If Alex Smith can’t succeed in 2012, he may never get it done.
The 49ers’ offense ranked near the bottom of the NFL in yards per game in 2011. So the front office spent the offseason adding pieces in an attempt to improve on a measly 310.9 yards per game, 26th in the league.
Their big free agent signings revolved around the offense: Mario Manningham, Randy Moss and Brandon Jacobs.
Because you can never have enough offense, Trent Baalke used the team’s first two picks on skill positions, taking wide receiver A.J. Jenkins and speed demon running back LaMichael James.
After the draft, Baalke said:
“Our defense does play at a high level and plays fast. And we needed to add some pieces to the offense to allow us to do the same thing from the offensive perspective.”
The addition of Manningham gives Smith three top targets when he drops back, adding to Vernon Davis and Michael Crabtree. The 49ers expect Jenkins to develop quickly.
In ESPN’s evaluation of how Jenkins fits with the 49ers, Todd McShay wrote:
“Look for Ginn to move mostly to being a return guy and Jenkins could step in as a No. 4 receiver in subpackages…”
Jim Harbaugh told the media that four receivers probably isn’t enough:
“Right now, the way you look at the roster, there’s a very good possibility that there’ll be six wide receivers. That’s to be determined, to watch unfold. I could see that happening with the talent we have there now.”
James brings game-changing talent to the table. He if stays healthy, Harbaugh can use the speedy back in a number of schemes. Frank Gore and Jacobs can smash the defense in the mouth while James whizzes by the defense.
James can catch the ball, too. Get him the ball on the outside, give him a couple blockers and watch him go.
In Greg Roman, Alex Smith will actually have the same offensive coordinator for consecutive years. Throw in a load of new weapons, and a quarterback can’t ask for much more.
It’s time for Smith to build on the success he had last year, use the weapons in his quiver and take the 49ers back to the Super Bowl.
Anything less will be considered a failure.