We are back with another edition of “Let’s Argue.” It’s been two months since we’ve done this, so the takes from San Francisco 49ers fans should be fresh. Let’s get started. If this is your first time reading this series, we ask your most unpopular take about the Niners, and we dissect it.
Bringing in/developing a new QB to the point where he’s ready to excel in KS’s system could take years; by the time it has occurred, this roster may no longer be at its peak talent-wise. There’s more to this QB debate than merely finding someone that’s “better” than Jimmy... - 49ers mode
I agree that there’s more to finding a quarterback who’s merely “better” than Jimmy Garoppolo, but the first part of your question ignores the talent that has come into the league as of late. Josh Allen, Justin Herbert, Kyler Murray, Tua Tagovailoa, Joe Burrow, and even Gardner Minshew for a stretch all looked like they have a bright future in this league. That’s ignoring the MVP winners/candidates like Deshaun Watson, Lamar Jackson, and Patrick Mahomes.
The point is, quarterbacks appear NFL “ready” now more than ever. The NFL feels like it’s shifting away from your old-school, traditional pocket passers that cannot create outside of the structure of the play. We see from the younger QBs listed above how they influence defenses with their eyes and shoulders. The quarterbacks are far more advanced than a decade ago. That’s why it’s going to be an easier pill to swallow for the front office. The crop of talent in college is vastly improved.
That this season will be a godsend for them moving forward...it’s going to give an even better look at the back half of the 53 man roster and enable them to make smarter, cost savings moves to be a better team overall. - Alexander
These next two months are not going to be fun. If the 49ers find a way to pull off a few upsets and squeak into the playoffs, we’d all be shocked. If a 5-7 win season nets the Niners any combo that includes a franchise QB, a cornerback of the future, or an edge rusher, then the frustrations of this season will be forgotten next year.
To an extent, I agree. This season gives the coaching staff a chance to evaluate their depth. We see Kerry Hyder and Kevin Givens as players that will be key rotational pieces moving forward. During the second half of the year, we’ll have a chance to see Daniel Brunskill at center and perhaps Colton McKivitz at right guard. Had it not been for injuries, Jason Verrett would’ve never seen the field. He’s likely to remain the starter moving forward once Richard Sherman returns and that won’t change moving into next season.
We regressed, and it was our fault. We let leaders go to other teams. We did the same thing with our last little run. - Joel
There was no way that the 49ers could control Joe Staley’s retirement. He was the clear leader in the locker room and held everyone accountable. DeForest Buckner was a leader on defense, but, to a man, the defensive line, including Buck, all said that Dee Ford was the leader last season. One of the bigger losses that fans have underrated has been the loss of Emmanuel Sanders.
George Kittle and Fred Warner are learning how to lead. That’s not something that happens overnight. I doubt we’d be talking about leadership if Buckner didn’t make those comments and if the 49ers were winning. That cures all. Injuries have decimated the team. The play on the field is independent of leadership. I don’t disagree that there’s a lack of leadership on the team, and it’s shown at times, but that’s not the reason the Niners are 4-5.
That the interior offensive line might be a bigger issue than we anticipated. - Alexander
The 49ers came into the season hoping Weston Richburg would return sooner than later. Not only did Richburg start the season on the PUP list, but he had a setback after offseason shoulder surgery. It’s unlikely we see Richburg before December. Because of this, the team had to rely on a career journeyman in Ben Garland at center. Garland toughed it out through injury, but he did not play well. His backup, Hroniss Grasu, didn’t fare much better.
That domino effect trickled into Daniel Brunskill struggling. Brunskill played well last season, but that was mostly at tackle. His best start came in Week 17 at right guard, but that was one game. It was always going to take time for Brunskill to get comfortable at guard this season, especially without a preseason. Unfortunately, the 49ers did not have time. Injuries forced Brunskill to bounce back and forth between guard and center during training camp, and he was never able to get fully comfortable.
So, the 49ers rolled the dice that they’d be able to get by with replacement-level players along the interior and that gamble did not pay off. I’m fascinated to see whether the team views Brunskill or McKivitz as the future in the middle or if there are new investments at either center or guard this offseason.
Moving on from Jimmy G is only going to lead to worse things. -Ads
This is a take that I can’t entirely agree with. In my eyes, moving on from Garoppolo will not only raise the ceiling of this offense, but it’ll show fans how limited Jimmy G is as a quarterback. When I mentioned moving defenses with their shoulders or eyes above, that’s not something Jimmy does. Jimmy has been late on the easiest defined reads.
We don’t apply the word “anticipation” in the correct terms. There’s no way to throw with anticipation on every play. I see Garoppolo as a player who doesn’t see the field well or process what the defense is doing. There was a QB with “frozen feet” in the pocket whose accuracy is all over the place. All of this is independent of an injury. His struggles during the 2020 season make it easy to move on from him. When you factor in his injury history and what Jimmy is being paid, it’s a no-brainer.