Can Chip Kelly calm coaching carousel?
Chip Kelly should restore order to a franchise on its third coach in three years. His offensive tendencies, college background and scrutinized personality fit more to the Jim Harbaugh mold than Kelly's immediate successor, Jim Tomsula.
What is the fallout of QB competition?
As Blaine Gabbert and Colin Kaepernick waged a short-lived quarterback competition, the rest of the 49ers focused on their own tasks. But a quarterback's leadership is ultimately needed, and serving as a willing spokesman is a key duty.
How will a healthier Bowman produce?
Linebacker NaVorro Bowman's comeback last year paid off with the league's most tackles and All-Pro status, and that production could climb even more thanks to an improved supporting cast. It's still a young unit, however, and Bowman must rally them.
Is Carlos Hyde a reliable catalyst?
The 49ers, with a run-oriented offense, can't afford losing Hyde to injury again. He's looked healthy since December foot surgery, but Michael Crabtree and Jimmie Ward are recent examples of how foot fractures can become a chronic issue.
How deep is the homegrown roster?
After largely ignoring free agency, general manager Trent Baalke is using a roster stacked with several of his draft picks who must finally produce. He's selected 44 players in the four drafts since the Super Bowl XLVII defeat.
SUBPLOTS Fans take aim at Jed
Owner Jed York has replaced the Seattle Seahawks as Enemy No. 1 to many 49ers fans during the franchise's tailspin since 2014. Jim Harbaugh is missed, the team is .500 at Levi's Stadium, and York gets blamed through vile Twitter mentions and angry airplane banners flying overhead of his prized stadium on gamedays.
Money to burn
The 49ers entered training camp with a league-high $49 million in salary-cap space. NaVorro Bowman's contract extension shaved that figure to $46.3 million, leaving plenty to spend on others' extensions and next year's free agents.