San Francisco 49ers: Best and Worst Case Scenarios for Next Season


Michael Crabtree racked up 1,105 receiving yards last season for the San Francisco 49ers, making him the first Niners receiver to catch for 1,000 yards since T.O. did it in 2003.  However, now that the team has lost its leading receiver to an Achilles injury, what are the best and worst case scenarios?

Best Case Scenario: 13-3 and Crabtree comes back just in time for the Niners to win the Super Bowl.

-Next man up

Jan 20, 2013; Atlanta, GA, USA; San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Michael Crabtree (15) is tackled by Atlanta Falcons cornerback Dunta Robinson (23) during the second quarter of the NFC Championship game at the Georgia Dome. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Anquan Boldin is a solid, healthy veteran wideout who can run the slant route well and absorb hits down the middle, which will enable him to seize the 49ers’ top receiver spot. However, can A.J. Jenkins, Ricardo Lockette, and/or Quinton Patton help fill the void on the outside?  Jenkins did not catch a single NFL pass yet in his rookie year, but he has worked out with Colin Kaepernick this offseason.  Lockette ran a 4.34 40-yard dash, the best of the three.  Finally, Patton has already become a Harbaugh guy with his work ethic.  None of these guys are going to fight for a jump ball in the end zone, but they each have good speed and can pose as deep-ball threats.  Also, don’t sleep on Vernon Davis or the three-headed monster at running back (Gore, Hunter, and James).  The loss of Crabtree is significant, but the team will turn to the next man up.

Worst Case Scenario: 9-6-1 (throwing in a tie just because), and they miss the playoffs, seriously.  

 -League figures out Kaepernick

Is it possible for Kaepernick to encounter a case of the “sophomore slump”?  A worst case scenario is the league figures out how to limit Kaepernick.  The Chiefs hired Nevada’s Chris Ault — creator of the pistol offense — as a consultant, and the Packers coaching staff traveled to Texas A&M to study the read-option.  I am interested to see how defenses will play Kaepernick now and how he will respond.  This team will only go as far as Kaepernick leads them.

-49ers miss Goldson and Aldon needs his Justin

Jan 30, 2013; New Orleans, LA, USA; San Francisco 49ers free safety Dashon Goldson (38), who was wearing his jersey backwards, addresses the media during a press conference in preparation for Super Bowl XLVII between the San Francisco 49ers and the Baltimore Ravens at the Marriott New Orleans. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

If the Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson are the Splash Brothers, Dashon Goldson and Donte Whitner were the Smash Brothers.  Goldson was one of my favorite Niners, and I think his services will be missed.  The worst case scenario is the secondary continues to play catchup defense.  Eric Reid seems like a solid draft pick, but I don’t know how much Nnamdi Asomugha has left in the tank.

Finally, I think the biggest concern for the Niners is the defensive line.  The end of last season and the playoffs showed that Aldon Smith needs Justin Smith in order to be effective.  This is no knock on Aldon, but two Smiths are better than one. Hopefully Glenn Dorsey and Tank Carradine can shore up the defensive line, because otherwise, Aldon and the Niners will have trouble pressuring the quarterback.

At the end of the day, I believe the Niners are Super Bowl contenders, but as Mike Singletary said, “I want [Super Bowl] winners!”.