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.

Report: Shanahan 'almost certain' to accept 49ers' offer

Report: Shanahan 'almost certain' to accept 49ers' offer

Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan is reportedly “almost certain” to accept the 49ers’ offer to become head coach.

Shanahan is the lone remaining candidate among the six individuals who interviewed with 49ers executives Jed York and Paraag Marathe. The 49ers plan for a second interview with Shanahan and a job offer, a source told CSNBayArea.com. Shanahan is expected to accept the 49ers’ offer, reports Michael Silver of the NFL Network, citing sources familiar with both parties.

The 49ers continued to work Tuesday evening on the process of narrowing down the general manager choices, a source said. Shanahan is expected to play a role in the select the team’s next GM, sources said.

On Tuesday, Seattle offensive line coach Tom Cable and Seahawks co-director of player personnel Trent Kirchner removed their names from consideration for the vacant coach and general manager positions. The 49ers fired Chip Kelly and Trent Baalke after the 49ers' 2-14 season.

One source said Cable and Kirchner believed the 49ers were using them as leverage to hire Shanahan. Cable interviewed with 49ers co-chair Denise DeBartolo York over the phone on Tuesday, NFL Network reported.

The 49ers are allowed to interview Shanahan for a second time after the Falcons’ NFC Championship game against the Green Bay Packers on Sunday. The 49ers are prohibited from hiring or making a formal contract offer to Shanahan until the Falcons' season has concluded.

The top remaining candidates for the general manager job are believed to be Green Bay executives Brian Gutekunst and Eliot Wolf, Arizona's Terry McDonough and Minnesota's George Paton.

Source: 49ers plan second interview with Shanahan; Cable withdraws name

Source: 49ers plan second interview with Shanahan; Cable withdraws name

The 49ers will interview Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan after this weekend’s NFC Championship game, a source told CSNBayArea.com on Tuesday.

The only remaining head-coach candidate, Tom Cable, formally withdrew from consideration, according to his agent, Doug Hendrickson. Cable interviewed with the 49ers on Sunday.

Meanwhile, the 49ers also have a general manager vacancy to fill. The team is in the process of narrowing down their list of eight candidates, a source said. Seattle’s Trent Kirchner pulled his name from consideration on Tuesday. The 49ers could have a round of second interviews for the GM job.

The 49ers fired coach Chip Kelly and general manager Trent Baalke after the club finished the regular season with a 2-14 record.

The 49ers conducted their first interview with Shanahan on Jan. 6, as allowed by NFL rules, when the Falcons were on their bye in the first week of the playoffs as the NFC’s No. 2 seed.

The 49ers are allowed to conduct a second interview with Shanahan next week, regardless of whether the Falcons advance to the Super Bowl or their season comes to a conclusion against the Green Bay Packers.

If the Falcons advance to the Super Bowl, the 49ers would not be able to make a formal contract offer to Shanahan until following the Super Bowl.

Shanahan, 37, is the son for two-time Super Bowl-winning coach Mike Shanahan. He has served nine NFL seasons as an offensive coordinator. His offenses have ranked in the top-10 of total offense in six of those seasons.

Shanahan interviewed for the head-coaching vacancies with Jacksonville and Denver this offseason. Another scheduled interview with the Los Angeles Rams was canceled when Rams officials could not get to Atlanta due to weather conditions.