Recently the 49ers have earned a reputation of not being to properly develop or use wide receiver talent. While they have enjoyed success in the last few years, their passing game has been extremely lackluster. Michael Crabtree finally broke the 1000 yard barrier in 2012 after the team suffered a nine year drought. The 49ers were able to reach the milestone two years in a row after Anquan Boldin did it in 2013. Both Crabtree and Boldin’s ability to reach this mark could be attributed to the sheer number of passes that were thrown their way. The 49ers haven’t had more than one or two reliable targets for quite awhile. At least not until now.
In 2014 the 49ers will be going into the season with at least four proven targets. They will have Michael Crabtree, Anquan Boldin, Steve Johnson, and Vernon Davis ready to catch passes from Colin Kaepernick. Three out of four of those targets have already eclipsed the 1000 yard mark. With those four pass-catchers, the 49ers are more than capable of having two receivers reach 1000 yards. The only keeping it from happening is Colin Kaepernick and the 49ers’ offense.
The 49ers ranked dead last in pass attempts in 2013. For them to have two 1000 yard receivers, that number will have to rise drastically. In 2013, the Chicago Bears reached two 1000 yard receivers with the least amount of pass attempts. And they still attempted 162 more passes than the 49ers did. The philosophy of the 49ers’ offense will have to change completely for the 49ers to reach this goal. With the decline of Frank Gore this just may happen. The 49ers may transition from a hard-nosed, smash-mouth offense to a offense that relies more on Colin Kaepernick.
Kaepernick has been criticized about his ability to read defenses and make more than one read. He has refuted many of these claims, but until he shows consistency in the passing game, he will always have doubters. Ultimately, the weight of having two 1000 yards receivers lies on Kaepernick’s shoulders.
While the 49ers were only 150 yards away from two 1000 yard receivers last year, it may be more difficult to get that close in 2014. More weapons to use means less targets for each player. This means that Kaepernick will not have to force the ball to just two receivers throughout the year. The load will be shared throughout all of the receivers.
The 49ers definitely have the personnel and potential to have two receivers reach 1000 yards, but it all depends on how well Kaepernick progresses in the passing game, and how much the 49ers decide to actually pass the ball. With the weapons they have, they should have no problem with passing the ball more often.