San Francisco 49ers
Head Coach: Jim Tomsula
2014 record: 8-8 overall, 2-4 NFC West
2014 Postseason results: None
Odds to win Super Bowl 50: 125/2
Odds to win NFC Championship: 28/1
Odds to win NFC West Division: 21/1
Regular season wins: under 7 -175 / over 7 +145
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The San Francisco 49ers had a completely uneventful and boring offseason. Unless you count losing the their head coach, and having numerous players either retire or be released for off the field issues.
Before last year, coach Jim Harbaugh had led the 49ers to three straight appearances in the NFC Championship game and even a Super Bowl loss in 2012. Harbaugh had clashed with team owners John and Jed York and GM Trent Baalke over personnel decisions despite the on field success. Last year, after an uninspired 8-8 season, the team decided to part ways with Harbaugh. The 49ers say it was a mutual decision, but Harbaugh claims they forced him out. Either way, Harbaugh is now the head coach at his alma mater the University of Michigan. The 49ers promoted defensive line coach Jim Tomsula to head coach. Tomsula served as the interim coach for the 49ers in the last game of 2010 after Mike Singletary was fired. However, Tomsula has no head coaching experience except for that game.
The 49ers had a roller coaster of a season last year. They opened the season with a win on the road at the Dallas Cowboys. Then came two losses before a three game winning streak. Another two game losing streak was followed again by three straight wins. At that point, San Francisco was 7-4 and in playoff contention. However, the 49ers would lose 4 straight games, including twice to the Seattle Seahawks. The 49ers would finish the season with a win over the injury ravaged Arizona Cardinals to get to 8-8 on the season.
Tomsula has his work cut out for him. The 49ers have the fourth worst odds to win the NFC Championship ahead of only the Bears, Redskins and Buccaneers.
The 49ers averaged 327 yards per game on offense, including 136 rushing and 191 passing yards. The 49ers were #11 in total offense, thanks to the #4 ranked rushing attack. The passing game was anemic though and was #30 in the league. San Francisco was #25 in scoring at 19.1 points per game.
Last year’s coordinator Greg Roman is now with the Buffalo Bills in the same position. Tomsula promoted quarterbacks coach Geep Chryst to offensive coordinator. Chryst’s brother Paul is the head coach at the University of Wisconsin.
Quarterback Colin Kaepernick has seemingly regressed. Last year, he threw for 3,369 yards with 19 touchdowns and 10 interceptions, and rushed for 639 yards on 104 carries with a touchdown. He was sacked 52 times last year. Kaepernick simply needs to play better this year and cut down on the interceptions and mistakes. Kaepernick spent 10 weeks in Arizona during the off-season working on his mechanics, and even spent some time with Kurt Warner. Blaine Gabbert is the back-up to Kaepernick.
Running back Frank Gore is now with the Indianapolis Colts. Gore rushed for 1,106 yards on 255 carries with 4 touchdowns, along with 11 catches for 111 yards with a touchdown. Carlos Hyde will take over as the starting running back after rushing for 333 yards on 83 carries with four touchdowns, and making 12 catches for 68 yards.The 49ers also signed Reggie Bush from the Lions. Bush missed numerous games last year with an injury. He only rushed for 297 yards and 2 touchdowns, and also had 40 catches for 253 yards. Kendall Hunter is also back after missing all of last year with a torn ACL. The 49ers also drafted Mike Davis in the fourth round out of South Carolina. Fullback Bruce Miller had a handful of carries, but had 18 catches for 189 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Receiver Anquan Boldin had 83 catches for 1,062 yards with 5 touchdowns. Michael Crabtree moved across the Bay to sign with the Oakland Raiders. He had 68 catches for 698 yards and 4 touchdowns. The 49ers signed Torrey Smith from the Ravens to replace Crabtree. Smith had 49 catches for 767 yards with 11 touchdowns. Stevie Johnson signed with the Chargers after making 35 catches for 435 yards and 3 touchdowns. Tight end Vernon Davis looks to rebound from a subpar season. He had 26 catches for 245 yards and 2 touchdowns. The 49ers also drafted tight ends Blake Bell (4th round, Oklahoma) and Busta Anderson (7th round, South Carolina). Receiver Jerome Simpson is suspended for six games for violating the substance abuse policy. Fourth round pick DeAndre Smelter a receiver from Georgia Tech is out indefinitely with a knee injury.
