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NFL Rosters: 2005 49ers versus 2010 49ers

A few days ago, MichaelClutchtree had a great FanPost that took a look at the starting offense for the 2005 San Francisco 49ers. For all the complaints folks might have about the 2010 49ers, a look back to the beginning of the Nolan era should put things in a little perspective.

Since we nailed down the 53-man roster yesterday, I thought it would be fun to borrow from MichaelClutchtree and do a side-by-side comparison of the 49ers of today versus the 49ers of 2005. After the jump I've posted the starting lineups for both teams for offense and defense. The projected 49ers lineup might change a bit between now and next Sunday, but it's a general idea. As for the 2005 lineup, I can't find a succinct rundown of the lineup, so I used Pro Football Reference and this page to compile the starting lineup.


Pos. 2005 2010
QB Alex Smith Alex Smith
#2 QB Tim Rattay/ Ken Dorsey David Carr
RB Kevan Barlow Frank Gore
RB Frank Gore Brian Westbrook
FB Fred Beasley Moran Norris
WR Brandon Lloyd Michael Crabtree
WR Arnaz Battle Josh Morgan
WR Johnnie Morton Ted Ginn Jr
TE Billy Bajema/Terry Jones Vernon Davis
LT Adam Snyder Joe Staley
LG Justin Smiley Mike Iupati
C Jeremy Newberry David Baas
RG Eric Heitmann Chilo Rachal
RT Kwame Harris Anthony Davis

It's interesting to note that in 2005 Jeremy Newberry went down with a knee injury and was replaced at center by Eric Heitmann, who was reaplced at right guard by rookie David Baas. Also, the tight end position is weak in large part because Eric Johnson missed the entire season with an injury. He had 82 receptions the previous season.


Pos. 2005 2010
RDE Marques Douglas Justin Smith
LDE Bryant Young Isaac Sopoaga
DT Anthony Adams Aubrayo Franklin
DT Isaac Sopoaga Ray McDonald/Ricky Jean Francois
OLB Andre Carter Parys Haralson
OLB Julian Peterson Manny Lawson
ILB Derek Smith Patrick Willis
ILB Brandon Moore Takeo Spikes
CB Shawntae Spencer Shawntae Spencer
CB Bruce Thornton Nate Clements
Nickel Derrick Johnson Tarell Brown
FS Mike Adams Dashon Goldson
SS Tony Parrish Michael Lewis
#3 S Ben Emanuel Reggie Smith

The fact that the 49ers had Andre Carter and Julian Peterson bringing the heat from the outside linebacker position (and occasionally lining up at defensive end) is just filthy. The 2005 team used mostly a 4-3, although Nolan had indicated he wanted to switch over to a 3-4 defense, so they mixed it in a bit that first season. It's also interesting to see that Shawntae Spencer has come full circle. Ahmad Plummer was technically the #1 corner that season, but he went down with an injury after 3 games and was replaced by Bruce Thornton who actually had a decent enough season.

Special Teams

Pos. 2005 2010
P Andy Lee Andy Lee
K Joe Nedney Joe Nedney
KR Maurice Hicks Ted Ginn Jr
PR Otis Amey/Rasheed Marshall Phillip Adams/Kyle Williams

You have to love the fact that Lee and Nedney have stuck around through thick and thin. 2005 was Lee's second season, while Nedney signed with the 49ers in the offseason prior to the 2005 campaign.