San Francisco 49ers: 5 Areas of Concern Entering Training Camp
No. 1, the 49ers Youth Movement
This one goes along with the new coaching staff quite well.
In 2011, the Niners welcomed former head coach Jim Harbaugh with open arms. In his first season with the team, Harbaugh and company went 13-3 in route to an NFC Title Game appearance. He was able to do this because he motivated an already veteran roster. Standouts like retired linebacker Patrick Willis, retired defensive end Justin Smith and free agent pickup Carlos Rogers ignited an already good defense, and made them great. Newly opportunistic starters Dashon Goldson and Ray McDonald, at free safety and defensive end/tackle, helped the cause as well and guard Adam Syder’s insertion over Chilo Rachal at right guard proved paramount.
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As much as we Niner enthusiasts all want another Super Bowl championship, coach Kelly is not likely to be able to create that same magic with this young roster. By my count, there are around 20 players, age 25 or younger, that could be full-time starters at some point this season. The 2011 Niners had only five starters age 25 or younger. That’s a huge difference, and one that greatly impacts a potentially magical season ahead.
Will the players buy in? Can they pick the schemes their coaches install quickly? Are they even ready to play in the NFL, physically and mentally?
These are all questions and concerns. They don’t have to detail success for a year or two, but they usually do.
Let’s hope Kelly learned in Philadelphia and that his philosophies speak for themselves.
Next: San Francisco 49ers: Full Predictions for the 2016 NFL Season
All statistics, records and accolades courtesy of Pro-Football-Reference.com, Sports-Reference.com, NFL.com and 49ers.com unless otherwise indicated.