In the 2013 season, the San Francisco 49ers’ offense went through stretches where they looked pitiful. At times, their wide receivers couldn’t get open and other times, quarterback Colin Kaepernick couldn’t find the open man. With a few trades and an excellent draft, the 49ers’ offense is ready to come out of its shell and show the NFL what it’s capable of.
Last season, there were only two 49ers wide receivers who had at least one reception touchdown: Michael Crabtree (who missed 12 weeks of the regular season with an injury) and Anquan Boldin. Thanks to a steal of a trade, the 49ers now have former Buffalo Bills speedster Stevie Johnson.
Johnson is exactly the kind of receiver the 49ers have been looking for; the kind that can take the proverbial top off of defenses. The most important addition, however, is having Crabtree back for the entire season. Fresh off of an Achilles tear, Crabtree had 19 receptions, 284 yards, and one touchdown in five regular season games. Stretch that out to a 16-game sample and it’s 60 receptions, 909 yards and three touchdowns. The difference is that he’ll be 100 percent this season.
Another aspect of their passing game set to make an improvement is Kaepernick himself. Earlier this offseason, 49er legend Joe Montana said he sees great things for Kaepernick ahead. Well Joe Cool, those great things could be coming sooner rather than later. After Kaepernick took the league by storm, defenses had a whole offseason to plan around him and take him by surprise.
This league is one long cycle of “act and react.” This offseason, it’s Kaepernick’s turn to react. Now he’s the one with the whole offseason to study defenses and catch them by surprise this time around.
With people always talking about Kaepernick, running back Frank Gore always flies under the radar and people seem to take him for granted. People just assume he’s going to get his 1,000 yards and come through when it counts. As he gets older though, he’s going to need more and more help. Last season, Gore barely got any. The next leading rusher on the 49ers last season was Kaepernick.
This season, they will have two key additions, Carlos Hyde and Marcus Lattimore. Both fit the 49ers’ running scheme and will help Gore carry a great deal of the load on the ground. This year, when the 49ers want to give Gore a break, they have backs who can consistently gain four to five yards per carry.
The 2014 season is going to be a breakout year for the 49ers’ offense. They’ve reloaded their roster, filled in the holes from last season, and have something to prove. They’ve gotten younger, faster, and their franchise quarterback has one more year of experience under his belt.
Last season, they were ranked 24th in the league in total offense, do not be surprised if they make a significant jump and break into the top 10.