With OTAs now well under way, the San Francisco 49ers have their sights set firmly on a Week 1 tilt in Dallas to open the 2014 season. Training camp and the preseason must be tackled to that end, but preparations are officially underway with the offseason in the rearview mirror.
With the draft and free agency now a thing of the past, however, it's time to start focusing on realities for this squad in 2014.
All-Pro linebacker NaVorro Bowman is likely out until at least midseason. Troubled pass-rusher Aldon Smith's future hangs on a sentencing set for July 25 (via ESPN.com). Quarterback Colin Kaepernick is now signed until 2020, with full contract details reported by Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com.
With the team's landscape largely set in stone, there's still plenty of uncertainty for how the season ultimately plays out. Players rise and fall during every season in the NFL, and 2014 promises to be no different.
So what's bound to take us by surprise this season? Here are seven storylines to keep an eye on as the games begin to unfold.