San Francisco brimming with confidence

Thanks to an infusion of talent offensively, the 49ers now seem ready to challenge the Seahawks in the NFC West, writes John Clayton.

Originally Published: August 11, 2007
By John Clayton | ESPN.com

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- The 49ers operate in a facility located outside the parking lot of Great America, a thrill-a-minute theme park. After three years of building back their talent base, the 49ers are prepared for their best thrill ride in years.

Optimism abounds at the team's headquarters. Alex Smith appears ready to step into the hierarchy of top NFC quarterbacks. Frank Gore has established himself as perhaps the NFC's top runner. Owner John York continues to chip away on a new stadium ...

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