Kyle Shanahan’s 2nd year in charge had high expectations in the offseason, but crashed down hard shortly after the season started. There was a buzz around this team after how they ended the 2017 season with Jimmy Garoppolo as the quarterback. Shanahan’s offense has allowed his quarterbacks to flourish and Jimmy was expected to be the next QB to put up huge numbers. Add to that the addition of Jerick McKinnon as the running back and Richard Sherman to help with the defense; a push for a playoff spot was expected out of the team. It took 3 games to have that all crumble apart. Jerick did not make it out of the offseason before he was out for the year. In the 3rd game of the season, Jimmy went down and his season was done. And with the quarterback down, so was the 49ers season.
In his 3rd offseason, Kyle needs to hit on the players he brings in. This next season, the team needs to be pushing for a playoff spot late. They will get Jimmy back and that will be a huge deal, but they still have holes that were very evident throughout the season. First on the list is the need to get consistent pass rushing. DeForest Buckner had a career year in sacks, but he can only do so much. The defense lacks edge pass rushing and that’s the spot that usually has the biggest effect on how defenses perform. The 49ers defense had single digit takeaways this season and that cannot happen next season. An edge pass rusher will help in that department with strip sacks and forcing quarterbacks to throw under pressure resulting in interceptions. The 49ers expect to retain defensive coordinator Robert Saleh, but he needs to have a well-performing defense or this will be his last season.
The 49ers should be very active in the free agent market with the amount of cap space they will have at their disposal. But George Kittle decided on December 31st to put the 49ers in the trade market and caused a frenzy by tweeting at Antonio Brown of the Pittsburgh Steelers. His tweet “Sup” to Antonio and Brown’s emoji response had the fans imagining the potential duo of Jimmy G hooking up with Antonio and wrecking havoc on NFL defenses. The 49ers will be a frontrunner for most free agents and potential trade pieces, so this will be a wild offseason ride. In just the last 2 days, Antonio Brown and Odell Beckham have been named as potentially being either unhappy with their current situation or available for trade. Getting either of those guys seems impossible, but the 49ers will be in a lot of these stories. Be ready for the next few months.
What a way to end 2018 | Kittle, Antonio Brown messing with 49ers’ fans feelings (Florio)
Reward for a record breaking season | Kittle is on the 2018 PFF NFL All-Pro team (Renner)
Mullens’ ranking according to PFF (PFF)
All in on getting OBJ or AB | Odell (Florio)
The coaching staff will get a great view of these players | Senior Bowl pass rushers (Maiocco)
Giving him one more year to get this defense to perform | Saleh to stay (Alper)
No thanks | Potential Hard Knocks candidate (Smith)
Practice squad signings (Maiocco)
Robert Saleh to get another year (Madson)
Kendrick Bourne’s impact on Kittle’s record season (Chan)
Be prepared to hear this name a lot | Josh Allen (Madson)
Offensive grades (Cohn)