5 Irreplaceable Players For the San Francisco 49ers During the 2013 NFL Season
Could the 49ers Be Dominant Without These 5 Stars?
The San Francisco 49ers proved last season that they could handle losing multiple key players on the way to re-inventing themselves. Running back Frank Gore (258 att, 1,214 yds, eight TDs) and quarterback Colin Kaepernick (136-218, 1,814 yds, 10 TDs, three INTs) combined to create widespread panic on opposing defenses who had to face them.
Ultimately, the Baltimore Ravens crushed any Super Bowl championship dreams the 49ers had in the 2012-13 season with their miraculous last-minute heroics back in February. The team’s admirable second-place performance still proved a little more shuffling of personnel might be all they needed to be absolutely dominant this year.
Additions like Anquan Boldin at wide receiver and Nnamdi Asomugha at cornerback give the team incredible balance on both sides of the ball. Another career year for linebacker Aldon Smith will be the icing on this team’s 2014 Super Bowl cake if they can stay healthy.
This is a team already dealing with injury concerns thanks to Michael Crabtree’s complete tear of his right Achilles' tendon in May. The star wide receiver will be out for most of the regular season. They can’t afford to lose any more key players if they want to have a legitimate chance to get back to the promised land they grazed on briefly last year.
Here are five 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh would find it hard to replace for the 2013 NFL season.
Quarterback Colin Kaepernick
Quarterback Colin Kaepernick became an NFL icon last season in a breakout year that started late in the team’s season. He has all the natural physical tools a quarterback needs to succeed in the NFL today. Not only does he have an incredibly accurate cannon for an arm, but his scrambling ability is freakish. Give this young phenom a full season, and he could break some major records on his way to the Hall of Fame.
Running Back Frank Gore
Since Gore’s NFL debut in 2005, he has become one of the most consistent and reliable running backs on the planet. For six straight seasons, he recorded at least 1,000 rushing yards. Over those six years, he scored over 60 touchdowns. With such a serious rushing and passing threat at quarterback, he stands to benefit tremendously. Even at 30-years-old, he’s not slowing down one bit and the 49ers offense would not be the same without him.
Wide Receiver Anquan Boldin
Anquan Boldin showed why he is one of the best and most dominant receivers in the league throughout last season’s NFL playoffs. He snatched over 22 receptions for 380 yards and four touchdowns in the postseason. Joe Flacco would just throw the ball up and let him make a play. The Harbaugh brothers made this deal happen in the offseason, and Jim will look like a genius when Boldin turns out to be Kapernick’s new best friend and the MVP of the 49ers' offense next season. John Harbaugh could be on the outside of next year’s Super Bowl looking in thanks to this puzzling decision to drop such a phenomenal part of his team in exchange for draft pick peanuts.
Linebacker Aldon Smith
Smith needed a shoulder operation in the offseason to repair a torn labrum. He is one of the most feared linebackers in the league, and he finished his second NFL season with 19.5 sacks, 66 tackles, three forced fumbles and an interception. He’s on track to make a full recovery and put up even more impressive numbers this year.
Cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha
The 49ers acquired California native Nnamdi Asomugha during the offseason, and the 32-year-old cornerback signed a one-year, $1.775 million contract with no guaranteed money. This is a low-risk and high-reward move for San Francisco, and there are early indications that he’s meshing well with his new team. The team’s secondary is in need of some serious help, and Asomugha fills a big hole there if he performs up to his potential.