The 49ers’ veterans reported to the team’s facility in Santa Clara on Wednesday to get ready for the start of training camp. The players took their required conditioning tests as they prepare for the first practice on Thursday. The 49ers enter 2013 with high expectations again as they attempt to finally climb the mountain and win the Super Bowl. First thing is first though, as the 49ers have to get to the playoffs before they can worry about another deep January run.
The NFC West is much improved and a third straight division title will not be easy for San Francisco. The injury to Michael Crabtree makes them more vulnerable as it’s unknown if they can replace his production.
The Seattle Seahawks finished the 2012 regular on fire down the stretch with a 7-1 record. With the addition of Percy Harvin, they look to be every bit as formidable as they were at the end of last year. The St. Louis Rams gave the 49ers fits last season going 1-0-1 against them and continue to improve under head coach Jeff Fisher. There is also renewed optimism in the desert as the Arizona Cardinals have a new coach in Bruce Arians and quarterback in Carson Palmer.
The 49ers are aware of the task at hand and know how tough the division will be. Recognizing the improvements of their rivals, running back Frank Gore feels his team is ready for the competition.
“It’s probably one of the best divisions in football right now,” Gore said. “We like it like that. We like it tough.”
Gore also feels that the fact the 49ers made it to the Super Bowl last season gives the team an advantage because of the experience they now have.
“Just knowing what it takes to get to where we got last year,” Gore began, “we know if we want to get back there, we’ve got to do better this year to win it.”
As far as the Crabtree injury, Gore feels that the acquisition of Anquan Boldin will help the team bounce back from the loss.
“Picking up Boldin was real big. “Boldin’s a football player. He plays the game like how we like to play the game. He fits with our team well and he’s going to help our team a lot, especially with Crab gone, they’re similar players. He’ll pick up the slack with Crab not being here and when Crab gets back it’ll just make our team a lot better.”
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