3. 2. Beware Unexpected Injuries
In 2011 and 2012, the Niners largely missed out on getting bit by the injury bug. Sure, Ted Ginn wasn’t on the field in the NFC Championship against the Giants to field punts, and Justin Smith was hampered by his torn triceps during the playoff run in 2012-13, but I’m talking more about the serious, season-long injuries. Already in 2013, Michael Crabtree has been lost for at least half the season and Chris Culliver is down for the entire season.
In the NFL, injuries happen. The 49ers were lucky over the last two seasons. That luck has to run out sometime.
Besides another cornerback or receiver going down, the 49ers can ill afford to lose either of their offensive guards or tackles. If center Jonathan Goodwin went down, it wouldn’t be as backbreaking as the other positions. With Goodwin set to hit free agency at age 35, GM Trent Baalke will likely hand the job to backup Daniel Kilgore. At the other spots, the backups are shakier. While each starter played all 16 games in 2012, the odds have to be against them to repeat that feat.