The 49ers lost All-Pro guard Mike Iupati to the Cardinals. Brandon Thomas missed his rookie season with a torn ACL. He will likely replace Iupati at left guard. Alex Boone will start at right guard. Center Daniel Kilgore missed the last nine games last year with a broken leg. Left tackle Joe Staley is a four time Pro Bowler. Anthony Davis will start at right tackle. The 49ers also drafted guard Ian Silberman (6th round, Boston College) and tackle Trenton Brown (7th round, Florida.) The line must play a lot better if this team wants to even compete for a playoff spot.
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San Francisco allowed 321 yards per game on defense, including 221 passing and 101 rushing. The 49ers were #7 or better in all three categories. San Francisco was #10 in points allowed at 21.2 points per game. The 49ers were +7 in turnovers last year.
Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio left for the same position with the Bears after being passed over for the head coaching position with the 49ers. Tomsula named Eric Mangini as the new coordinator. The 49ers suffered a rash of retirements, suspensions, players getting released for off the field issues, and free agent departures.
Defensive end Justin Smith retired after a 14 year career. He had 43 tackles and 5 sacks. The 49ers might have drafted his replacement in the first round with the selection of Arik Armstead out of Oregon. The 49ers signed end Darnell Dockett as a free agent from the Cardinals. Dockett looks to return from a torn ACL that cost him all of 2014. End Ray McDonald was released after too many off the field incidents. He signed with the Bears, but they released him too after he was accused of sexual assault. Glenn Dorsey will start at nose tackle. Quinton Dial and Tank Carradine will also see time in the rotation on the line.
Seven time Pro Bowler Patrick Willis retired because of chronic foot injuries. His back-up Chris Borland retired too because of concerns over possible concussions. Aldon Smith was released in early August after a hit and run incident. Dan Skuta signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Rookie Eli Harold a third round pick out of Virginia will likely start at the outside in place of Aldon Smith. Ahmad Brooks and Aaron Lynch will likely split time at the other outside position. Former All-Pro Navarro Bowman returns from a knee injury after missing all of 2014. Michael Wilhoite returns at the other inside position after making 87 tackles last year. The 49ers signed Philip Wheeler from the Dolphins.
The secondary loses cornerbacks Perrish Cox and Chris Culliver to free agency. Cox is with the Titans and Culliver is with the Redskins. San Francisco signed cornerback Shareece Wright from the Chargers. Wright will start at one corner, and Tramaine Brock looks to return from a turf toe injury at the other corner. Strong safety Antoine Bethea had 86 tackles and 4 interceptions, including a pick six. Free safety Eric Reid had 42 tackles and 3 interceptions. The 49ers also drafted strong safety Jaquiski Tartt in the second round out of Samford.
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Kicker Phil Dawson made 25 of 31 field goals last year, including 11/16 from 40 yards and beyond. The 49ers drafted punter Bradley Pinion in the fifth round out of Clemson. He will challenge incumbent punter Andy Lee for the job. At the very least, Pinion will handle kickoffs. Bruce Ellington will likely return kicks and punts again.
The 49ers open at home against the Vikings on Monday night football, before road games at the Steelers and Cardinals. In October, San Francisco has home games against Green Bay, Baltimore and Seattle on a Thursday night, plus a road game at the New York Giants. November brings a road game at the Rams and a home game against the Falcons before a week 10 bye. The 49ers finish November with a road trip to Seattle and a home game against Arizona. In December, San Francisco has road games at Chicago, Cleveland, and Detroit, plus a home game against Cincinnati. The 49ers close the season at home against St. Louis.
People are predicting around 4 or 5 wins for this team. It could happen but I think 6 or 7 is more realistic. This team has lost a lot of talent on defense, and the offense simply isn’t good enough to overcome those losses.
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