San Francisco 49ers OTAs are getting going this week and while we’ll get a brief glimpse of the potential for the 2019 49ers, potential isn’t really the question. The question is can they get into the playoffs. The folks over at PFF put together surprise contenders for the 2019 season and kick the article off with the 49ers.
With a disappointing 4-12 season now behind them, the 49ers’ faithful have every reason to be excited about the future, as the team has quietly been putting together an exceptionally talented group of offensive weapons for the returning
“Jimmy Garoppolo. Tight end George Kittle broke out in a major way last year despite the lackluster quarterback play, earning the highest overall grade (89.8) among tight ends, while right tackle Mike McGlinchey proved himself worthy of the ninth overall pick of the 2018 NFL Draft by posting a promising pass-blocking grade of 64.2 and the second-highest run-blocking grade (78.2) among all players at the position. Veteran stalwart Joe Staley is showing absolutely no signs of slowing down on the blind side, running back Matt Breida proved to be a force in the passing game (90.1 receiving grade, no drops) as well as in the running game (27 runs of 10-plus yards) and the addition of South Carolina’s Deebo Samuel will give head coach Kyle Shanahan a YAC monster who will pair nicely with second-year wideout Dante Pettis to form one of the most dynamic receiving corps in the league. Factor in the return of pass-catching ace Jerick McKinnon, the signing of the multi-talented back Tevin Coleman and the return of Garoppolo to lead his disciples — and you get an offensive unit that’s capable of going toe-to-toe with even the most formidable defensive juggernaut.
Defensively speaking, they added the best player in the 2019 draft class by taking Nick Bosa second overall, and he’ll play a significant role in a pass-rushing rotation that now also includes Dee Ford and DeForest Buckner, two players who combined for a rather scary 137 quarterback pressures a season ago. A young talented receiving corps, a young talented pass-rush, and a secondary that includes the perennially stingy Richard Sherman and the incredibly gifted (albeit injury-prone)Jason Verrett: This team has all the potential to make noise in the NFC.”
Once again, the 49ers are healthy and can still make the road difficult for any divisional winner and will surprise a few people. I doubt they go on a tear and win the NFC West, not with the Los Angeles Rams around, but they very well can make the Rams’ lives difficult. They had an ‘ok’ roster in 2018 (before injuries), and it’s only gotten better in 2019.
The hype surrounding the 49ers this year is not near as ridiculous as 2018 where they were media darlings in the purest sense of the word. Expectations have certainly been lowered, especially after the season they had. I’ve predicted they would win nine games this season and that could be enough for a wild card appearance. Many outside of the 49ers fan base might think the team will need far more work after the performance they turned in for 2018.
Obviously, the article doesn’t take into account where the 49ers may get into the playoffs, whether as a division winner or a wild card, just if they are a surprise team to make the playoffs. I think with everything that’s happened the last few months the 49ers are going to be firmly in the playoff hunt but the surprise is just that—that they are in contention. Many may have written them off after the season from hell, but have forgotten the problems extended with more injuries past Jimmy Garoppolo’s ACL tear (though that was the beginning of the end).
If the 49ers make the playoffs, I’m sure a lot of you will be pretty proud to say, “Told you so.”