While there’s a lot to be excited about the San Francisco 49ers in 2018, there are also some reasons for concern, particularly these five areas where the team could regress from last year.
It’s both strange and rewarding to think the San Francisco 49ers, just two years removed from a 2-16 season, are legitimate playoff contenders heading into 2018
Much of this has to do with quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and how he helped engineer a five-game win streak to close out last season, ending head coach Kyle Shanahan’s inaugural year on a very high note.
When one thinks of what Shanahan and Garoppolo can do together over the course of a full season, it makes perfect sense why fans should be excited right now.
That said, there are a number of areas in which the Niners could take a step backwards.
Granted, the entirety of 2017 wasn’t particularly great for San Francisco, at least in terms of stats. Despite the strong finish, Shanahan’s 49ers still finished 20th in offense, 25th and defense and gave up a whopping 343 first downs — third worst in the NFL last year.
There’s plenty of room for improvement in these categories. But there are others in which San Francisco could be moving in the wrong direction. Some may be as a result of a budding offense, while others are personnel-based.
Without getting too down on the team’s chances this season, here are five key areas in which the Niners could see a bit of regression this upcoming year.
Starting off with a fairly easy one, special teams.