SANTA CLARA -- Randy Moss thinks the 49ers could be better overall this season despite massive turnover in a receiving corps that included him last year.

But Moss remains unconvinced in the passing-game tandem of Colin Kaepernick and tight end Vernon Davis, who's expected to help fill the receiving void while Michael Crabtree recovers from an Achilles injury.

"From my time there last year, it didn't seem Kaepernick and Vernon Davis had a rapport. They haven't shown that yet," Moss said on a conference call as Fox Sports' newest analyst.

Kaepernick and Davis combined for only six receptions in the final six regular-season games, but they did come alive in the playoffs (12 receptions, 254 yards, 1 touchdown).

Moss closed out his 14-year career with less production than Davis in the playoffs, catching 7-of-13 passes targeted his way for 112 yards with no touchdowns, including 2-of-5 for 41 yards in the Super Bowl loss to the Baltimore.

Rather than bring Moss back, the 49ers added a different veteran wideout by trading for Anquan Boldin, whose presence already bodes well among an unproven corps.

"With Anquan (Boldin), it gives them freedom to pass the ball more than relying on the run like they do," Moss said. "I can see the 49ers making great strides and being a little better than last year."


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Moss thinks the 49ers again can flourish behind their solid defense, with the help of avoiding injuries. Moss is encouraged by Kyle Williams' return to action Sunday from a November knee injury, and Moss is hoping for similar returns this season from Mario Manningham (knee) and Crabtree (Achilles).

Williams is the only wideout from last year's team who will play in Sunday's season opener against the Green Bay Packers. Marlon Moore and Quinton Patton are the most logical candidates to fill Moss' former role, although he often was more of a down-field decoy than a popular target.

"I don't think any of our receivers are attempting to fill shoes or be exactly like Randy Moss," coach Jim Harbaugh said. "Randy did a great job here and we never compare players or talk about filling shoes. They're their own players and we're excited to watch them play. I think they're going to do a great job."

Moss returned from a one-season hiatus to serve as a part-time starter for the 49ers. He totaled only three touchdown catches all season — none in the playoffs — to finish with 156 in his career, the second-most in NFL history. He had 28 receptions for 434 yards and three touchdowns in the 2012 regular season.

San Francisco 49ers’ Randy Moss (84) responds to a question during a press conference at the New Orleans Marriot in New Orleans, La. on Wednesday,
San Francisco 49ers' Randy Moss (84) responds to a question during a press conference at the New Orleans Marriot in New Orleans, La. on Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013. (Nhat V. Meyer/Staff)

Moss also previously played for the Minnesota Vikings (1998-2004, 2010), Raiders (2005-06), New England Patriots (2007-10) and Tennessee Titans (2010). He has the NFL's third-most receiving yards (15,292) and ninth-most receptions (982).

"As you can hear in my voice, I'm excited to have something different in my life other than being in a helmet or locker room every day," Moss said. "There's not too many things in the world I know about it. But I do know about football."

For more on the 49ers, see Cam Inman's Hot Read blog at blogs.mercurynews.com/49ers. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/CamInman.