LAST YEAR: After Jim Harbaugh's departure to Michigan following 8-8 season and first missed playoffs in four years in late 2014, 49ers were even worse last season under first-year coach Jim Tomsula. Promoted from defensive line coaching spot, it was one-and-done before Chip Kelly was hired to replace him. General manager Trent Baalke, going into sixth season as GM and 12th with franchise, has vowed to be better; he knows his future is hardly safe for this storied franchise without a turnaround. 49ers avoided their worst record since going 4-12 in 2005 during coach Mike Nolan's first season and with Alex Smith as rookie quarterback.
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IMPORTANT ADDITIONS: Kelly, LG Zane Beadles, rookies CB Rashard Robinson, WR Aaron Burbridge, OG Joshua Garnett, DE DeForest Buckner.
IMPORTANT LOSSES: TE Vernon Davis, WR Anquan Boldin, G Alex Boone, returner/RB Jarryd Hayne.
CAMP NEEDS: 49ers must figure out whether Colin Kaepernick is healthy enough – let alone reliable again – to win back starting quarterback job in Kelly's up-tempo offense or whether Blaine Gabbert will keep spot after being promoted over Kaepernick last November. There also will be competitions at many key spots in Kelly's first training camp.
EXPECTATIONS: With loss of Boldin, San Francisco's receiving corps lacks experience behind Torrey Smith. That will provide rookie Burbridge and other young wideouts chance to prove themselves to Kelly during training camp and perhaps take on key roles. Baalke might be criticized for doing little in free agency, though he has said he likes current roster. Team added guard Beadles in quiet offseason.
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