The San Francisco 49ers came within an overtime field goal of reaching the Super Bowl last season — and they did it was a passing offense that ranked 17th in the NFL in passing offense.
After failing to land Peyton Manning this offseason, the 49ers re-committed to quarterback Alex Smith. And now, finally, they’re putting some talented pass catchers around him.
Smith is getting to know his new top options — the un-retired Randy Moss, former New York Giant Mario Manningham and first-round draft pick A.J. Jenkins — at San Francisco’s OTAs this week. And so far, he loves what he sees.
“It’s like waking up on Christmas,” Smith said. “You have a lot of new toys out there, new presents.”
Moss, Manningham and Jenkins are a substantial upgrade over Kyle Williams, Tedd Ginn, Jr., and Josh Morgan and along with tight end Vernon Davis and wideout Michael Crabtree give Smith the weapons to boost the team’s overall offensive production.
In their overtime loss to the Giants in the NFC title game, the 49ers managed all of 196 passing yards — 112 coming from Davis and another 45 from running back Frank Gore.
But numbers don’t seem to matter much to Smith, who, after surprising many by leading his team to a 13-3 record and an NFC West title last season, enters the summer with loads of confidence.
“This is the honest truth: I could absolutely care less on yards per game,” Smith said. “I think that is a totally overblown stat because if you’re losing games in the second half, guess what? You’re like the Carolina Panthers and you’re going no-huddle the entire second half and, yeah, Cam Newton threw for a lot of 300-yard games. That’s great. You’re not winning, though.”
Last season the 49ers boasted the league’s top-ranked rushing defense and second-best scoring defense. With Gore and rookie LaMichael James, their running game has the potential to be one of the best in the league yet again, and if Smith and his new ‘toys’ live up to their potential, San Francisco could get another shot at the conference championship.
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