This article is part of our Team Previews series.
SAN FRANCISCO 49ers
By Dalton Del Don
STATE OF THE FRANCHISE
The 49ers finished a disappointing 6-10 last season, placing third in the NFL's weakest division. The defense allowed just 3.5 YPC, which was the second lowest in the league, but it's secondary was a problem, and San Francisco's offense was even worse. The team did fare better after an 0-5 start to the year, but their playoff drought now dates back to 2002.
The 49ers won a bidding war to bring in new head coach Jim Harbaugh and a return to a West Coast Offense, and while there's little doubt Harbaugh is a big upgrade schematically compared to Mike Singletary, it may take some time for the college coach to thrive in the pros, especially with a new system being installed during a shortened preseason thanks to the lockout. There wasn't a ton of turnover with the roster since last season ended, although the addition of Braylon Edwards was a fairly big move for a franchise that hasn't made one in a while. While it once looked like he was gone for sure, QB Alex Smith signed a one-year deal to return to the Bay Area, where he's the heavy favorite to start over rookie Colin Kaepernick. Smith had some weird splits last year (8.2 YPA with a 11:4 TD:INT ratio over five home games, 5.8 YPA with a 3:6 TD:INT ratio over six road games), but if Michael Crabtree can ever return healthy, he along with Edwards,