Now that the offseason is kicking into gear, I will be previewing every 49er opponent for the coming season - at a rate of three a week. At first, I will be conducting a season in review with a look toward free agency. Then, once free agency hits, I will examine team needs heading into the draft. Finally, I will do a draft review for our opponents.
I thought, for simplicities sake, that the first one for this round could be an old friend - or rather, enemy: the Arizona Cardinals.
What's the not-so-surprising surprising fact that everybody will point to this offseason when discussing the Cardinals? Their 4-0 start. They did come out of the gate really quickly, and this is largely due to dat defense, the o-line not sucking as badly as it would the rest of the season, Kevin Kolb's health, and a dash of luck.
And that list points to the Cardinals' strength and two of their major weaknesses. First off, though, let us acknowledge the fairly dominant defense they got going on in Arizona. Does it have holes? Of course, Paris Lenon is not an ideal ILB and Sam Acho is not the pass rush threat that team needs. That said, the defense is the least of their worries.
By far the biggest problems that team has are at the QB position and the o-line in general. I mean, they started Adam Snyder last season. Let that sink in for a moment. The line was so bad that Adam Snyder was required. Moreover, both tackles, Levi Brown and Nate Potter, could be upgraded - especially considering Levi Brown's triceps tear.
Finally comes the QB question. While Kevin Kolb isn't the ideal answer, he isn't bad either. When healthy, he has put up good numbers for the Cardinals. But, it's pretty clear that he is not the answer in Arizona. Look for the Cards to make a play in either free agency or the Draft (or both).
Major Free Agents on the team: CB Greg Toler, FS Kerry Rhodes, TE Todd Heap.