After utterly dominating the Jacksonville Jaguars in London, the 49ers receive a long awaited, and much needed bye week. It’s a time for rest, a time to heal from injuries, and re-group for the 2nd half of the season. The 49ers enter the bye week having steamrolled through its past 5 games. This of course followed the 49ers two early season losses to the Seahawks and Colts. A serious wake up call for a team expected to contend for a Super Bowl crown, losing 2 of its first 4 games.
Now the 49ers are rolling into the bye as strong as ever. The offense is clicking on all cyllanders now that the run game is primary once again, involving Colin Kaepernick in these last few games has definitely helped the success of the 49ers offense. The bye week will also allow us to gain perspective on the progress of wide receiver Mario Manningham. His prescense on the field could open up the offense even more so. The 49ers have used a variety of number 2 receivers, and the overall opinion is that Anquan Boldin needs help on the other end. Vernon Davis has stepped his game up as a number 1 tight end/number 2 receiver but in order to finish the season strong the 49ers need another reliable receiving weapon, and Mario Manningham is that weapon.
Defensively the 49ers have been playing hard nosed football upfront, even with injuries the 49ers have played stout defense. Corey Lemonier and Dan Skuta have done a fine job filling in for Aldon Smith, who is rumored for a possible return to the field following the break. With Ian Williams injured up front Glenn Dorsey has taken on the challenge and shown a good veteran prescense upfront, filling gaps quite nicely. The 49ers also expect rookie defensive tackle Tank Carradine back soon, which should add needed depth and explosiveness for the defensive front.
With Patrick Willis healthy again and Navarro Bowman playing like his all pro self, teams have had difficultly establishing any type of run or pass game in short yardage situations. Cornerback Carlos Roges seems to have regained his all-pro form while rookie safety Eric Reid is looking like the defensive rookie of the year. Cornerback Tremaine Brock looks to have taken over the nickel back role, as he has locked down opposing slot receivers, which has raised questions about the future of Nnamdi Asomugha, and lets not forget about veteran cornerback Eric Wright who has begun practicing with the team. It seems the short term future of the secondary could be without Asomugha, but we must also wait for him to return to full health. Either way the depth will be there in the secondary at the 49ers full disposal. What was mocked late last season has become the defenses strength once again.
With the Panthers coming after the bye, and two straight road games against the Saints and the Redskins, a healthy, whole, and strong San Francisco 49ers are what’s needed to keep the W’s rolling in, and that’s what’s expected.