Question: Hi, Matt. I realize that it is WAY too early to really predict the 49ers' fortunes in the upcoming season, but I am going to ask anyway ;-). As I see it, last year they finished 7-9, but there were two or three games that could have gone their way. It seems to me the team has much to build on and could be poised to make a run at the division. So, how do you see them doing this season? 9-7? 10-6? Or - shudder - about the same?
Joshua, Rancho Cordova
Answer: If I make a prediction, I inevitably will be wrong and somebody inevitably will save that prediction and remind me later about how stupid I am. So I won't. What I will say is that I think the 49ers will be better than they were last year and that, like last year, they will be better at the end of the season than at the beginning.
I say this for two reasons: First, the 49ers are built to wear down opposing teams, a strategy that really starts to take effect as the season goes on. Second, I think it will take a while for the passing game to really click. It's quite possible the offense will have two new starting receivers and an entirely new right side of the offensive line when the season begins.
- Matt Barrows