Part of building a successful NFL team is continuity. That might be a sign that the San Francisco 49ers aren’t just going in a very different direction in something of a new era for them, but they’re also going to take some time before they’re good again.
Aldon Smith, released by the team after his latest arrest, is just another in a long list of important players, former starters and even stars who will no longer be with the team in 2015 after playing a huge part in the team’s success from 2011-2013 under Jim Harbaugh, which included three conference championship games and one Super Bowl loss.
Besides Smith, who didn’t play much last season because of injuries and suspension and overall has let his sack production level significantly drop after emerging earlier in his career as one of the premier pass rushers in the NFL, the 49ers lost the other Smith (Justin) to retirement, along with Patrick Willis, Perrish Cox and Chris Borland.
Frank Gore, an automatic 1000-yard rusher left, and so did offensive lineman Mike Iupati. Maybe Jim Harbaugh’s departure is the biggest hit to this team that was going through a terrible decade before he came along, and will now have to go through some sort of rebuild around Colin Kaepernick to try and not make this another decade of disappointment.