NFL teams are in the midst of training camp and preseason games are just around the corner. What do we expect from the San Francisco 49ers in 2017?

It’s safe to say we’re not shy when it comes to getting you ready for the upcoming NFL season. Since March, we have strung together four different series in preparation for the fall. We just concluded looking at all 32 teams’ most improved area. That was preceded by pieces on a club’s best offseason addition, some facts, figures and feats for each squad, as well as an up-and-coming player for each roster.

So call this one for the thumb. With the regular-season rapidly approaching, we’ll take a look at what we could expect from each team. Every team wants to win the Super Bowl. However, 31 teams will obviously be disappointed. So we’re taking a look at all 32 clubs (in original 2017 draft order) and doing a little analysis. We started with the Cleveland Browns. So what can we expect from the San Francisco 49ers in 2017?

Unless you have the feeling that this has all the makings of a one-win football team, there’s obviously nowhere to go but upwards. That means a lot of work for first-time NFL head coach Mike Shanahan, novice general manager John Lynch and a 49ers’ team that finished 2-14 in 2016.

The new quarterback will be Brian Hoyer, who will be throwing to newcomers Pierre Garcon, Marquise Goodwin and Aldrick Robinson. The backfield features Tim Hightower and incumbent running back Carlos Hyde. Center Jeremy Zuttah came over from the Baltimore Ravens via trade.

It is the defense that could prove intriguing. In April, the team added first-rounders in defensive end Solomon Thomas and linebacker Reuben Foster. They joins former top picks such as Arik Armstead and DeForest Buckner. Teamed with experienced linebackers such as NaVorro Bowman, Ahmad Brooks and free-agent pickup Malcolm Smith, the task at hand is pretty simple. Improve a club that finished dead last in the league in total defense and allowed an NFL-high 30.0 points per contest.


With a combined 7-25 record over the past two seasons (3 of those victories over the Los Angeles Rams), the San Francisco 49ers have hit rock bottom as of late. But there’s a lot to be said about youthful enthusiasm as well as an enormous influx of new faces. As previously mentioned, Lynch was extremely active in free agency as well as the NFL draft. And Shanahan’s presence will prove to be a breath of fresh air for a roster that may take some time to get to know each other.

The defense has potential but patience must be exercised. This will be an intriguing team come December and one capable of doubling or tripling its wins from a year ago.

Russell S. Baxter is the NFL lead columnist for and the founder of Follow him on Twitter at @BaxFootballGuru.

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