Are the 49ers Still Super Bowl Contenders?

The 49ers are trotting out a similar team to 2020, so does that make them Super Bowl contenders?
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Offseason additions for the 49ers are essentially a wrap.

As usual, the 49ers will be rolling back a nearly identical team in years past. It is both good and bad. The good is that a lot of these players are high-level talents. The bad is that a lot of these players find themselves on the injury list. Still, the 49ers are once again running it back and rolling the dice on health.

When healthy, this team is a force to be reckoned with. Entering 2020, they were easily a Super Bowl contending team. The 2021 49ers aren't much different. They are definitely a playoff caliber team, but are they still Super Bowl contenders?

The roster and the head coach certainly makes it close, but I would hold off on saying they are Super Bowl contenders. It really is based on three reasons.

1.) DeMeco Ryans is a first time defensive coordinator this season. While there is some idea as to how he will call and scheme the defense, this is still uncharted waters for him. He is definitely not the level of Robert Saleh who was a mad genius with his scheme. Ryans still has to prove how far off he is from Saleh. If he can keep the defense to a teetering-top-10 level, then they will be in a strong position to get there.

2.) The offensive line wasn't great in 2020, to say the least. Injuries certainly played a part in the average-to-below-average performances, but there were still issues everywhere outside of Trent Williams. The interior is hopefully getting rounded out with Alex Mack and Aaron Banks now in the fold. The key player here is going to be Mike McGlinchey. If he continues to stay at his current skinny level, then it is going to tough on Jimmy Garoppolo and Trey Lance.

3.) Whoever is playing at quarterback this year really needs to be on. If it is Garoppolo for its entirety, then he will need to be better than 2019. The 49ers are not as elite as they were that season, so there will be more of a demand for him to step up his game. That largely ties to the offensive line play. If it is Lance, he is going to need to expedite his development fast. Unless he comes out swinging Justin-Herbert style, it is going to be tough for the 49ers to reach their Super Bowl aspirations.