49ers training camp: Offensive outlook

The 49ers have added more playmakers on offense, as well as one of the best offensive linemen in NFL history, but the team still has a lot of work to do this summer to begin its climb from the very bottom of the NFL rankings after one of the worst offensive seasons in team history.

The club set out in the offseason to give quarterback Alex Smith more of a supporting cast. Last season, Smith was surrounded with players who were just trying to find their ways on the NFL landscape.

Perhaps the biggest change to the offense comes at coordinator, where Norv Turner lands after getting fired as Raiders head coach after two seasons. The so-called West Coast Offense is out, and Turner brings with him an offense that relies on a power running game and downfield passing.

The biggest addition to the offense, literally, is up front. Left guard Larry Allen signed with the 49ers one day after the Cowboys released the 10-time Pro Bowl performer. When Allen flew to the Bay Area, the 49ers sent representatives through airport security to get to him at the first opportunity to prevent the possibility the Raiders might try to get to him first.

Allen should help in the run game, but most of the improvements this offseason have come in the passing game. Antonio Bryant, who caught 69 passes for 1,009 yards and four touchdowns with the Browns last season, comes to the 49ers as a free agent. He takes over for enigmatic Brandon Lloyd, whom the 49ers traded to the Redskins for two draft picks.

The headliner in the offense could be tight end Vernon Davis, whom the 49ers selected with the No. 6 overall pick. Davis is likely the fastest player on the team, and he will be expected to bring some big-play ability to a position that was severely lacking last season.

Although he's no newcomer, the 49ers are also expecting tight end Eric Johnson to contribute. Johnson missed all of last season with a foot injury. He caught 82 passes for 825 yards in 2004.

It is possible Davis might not be the only offensive contributor from the draft. Receiver Brandon Williams is vying for the job as the No. 3 receiver. Also, Penn State quarterback-turned-running back Michael Robinson had an impressive offseason and could fit into the mix as the third-down back.


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