Finally having a full offseason to work with, coach Jim Harbaugh will undoubtedly make great use of the time and improve the San Francisco 49ers overall.
With a shortened offseason in 2011, expectations for the first-year head coach were low. However, after an incredible run to the NFC Championship Game, fans now expect the team to have a great season in 2012.
The following are keys for the 49ers this offseason as they look to repeat as NFC West champions.
Quarterbacks often talk at length about making connections with their receivers. The timing on routes needs to be precise for a passing game to be effective.
After a busy offseason, the 49ers now sport one of the strongest receiving corps in the league. That said, they're useless if Alex Smith can't get them the ball.
Therefore, it is key for Smith and his new receivers to learn their timing and gain confidence through repetition.
After a successful 2011 campaign that saw Smith throw 17 touchdowns during the regular season, many think 2012 could be his breakout year.
If Smith wants to improve upon 2011, he needs to master the timing with his new receivers.
By drafting skill players A.J. Jenkins and LaMichael James, the 49ers added a lot of speed to their roster.
The dilemma, though, is where to use that speed, since both the running back and wide receiver positions are rather full.
For that reason, it will be interesting to see where Harbaugh incorporates these speedsters.
Special teams could be the option, but Ted Ginn Jr. should retain the starting job following a slight knee injury that caused him to miss the NFC Championship Game.
Wherever they land on the depth chart, Jenkins and James are good for a big play at some point this upcoming season.
The worst thing that can occur during the offseason is an injury. No team ever wants to lose a player to injury, but particularly during the offseason.
If they aren't as close to 100 percent as possible, they'll risk an early loss.
That said, injuries are random, both when they happen and who they happen to. Luck is needed.
With that being said, right now, the 49ers have the pieces to make another run at the Super Bowl in 2012. Hopefully, Harbaugh's magic will be greater with more time.