December 4, 2011; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco 49ers defensive back C.J. Spillman (27) raises his arms before a kickoff during the second quarter against the St. Louis Rams at Candlestick Park. The 49ers defeated the Rams 26-0. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

49ers' Depth: A Key Ingredient For Success

With all the media attention focusing on the big name stars, it’s the role players that need to step up the most. Heading into the playoffs, every team is good. They all have winning records, great coaching staffs, and Pro Bowl talent. However, what separates the Super Bowl pretenders from Super Bowl contenders is depth.

Going into the 2012 season, the San Francisco 49ers shored up their roster at almost every position. After being caught short-handed in the NFC Championship game on wide receiver depth, the 49ers made it a priority to never face that problem again.

Fast forward to the 2013 playoffs, and the 49ers find themselves loaded with talent, regardless of the season-ending injuries to key players, such as running back Kendall Hunter and wide receivers Mario Manningham and Kyle Williams. And it’s all thanks to depth.

The 49ers had a plan in place, and with the rookie additions of running back LaMichael James and wide receiver A.J. Jenkins, they not only picked the “best player available,” but added depth to an already stable position. The moves look to be the right ones, and makes general manager Trent Baalke look like a genius.

With that said, the 49ers role players will need to make the most of their opportunities and step-up if they hope to hoist that Lombardi trophy this year. Especially players like guard Daniel Kilgore, running back LaMichael James, wide receiver A.J. Jenkins, tight-end Delanie Walker, defensive end Ricky Jean-Francois, and cornerback Chris Culliver.

All of those players play a significant amount of snaps, and will need to be counted on when their number is called. The team’s success will largely depend on their play, so it’s imperative they show up in crunch time.

And let’s not forget about special teams, as special team aces such as C.J. Spillman, Tramaine Brock, Larry Grant, Anthony “Boobie” Dixon, and Tavares Gooden will need to continue to bring that “swag” demeanor to jump-start the team.

If you’re saying, “wow, it sounds like your naming the whole team,” you’re wrong. This is indeed a team game and if the 49ers hope to win the Super Bowl, they will need to have every coach, every player, and every fan putting forth all their energy and heart into making this Super Bowl goal a reality.


Tags: A.J. Jenkins Anthony Dixon C.J. Spillman Chris Culliver Daniel Kilgore Kendall Hunter Kyle Williams LaMichael James Larry Grant Mario Manningham Ricky Jean Francois San Francisco 49ers Tavares Gooden Tramaine Brock Trent Baalke

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