The competition in the NFC West will be at an all-time high in 2013. Frank Gore is well aware of the improvements made by the St. Louis Rams, Arizona Cardinals and Seattle Seahawks.
Gore, however, knows his own team has made major strides heading into his ninth season in San Francisco.
Asked if the 49ers have improved since the franchise's near win in Super Bowl XLVII, the team's all-time rushing king looked at the reporter and simply said, "Yeah we did."
The 30-year-old running back is confident his team is ready to prove it, too.
But before the real games take place beginning on Sept. 8, the 49ers will look to get the most out of training camp and preseason games.
"Our main goal is to get better this training camp, be better than last year," Gore said after arriving to 49ers headquarters on Wednesday. "Win the first game, win the division and all is right.
"You win the division and everything will take care of itself."
Gore is well aware of the improvements of the NFC West, but he doesn't exactly mind it either.
"It's probably one of the best divisions in football right now," Gore said. "We like it like that. We like it tough."
The biggest reason Gore sees growth from his team is how the group has bounced back from the bitter end to the 2012 season.
"Just knowing what it takes to get to where we got last year," Gore began, "we know if we want to get back there, we've got to do better this year to win it."
Gore is confident that Colin Kaepernick will thrive under center now that he's leading the offense "from the jump."
Gore also praised San Francisco's acquisition of veteran wideout Anquan Boldin. The 49ers running back believes Boldin's addition will take some of the pressure from the offense being without the services of fifth-year wideout Michael Crabtree to start the year.
"Picking up Boldin was real big," Gore said of the 11-year veteran. "Boldin's a football player. He plays the game like how we like to play the game. He fits with our team well and he's going to help our team a lot, especially with Crab gone, they're similar players. He'll pick up the slack with Crab not being here and when Crab gets back it'll just make our team a lot better."
In addition, Gore is supremely confident in his teammates on the defensive side of the ball.
"Our defense is going to do what they always do, so I think we got better," Gore said.