On Wednesday, the San Francisco 49ers received some tough injury news as Jaquiski Tartt landed on the IR and K’Waun Williams could miss the remainder of the regular season. Kyle Shanahan said that Richard Sherman, Raheem Mostert, and Tevin Coleman could all return against the Rams after the bye week.
The 49ers “Deadpool” jet outside zone
The 49ers are one of few teams to heavily utilize a fullback. A lot of their most explosive run concepts are two-back variations of outside zone, in which the fullback leads outside for the running back on the edge. One of their favorite variations is one in which the fullback and tight end work in combination to block the edge defender. They debuted a nifty version of it with a wide receiver as the ball carrier against the Rams in Week 6. But first, let’s look at the original two-back version.
Usually, with jet sweeps, the offense is just trying to outflank the defense and race to the edge before they could properly react but the 49ers’ Deadpool play is a fundamentally sound run concept that could be called consistently without a big risk of a negative play.
Biggest question left to answer: Who will be the quarterback in 2021 and beyond? Jimmy Garoppolo is set to count about $27 million against the cap in each of the next two seasons, and if he doesn’t play again this season (he’s on injured reserve with a high ankle sprain), he will have missed 23 games in three full seasons with the Niners. Beyond that, there are still questions about whether Garoppolo can elevate his game to take coach Kyle Shanahan’s offense to the next level even when healthy. Of course, for the Niners to decide to go in a different direction at quarterback, they must first be sure they can get somebody better. Garoppolo, despite his struggles, is still 26-9 as a starter, including the postseason. How the 49ers finish the season will go a long way in determining the options available to them.
“That game specifically because of how we won and how much of a track meet it was,” Gould said. “I think it gave this team a lot of confidence because we’d had a lot of guys injured leading up to that point.
“We’d lost a couple of games battling through with guys filling in for some key positions and I think those guys played in those moments understood, ‘I can fill in and do what I need to do.’ And I think it also gave the coaches a lot of respect for those guys because they knew how prepared they were.”
• The NFL Network reported that the 49ers were among four teams that placed waiver claims on pass rusher Takk McKinley, whom the Falcons cut earlier this week. The Bengals, who were No. 8 in the waiver-claim order, were awarded McKinley on Wednesday. The 49ers had the No. 15 claim.
Before news broke that McKinley was headed to Cincinnati, Shanahan was asked if the 49ers had put in a claim.
“I don’t think we put it in the claim for him,” he said. “I know that we were behind a number of people. I’m assuming that he went to some people.”
Will all four teams make the playoffs?
Wagoner: No. But three is possible, if not likely. Three would have gone last season had the NFL had the seventh playoff spot available then. It’s hard to imagine the 49ers, given their litany of injuries, making a run at the postseason, but the Seahawks, Rams and Cardinals are in the mix. In fact, the NFC South is the only other division that has two really strong playoff candidates, which means it would be completely reasonable for the NFC East and North to send one team each, with two from the South and three from the West to round it out.
Weinfuss: No. The 49ers have just too many injury hurdles to overcome. They can’t stay healthy and because of that the defending NFC champions won’t be as competitive as they would’ve been. Beside that, the rest of the division is so competitive it will just be too difficult to win enough for everyone to push into the postseason.
Trent Taylor used to be a decent slot receiver.
This was back in 2017 when he was a rookie, before he’d had back surgery and foot surgery. Back then, he was a little Wes Welker. He could really get open and beat man-to-man coverage from the slot.
Now, he’s just Tiny Trent. He can’t get open. Can’t beat man-to-man coverage. Can’t do anything to help the 49ers, and he’s had lots of opportunities, especially last Thursday night against the Packers.