by Matt Soltysiak
San Francisco closed the season with two wins to finish at 7-9, good enough for second place in the weak NFC West. Of course Mike Singletary took over as head coach and when the season came to an end Mike Martz decided to leave town. Along with Martz, receiver Bryant Johnson, running back DeShaun Foster and quarterback J.T. O’Sullivan also left the bay area. The team brought in Damon Huard to add depth on the quarterback chart.
For much of the teams’ improvement they looked to the draft. In the first round San Francisco selected receiver Michael Crabtree and in the third round the team took running back Glen Coffee.
What to watch for in training camp
There’s so much to watch, they should make a movie for this team. The quarterback position is anything but settled. Shaun Hill appears to have a slim upper hand, but former number one overall pick Alex Smith is still around. Injuries have sidelined him for much of his short career, but he still has a chance to make good on his draft position.
Frank Gore was once again the leading rusher for the team, his third straight 1,000 yard season. His numbers were down a bit, except for his fumbles (he had 6, with 3 lost). Rookie Glen Coffee should serve as his back up, with Michael Robinson serving as the third back. Keep an eye to see if the 49ers try to give Coffee some carries previously reserved for Gore.
The best is last, the receiving corps. By best, I mean most important to watch because it did so little last year. The teams’ leading receiver is back, but Isaac Bruce is entering his 16th NFL season (he had 61 catches for 835 yards and 7 touchdowns). Michael Crabtree is expected to line up across from Bruce. The team needs a playmaker to stretch the defenses and is hoping Crabtree can fill that void. It’s rare that receivers make a big impact in their rookie season, but Crabtree does have a chance if there’s solid quarterback play and Bruce along with tight end Vernon Davis can force defenses to stay honest in their coverage. Davis is still looking to breakout in the NFL. After a decent sophomore season, he took a step backwards last season. Davis and Crabtree have the most potential as far as fantasy goes, but the jury is still out.
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