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Chris Chase

Camp Sunshine! For eighth year running, this is 49ers year

Shutdown Corner

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Every team is a Super Bowl contender during training camp, at least that's what the local media in each NFL town seems to think. Puff pieces about teams/players/coaches often read something like, "[Player X] is poised to have a career year because he's getting over [ailment/personal tragedy/weight issues/immaturity]. He will have a key role in [Team Y] making [playoffs/Super Bowl] after last season's [surprise/disappointment]."

To celebrate the brimming positivity being felt by each of the NFL's 32 fanbases, this month Shutdown Corner will take a team-by-team look at the flowery and buoyant prose being written by local columnists and writers, and the hopeful quotes of players and coaches in our daily feature, Camp Sunshine. This morning, the San Francisco 49ers.

Dominique Zeigler(notes), the San Francisco treat

Dominique Zeigler learned to take a big hit when he was little. No small wonder, then, the wide receiver they still call little is such a big hit at 49ers training camp.

Time and again, Zeigler throws his 185-pound frame into harm's way in the middle of the defense. Nearly every time, his 6-foot-3 skeleton comes out the other side with a catch secured and his helmet properly strapped.

Zeigler's willingness to run the most dangerous routes is proving to be his safest bet to make the 53-man roster at last.

-- David White, The San Francisco Chronicle

Nate Davis(notes), the equivalent of grocery store generic Rice-A-Roni:

You 49ers fans hoping to see Nate Davis take over the quarterback controls, you might want to check out the Omaha Nighthawks.

Wait, the Nighthawks signed Jeff Garcia(notes).

Davis eventually might lead a team, but after Sunday night, chances are dimmer that the team will be the 49ers.

-- Scott Ostler and David White, The San Francisco Chronicle (it took two writers to bash Nate Davis?)

That's a pretty big "if", Peter:

I think if Alex Smith plays 16 games the way he played two quarters last night (looking smart and confident without Frank Gore(notes), Brian Westbrook(notes) and Vernon Davis(notes)), the 49ers are going to win the NFC West. Lock.

-- Peter King, SI.com

Just like 2005-2009:

"Keep your eye on us. This is going to be a breakout year for the Niners."

-- Dashon Golden, safety

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