San Francisco 49ers safety Eric Reid thinks he’ll be playing in Levi’s Stadium on February 7, 2016 when Super Bowl 50 takes place in Santa Clara, Ca.
The softly-spoken, but hard-hitting defensive back is quite confident he and his teammates will shatter the national doom-and-gloom narrative this season. And, rather than grind his teeth in rage at the notion the 49ers are dead on arrival this year after the offseason from hell, Reid relishes the underdog role.
“I kinda like being the underdog,” Reid said, via Taylor Price of 49ers.com. “I think we respond well with our backs against the wall.”
If that’s where Reid is comfortable, if that’s where he thinks his team can thrive, then he should be thrilled about the upcoming season.
Not only did the 49ers lose head coach Jim Harbaugh and his talented staff (Vic Fangio is a top-three defensive coordinator and will certainly be missed), but the team suffered catastrophic losses in terms of talent and leadership, on both sides of the ball.
But that doesn’t mean the franchise is doomed to failure in 2015.
Many in the media have openly suggested that those who left were responding to the Harbaugh situation, but nothing could be further from the truth.
The truth of the matter for the 49ers is that this roster, this franchise, is being directed by general manager Trent Baalke. Barring Patrick Willis, Chris Borland and Anthony Davis, who retired for different reasons, every player that left was free to go in the mind of Baalke.
His vision for this team is young, fast, big and physical. All his past drafts—the ones where draft gurus gushed over his amazing value picks—have been leading up to this visceral transformation we now see before us.
Every year, Baalke has been drafting for the future, adding some key free agents as the need arises.
The roster bears out this vision. Losing Michael Crabtree but gaining Torrey Smith gives quarterback Colin Kaepernick the deep threat he’s been missing since Day 1. Losing Frank Gore but rolling with Carlos Hyde, Kendall Hunter, Mike Davis and Reggie Bush gives this offense a thunder and lighting element it’s been lacking for years.
Oh, and don’t forget about Vernon Davis, who forgot how to play the game last year. He’s back to his old, focused ways this year and should bounce back in a major way.
If Kaepernick can figure out the mental aspect of the game, then this offense will be unbelievably good.
Defensively, the secondary is young and raw but extremely talented. If Reid and Antoine Bethea can corral the team’s young cornerbacks into a serviceable group, then San Francisco’s dynamic pass-rushers will work in concert to continue thwarting opposing offenses through the air.
The biggest question mark is the inside linebacker spot, given two of the team’s top three retired this offseason. However, if NaVorro Bowman returns to form, then the 49ers should be just fine there.
Sure, there are a lot of “ifs” when discussing how the 49ers could be successful this year, but if the pieces fall into place the team surely does have the talent to win a lot of games.
“People will say we were a shock if we make it to the playoffs. They’ll say, ‘We shocked the world if we go to the Super Bowl.’ And if that happens, I think that’ll shock everybody but us,” said Reid with a look of supreme confidence on his face. “I think we have what it takes on this team to go to the Super Bowl, and I’m not afraid to say that.
It’s not a guarantee, but he didn’t shy away from stating what he believes is fact.
And, from a pure “on paper” standpoint, if the 49ers play up to their full potential, and if they get some lucky bounces along the way, then Reid’s goal could certainly be realized. The 49ers do, in fact, have a team capable of winning Super Bowl 50.
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