Even though the San Francisco 49ers (3-1) are off to a nice start to the season, a number of their key players have been fairly quiet. In a few areas, it just goes to show this team can be playing better all around football. Granted, in the 49ers three victories, they won convincingly.
Though there were a few players I was looking forward to seeing make some noise in 2012. Some of them that were building on successful 2011 campaigns and others that were looking to push through to another level.
After the first four weeks, I'm sort of surprised I haven't heard their names that much.
The 2011 Defensive MVP candidate has been quiet through the first four games.
While he has the most tackles of the 49ers defensive linemen (14), he has yet to really wow us. Smith has that spectacular, big-play ability as a defensive lineman, even though he plays an unglamorous position in the 49ers 3-4 scheme.
He is yet to register a sack this season, though he's definitely helped Aldon Smith achieve the 4.5 he has. Justin Smith has played solid football, but we haven't seen anything highlight worthy thus far.
The fourth-year receiver looked poised to finally breakthrough, having improved annually since he was a rookie. And while he's had his moments this year - particularly against Detroit - I have to say, I expected a little more than what I've seen.
The 49ers are still having their fair share of three-and-outs, and sometimes Crabtree is just nowhere to be found. In four games, he is yet to find the end zone. As far as the wide receivers go, he is the one constant player in the lineup, yet he's still not producing like a No. 1.
For Boone, this is a good thing.
The 49ers right guard has had a successful transition from tackle, and things have been running smoothly on his side of the line. I admit, I had some concerns regarding Boone before the season started, but I like what I've seen so far. The Niners have been challenged and Boone has played well.
It's still early in the season but Smith's numbers are not what they could be. In four games, he's only thrown 5 touchdowns, is still averaging under 200 passing yards per game and has missed a handful of memorable throws already. Despite the team's offseason additions, they have failed to connect on the deep ball consistently -- having hardly attempted to at all.
The 49ers starting quarterback was barely part of San Francisco's game plan in Week 4.
But at the end of the day, this team will go as far as Smith can take them. He doesn't have to do a ton, but he has to do enough. There is room for improvement right now. He just hasn't appeared to have hit his stride yet.