A personal prediction for the 2017 season: A lot of fans will end the season knowing the name Robert Saleh than they did at the beginning.
"We always talk about reppin' our style, and if we can rep our style on every play as a fan or someone watching from the outside, you'd be able to recognize our defense," he said.
The addition of Reuben Foster and Solomon Thomas to a defense that already had Arik Armstead and DeForest Buckner could be enough to push a lot of defenses over the edge, but it will take a truly creative mind to make the collective unit into something that invokes fear. At least for one night, during last weekend's primetime matchup against the Vikings, it seemed like that was possible. The 49ers are loaded with hitters, bound together by the consummate professional NaVorro Bowman. Even safety Eric Reid, the team's 2013 first-round pick, looked rejuvenated when drilling a receiver over the middle.
If a 49ers fan finishes the season thinking they're set up to be a top 5 unit in 2018, that's a far different -- and better -- place than they were in a year ago at this time. Saleh sounds like a coach ready to make that happen.