The San Francisco 49ers will try and get their first home win of the season when they take on the Miami Dolphins in Week 5. Even with all of the injuries, the Niners had an ugly outing versus the Philadelphia Eagles.
Any team missing roughly 50% of its starters will have a hard time piling up wins, but San Francisco needs this victory before getting into the most challenging part of the schedule. Several 49ers struggled against Philadelphia, including some proven veterans.
Here are three players who need to step up for the Niners this week:
RT Mike McGlinchey
The Notre Dame product needs to be better at pass blocking. Pro Football Focus has McGlinchey at 52.3 pass-blocking grade through Week 4, which fifth-worst among all NFL tackles who have played at least 75 snaps this season. McGlinchey gets pushed into the backfield too easily and has issues with stronger, athletic defensive lineman. Although McGlinchey has been good on run plays (the Niners are averaging 4.12 yards when the rushing plays is towards the right tackle), his inability to limit the number of pressures against the QB remains his biggest flaw. Although he hasn’t given up a sack, McGlinchey has surrendered 10 QB pressures through four games. Having Jimmy Garoppolo under center will help, but McGlinchey needs to improve his play if the 49ers want to challenge for a playoff spot.
FS Jimmie Ward
It was a rough outing for Ward against Philadelphia. PFF had him as San Francisco’s lowest graded defender in Week 4 at 38.0, including an ugly 37.1 in coverage. PFF has Ward at 39.4 overall for the season, second-worst of all safeties. Ward has 20 tackles so far but has a missed tackle rate of 9.1%, which is more than double his percentage from the last two years. The 2014 first-round pick is also getting lit up in coverage, with opposing QBs connecting on 76.5% of their passes when targeting the free safety. Ward missed Wednesday’s practice with a wrist injury, but whenever he gets back on the field, the Niners need him to be much better.
WR Trent Taylor
I was shocked to see Taylor played more than 50% of the offensive snaps against the Eagles because he was unnoticeable. Taylor had only target against Philadelphia, matching his total from the game against the New York Giants. PFF had the receiver at 49.0 last Sunday, third-lowest of any 49er. Taylor is another player who will benefit from having Garoppolo back in the lineup. Jimmy G targeted Taylor eight times over the first two games, and they connected on four of them for 17 yards. Taylor’s bread-and-butter is making catches underneath. He needs to improve on getting separation and getting off the line a bit quicker. Taylor yards before catch per reception is just 2.8, way down from 4.4 in 2018.