Arizona enters this year returning most of its nucleus from last season. Meanwhile, the 49ers feature a revamped look. Mike Martz was brought in as offensive coordinator and journeyman QB J.T. O'Sullivan will lead the new look San Francisco offense. O'Sullivan beat out former first-overall pick Alex Smith and third-year QB Shaun Hill during the preseason. Hill burst onto the scene last season with a 101.3 QB rating over the 49ers final three games, but was unable to secure the starting spot this year.
In addition to the quarterback position, the 49ers overhauled their wide receiving corps. Included in the new stable of receivers is former Cardinal Bryant Johnson. Johnson beat out Arnaz Battle and Jason Hill to win the starting position opposite of veteran WR Isaac Bruce. Martz and the San Francisco offense will look for more production from athletic TE Vernon Davis. Davis caught 52 passes for 509 yards last year and will once again be a valuable weapon in Martz's offensive scheme.
RB Frank Gore
The San Francisco defense is led by Pro Bowl LB Patrick Willis. Willis is the reigning NFC Defensive Rookie of the Year after racking up 174 tackles and four sacks last season. While the 49ers defensive line struggled a year ago, the addition of former Cincinnati Bengals DE Justin Smith and first-round draft pick Kentwan Balmer should make for a much improved unit in the trenches.
Veterans Nate Clements and Walt Harris return in the 49ers secondary to form a sufficient cornerback tandem. The two combined for eight interceptions and 27 pass deflections last season. Michael Lewis and Mark Roman are back to patrol the safety positions and will prove to be the last line of defense for San Francisco.
Brad Wilbricht can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org