Are the 49ers better than a year ago?

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Are the 49ers better than a year ago?

Through seven games the 49ers are 5-2, and in sole possession of the NFC West.A year ago at this time, the club was 6-1 and on their way to a 9-1 record before a Thanksgiving Day loss at Baltimore.When the season began, I was of the opinion the 49ers would be a better team in 2012 but their regular-season record would be worse. I thought the 49ers would probably win 11 games, down from 13 of a year ago.So are the 49ers a better team that a year ago? I believe so.The run offense is better. The passing game is better (but sometimes it doesn't seem like it). The offensive line is way better. Defensively, the pass defense is a lot better.But special teams are not as good, and the 49ers do not have the outrageous turnover margin of a year ago. Because the 49ers have come back down to earth in the giveaway-takeaway department, the scoring is also down a little.Here's an offensive and defensive statistical breakdown of the 49ers' first seven games, compared to the full 16 games of last season:OFFENSE
Scoring2011: 23.8 points per game, 11th in NFL
2012: 23.6 points per game, 17th in NFLYards per game2011: 310.9, 26th in NFL
2012: , 376.4, ninth in NFLRushing average2011: 4.1 yards per rush, 19th in NFL
2012: 5.9 yards per rush, first in NFLPassing average2011: 7.1 yards per attempt, 16th in NFL
2012: 7.6 yards per attempt, ninth in NFLThird downs2011: 29 percent, 31st in NFL
2012: 36 percent, 19th in NFLDEFENSE
Scoring2011: 14.3 points per game, second in NFL
2012: 14.3 points per game, second in NFLYards per game2011: 308.2, fourth in NFL
2012: 272.3, first in NFLRushing average2011: 3.5 per rush, first in NFL
2012: 3.8 per rush, ninth in NFLPassing average2011: 6.9 yards per attempt, 10th in NFL
2012: 5.9 yards per attempt, first in NFLThird downs2011: 35 percent, 11th in NFL
2012: 34 percent, seventh in NFLGIVEAWAYTAKEAWAYS2011: Plus-28
2012: Plus-2 Sound off on whether you believe the 49ers are a better team than a year ago.

Comings and goings: 49ers coaching staff

Comings and goings: 49ers coaching staff

First-year coach Kyle Shanahan is close to completing his 49ers coaching staff.

Shanahan will handle the duties of the offensive coordinator, the position he held with Houston, Washington and Atlanta over the past nine NFL seasons.

Robert Saleh is the 49ers' new defensive coordinator, while Richard Hightower has been hired as the special-teams coordiator.

Here's a look at the 49ers' coaching staffs under Shanahan and last season under Chip Kelly:

2017 49ERS COACHING STAFF
Position: Coach (2016 job)
Head coach: Kyle Shanahan (Falcons, offensive coordinator)
Defensive coordinator: Robert Saleh (Jaguars, linebackers coach)
Special teams coordinator: Richard Hightower (Bears, assistant special teams)
Assistant head coach/tight ends: Jon Embree (Buccaneers, tight ends)
Run game specialist: Mike McDaniel (Falcons, offensive assistant)
Quarterbacks: Rich Scangarello (Wagner, offensive coordinator)
Running backs: Bobby Turner (Falcons, running backs)
Wide receivers: Mike LaFleur (Falcons, offensive assistant)
Offensive line: Vacant
Offensive assistant: T.C. McCartney (LSU, offensive assistant)
Senior defensive assistant: Jason Tarver (49ers, outside linebackers)
Defensive line: Jeff Zgonina (N.Y. Giants, assistant defensive line)
Linebackers: Johnny Holland (Browns, inside linebackers)
Defensive backs: Jeff Hafley (49ers, defensive backs)
Offensive quality control: Taylor Embree (Chiefs, defensive assistant)
Defensive quality control: Bobby Slowik
Head strength and conditioning: Ray Wright

* * *

2016 49ERS COACHING STAFF
Position: Coach (current status)
Head coach: Chip Kelly
Offensive coordinator: Curtis Modkins (Bears, running backs)
Defensive coordinator: Jim O’Neil
Special teams coordinator: Derius Swinton
Quarterbacks: Ryan Day (Ohio State, quarterbacks)
Running backs: Tom Rathman
Wide receivers: Bob Bicknell
Tight ends: Jeff Nixon (Baylor, co-offensive coordinator/running backs)
Offensive line: Pat Flaherty (Jaguars, offensive line)
Assistant offensive line: Eric Wolford (South Carolina, offensive line)
Defensive line: Jerry Azzinaro (Cal, defensive line)
Assistant defensive line: Vince Oghobaase
Outside linebackers: Jason Tarver (49ers, senior defensive assistant)
Inside linebacker: Joe Bowden
Defensive backs: Jeff Hafley (49ers, defensive backs)
Assistant defensive backs: Roy Anderson (Bears, assistant secondary)
Assistant special teams: Michael Clay
Offensive quality control: Mick Lombardi (Jets, offensive assistant/assistant QBs coach)
Defensive quality control: Tem Lukabu
Senior analyst: Dana Bible
Director of human performance: Mark Uyeyama

Report: 49ers receive permission from Broncos to interview O-line coach

Report: 49ers receive permission from Broncos to interview O-line coach

John Benton, who coached on the same staff during Kyle Shanahan’s four seasons with the Houston Texans, has reportedly received permission from the Denver Broncos to interview with the 49ers.

The Broncos hired Benton on Jan. 15 to work as the team’s assistant offensive line coach under line coach Jeff Davidson.

But Denver coach Vance Joseph and general manager John Elway provided Benton permission to interview with the 49ers, Denver’s 9News reported. The Sacramento Bee was first to report the 49ers were looking at Benton.

The offensive line coach is the last major position that remains vacant on Shanahan’s staff.

Benton worked last season as Jacksonville’s assistant offensive line coach. He worked the previous 13 seasons as offensive line coach with the St. Louis Rams (2003-05), Houston (2006-2013) and Miami (2014-15).

Shanahan’s first NFL coaching job was with Houston in 2006, when he coached wide receivers. Shanahan became the quarterbacks coach with the Texans in 2007 before spending the next two seasons as offensive coordinator under then-coach Gary Kubiak.

The 49ers announced nine additions to the coaching staff on Friday.

Also, the 49ers are expected to hire Daniel Bullocks as assistant defensive backs coach, according to The Sporting News. Bullocks worked in the same role with the Jacksonville Jaguars last season. The Jaguars' linebackers coach last season, Robert Saleh, is the 49ers' new defensive coodinator. Bullocks appeared in 31 games in three NFL seasons with the Detroit Lions in 2006 and '08.