The San Francisco 49ers look to have a wide open window on competing for a Super Bowl for the next few years. They’ve got a bold coach, an athletic quarterback who should get better with experience, and a stifling defense. That combination got them to the Super Bowl last year but the Baltimore Ravens were the team of destiny in that matchup.
Jim Harbaugh made an unexplainable move last season when he went to Colin Kaepernick in place of Alex Smith, who at the time, was the most efficient passer in the NFL. Harbaugh had his sanity questioned but it wasn’t long before Kaepernick made it clear why he was on the field. It makes you wonder what the 49ers will have under center when Kaepernick gets a full training camp as the starter under his belt. With Frank Gore running the ball San Francisco can keep defenses honest. If there’s a fly in this ointment it’s the 49ers bad luck with receivers. Michael Crabtree, who appeared to be on the edge of a breakout year in 2013, is now out for the season. Harbaugh brought in Anquan Boldin and Vernon Davis is still a big threat, but the Niners passing game will miss Crabtree.
The defense may have to carry more weight in 2013 and that’s OK because they can get it done. San Francisco was at the upper levels of the NFL against both the pass and the run and they’ve got almost everyone coming back. That means a bevy of Pro Bowl talent lines up on the field every game.
Here’s the kicker. The NFC West suddenly has two of the best teams in the NFC. The 49ers are good, very good, but they now have to contend with a Seattle Seahawks team that some folks peg as a rising star in the conference. Having gotten to the Super Bowl last year the 49ers now face long odds on getting back.