San Jose Mercury News columnist Tim Kawakami recently had a chance to check out both 49ers and Raiders camps. As he is not a beat writer, he is able to mix and match what he covers. It does not provide an entire perspective on a subject, but it can lead to some interesting takes. He took some time to compare what he saw at both camps.
It is not even a little bit surprising that the Raiders find themselves in classroom mode as much as anything else. They have a new coaching staff, and that new staff also is not operating under the constraints of Al Davis. Change is afoot in Oakland, but it's going to take some time.
Down the road you've got the 49ers at a whole different level of installation right now. There is plenty of new stuff to add, and plenty of new players to integrate, but the basics are in place. The offense will likely be looking at fairly limited looks tomorrow night, but hopefully we'll see a bit more than we saw in last year's preseason opener against the Saints.
Many of the statistics indicate the 49ers are likely to regress from last year's 13-win season. While I would be surprised to see the team win 13 games in the regular season, I personally don't expect a significant drop as we have seen in some discussions. I base that on a whole host of reasons, one of which is that returning offense. The 49ers did have the same offense between the 2009 and 2010 seasons, but that was the Jimmy Raye offense. The Greg Roman/Jim Harbaugh/every other contributor offense was not spectacular by any means, but consider me optimistic that it can become something better.
My reasons for optimism are fairly subjective in nature. Whether it be returning the confidence of Harbaugh/Roman, not dealing with the lockout, and/or the addition of some new offensive weapons, I feel relatively comfortable right now. Ugliness in the preseason could change that feeling, but for now I'm comfortable. I believe that Alex Smith can take a step forward and show improvement. I believe that Randy Moss still has something left. I believe that the 49ers offensive line can develop into a more cohesive unit and improve on last year's performance. I am as excited about the numerous weapons at running back as anything else.
Welcome to the preseason homer post! To potentially be followed in 36 hours by a "sky is falling" post.