Heading into 2019, you would have looked at the San Francisco 49ers schedule and said the top quarterbacks they’d face were Russell Wilson, Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Matt Ryan, and Cam Newton or Big Ben. I wasn’t falling for Cleveland’s offseason hype, so Baker Mayfield was never a legitimate option for me. The Niners didn’t have to face the former two, and Rodgers or Ryan didn’t “wow” against the 49ers. Now that we have hindsight, I’d say the most difficult quarterbacks the team faced were Wilson, Kyler Murray, Lamar Jackson, Brees, and can I say Wilson again?
Looking at this year’s schedule, which quarterback will give the 49ers the most fits on defense? As long as Wilson is on Seattle’s roster, he’ll be the top answer, especially since San Francisco will play him twice a season. After Wilson, I’m sticking with Murray. I’m not saying Kyler will be the second-best quarterback the Niners face this season, but he won’t be far off with the weapons Arizona has and Murray’s ability to extend the play.
The Saints and the Packers are on the schedule once again this year. Will 41-year-old Brees still be able to stress defenses down the field? If I’m a defense, I’m testing Brees’s arm strength and loading the box. That’ll be a fun cat and mouse game come Week 10. After the Packers didn’t add any firepower for Aaron Rodgers, I feel like we’re just going based on name if we list him. That’s not a slight to Rodgers, but what did you see in 2019 from Green Bay that would lead you to believe they’ll pose a threat to the 49ers defense? Not much!
The question is, who will pose the biggest threats to the 49ers defense. I’m not asking who the best quarterbacks the 49ers face are. That’s too easy. The options are Carson Wentz, Tua Tagovailoa, Josh Allen, and Dak Prescott. I’ll believe in the young New York quarterbacks when they give us a reason to. Dak is a no-brainer. He’s not as mobile as Wilson or Murray, but Prescott can make plays outside of the structure of an offense. Against the 49ers, there is no more dangerous weapon at quarterback than a player that can run out of sacks, which brings us to the fourth answer, Wentz.
NFC East fans have been arguing all offseason who is better: Wentz or Dak? My answer is Wentz has 15-20 plays a season where he looks superhuman and plays at an MVP level, while Dak has 15-20 plays where he one-hops a third-down throw or misses on another play. Those are the plays we remember, so that’s why there’s an argument. Football is about consistency, and that’s why I’d pick Dak. Both quarterbacks are incredibly talented and will keep their teams in the game against the 49ers.
Tua is a rookie. Allen is inconsistent, though, by Week 13, he may have found his groove. Dwayne Haskins finished the year on a high note in his final two starts, but he has a long way to go. The process of elimination brings us back to the Hall of Famer Brees. My answers:
Who is your top-five?