As most fans are aware, blog superstar Alex Smith will be coming into our view Friday as QB of the Kansas City Chiefs, our second preseason opponent. For the Smith Haters, this will be a chance to root against the Smitman without any pangs of 49er disloyalty. For all the other well-balanced, intelligent fans, this will be an opportunity to see if our new secondary can avoid being shredded by one of the premier QBs in the league.
The secondary fared pretty well last week against Peyton Manning, who slunk off the field after one failed drive and hid on the sidelines the rest of the game. But that was more the result of a good pass rush than outstanding coverage. And that’s pretty much the case for this team: as the pass rush goes, so goes the secondary.
Somewhere out on the NFL landscape there’s an upwardly mobile team or two that will surprise us this year, much like the 49ers did in 2011 and the Colts did last year. And another team or two that will be disappointments. But some teams are like money, year in, year out. The Patriots will be good, the Raiders will be lousy, and the Cowboys will be mediocre.
The 49ers won eleven games last year, and there’s no reason to think they won’t do as well, or better, this year. But they’ll again face some of the best QBs in the league. The season begins with Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson, Andrew Luck, Sam Bradford, and Matt Schaub before easing off into the lesser lights for a couple of games. Later on, the team will face in succession Cam Newton, Drew Brees, RG3, Bradford and Wilson once again, and then later still Matt Ryan. A little bit of a brutal schedule if our pass rush should falter like it did late last year.
24 days till we tee it up for real.