HomeBasketballCody Schoeler's 2022 NFL West Previews: 49ers

Cody Schoeler’s 2022 NFL West Previews: 49ers

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Posted on August 23, 2022




  By Cody Schoeler for SuperWest Sports activities

It will not be usually {that a} workforce makes it to the convention championship sport after which opts for a change at crucial place.

However as Matt Damon says in these bizarre crypto commercials, fortune favors the courageous. So the 49ers are making the courageous transfer this 12 months by handing over the reins to second-year quarterback Trey Lance.

What makes the transfer even that rather more complicated is what the workforce has executed with final 12 months’s starter Jimmy Garoppolo.

The quarterback that led them to the NFC Championship sport final 12 months and Tremendous Bowl look in 2019 hasn’t been traded or reduce but.

As of proper now, Garoppolo will begin the season on San Francisco’s roster, though there’s a very excessive chance he wouldn’t end it there.

However sufficient in regards to the quarterback that received’t play this 12 months.

Lance is strolling into almost a dream situation for a younger quarterback. He will get to play in a Kyle Shanahan offense on a workforce that has a ton of expertise on either side of the ball.

San Francisco QB Trey Lance | 49ers.com

Most guys drafted as excessive as he was need to endure by a number of years on dangerous groups (see Lawrence, Trevor, and Wilson, Zach).

However Lance will get an opportunity to steer a attainable Tremendous Bowl contender in his first 12 months underneath middle.

That additionally results in very lofty expectations for the 22-year-old. Lance might be anticipated to supply straight away and never expertise any of the rising pains that a variety of younger quarterbacks have early on of their careers.

The 49ers are hoping that Lance’s rookie 12 months spent as a backup can have allowed to him be taught the offense and get accustomed to the system in follow, making him higher outfitted to deal with the beginning function.

If Lance does show a adequate understanding of the offense, then San Francisco can area a really dynamic group.

Lance may be very succesful as a passer however it’s his dashing potential that creates essentially the most intrigue.

Shanahan has by no means had a quarterback as athletic as Lance in his time as a head coach, primarily coping with pocket passers reminiscent of Kirk Cousins, Matt Ryan, and Garoppolo.

This might be essentially the most explosive and artistic Shanahan offense we now have ever witnessed because of Lance’s distinctive skillset. He’s poised for an enormous breakout season, particularly if he leads the 49ers on a playoff run.

The second-year quarterback could find yourself placing collectively an unimaginable season if he performs as nicely by the air as he can on the bottom.

Not like among the different younger quarterbacks within the league, Lance can have some elite offensive weapons at his disposal.

Broad receiver Deebo Samuel had an enormous breakout season in 2021, changing into one of many prime receivers within the league because of his particular playmaking potential.

San Francisco WR Deebo Samuel | Adam Glanzman/Getty Pictures

Samuel made numerous performs for San Francisco, each by the air and on the bottom, and performed nicely sufficient to earn himself an enormous contract extension.

Lance will even have tight finish George Kittle to assist make some massive performs. Kittle could also be one of the uniquely-gifted tight ends within the league.

He has nice fingers and route-running potential however can be an absolute monster that may dominate defenders after the catch or whereas blocking. Kittle will little doubt be a dependable weapon for Lance if he can keep on the sector.

The star tight finish has missed 13 video games over the previous three seasons, together with three final 12 months. Accidents have additionally been an issue for different pass-catchers.

Samuel missed over half the season in 2020, though he missed only one final season. Well being might be a key issue for the offense as a result of they may want everybody in prime type in the event that they wish to compete within the NFC.

If Samuel have been to overlook a while in 2022, the Niners would no less than have a strong substitute in vast receiver Brandon Aiyuk.

The third-year participant has been steadily enhancing however hasn’t fairly been the participant San Francisco hoped for once they drafted him within the first spherical.

It’s attainable that the change in quarterback will deliver out the very best model of Aiyuk.

