The Best Seat In The House For All Your News On The 5 Time World Champion Niners

The Best Seat In The House For All Your News On The 5 Time World Champion Niners
A review and commentary on the history & lastest events surrounding the 17 time NFC Western Division & 5 -Time World Champion San Francisco 49ers. From 1946 and the All America Football Conference to 2009 and the road to a 6th Super Bowl title - For true fans of the scarlet and gold! Enjoy!

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Dress Rehersal Is Over. Are You Ready For Some Football?

Alex Smith and coach Mike Nolan believe they finally have enough talent to regain respectability - even making a playoff run. From Pro Bowl running back Frank Gore to the back of a surprisingly deep defense, the 49ers believe they'll raise their game and rejoin the serious competition in the NFC West. The Niners went 7-9 last season, with highs including Gore's franchise-record 1,695 yards rushing and two wins over defending conference champion Seattle. The miserable lows were just as telling, from their NFL-worst 412 points allowed to their December home losses to Green Bay and Arizona.

Yet simply achieving mediocrity was always a step in the plan for Nolan, who knew he was nearly starting from scratch in early 2005 after years of mismanagement under former general manager Terry Donahue. Nolan's decisions with personnel chief Scot McCloughan have been mostly solid. They made their most dramatic moves last March, signing Clements and Lewis to big-money free agent contracts to solidify a secondary that was barely competent when they arrived.

Clements, who got an eight-year, $80 million deal to leave Buffalo, wasn't scared off by the 49ers' losing ways when he decided to change coasts.Yet with so much change, there's still an unsettled mood around the 49ers. Nolan had to replace all three top assistants in the offseason after firing defensive coordinator Billy Davis and losing offensive coordinator Norv Turner to the Chargers.

Smith and his offensive teammates say little has changed schematically with the promotion of quarterbacks coach Jim Hostler. But Nolan and new defensive coordinator Greg Manusky have installed a true 3-4 defense, even though it's built around a defensive line that hasn't yet played together.

New nose tackle Aubrayo Franklin still hasn't suited up for San Francisco after a training camp injury, and 14th-year defensive end Bryant Young got his first preseason action Thursday at San Diego after missing most of camp with a sore back.Former Seahawks star Jackson, tight end Davis and a invigorated bunch of receivers should make life easier for Smith, who struggled with one of the NFL's worst groups of pass-catchers in his first two years.

And Gore should be ready for the opener against Arizona after missing the preseason with a broken hand. The Pro Bowl running back's eagerness to get back into practice was gratifying to Nolan, who took a chance on the oft-injured runner in the third round of his first draft. Nolan knows the third season of any NFL project is usually evaluation time, so both the team and Smith are up for their first serious grades in his tenure. Ever since he agreed to coach the team his father led for eight seasons, Nolan has kept his players focused on winning the division title and building from that benchmark.

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