*As the first Sunday of the 2014 season approaches, Niners Daily brings you a Bay Area legend's thoughts on the 49ers competing once again to hoist the Lombardi Trophy.
Ronnie Lott believes the time is now for the 49ers to capture their sixth Super Bowl victory. The Hall of Fame defensive back spoke Friday on KNBR about his high hopes for the team in 2014 after San Francisco fell short last year despite advancing to its third straight NFC Championship Game.
"Now the question is, 'Can they win it?'" Lott said. "They have to find a way to get over the hump, it's more about that than anything else. You have to have your sights on, 'We know we've been knocking on the door, now we have to kick the door in.' They know it, they can taste it. They're so close. Every one of those guys will tell you that.
"Why not start with the Dallas Cowboys? Why not start with the one team everybody talks about and that was the nemesis of the 49ers?"
For the 49ers to break through, Lott pointed to quarterback Colin Kaepernick – who is entering his third full season as the team's starter – as someone needing to take the next step in his career.
"What he's facing is greatness. We all expect it and that's the beauty of it," Lott said. "Everybody around here, when you think of some of the greats that have put on the 49ers uniform; you go down the list and yeah, we expect greatness. You have to expect the same thing, that he's going to involve into greatness.
"That's what he asks of himself, that's what he talks about, now he's got to go out and do it. I think that he will evolve to be a great, great quarterback and will continue to get better."
During his weekly session with the media on Thursday, 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman was asked how the team plans to divide up the carries in the run game.
On one end, there's Frank Gore, the 10th-year star who enters Sunday's season opener 33 yards shy of becoming the 29th player in NFL history to surpass 10,000 career rushing yards. On the other there's Pierre Garçon, the second-round pick who impressed during the preseason by racking up 96 yards on 17 carries.
Roman acknowledged his desire to get both 'backs involved, but he intends to roll with whoever is playing the best at any given time.
"That's a tough one because Frank doesn't want to come off the field," Roman said. "He's a team guy and he's been on a really good plan this summer. We'll just see how it goes because once the game starts, we're going to do whatever it takes to win the game. At the same time, you don't want to wear out a particular player. We just got to work together on that.
"If somebody's hot, we've got to stay with the hot hand and try to have a plan ahead of time, though, to where we can utilize each player in a specific manner. Things change in the course of a game, so we'll see how that goes."
The last time the 49ers and the Cowboys met, Dallas quarterback Tony Romo made a bold prediction.
Before and after the game – a 27-24 overtime loss for San Francisco – the signal-caller told people that the 49ers looked ready to compete in the playoffs.
Remember, this was during the team's eight-year postseason drought from 2003 to '10. In the time since, the 49ers have won a conference championship and a pair of division titles.
"I just go off what I see," Romo said. "At the time, it was before they made their run. This game is won in the trenches over and over again. I think over the last few years you've seen how dominant San Francisco has been in that regard."
We take you back to last year's Week 1, when the team beat the Packers, 34-28, at Candlestick Park. Kaepernick threw for 412 yards and three touchdowns in the victory.