Lance has a a lot stronger arm than Garoppolo and the very best side of Aiyuk’s sport is his potential to stretch the sector and rack up yards after the catch.

He may be on the same profession trajectory as Samuel, who had an enormous season in his third 12 months. If Aiyuk does take a step up this 12 months, it’ll give Lance an excellent trio of pass-catchers between him, Samuel, and Kittle.

The 49ers will even have some depth behind these three.

Rookie vast receiver Danny Grey has already appeared fairly good in camp and preseason in his function as a burner on the surface.

Jauan Jennings, whom the Niners drafted in 2021, is a big-bodied receiver that may win leap balls on the surface.

And veterans Ray-Ray McCloud, Malik Turner, and Willie Snead may also leap in and produce if crucial.

San Francisco has some fairly respectable depth on the working again place as nicely, it simply doesn’t have the identical star energy because the pass-catchers.

San Francisco 49ers working again Elijah Mitchell | Lon Horwedel/AP

Elijah Mitchell, a 2021 sixth-round decide, surprisingly emerged because the lead again final season and performed nicely within the function however he could not have the beginning function locked down.

Second-year working again Trey Sermon, who was truly drafted forward of Mitchell, and rookie Tyrion Davis-Value are two extra younger proficient backs that might lay declare to the lead function.

After which there may be additionally the presence of Jeff Wilson and JaMycal Hasty, who could not pose a menace to Mitchell’s job, however might take some snaps away within the passing sport or earn a bigger function if they should fill in because of harm.

No matter who finally ends up as the principle working again in 2022, the very best guess continues to be Mitchell, the dashing assault must be harmful.

The Niners completed seventh on dashing yards final 12 months however that was with out the added working potential that Lance supplies because the starter.

Even when the workforce does in the end go together with a committee strategy on the working again place, San Francisco will as soon as once more be one of many higher dashing groups within the league.

After all, a lot of that is determined by the play of the offensive line. The 49ers are set at deal with, the place each Trent Williams (arguably the very best left deal with within the league) and Mike McGlinchey return to man the top spots.

The inside is way more unsure contemplating the departure of Professional-Bowl guard Laken Tomlinson and the retirement of middle Alex Mack.

The Niners will now need to depend on gamers reminiscent of Daniel Brunskil, Justin Skule, Jake Brendel, Aaron Banks, and Dohnovan West.

These gamers most likely don’t encourage a ton of confidence since I guess you’ve gotten by no means heard of any of them.

Banks, a second-year guard, and West, a rookie middle, present some upside however the workforce will not be able the place they will simply hope that some younger gamers show they will deal with it upfront.

The 49ers want good play on the road instantly, so whoever proves they will try this this season will earn a beginning spot.

At the least the Niners received’t have to fret about their protection an excessive amount of as a result of that aspect of the ball has persistently been elite.

After all, it does assist when your protection is led by superstars reminiscent of defensive finish Nick Bosa and linebacker Fred Warner. However these two aren’t the one purpose for the workforce’s success on protection.

San Francisco DE Nick Bosa | Sean M. Haffey/Getty Pictures

Bosa clearly performs an enormous half within the defensive position’s dominance. He is among the prime pass-rushers in your entire league and continues to be younger sufficient to feasibly get even higher.

He additionally will get the advantage of enjoying subsequent to some fairly proficient gamers.

Defensive lineman Arik Armstead could be essentially the most underappreciated member of the 49ers’ protection.

For some time, it appeared like he could be extra of a bust, however within the final three years he has actually developed right into a strong participant.

He performs an enormous function in clogging up the center of the road but in addition possesses sufficient pass-rush ability to get to the quarterback sometimes.

The Niners even have some promising gamers to fill out the remainder of the group up entrance. Defensive deal with Javon Kinlaw, a 20200 first-rounder, ought to lastly be able to be a big-time participant this 12 months.

