San Francisco 49ers rookie Chris Borland continues to pile up the weekly awards, as he was voted the Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Week. His 12-tackle, two interception performance drew more votes than wide receiver Mike Evans, and running backs Jeremy Hill, Alfred Blue, and Tre Mason. It is worth noting the Pepsi award is a fan vote, but it is still cool to see him get the recognition.
Borland was already named NFC Defensive Player of the Week, but he did face a tough opponent in Mike Evans, who put up 209 yards and two touchdowns on Sunday. Fellow rookie linebacker C.J. Mosley will be in the mix with Borland for NFL defensive rookie of the year. That group will also probably include Kyle Fuller, Khalil Mack, Preston Brown and Anthony Barr. Mosley and Fuller were early favorites, but Borland has shot into the mix with a ridiculous November. There are two weekends left in November, and Borland will be starting in both games. I have to think he is the front-runner for Rookie of the Month, and he can add to it over the next two games.
One question that has popped up frequently is what to do with Borland once NaVorro Bowman and Patrick Willis return from injury. Willis will not return this year, and Bowman remains a big question mark, so it is not immediately pressing. However, it is a long-term issue that will need to be addressed.
The discussion has focused primarily on whether or not the 49ers should switch to a 4-3. In doing so, the idea would be to move Aldon Smith and Aaron Lynch down to the defensive end positions, release Ahmad Brooks, and then go with Willis, Borland and Bowman at the three linebacker positions. We will have plenty more discussion on this topic in the future, but I figured for now I would just raise it in a more general manner. We don't know what to expect of Bowman when he returns, or even what Willis's toe will be like, but there will be some kinds of decisions to be made in the near future. How do you handle it?