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State of the 49ers - Training Camp Preview
John Tuvey
July 30, 2009
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This series of analysis on the 32 NFL teams takes a look at where teams have been over the last three years for each position - where they have ranked in the most notable categories and the hard statistics produced. This is to give a view of each team heading into training camp and what they most likely need to improve on this season and where their strengths lie that likely won't need any changes. Ending each team review is a brief summation of what to watch in training camp in August to uncover those developing situations that you can take advantage. Combining where teams have come from and what they have done in free agency and the NFL draft gives you the very same thing that NFL coaches are looking at as they attempt to improve their team for 2009.
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Training Camp Opens: July 28 (Rookie), July 30 (Veteran)
Head Coach: Mike Singletary (2nd year)
Stadium: Qwest Field  Surface: FieldTurf
2009 Schedule   2009 Roster   2008 Statistics   2008 Record: 7-9

QB Carries Rush YD Rush TD Pass Comp Comp % Pass YD YPP Pass TD Int Rank YD Rank TD
2006 41 151 2 442 257 58% 2890 11.2 16 16 29 26
2007 35 128 1 513 274 53% 2685 9.8 15 17 32 27
2008 29 177 0 474 262 55% 2831 10.8 18 15 29 20

Quarterback - Camp will feature the conclusion of San Francisco’s open quarterback competition between Shaun Hill—the only 49ers’ QB with a winning record as a starter since Jeff Garcia left town—and former first-overall pick Alex Smith. This is no longer a Mike Martz offense—in fact, Mike Singletary wants to turn the Niners into a power running team—so there’s little prospect of gaudy stats for the winner of this battle. But between the emerging receivers and the prospect of some garbage time stats as San Francisco plays catch-up, it’s certainly on the radar of fantasy owners looking for depth at the position.

RB Carries Rush YD YPC Rush TD Target Rcv Catch % Catch YD Rcv TD Rank YD Rank TY Rank TD
2006 381 1901 5 10 118 88 75% 705 4 6 8 16
2007 316 1361 4.3 6 108 84 78% 633 1 28 25 28
2008 387 1595 4.1 10 93 59 63% 453 4 16 23 20

Running Backs - Singletary wants this to be an old-school run-first offense, and fantasy owners would certainly have no issue with Frank Gore being a workhorse. After a 300-carry season in 2006, he’s seen his workload decline a little each of the past two seasons; he’s also missed three games in that span. The Niners drafted Glen Coffee and signed Kory Sheets as backup candidates with the hope that someone can take a dozen or so touches off of their starter’s plate, but this offense will still run through #21.

WR Target Rcv Catch % Catch YD YPR Rcv TD Ranks YD Rank TD
2006 226 111 49% 1598 14.4 7 31 30
2007 255 114 45% 1329 11.7 8 32 29
2008 285 144 51% 1722 12.0 9 28 28

Wide Receivers - Michael Crabtree fell into the 49ers’ laps on draft day, but he has yet to sign so it’s tough to expect any immediate results. Isaac Bruce is back as a mentor to both Crabtree and Josh Morgan, so it’s not as if San Francisco won’t be able to field decent wideouts without their first-round pick in camp. Free agent signee Brandon Jones will compete with Jason Hill and Arnaz Battle for spots in the rotation, and the longer Crabtree waits to sign the more bodies he’ll have to leapfrog to get onto the field. Questions at quarterback and the 49ers’ new run-first philosophy won’t help a group that hasn’t ranked outside the bottom five of the league in either wide receiver yards or touchdowns since 2004.

TE Target Rcv Catch % Catch YD YPR Rcv TD Ranks YD Rank TD
2006 95 56 59% 587 10.5 5 16 15
2007 128 73 57% 683 9.4 5 14 17
2008 90 59 66% 656 11.1 5 19 12

Tight Ends
- Wasn’t Vernon Davis supposed to reinvent the tight end position? Guess we’re still waiting on that one, though Singletary does seem to be developing a relationship with the volatile Davis so there’s still hope. The numbers have been nothing special, and a renewed emphasis on running the football doesn’t suggest that will change any time soon.

Training Camp Fantasy Angle - While the focus will be on the quarterback battle, Singletary’s emphasis on the run and what it might mean for Gore should not fly under the fantasy radar. Seeing as Crabtree is a popular dynasty pick and even showing up in some redrafts, his contract situation also bears watching. It’s already tough enough for a rookie receiver to make an impact in Year One, and every day he isn’t signed will make it that much more difficult for Crabtree to buck that trend.

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Ease of Schedule for Receivers
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