Five Takeaways From the 49ers' 31-13 Week 2 Win Against Jets
Jose Luis Sanchez III
Injuries, injuries, and more injuries.
That is really all you can say about the San Francisco 49ers' 31-13 Week 2 win against the New York Jets.
It may be a win on paper, but the game itself felt like a total loss.
Here are my five takeaways from the 49ers' Week 2 nightmare at MetLife Stadium.
San Francisco is cursed with injuries
Injuries happen. Every team in the league has to face the massive challenge of being able to overcome those injuries. However, when it comes to the 49ers, there is no doubt they are in the top percentile of teams that sustain the most injuries. Every year it is the same thing with this team and its flurry of injuries. It just never fails.
Even last season the 49ers had more than half of their starting 22 players on the shelf at one point. That is why 2019 was such an amazing run because the 49ers train ride to the Super Bowl did not get derailed. Unfortunately, the most likely loss of Nick Bosa for the season and multiple losses of key players in the short term could put the 49ers in a hole. Considering they are in the most difficult division, this season has the potential to get ugly for the 49ers.
Jordan Reed needs more opportunities
Aside from Raheem Mostert and Jimmy Garoppolo, the best looking offensive player the 49ers had was tight end Jordan Reed. He looked like his old self by making contested catches and running smooth routes. George Kittle, I would presume, is not going to play against the Giants on Sunday since the 49ers have massive concerns regarding the newly installed turf field. That means Reed needs more opportunities.
He is just a tough player to cover for either linebacker or safety. And there is no way a defense is willing to put a cornerback on him. Reed will just outmuscle the corner. Giving Reed more opportunities is going to spike up the likelihood that he sustains an injury himself, especially since he is injury prone. But with all of the injuries to so many key players, the 49ers cannot afford to be picky. They just have to feed their best players and rack up wins in the meantime.
Fred Warner is the 49ers' second-best defensive player
Losing Nick Bosa for the game meant the 49ers lost their best defensive player. Luckily for them, their second-best defensive player was flying all over the field making plays. That player is middle linebacker Fred Warner. I know Richard Sherman is the player that gets touted as one of the top two best on defense, but Warner makes the heavier impact on defense.
Just watching him shoot the gaps to get into the backfield against the Jets was an absolute clinic on his part. It is games like Sunday that reassure me he is on his way to earning All Pro honors this season. And with Bosa out, he is going to need to raise his game even further.
Mostert and McKinnon Need to be the top running back rotation
Through two games, Jerick McKinnon has already looked the massively better running back than Tevin Coleman. And obviously, Raheem Mostert has been completely lights out by picking up where he left off last season. Whenever Mostert returns from his MCL sprain, Kyle Shanahan needs to have him and McKinnon be the top running back rotation.
Do not even give Coleman any more handoffs unless Mostert and McKinnon are gassed. Anytime these two players carry the rock, the 49ers are bound for a very positive play with a chance of ripping of a chunk play. Coleman, for whatever reason, gets stopped a ton at the line of scrimmage. His vision just isn't on par with the other two.
Nick Mullens Needs to be on his "A" game in Garoppolo's absence
Jimmy Garoppolo likely will not play on Sunday against the Giants, although Shanahan did say they are not completely ruling him out. Still, I would suspect they will hold him off the bad luck turf out of precaution and give Nick Mullens the start. The fact that Shanahan has not ruled out Garoppolo for Week 3 kind of tells you all you need to know how about how he feels about their chances with Mullens.
That is why Mullens needs to be on his "A" game. He did not look too great in relief of Garoppolo. Of course, it is not like backup quarterbacks get the preparation going into the game. But he needs to be on his "A" game because the offense will not have its usual weapons. Kittle, Mostert, and Samuel will not be on hand. If these players were there, then I wouldn't have concern about Mullens starting. But without those critical players, Mullens will somehow need to pull a rabbit out of his hat. At the very least, he must protect the ball and come through on third-down.