The San Francisco 49ers would do well to follow what the Philadelphia Eagles have done in turning their franchise around. Find a quality franchise quarterback, implement a strong and improving defense, win prizes. It’s so simple, isn’t it?
As the 49ers get ready to face the Eagles, I chatted with Bleeding Green Nation editor Brandon Lee Gowton about the Eagles roster. He offered some thoughts on under-the-radar offensive and defensive threats, and then went into some details about what 49er would help the Eagles, and what Eagle would help the 49ers.
On the last question, naturally, he suggested quarterback Carson Wentz. It’s always easy to say, the franchise quarterback is the guy we’d want. The 49ers need a clear, long-term answer at quarterback, and Wentz is looking like that for the Eagles. I certainly would not turn down Wentz, but I find myself wondering where the 49ers would be if they had Wentz.
It’s an impossible hypothetical to answer, but it reminds me a little of the Alex Smith-Aaron Rodgers discussion. I don’t mean it is an apples-to-apples comparison, but just the notion of, how would a great player perform if he had ended up in a much worse situation. The Eagles appear to be further along than the 49ers. It seems like Wentz is plenty talented, so it would seem like he could find success anywhere, but who really knows. I don’t have an answer, although again, I would happily take Wentz and plug him into the 49ers roster to find out!
Here’s what Brandon had to say to all the questions.
Mack Hollins is an under-the-radar threat on offense. Hollins scored a 64-yard touchdown against Washington despite only playing six snaps. The rookie fourth-round pick has been an extremely efficient target this season. He's only been targeted six times but he's caught all six of those for 136 yards and one score. The Eagles should be looking to get Hollins more involved in the offense. An increase in snaps for him could come at the expense of former 49ers receiver Torrey Smith.
On defense, keep an eye on Nigel Bradham. Bradham had a real big game against the Carolina Panthers on Thursday Night Football. He's going to be counted upon heavily with Hicks out for the season. It's up to Bradham to step up and be the team's best backer now. He's a physical defender who can also cover. Bradham is in a contract year so he has every reason to go ball out.
The one 49ers player I'd steal for the Eagles is ... Joe Staley. The Eagles just lost starting left tackle and future Hall of Famer Jason Peters for the season. His backup, Halapoulivaati Vaitai, has the makings of a serviceable player, but Staley would be a much better bet for Philly. Everyone would feel a lot better with Staley protecting Wentz than Big V. Now, I wouldn't expect the Eagles to make a deal for Staley. The combination of his age and contract don't make sense for the Eagles. Not to mention the fact Philly doesn't have any Day 2 draft picks in 2018. But if the Eagles can get him for free, which is only possible in this hypothetical, I'd take him.
The one player I'd send to the 49ers to help them is obvious, right? How could it not be Carson Wentz? San Francisco desperately needs a solution at quarterback. I'd think Kyle Shanahan would be able to build a pretty good offense around him.