San Francisco 49ers: Silver Linings from Horrid Offseason

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Aug 17, 2014; Santa Clara, CA, USA; San Francisco 49ers fans Janie Cardenas (left) and Rigo Cardenas hold a flag that reads “You

This year, the San Francisco 49ers had one of the worst offseasons a team could ever have. From front offense to roster, the team looks much different than not only the 2014-15 team, but the team that made it to three straight NFC Championship games and one Super Bowl between 2012-14.

It all started with head coach Jim Harbaugh leaving the 49ers for the Michigan Wolverines. After a growing rift between Harbaugh and the front office, GM Jed York decided it was time to pull the trigger and end Harbaugh’s tenure as the 49ers’ head coach. While the move might have settled any problems between the coaching staff and the front office, they can’t escape the fact that Harbaugh led the team to 44 wins out of the 64 games he coached.

Losing out on a coach with a .695 winning percentage is bad enough — looking at the team’s roster losses since that coach’s departure only makes it worse.

On offense, the team lost its long time running back in Frank Gore, staples on the offensive line in Mike Iupati and Anthony Davis as well as wide receivers Michael Crabtree and Steve Johnson. Gore, Crabtree, and Johnson have all been replaced, but Iupati and Davis’ losses will cut the deepest.  Joe Staley is the only established lineman the 49ers have left on the roster. San Francisco’s offensive line will be a big question mark this season.

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And while Gore was replaced, it was with a bruising runner in second year Carlos Hyde, and he needs his offensive line to be successful. With a running quarterback in Colin Kaepernick as well, the losses on the line will definitely be a big hit to the 49ers offense.

The team took an even bigger hit on defense losing multiple starters and leaders. Justin Smith, Aldon Smith,  Patrick Willis, Chris Borland, Chris Culliver and Perrish Cox are no longer with the team.

Smith, the former defensive captain — not the embattled linebacker — leaves a big hole along the defensive line and in the locker room. Somewhere Willis’ presence will be missed as well. Smith and Willis were two staples on the 49ers defense and their losses will be detrimental to the team on and off the field.

The loss of Culliver and Cox delivers a huge blow to the team’s secondary. Both starters last year, they helped the team finish fifth with only 3,531 yards allowed through the air. Their departures completely deplete the team’s secondary and they certainly won’t finish fifth in passing yards allowed in 2015-16.

Borland was a surprise loss this offseason. Because of his fear of injury, Borland decided it was better to walk away from the game than to risk permanent damage or disability. He had 107 tackles last season which put him at 27th overall. He was an up-and-comer and could’ve payed big dividends for the defense going forward.

Smith, the embattled linebacker, was released after a DUI arrest. He had all the talent in the world but couldn’t stay out of trouble. His release is a good public relations move, but it is a big hit to the talent level of the 49ers defense.

Overall, the team has lost multiple difference makers on both sides of the ball. And while it may seem impossible, there are silver linings amid all the downfalls.

In this article we will look at the 49ers offseason with a glass half full and any upside the 49ers may have after their disastrous offseason.

Next: The Coaching Debut of Tomsula