My gosh, football is finally here!
With that said, here are eight things on my mind following the 49ers roster cuts.
1. I don’t know what the 49ers are doing with a pass rush, and I don’t think they do either
The release of Jeremiah Attaochu wouldn’t be so significant if it wasn’t for the fact that the 49ers really have nothing besides Cassius Marsh to hunt the quarterback. They tried for Khalil Mack and failed. To be fair, the 2018 NFL Draft had some really good rushers...if you had the fifth or sixth pick, maybe. After that there were a couple available, but Mike McGlinchey was far more important to protect the investment of Jimmy Garoppolo. I understand the hesitance of not getting a pass rusher in the first round. Unfortunately, one later on could have lead to the loss of Dante Pettis (who seems better and better by the day). So while the 49ers had logic in the decision, it also is questionable how the only thing worthy of rushing the passer is Kentavius Street, who won’t be even playing in 2018. Something tells me that may be where they look in 2019, and they may be trading picks to move up and do it.
2. The wide receivers are cutthroat
See ya, Aldrick Robinson. Aaron Burbridge got bumped for Kendrick Bourne. That had to be some of the hardest decisions on the roster, and even though I love that Bourne has stuck around, I hope Burbridge being released doesn’t come back and bite the 49ers in the rear (READ: Chris Hogan). It’s a good problem to have, but I’d love to know how each receiver was decided upon
3. Jerick McKinnon was valuable
He wasn’t cut, but given the timing of his injury, it’s kind of like he was with a letter of intent to return in 2019. Regardless of if McKinnon was going to be the 3-down bellcow Kyle Shanahan hinted at or just a pass-catching, change of pace back, it’s a huge blow to the 49ers offense. This makes the Alfred Morris signing all the more genius, and hampers my fantasy team all the more as well. Good thing I drafted on Sunday.
4. Joe Williams was not
And yet, with McKinnon’s release, I see no need for the 49ers to go back to the well and bring Joe Williams back given his knowledge of the playbook and scheme. In these situations, it makes you really realize how much that pick hurt the 49ers in the long run. Thank goodness it’s a 4th rounder.
5. If Jimmy Garoppolo goes down, the 49ers are in big trouble
I’ve defended C.J. Beathard since his rookie season. I thought he was a good quarterback for what he was, and still do, actually. His rookie season showed he could take hits and he had a better presence in the pocket than what i was expecting. Year two didn’t bring much of a advancement in his abilities; he doesn’t look like he did his rookie season, he looks worse. I’m not writing him off as a terrible QB, he is what he is, but what he is isn’t much. He’s a guy who can play in Shanahan’s system and not go Nathan Peterman on you. At the same time, he’s not Nick Foles, and his uninspiring preseason play will have me holding my breath every time Jimmy G gets flattened on gameday. If he was picked over Nick Mullens to leave this team, it was clearly for experience and lack of Shanahan even trying to mess with things putting Mullens in against the twos. Next season, I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s a more open competition.
6. What did the 49ers offer for Khalil Mack?
John Lynch said that the 49ers were aggressive in acquiring the services of Khalil Mack, in essence fixing the pass rush. The Bears gave up two first round picks, a third, and a sixth in exchange for Mack, a second, and a fifth-round pick. If you tried this trade in Madden it would fail. So what did the 49ers offer? If the Bears were the ones who won, what did Lynch package up to get Mack to the 49ers? Honestly, I think the 49ers are trying to build through the draft. While they could have received Mack, they also would have to pay the man, which would be very detrimental to their salary cap which they are saving to pay DeForest Buckner in a year or two. Not to mention they give up two years of their future and cheaper players. Giving Mack all that money could make the 49ers look like the Rams in that Aaron Donald mess and harder to keep their own, like Buckner. Glad the 49ers didn’t jump, but curious what they offered.
7. What happens with the O-Line?
The 49ers released Jonathan Cooper when it turned out he wasn’t the player they were signing to begin with. Joshua Garnett made his case against Mike Person in the last preseason game. Still, is the O-line fixed? They got Joe Staley, Weston Richburg, and Mike McGlinchey. Laken Tomlinson isn’t horrible, but doesn’t inspire much confidence and the right guard? I guess we’ll see how that works with the Vikings.
8. Why were we not talking about Bradley Pinion winning the punter competition?
Something less talked about was how Bradley Pinion won the punter competition against Jeff Locke. Wait what? Why was Pinion in a competition in the first place? I thought he was pretty good? Furthermore, why was this NOT the most talked about competition during 49ers training camp? Forget the wide receivers, punters are brutal, cutthroat players. Punters, kicks, knuckleballs. Why was I not talking about this more? We needed some film of this epic display of kicks.