With the San Francisco 49ers training camp exactly one week away, previews and player evaluations are beginning to increase in number. The Niners have a higher than number of roster questions that need to be answered this year, and even the most sophisticated prognosticators are not sure how to evaluate this team. Nearly all are erring on the safe side meaning they are picking San Francisco to be worse than mediocre this season.
The offense will have more continuity this year with key veteran players at QB, RB, WR, TE, LT, C, and RG returning. Geep Chryst, who was very involved in the offensive schemes from the Harbaugh era now takes the reigns as offensive coordinator. That means the majority of the previous playbook and the language used will remain intact. That will help Colin Kaepernick greatly as he can put greater focus on improving his reads and getting good repetition on his new mechanics.
The defense will be a lot more difficult to gauge and might take longer to gel this time around. Eric Mangini is installing a brand new system which seems vastly different from Vic Fangio's vanilla scheme. In separate interviews, Mangini and Antoine Bethea have hinted that the new scheme will try to confuse the offense and be a lot more aggressive. Where Fangio rarely blitzed, Mangini has been known to use a lot of them.
That's not to say that Eric will not use some key concepts learned from Vic. He's openly stated that playbooks are constantly adapting to new ideas learned from others. Let's remember also that his last stint as a defensive coordinator was under Bill Belichick whose signature is creating varying defensive schemes from game-to-game. So it sounds like the learning curve for the defense will be higher because of the new scheme and the large number of new players coming in.
So without more information, it will be difficult to determine how this year's team will turn out.
San Francisco 49ers' passing issues not just Colin Kaepernick's fault (Today's Pigskin)
49ers: Aldon Smith has one more chance (Niner Noise)
Pre Training Camp Buzz
49ers training camp preview: Safety (Maiocco)
Comparing 49ers, Raiders (Kawakami)