marvel Smith of the Steelers.
But he was forced to retire due to back woes.
However, the 49ers were fortunate to find a replacement on the waiver wire in Jacksonville's
Tony Pashos. Ironically, the Jaguars were decimated at offensive line a season ago,
but found themselves with a surplus heading into the regular season-- so chose to part ways with
Pashos as a cost cutting move.
With all three of the 49ers' division rivals finishing no better than 16th stopping the run in '08,
it's easy to see the 49ers have an opportunity to do a bit of running through
the NFC West in 2009.
At wide receiver of course everyone is well aware of the unfortunate holdout by first round selection
Michael Crabtree out of Texas Tech.
I don't think the 49ers have plans to cave in. It's a good sign to see Mike Singletary's hard nosed, no none sense
approach being reflected at the top... For now, wide receivers Isaac Bruce and Josh Morgan will lead the way.
And perhaps Vernon Davis will begin to shine.
At quarterback we applaud the decision to start Shaun Hill. He may not have the biggest arm, but he's smart, and has
been a winner in the NFL to date.
On the defensive side of the ball the 49ers finished 13th in total defense a season ago.
They're especially strong at middle linebacker with
Patrick Willis and Takeo Spikes. But they need outside
linebacker Manny Lawson to join Parys Haralson and break through in 2009 to become a complete unit.
Up front the D-line is led by DE Justin Smith who's coming off a very good season.
The secondary took a hit this preseason when CB Walt Harris was lost for the year with a torn ACL.
But Shawntae Spencer has impressed in preseason and may be ready to step up.
Strong safety Michael Lewis will be ready for week 1 after suffering two concussions. And
Nate Clements is very solid.
Overall the 49ers have a nice mix of veterans and youth on what could be a surprising defense
In 2009 San Francisco will play just 4 games against teams that finished in the top half of the league
in total defense a season ago.
On paper the 49ers are suiting up the best defense in the NFC West.
should enable them to contend for the top spot in their division.
Plus they don't have to face many top defenses.
Add in solid coaching by Singletary
and the 49ers might just be headed to the postseason in 2009.
Overall we forecast the 49ers to go (7-9) in 2009.
But if they can take care of business in their division a la
the Cardinals a season ago, then there's certainly a chance for .500 plus.
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