The San Francisco 49ers have players on the roster right now who are future members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Perhaps that's not the kind of unbiased analysis some look for but hey, I'm a fan, and I can see greatness in many players on the roster.
Players make it into the Hall on the back of greatness, and not just greatness, but sustained greatness. Patrick Willis has put together several Hall of Fame-caliber seasons, but that greatness won't get him anywhere if he decides to call it quits tomorrow. He'll need to keep up that level of play to be counted among the best of the best.
And that's where milestones come in. While a spot somewhere among the top 10 or 20 or whatever in passing yards, interceptions or what-have-you is great, simply hitting those big milestones is what's most important. For instance, Peyton Manning will hit the 60,000-yard mark for career passing yards if he doesn't get injured this season. That's impressive.
So I thought we might want to take a look at some of the approaching milestones, be them among the best ever or simply a great start for a young player, of 49ers players headed into next season.
Obviously, new additions in kicker Phil Dawson and wide receiver Anquan Boldin are nearing milestones. They've been around for awhile now and have cemented their legacy long before joining the 49ers. Then again, a 2013 Super Bowl would surely help them, as well...
As far as long-time 49ers, we have some big ones for defensive end Justin Smith and, of course, running back Frank Gore. Smith is nearing 80 career sacks and Gore will definitely hit 9,000 career rushing yards this season, which are awesome.
I've listed the pertinent potential milestones below. Also, interesting to note: former 49ers quarterback Alex Smith will likely hit 15,000 passing yards and could hit 100 passing touchdowns this season. Just kind of cool, as I know a lot of us are rooting for him in Kansas City.
K Phil Dawson: Seven games until 225 career games, 229 points until 1,500, 37 field goal attempts until 400, Three field goals until No. 20 All-Time
LS Brian Jennings: 6 games until 200
P Andy Lee: 10 punts to 800
DE Justin Smith: 11 games until 200, 4.5 sacks until 80
RB Frank Gore: 89 carries until 2,000, 161 rushing yards until 9,000,9 9 rushing touchdowns until 60, 9 touchdowns until 70
WR Anquan Boldin: 28 receptions until 800, 43 receptions until Top 25 all time, 2 receiving touchdowns until 60, 491 yards until 11,000 all-purpose