Are these the 49ers we know? Your author left the United States in June with a San Francisco 49ers team full of promise: Loaded on the offensive line and at running back and wide receiver, poised-for-breakout-season Colin Kaepernick, a deep and talented defensive line, stars in the linebacking corps and intriguing depth to get by while Navarro Bowman and Aldon Smith are out for a bit, and a relatively weak but not awful defensive backfield. This team is not the same.
During my time abroad Glenn Dorsey has gotten injured, along with Kendall Hunter, Michael Crabtree, Anthony Boone, and Jim Harbaugh are without new contracts, Boone has held out of mini-camp and training camp, Kaepernick and Stevie Johnson have both commented on their lack of chemistry, the secondary has shown consistent holes, and the 49ers have looked awful in the preseason. Definitely not the team we know and are used to seeing.
In times like these, every football fan must be required to know how much preseasons typically mean: nothing. Peyton Manning‘s Colts’ teams back in the day were awful in the preseason. It must also be remembered that the 49ers have never had all of their actual defensive starters on the field at once–and honestly have not come very close to that at all. This team may not be looking great now, but they have not been trying to do so.
The biggest worry so far? Kaepernick and his receivers. Kaepernick has at times looked a little off. It would make sense if he and Johnson are still struggling a bit, but Kaepernick and Crabtree, Anquan Boldin, or Vernon Davis should be in sync by now. Hopefully this will correct itself as the players get to know each other even better, but since Kaepernick has had accuracy issues in the past, this is not a guarantee. It would seem more likely than not he will get everything figured out, however.
Ultimately, this team may not be looking as good now as it did on paper in early June, but it is still a very, very good team poised to make a Super Bowl run from its brand new home stadium. It is too early to call for the beginnings of a new dynasty–let alone a division championship–but this 49ers team is still good.