I'm going to be boring and very predictable but the reality is our success this year depends on how well our passing offense functions and in particular how well Rivers plays. He doesn't need to throw for 4000 yards but he does need to be efficient, to have some situational big plays and he needs to make the defense at least defend the intermediate to long passing game, thus opening up opportunities for the run game with less stacked boxes.
I think some folks are underestimating our passing game. We should be aiming for good balance, at least for the first 3 quarters. Top 5 OL, a QB that can read the entire field and can get the ball out quickly, new weapons in the passing game, two great RBs, etc, etc.... Every team/game will be a bit different, but we should be able to mix it up very well, and keep Ds guessing and defending the entire field.
If he keeps hold of the ball, he'll be special running behind our OL. IMO, they'll bring him along slowly. He's got a lot of miles on the tread from college, and I can see them getting their money out of Mack's last contract year.
I'd love to see them start him out at 70 (Mack)/30(Taylor) and gradually work them into a 50/50 share. I'd also like to see them run him 2nd half mostly early in the year, so the DLs are a bit worn down.
I guess I'd just like to see his body get a little rest in year 1. Keep him fresh until the playoffs. Our running game is going to get a pretty nice boost given our improved passing game SHOULD make it harder on Ds to focus on the run.