49ers Post-Week 2 Under Reaction
It’s always so much easier to instantly overreact. Especially after a Sunday the 49ers just experienced. So, welcome to my new Tuesday weekly column.
Sunday in New Jersey at Metlife was a total disaster. Not necessarily in the win column but more so with player health. It seemed like the players were dropping like flies at a point. If there’s one silver lining amongst the injuries, it's that the offense appears it can be a full go in just a couple of weeks. Perhaps the return of Jimmy Garoppolo (ankle), George Kittle (Knee), Raheem Mostert (Knee), and Deebo Samuel (Foot), as all can come back to play as early as Week 4 when they host the underwhelming (0-2) Eagles.
But without the young beast Nick Bosa, there’s no way the 49ers can get back to the Super Bowl right? The season is definitely over.
Hold your horses.
While there is no replacing Bosa, the season is not over by any means. Monday night was a glimpse that the NFC is wide open after the frequently competitive Saints lost to the Oakland Los Angeles Oakland Las Vegas Raiders what more examples do you need?
How the Seattle and Dallas defenses can’t stop a nose bleed? Arizona beat a weak Washington team and barely squeaked out a win in Garoppolo’s worst start as an NFL Quarterback -- odds are Garoppolo will be a lot better in the next go around as Garoppolo didn’t look good in Week 1 of 2019. And how did his season turn out?
Bears have Mitch Tribusky. That’s all that needs to be said there and while the Packers and Rams look great, they looked great after two weeks last season and both teams still went a combined 0-4 against the 49ers in 2019.
Do the injuries hinder their Super Bowl aspirations? Obviously -- this is an under-reaction column, not a blind one. Garoppolo is 6-2 as the starter when Bosa is not on the field for the 49ers. The last game Garoppolo started without Bosa -- George Kittle didn’t have a 1,000-yard season under his belt meaning he wasn’t even a mention for being one of the NFL’s top Tight Ends, Raheem Mostert was only a special teamer, Deebo Samuel was in college, and the 49ers number two tight end was Garrett Celek instead of Jordan Reed. This offense is way more potent than Garoppolo’s first eight starts as the 49ers quarterback.
Ok, great point but what about the defense? This is the side of the ball where Bosa will be deeply missed. Go back to 2018 because that’s the last game Defensive Coordinator Robert Saleh didn’t have Bosa.
Well during week 3 of 2018 Saleh was forced to start:
- Jimmie Ward: Right-Cornerback
- Adrian Colbert: Free Safety
- Antone Exume: Strong Safety
- Earl Mitchell: Nose Tackle
- Solomon Thomas: Edge
- Reuben Foster: Weak-side linebacker
- Malcolm Smith: Strong-side linebacker
Despite all the injuries, the 2020 49ers have an upgrade at all seven positions listed above. Then mix Fred Warner playing at an All-Pro level compared a rookie and a much improved Arik Armstead opposed to the 2018 version of himself.
For anyone saying they are back to the 2018 defense without Bosa, they are insanely wrong.
Over the last 10 games of the 2019 season, the 49ers average 32.3 points per game (that’s a lot). With Kyle Shanahan still calling plays on that side of the ball, this team will remain a top NFC contender despite if the defense drops to more of a middle of the pack ranking.
It’s also worth noting outside of the Ziggy Ansah addition, San Francisco will receive some more reinforcements when both Ronald Blair (Knee) and Jullian Taylor (Knee) make their return back onto the active roster.
The next three games San Francisco should be the obvious favorites even if Nick Mullens is forced to start against the Giants on back to back weeks at the dreaded Met Life Stadium.
The “Revenge Tour” may have turned into more of a “Just Stay Healthy Tour” this season. But it’s time to take a deep breath as the season is far from over.