By Will Button
The San Francisco 49ers, coming off of a tremendous 2013 season and a disappointing NFC Championship loss, are looking to head into the 2014-2015 season with high hopes in their offensive and defensive lines. Quarterback Colik Kaepernick kept the 49ers playoff hopes alive during the regular season in 2013, throwing for 3197 yards and 21 touchdowns. While defensive efforts in San Francisco fell a bit short, many of the changes in the off-season are giving fans hope that the 49ers can make another playoff run and improve on their previous 12-4 season. bet365 lists them at 13/2 to win outright this season.
While many look at San Francisco’s offense as solid, some felt their offensive efforts could have been better in the 2013-2014 season. Many fans found some great news in the off-season, as the 49ers made some key decisions with their offense. The loss of wide receiver Mario Manningham was a necessary change, as Manningham only played six games and had nine receptions in 2013. Luckily, wide receiver Stevie Johnson has join San Francisco’s offense, coming off of a season where he had 52 receptions and 597 yards for Buffalo. Kaepernick should be reaching his prime and will be looking to Johnson for many more receptions and yards for their offense this season. Another wide receiver acquired by San Francisco is Brandon Lloyd. While Lloyd didn’t play in 2013, his past numbers show that he shouldn’t be counted out just yet. Not only will the wide receivers have their work cut out for them, but the running backs will also have a big role to play. Running back Alfonso Smith, coming from Arizona, is a promising younger offensive weapon that the 49ers will be looking to utilize.
San Francisco’s defensive abilities have come into question in the past, but with major acquisitions during the off-season, fans should have plenty to be excited about. With the nine game suspension of linebacker Aldon Smith, the defensive staff will definitely need some help. Strong safety Antoine Bethea, coming off a season with two interceptions and 80 tackles with the Colts, will be looking to help San Francisco’s defense in the 2014-2015 season. Bethea has been with Indianapolis his entire career, so adapting to the 49ers defense will be his top priority entering the season. Another defensive acquisition was corner back Chris Cook, who had an amazing 2013-2014 season with the Minnesota Vikings, with a career high 41 tackles. Cook will have his work cut out for him, as the 49ers have a plethora of tough offensive teams to play against during the regular season.
Many changes made in the off-season for San Francisco not only re-enforced their offense, but also gave their defensive abilities a well needed boost. The 49ers fiery head coach Jim Harbaugh will definitely be relying on these new players to fill the void of key players that are either suspended, injured or no longer with the team. Last year, the 49ers did an amazing job at staying afloat after their 1-2 start to the season. Luckily, the 2013-2014 schedule proved favorable for San Francisco, allowing them to climb the rankings and secure their place in the playoffs. This seasons schedule is a bit tougher for San Francisco, but many of their difficult match ups will luckily be played at home. Though many have doubts about both the offensive and defensive abilities of the 49ers, new acquisitions and changes to the roster will definitely give them a great chance in the 2014-2015 season.