Feeling Positive about the San Francisco 49ers in 2010

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Fans in San Francisco are finally feeling positive, and believe this NFL team is on track to returning to the glory days of the 1980s. Rebuilding a team is a process that really occurs from the bottom up. In 2007, the 49ers were 5-11, and halfway into the 2008 season, the brass fired Mike Nolan, and hired Mike Singletary. This turned out to be an outstanding decision, as the team went 5-4 the rest of that year, then went 8-8 in 2009, finishing second in the division behind Arizona. Singletary is developing a team that reflects his own personality – a quiet, hard-nosed bunch that is not flashy, but gets the job done.

San Fran really needed to build talent and depth at all positions. Last year, quarterback Alex Smith threw for 2,350 yards, with 18 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. This is acceptable, as it allowed the team to finish with a .500 record. However, he will be pushed this year with new acquisition, David Carr, a 9-year NFL veteran who threatens to take over the starting position. Running back Frank Gore is like a bowling ball rolling downhill; he gained over 1100 yards in 2009. He was joined by Glen Coffee in the backfield, who is a complete opposite of Gore – a more finesse, upright-style runner. In the 6th round of the 2010 draft, the 49ers picked RB Anthony Davis, who is much like Gore (even bigger and heavier), and will be a short-yardage expert for the team.

The receiving corps has improved as well. Michael Crabtree has NFL talent, and will start at one position. The 49ers picked up Ted Ginn Jr., after he was released by the Dolphins, and he looks to start on the other side. Tight end Vernon Davis is as solid as ever, and looks to improve on his 965-yard, 13-TD performance from 2009.

Mike Singletary looks for tough, physical, hard-working talent on both sides of the ball, and that is exactly what the 49ers drafted. They moved up in the first round to pick Anthony Davis, an offensive tackle from Rutgers who is strong, big, and athletic. They also picked up guard Mike Iupati from Idaho in the first round. This improvement on the o-line should automatically increase the offensive production from the quarterback and running back positions. On the defensive side, they selected Taylor Mays, a free safety from USC and Navorro Bowman, a linebacker from Penn State. Bowman is tough and competitive, and his off-the-field issues from college are likely to fall by the wayside as he is mentored by Mike Singletary, who doesn’t put up with stuff like that.

If all the pieces hang together all right, and the quarterbacking is solid, it is possible that the 49ers will challenge Arizona for the division championship in 2009.

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