Enemy Intel: 49ers

Enemy Intel: 49ers
July 11, 2013, 1:15 pm
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Over the past four months, we’ve kept a watchful eye on the teams who appear on the Redskins’ 2013 schedule.

We’ve tracked their free agent signings. We’ve examined their drafts. Now, in our final edition of Enemy Intel, we’re taking a look at three storylines that will dominate each team’s preseason.

Up today …

Opponent/Week: 49ers/12

2012 record: 11-4-1

Key acquisitions: WR Anquan Boldin, CB Nnamdi Asomugha, DE Glenn Dorsey, S Craig Dahl, K Phil Dawson, LB Dan Skuta

Draft picks: S Eric Reid, DE Tank Carradine, TE Vance McDonald, DE Corey Lemonier, WR Quinton Patton, RB Marcus Lattimore

Storyline No. 1: In only half a season, Colin Kaepernick went from backup to a bona fide star, tossing 10 touchdowns, three interceptions as well as rushing for 415 yards and five more scores.

He was even better in the postseason, directing San Francisco past Green Bay and Atlanta and into the Super Bowl, where the 49ers came up three points short of Baltimore.

The question now is can Kaepernick repeat – and sustain – that same level of success over the course of an entire season?

The 25-year-old's breakout season suggests that he can. He revealed himself to be a hard worker with a high football I.Q., a big arm and, of course, a persistent threat to break off a 50-yard run.

But until Kaepernick (as well as Robert Griffin III and Russell Wilson, for that matter) prove it wasn’t a fluke, there will be doubters.

Storyline No. 2: Anquan Boldin was supposed to be a complement to Michael Crabtree. But now, as Crabtree rehabs from a torn Achilles’ tendon that could sideline the emerging star for much of the ’13 season, Boldin is expected to carry a much heavier load.

Boldin, acquired in a trade with the Ravens, caught 65 passes for 921 yards and four touchdowns last season in Baltimore. In his 10-season career, the 32-year-old has 10,165 yards receiving and 58 touchdowns. 

Based on the 49ers’ offseason program, Boldin figures to be Kaepernick’s go-to in the passing game the way Crabtree was a season ago. In fact, in Kaepernick’s 10 starts last season (including the postseason), he targeted Crabtree 10 or more times six times.

Can Kaepernick and Boldin develop the same chemistry? The 49ers’ offense could be relying on it.

Storyline No. 3: After a particularly poor 2012 season, the 49ers released veteran kicker David Akers.

Akers, a six-time Pro Bowler, ranked 30th in field goal accuracy (69-percent), just ahead of Packers veteran Mason Crosby, who’s getting another chance in Green Bay.

Enter former Browns kicker Phil Dawson.

Dawson, 38, was on the opposite end of the spectrum last season. He connected on 93.5 of his field goal attempts, including 6 of 6 from 40-49 yards out and 7 of 7 from 50 yards or more. Only the Redskins’ Kai Forbath was more accurate at 94.4 percent.

Yeah, it’s just the kicker. But for a team with Super Bowl aspirations, the details matter.