The 2010 season was a very disappointing one for San Fransisco 49er fans. The team finished with only six wins, their promising young head coach was fired, and the pass defense was less than stellar. On the bright side, in a weak division, the team finished only one game out of the playoffs.
In 2010, the 49ers finished 13th in the National Football League in total defense giving up an average of 328 yards per game. The San Fransisco rush defense was ranked 6th in the league allowing only 97 yards per game. The pass defense was abysmal. The 49ers ranked 24th in pass defense giving up more than 230 yards per game.
San Fransisco has not made any major roster changes so far this off season but look for them to be a major player on the free agent market as they seek to upgrade their roster. The two areas of great need for the team are in the secondary and along the defensive
line. Corner Nate Clements is overpaid and on the decline. The 31 year old’s best days are behind him. The other corner, Shawntee Spencer, is inconsistent at best. Look for San Fransisco to draft a guy like Prince Amukamara out of Nebraska. He is a tremendously talented player with the potential to develop into a shut down type guy. He had a great performance at the combine in February. He is fast, tenacious, and physical
The studs of the 49er defense in 2011 figure to be linebacker Patrick Willis and defensive tackle Justin Smith. The 26 year old Willis is a true star in the making. In 2010, Willis led the team in tackles with 128. He also had 6 sacks, and two forced fumbles. Look for him to continue to improve and be the leader of the defense in 2011 as he enters his prime. Justin Smith is a 31 year old anchor on the line with plenty of fuel left in the tank. Last year, he led the 49ers in sacks with 8.5 and also contributed 70 tackles. He can be counted on to be solid in the middle.
If San Fransisco can upgrade their secondary and their defensive line and get more pressure on the quarterback, look for them to improve on their 2010 performance. A new coach and some talented newcomers should help this team contend for a division title.