Then there may be a formidable mixture of pass-rushers made up of defensive ends Jordan Willis, Kemoko Turay. Charles Omenihu, Samson Ebukam, and rookie Drake Jackson.

None of them can have an excessive amount of stress because of Bosa’s manufacturing but when a number of of them can show to be efficient as rotational pass-rushers then that will be large for the protection.

The linebackers are most likely essentially the most dependable group as a complete on the protection though most of them usually are not well-known within the league.

Warner is clearly the exception to that. He has been enjoying out of his thoughts just lately and could be the very best off-ball linebacker in your entire league.

However the backers subsequent to him are what really make the place unit nice.

Azeez Al-Shaair and Dre Greenlaw are each very productive gamers in the course of the protection however don’t have the identical hype round them as Warner does.

49ers linebacker Azeez Al-Shaair | Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports activities

Al-Shaair actually got here out of nowhere final season and had a really spectacular season, proving he belongs to begin subsequent to Warner. Greenlaw missed most of final season because of harm, however he was very productive within the two seasons prior.

The world of the protection that has essentially the most uncertainty is unquestionably the secondary. The Niners have struggled at instances to seek out constant play at among the positions, resulting in a revolving door at cornerback.

Final 12 months the workforce relied closely on Josh Norman and Ok’Waun Williams, neither of that are again this season.

Cornerback Emmanuel Moseley continues to be round, although, after beginning 11 video games final 12 months. He must be a lock for one of many outdoors nook spots with free-agent signing Charvarius Ward manning the opposite.

Ward was participant in Kansas Metropolis and has expertise enjoying an vital function in a secondary so he ought to be capable of deal with one of many beginning roles.

San Francisco additionally has defensive again Jimmie Ward, who they’ve used all around the area.

He has frolicked at outdoors nook, slot nook, and each security positions all through his profession however will most likely be wanted extra as a security this 12 months.

Security Jaquiski Tartt left in free company, leaving an enormous function that must be crammed on the again finish.

With Ward caring for one security spot, that leaves both Talanoa Hufanga or George Odum to man the opposite one. Every participant represents a unique strategy, so they might each be utilized in some capability.

Odum is the skilled veteran who began a handful of video games throughout his with the Colts.

San Francisco Security George Odum | Niners Wire/USA TODAY

Hufanga is a youthful participant which will nonetheless want time to develop however gives some extra upside because of his ball expertise and playmaking that he demonstrated in school.

It’s attainable that San Francisco experiences some difficulties within the secondary however, hopefully, they may have it found out by the point the playoffs come round.

It additionally could not find yourself being too massive of a deal if the remainder of the protection performs in addition to it has previously.

If all goes nicely for the 49ers then they might have one other nice 12 months in 2022.

The postseason appears very a lot inside their attain once more this 12 months, with a division championship not out of the image if the Rams have a Tremendous Bowl hangover.

Whereas I do suppose the Niners make it again to the playoffs, I feel it will likely be as a wild-card workforce after an 11-6 season.

I might see them beginning out a bit gradual this 12 months as they work out some issues at quarterback, offensive line, and within the secondary.

And with a schedule that options the Broncos, Chiefs, and Rams twice within the first eight weeks, a gradual begin might give them fairly a number of losses.

However I do trust that this workforce will put all of it collectively within the second half of the 12 months and finish the season robust going into the playoffs.

Lance might be totally snug in his function and might be orchestrating the offense extremely nicely. The protection will as soon as once more be among the finest within the league behind elite play from Bosa and Warner.

And Shanahan and the remainder of the teaching workers might be making the appropriate selections with the intention to get essentially the most out of the workforce.

In the end, I see this workforce capped out as a strong playoff workforce.

They might make the same run as final 12 months the place they pull off a number of upsets and make it to the convention championship sport, however I nonetheless suppose they’re no less than a 12 months away from being a legit Tremendous Bowl workforce.

Clearly, that might change if Lance is as particular as he has the potential to be however I wouldn’t guess on that occuring, no less than not this 12 months.


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