Skip to main content

San Francisco 49ers preseason primer

2006 season recap

PFrom spoiled to spoiler to ...
The 49ers made great progress during Mike Nolan's first season, finishing 7-9. The highlight came when the 49ers ended the Broncos' playoff hopes with an overtime victory in the season finale. Nolan has since declared that making the playoffs, not just spoiling them, is the team's goal for 2007. That is one of the reasons why the 49ers are a trendy sleeper pick.

Key camp questions

How will Alex Smith respond with yet another offensive coordinator?
With Norv Turner now the Chargers head coach, Smith is working with his third offensive coordinator in three pro seasons. This time, however, there is some continuity -- new coordinator Jim Hostler served as quarterbacks coach the past two seasons. The biggest question facing Smith might not be the coach calling the plays, but rather the offensive line blocking for him. Look for Smith to improve if he gets time in the pocket.

Can Vernon Davis be the next Antonio Gates?
The 49ers made Davis the sixth overall pick in the 2006 NFL Draft, and taking a tight end that high brings high expectations with it. But there's no denying the big-play potential he showed in between stints on the injured list as a rookie. The 49ers are counting on him to produce Gates-type numbers, but he's going to have to stay healthy to do it.

What's in store for Gore in 2007?
Don't feel bad if you hadn't heard of Frank Gore before last season. You weren't alone. Gore rushed for 108 yards in the final game of 2005, but not many people figured he would rush for 1,695 yards in 2006. Now there are expectations for Gore to live up to -- and he's got lofty standards for himself. After rushing for 1,695 yards in '06, Gore is aiming for a 2,000-yard season. The 49ers coaching staff also believes in Gore, with plans to give him 20 to 25 attempts per game.

Key position battle

Joe Staley vs. Kwame Harris
Harris will be the starting right tackle this season, but Staley will eventually take the position. Staley practiced at right tackle with the first team during minicamp because of an injury to Harris giving 49ers fans a glimpse of the future sooner than expected.

Rookie spotlight

Patrick Willis
Willis will likely start the season as a backup, but the 49ers envision him taking a leadership role on the defense, much in the same vein as his new position coach, Mike Singletary, did for the Bears.

Player on the spot

Nate Clements
The last time the 49ers spent so lavishly on a cornerback, Deion Sanders led the team to the Super Bowl. No pressure or anything, Nate.

Fantasy focus

Darrell Jackson
Jackson recorded a career-best 10 touchdowns last season, but he missed three contests due to injuries and has missed 13 of his past 32 games overall. Now a prominent option for the 49ers, the veteran remains a viable No. 2 fantasy wideout but does come with a bit of risk.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.