Not only was there a shakeup in the 49ers coaching staff after the firing of Jim Harbaugh, but the 49ers have lost almost enough players to field a team. Many of them are starters.
- Andy Lee - P, one of the better punters in the NFL for a decade. Some years he should have been considered the team's MVP. Traded to Cleveland for a late-round 2017 draft pick. Expected to be replaced by draftee Bradley Pinion.
- Anthony Davis - OT, retired at the age of 25 after suffering a serious concussion. He has expressed an interest in returning if his health improves.
- Mike Iupati - G, free agent, went to Arizona.
- Frank Gore - RB, the best running back the 49ers have ever had, moved to Indianapolis as a free agent.
- Michael Crabtree - WR, free agent, hopped across the bay to Oakland.
- Justin Smith - DT, five-time Pro Bowler. Retired.
- Chris Borland - LB. Retired after an excellent rookie season due to understandable fears about head injuries.
- Patrick Willis - LB, seven-time Pro Bowler, retired.
- Dan Skuta - LB, free agent, signed with Jacksonville.
- Aldon Smith - LB, a dynamic pass rusher in his rookie year, fired for misconduct off the field.
- Perrish Cox - CB, free agent, signed with Tennessee.
- Chris Culliver - CB, free agent, signed with Washington.
We'll miss these guys too
- Josh Johnson - 3rd/4th string QB who showed some spark in preseason. Released, now with Cincinnati.
- Stevie Johnson - Former Bills WR, released after a 35-catch season as a backup in San Francisco. Now with San Diego.
- Brandon Lloyd - WR, came back from retirement for one season, is not returning this year.
- Kassim Osgood - Backup WR with some good preseasons. Broke his hand late last season and is not returning this year.
- Derek Carrier - Backup TE, traded to Washington for a fifth-round 2016 draft pick.
- Asante Cleveland - Practice squad TE, traded to New England for OL Jordan Devey.
Judging by the preseason, the new players and coaching staff are doing a good job. However, I have no idea who these people are.
Barely related: explaining football to a dinosaur.
[Edit Sep 6] More players were cut to bring the team down to 53 men for the season. Of the names I recognize:
- Joe Looney, C, "the last remaining member of the 2012 draft class" which means that year was a total bust for the team. The 49ers traded a draft pick to Baltimore for rookie center Nick Easton to replace him.
- Darnell Dockett, veteran DT imported from the Cardinals who busted a rib.
- Desmond Bishop, veteran LB, formerly of Green Bay, minimal playing time over the past several years due to injuries
- Nick Moody, backup LB
- Leon McFadden, backup CB
- Craig Dahl, S, described by the Mercury News as a "special teams ace", had been a starter in St. Louis.
Remaining on the team in some form:
- Dylan Thompson, rookie QB, had a decent game in preseason, reported cut, moved to practice squad.
- Marcus Cromartie, backup CB, reported cut, moved to practice squad
- Jermaine Whitehead, rookie S, cut and placed on practice squad.
- Kendall Hunter, RB, was placed on injured reserve.
The 49ers have very strong depth at running back this year. Carlos Hyde is Gore's heir apparent. If he gets hurt, the Niners picked up veteran starter Reggie Bush to be his backup. If he gets hurt, Rugby Motherfucker will run you over. If he gets hurt, the rookie Mike Davis had a good enough preseason to earn a roster spot next to these guys. And then Kendall Hunter is hurt but he might get better.