The upcoming 2010 NFL season is thought by most to be the 49ers return to the post season. After drafting two Offensive Linemen in the First Round, it is clear Coach Mike Singletary's concerns were not with Alex Smith's ability to throw the ball, but in his ability to throw under-pressure. Also Singletary has stated that he wants a potent run game led my Frank Gore. In Gore's only two rushes this preseason he gained 58 yards, so Singletary must be excited that his plan on Offense is working.
On the opposite side of the ball, the Defense looks very good. There are some questions whether Nate Clements can play like an elite corner again, and if Dashon Goldson can duplicate his tackle and turnovers again in his second season as a starter. Rookie Taylor Mays could emerge as a starter this season in place of concussion-prone Michael Lewis. If all goes to plan, the 9ers D could potentially be the leagues best.
Some things to expect from this season are Frank Gore to have another 1,000+ yard rushing season, and for Patrick Willis to be a top-5 leader in tackles. To most both of these are a given, one thing thats not as predictable will be that receiver Michael Crabtree will be a top-8 receiver in yards, yards after catch, and receiving TDs. OT Anthony Davis will struggle as a rookie, but will also show potential of greatness at times, while OG Mike Iupati will have a solid rookie year and will be thought of as the better half of the two rookie First Round selections. Another potential breakout year could be former First Rounder Manny Lawson. Lawson hasn't been great since coming to the league, but is a solid pass rusher at OLB position. Lawson could finally have a breakout year similar to his fellow 2006 First Rounder Vernon Davis had a year ago.
All-in-all as a 49er fan this year and the following should bring you excitement for the first time since the Garcia-Owens era. As far fetched as it seems, the 9ers might even be able to make a championship run this year. A year ago the 49ers lost to the NFC Championship appearing Vikings on a TD pass that nine times out of ten wouldn't of happened. Also, while the Colts were still undefeated the 9ers led throughout a majority of the game. So it is not too far off to say the 49ers are a Super Bowl contender this year.