So the wide receivers have been the hot topic this week in Niners land as a fair segment of the population is collectively losing their minds over the 49ers wide receiver group. And really, who can blame them? Coming off a game with 9 drops – one of which led to a game altering interception, and another that might’ve led to a game winning score, it’s totally understandable.
But is it really that bad? Or is it possible – just hear me out – is it possible, that expectations are a little high in relation to the rest of the league.
Let me preface this by saying that I consider George Kittle to be a part of the group. He’s the number one receiver. I get it, he’s technically a tight end, but this isn’t 1985. When Shanahan draws up plays, he considers Kittle his number one target in the passing game.
So who’s number two? Easy. Emmanuel Sanders. Small sample size but when healthy this guy is without question the second most talented player in the receiving group.
Number three? Deebo Samuel. Young rookie, showing a ton of promise. Gets involved not only in the passing game but on gadget plays as well. He’s only a rookie, which means the sky is the limit going forward.
So those are top three. Kittle, Sanders, and Samuel. Is that really that bad compared to the rest of the league?
Thursday night the Steelers rolled out JuJu Smith Schuster, James Washington, and Dionte Johnson as their top 3.
Which leads us to the receivers on the 49ers being roundly criticized this week: Dante Pettis, Kendrick Bourne, and Marquise Goodwin.
All struggled, and all have been mostly disappointing in the eyes of 49ers fans. But here’s the question. What exactly should we expect from the fourth, fifth, and sixth options in the passing game? Most teams are just filler at that point.
It could be that we are emotionally invested in Pettis because of the draft capital spent, Bourne because of the promise he’s shown at times, and Goodwin because he was solid in 2017 and really is just the kind of guy you want to pull for.
But the reality is they are the bottom of the depth chart. The filler. Is it frustrating that they aren’t better? Absolutely. Are we allowed to complain when they play poorly? Of course. But should we be surprised? Probably not.
Most teams are top heavy in the passing game. One, sometimes two, maaaybe three reliable options, followed by disappointing draft picks, aging vets, and journeyman.
So feel free to set your expectations for Pettis, Bourne, and Goodwin, wherever you’d like. But I, for one, have lowered the bar quite a bit, because I’d rather be pleasantly surprised, than constantly disappointed.
And now onto the links:
George Kittle, Matt Breida doubtful for 49ers vs. Cardinals (Kyle Madson, Niners Wire)
Emmanuel Sanders on his availability for 49ers-Cardinals: ‘I’m going to try to battle it out’ (David Bonilla, 49ers WebZone)
Kyle Shanahan on Ahkello Witherspoon’s availability for 49ers-Cardinals: ‘He’s going to be out there’ (David Bonilla, 49ers WebZone)
John Lynch frustrated by drops, but won’t panic about 49ers’ wideouts (Alex Didion, NBC Sports)
3 Keys to Victory for the 49ers Against the Cardinals (Matt Holder, SI.com)
Helmet Swinging Brawl Nothing New to 49ers Faithful (Gary Mialocq, 49ers WebZone)
49ers’ Tevin Coleman: Absence not related to injury (Rotowire Staff)
Texans work out offensive lineman Josh Garnett (Aaron Wilson, Houston Chronicle)
Robert Saleh Gives Dre Greenlaw High Praise for Impressive Debut Start (Jose Luis Sanchez III, SI.com)
Around the NFL...
NFL Week 11 injuries: Lions rule Matthew Stafford out, Eagles rushing attack in flux and more (Tyler Sullivan, CBS Sports)
Cardinals to use running backs David Johnson, Kenyan Drake as committee (Josh Weinfuss, ESPN)