Welcome back, football! We had a lengthy appetizer Thursday and Sunday, but Monday means the San Francisco 49ers are well and truly back in our lives! Over the past eight months, we’ve managed to get through a coaching change, Colin Kaepernick trade rumors and reports, a fairly quiet free agency period, a busy three days of the draft, Blaine Gabbert claiming the starting QB job, Anthony Davis returning, leaving, and returning again, and some National Anthem protests. Talk about a busy offseason and preseason!
But now, we get football. That means we get to figure out what Chip Kelly really brings to the table after losing his job in Philadelphia. Can his offensive philosophy be reinvigorated? Can it work with a quarterback like Blaine Gabbert, and questionable pass catching options? Can Carlos Hyde stay healthy?
On the defensive side of the ball, the 49ers have invested their last two top picks in long-armed Oregon defensive tackles. How will the line come together? Will we see much of a pass rush the first four games without Aaron Lynch? Will the coaching staff figure out a single option next to NaVorro Bowman? How will all the young cornerbacks shake out?
All of these questions will get answers, beginning Monday night. We might not like all the answers provided, but there will be answers nonetheless. And that’s all we can count on for the time being. This team has numerous questions, with most projecting no more than five or six wins. We could see that many wins and still see the team improve. Or, we could see struggles and Chip Kelly’s system either doesn’t work consistently in the NFL, or doesn’t work with limitations at the skill positions. Or, maybe Chip Kelly and this team surprise a lot of people and compete for more than a top ten draft pick.
I don’t know what will happen, but I am just happy we’ll get to finally get some real answers to so many questions. I can live with that for the time being.
Nuts and bolts
Location: Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara, CA
Game time: Monday, September 12, 7:20 p.m. PT
TV channel: ESPN
Online streaming: Watch ESPN, NFL Game Pass
NFL Network Replay: None
Radio: 810-AM, 107.7 (Ted Robinson, Tim Ryan) | Full listings
Spanish Radio: KTRB 860-AM (Jesus Zarate, Luis Landero/Gabriel Sotelo)
Matchup history: 66-64-3 49ers
Announcers: Chris Berman, Steve Young, Lindsay Czarniak (sideline)
Enemy blog: Turf Show Times
Facebook: Go ahead and give us a like!
Week 1: vs. Los Angeles Rams, 7:20 p.m., ESPN, Monday, September 12
Week 2: @ Carolina Panthers, 10:00 a.m., FOX, Sunday, September 18
Week 3: @ Seattle Seahawks, 1:05 p.m., FOX, Sunday, September 25
Week 4: vs. Dallas Cowboys, 1:25 p.m., FOX, Sunday, October 2
Week 5: vs. Arizona Cardinals, 5:25 p.m., CBS Thursday, October 6
Week 6: @ Buffalo Bills, 10:00 a.m., FOX, Sunday, October 16
Week 7: vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 1:05 p.m., FOX, Sunday, October 23
Week 8: BYE
Week 9: vs. New Orleans Saints, 1:05 p.m., FOX, Sunday, November 6
Week 10: @ Arizona Cardinals, 1:25 p.m., FOX, Sunday, November 13
Week 11: vs. New England Patriots, 1:25 p.m., CBS Sunday, November 20
Week 12: @ Miami Dolphins, 10:00 a.m., FOX, Sunday, November 27
Week 13: @ Chicago Bears, 10:00 a.m., FOX Sunday, December 4
Week 14: vs. New York Jets, 1:05 p.m., CBS Sunday, December 11
Week 15: @ Atlanta Falcons, 1:05 p.m., FOX, Sunday, December 18
Week 16: @ Los Angeles Rams, 1:25 p.m., FOX Saturday, December 24
Week 17: vs. Seattle Seahawks, 1:25 p.m., FOX, Sunday, January 1