San Francisco 49ers 2009 NFL Season Preview

Derek PeifferCorrespondent IJuly 29, 2009

SANTA CLARA, CA - MAY 01:  Michael Crabtree #15 of the San Francisco 49ers looks on during practice as quaterback Alex Smith #11 and Shaun Hill #13 practice during the 49ers Minicamp at their training facilities on May 1, 2009 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)

2008 Record: 7-9, Second NFC West

Head Coach: Mike Singletary (First Season—Half year as interim head coach)

Key Additions: WR Brandon Jones, CB Dre Bly, DE Demetric Evans, FB Moran Norris, WR Michael Crabtree

Key Losses: LB Tully Banta-Cain, WR Bryant Johnson, CB Donald Strickland, QB J.T. O'Sullivan, DT Ronald Fields

A disappointing season for the San Francisco 49ers in 2008. One that saw a faltering at the quarterback position, and interim (now new head coach) Mike Singletary took over mid-season and ruled with an iron fist.

He was the center of much media attention for a few of his actions and spoken words, but that's how you should coach. I like him, he's good for the 49ers.

The team struggled to find consistent quarterback play ever since selecting former Utah quarterback Alex Smith with the first overall selection in 2005.

Smith is completing only 54 percent of his passes in his career, including a career low 48 percent in 2007, his last season as 49ers starter.

Shaun Hill was the man under center in the latter half of 2008, and was fairly serviceable, but still not the type of quarterback play you want, or need to win a championship.

Smith may end up beating out Hill for the starting nod in 2009. He has just as much of a shot as Hill, and he may now be ready.

Frank Gore is nothing less than spectacular, but no one can find room to run when the defense can fill the box with eight defenders, with no fear of a San Francisco pass attack.

Well, the selection of Michael Crabtree could be the perfect way to address that need.

Crabtree, a standout at pass happy Texas Tech, was widely considered to be the best receiver in the draft, and is easily a steal at No. 10.

He has a large chance to develop playing alongside long time veteran, Isaac Bruce. However, he remains a holdout from camp, and training camp is the most important part in a young players development.

Vernon Davis is full of physical tools, but has not lived up to them yet. He is a physical specimen, however, his recent run in with Coach Singletary may leave him on his last opportunity.

Josh Morgan is the sleeper of the wideout group, and may be overlooked by a few defenses.

Glen Coffee was also taken in the third round, and is fully capable of spelling Gore with two-back systems becoming a growing trend in the NFL.

The defense was nothing spectacular in 2008, but it was good enough for 13th in yards per game, but was 23rd in points per game, and that's what matters.

Patrick Willis will continue to get better and be the anchor of that defense. He is simply incredible.

Takeo Spikes and Manny Lawson help hold down the linebackers.

The 49ers added Dre Bly to possibly start opposite of Nate Clements to help solidify an aging set of corners. Of the top three corners, Clements is the youngest at 29.

Walt Harris is 34 and Bly is 32.

The Bly signing has become a larger move than initially anticipated with the recent ACL tear of Walt Harris. He will miss the 2009 season.

Demetric Evans, formerly of the Washington Redskins will bring 33 tackles and 3.5 sacks to the defensive line.

Justin Smith will look to improve on a 73 tackle, 7 sack performance in 2008 to help the 49er defense excel in 2009.

The 49ers also unveiled new uniforms similar to those of the Joe Montana era. Hopefully for the Niners sake, they help start a new era in the Bay Area.

Season Prediction: 7-9, 2nd In NFC West

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