49ers defensive coordinator predicts another late-season run

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Fourteen of the past 15 seasons have seen at least one team go from worst to first. So who do you like to do it this season?

The Giants? The 49ers? The Bucs? The Bears? The Jets? The Browns? The Texans? The Broncos?

San Francisco is a trendy postseason pick, if not a division favorite, after winning its final five games of 2017.

“There’s a lot of momentum going into this [season], and we all feel really good about it,” 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh told the team website.

That doesn’t mean the 49ers are going to pick up right where they left off.

Saleh pointed to three recent examples of team’s that found their identities after slow starts in their breakthrough seasons. The 2012 Seahawks started 4-4; the 2015 Falcons were 4-3; the 2017 Jaguars started 3-3.

“When a team is trying to make the jump, the first half of the year they make the jump is a beast,” Saleh said. “You’re going to win and lose some crazy games. I feel like in the second half of the year, it’s going to take off again.”

The 49ers play four of their first six games on the road, traveling to the Vikings, Chiefs, Chargers and Packers. A slow start is possible for San Francisco.

Saleh, though, said a fast finish is probable.

“If we are sitting at 4-4, don’t be surprised,” Saleh said, “but the run is going to happen. There’s no doubt in my mind that the end-of-season run is going to happen. It’s just about how quickly we can get that run started.”