San Francisco 49ers 2012 Schedule
Photo By: Icon SMI
Who would’ve thought Jim Harbaugh would come into San Francisco and take an underachieving team all the way to the NFC championship game, with Alex Smith under-center, last summer? As a 49ers fan, I can still recall their first preseason game, when they played the Saints in New Orleans – feeling thankful that Smith didn’t have to play an entire game, for surely he would killed, because of the 49ers in-ability to block.
Nevertheless, Harbargh led the 49ers to the second-best record in the NFC, and we all know what happened when San Francisco played New Orleans for keeps.
Turning The Page
While the 49ers got away with running the football, playing great defense and special teams, to help Smith out, this year they may find themselves playing in come from behind fashion. It’s not because they’ve lost anyone on defense, far from it, as they are bringing the band back for another run, signing all key-free agents.
Problem is, they are coming off a winning season, and that means a harder schedule. With trips to Green Bay, New England and of course New Orleans, you can bet there will be times the game scripts change, and demand that Smith throw the football in predictable passing downs.
Only time will tell if vertical additions Randy Moss and Mario Manningham will payoff, but if either one of those receivers can help tilt coverage, it could mean good things for fellow pass catchers like Vernon Davis, Michael Crabtree, etc.
Just look at how Andrew Luck developed under Harbaugh, as an example of a quarterback who doesn’t have the strongest arm, but does a good job of taking calculated shots down the field, as hope that Smith can develop into a wiser quarterback this year.
Will it happen? Who the heck knows, but if the 49ers are hoping for another playoff birth – let alone a first-round bye – they’d better hope this passing game, and offensive line are up to the task, likely to be in front of them.