San Francisco's offense has gone through a lot of changes this week. The 49ers unit will be without Alex Smith, Kyle Williams and Kendall Hunter. Those names will be replaced by Colin Kaepernick, A.J. Jenkins and LaMichael James. In Week 13, the Niners are set to play the St. Louis Rams, wrapping up their two-game series of 2012.
But with all these changes -- and they are significant ones -- there is sure to be some noticeable differences in the appearance of San Francisco's total offense. The Week 1 model will be drastically different from the Week 13+ model. But the differences are still being determined.
Will it be a more explosive offensive attack? Or will it be more mistake-prone? There has been a lot of youth and speed injected into this offense all of a sudden.
With Jenkins and James expected to be in the lineup, we could expect to see some more 20-plus-yard plays but we could also see some more drops and missed assignments.
As soon as this Sunday, don't be surprised to see some growing pains. While Jim Harbaugh is a coach that excels at preparation, there could be some miscues on the field that are out of his control. The youth and inexperience should periodically reveal itself, but the talent should certainly wow onlookers.
Kaepernick, Jenkins and James are all high-ceiling prospects that could very well be the future of the 49ers organization. They could develop into a very effective QB, WR, RB trio in the years to come. And Sunday's game versus the Rams could potentially be their shining debut (depending on Harbaugh's active/inactive list).
Granted, Jenkins and James will be playing supporting roles in the offense, they should still have their opportunities to get significant game reps. It will be interesting to see how quickly they acclimate to the speed of the regular season. Many of San Francisco's youngsters have come on strong for the team in a hurry.
And like Kaepernick, Jenkins and James will have an opportunity to become contributors. With some new jersey numbers on the field, expect a slight shift in the 49ers' offensive identity.