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49ers 2011 Season Preview: Five Things to Look for

It seems like every year the 49ers have a mixed bag of success heading into the new season. There are reasons to hope, and reasons to despair, and the off-season does nothing to ease the mind. With that here are 5 things to look forward to going into this season, and 5 things to worry about and none of them have anything at all to do with Alex Smith.

Since I prefer to be an optimist I'll start with the 5 things to despair about and end with the 5 things to look forward too.

The Bad

5.) Offensive line. Other than the last pre-season game the starters on the offensive line looked awful. This was true of everybody, from long time veteran to second-year Anthony Davis

4.) Michael Crabtree's foot injury. I don't blame him for missing the pre-season. There's a reason he got put on the Physically Unable to Perform list and it wasn't because he was a whiner or a slacker. However, a foot injury could impact his ability to make cuts, thus impacting his ability to get open.

3.) Secondary. Wholesale changes in the secondary happened, with very mixed results. Will they be able to gel into a cohesive and functional unit?

2.) Colin Kaepernick. He very much looked like a second round draft pick. Can he make the adjustments he needs to should worst come to worst?

1.) Hat tip to James for this one. Dominique Zeigler being cut. I knew he was doomed when he reported to camp on the PUP list, but I always wanted him to make it.

The Good

5.) Braylon Edwards. Man can he make the difficult catch.

4.) Kendall Hunter. Yeah we got all excited over Anthony Dixon last season, but here's why Hunter will end up being a better back. A.) The man knows when to make his cut instead of dancing around. B.) The man knows how to pass block exceptionally well (this is a much rarer trait than one might suppose, especially for a starting RB) and finally C.) He managed to look good against first string defenses.

3.) Frank Gore. Even though I made noises about how much we would end up paying him I'm still glad we signed him to a 3 year extension. I also think the team was smart in how it did it, because reports are that when it comes down to it the deal is really a 1 year, $6 million deal.

2.) NaVorro Bowman. He made moves at the ILB position that normally only happen with veterans. He's going to be a fine replacement for The Neck.

1.) Jim Harbaugh. He'll be able to help us win a couple of games that Singletary would've lost.