I’m not saying the 49ers will make the playoffs next season. I’m not saying they won’t, either. Here are 20 reasons to feel optimistic about them in 2017.
1. Kyle Shanahan is a major upgrade over former head coach Chip Kelly, who couldn’t build a play-action passing game or make a halftime adjustment. Shanahan can do both.
2. Brian Hoyer is an upgrade over former quarterback Colin Kaepernick. Kaepernick’s quarterback rating was 90.7 in 2016, while Hoyer’s quarterback rating was 98.
3. Pierre Garcon is the best wide receiver the 49ers have had since Anquan Boldin in 2014. Garcon will catch more than 80 passes next season and be the team’s leading receiver.
4. George Kittle is the best receiving tight end the 49ers have had since Vernon Davis in 2013. Kittle will catch more than 60 passes next season and be the team’s second-leading receiver.
5. Kyle Juszczyk is the best fullback in the NFL. The Niners didn’t even have a fullback last season. Juszczyk will catch more than 40 passes next season and be the team’s third-leading receiver.
Click here to read the rest of my Tuesday column, and be sure to check out the photo gallery at the top.