The San Francisco 49ers didn’t practice Saturday, but that didn’t stop the team from making a few additions to the roster. More on that later this morning.
Yes, Brandon Aiyuk has been flashing in training camp. But one could make the argument Taylor has been the most impressive wide receiver over the course of practices, again getting open for Garoppolo on a regular basis and serving as a viable go-to option against San Francisco’s lethal pass rush.
The 49ers quarterback has teamed up with CityTeam, a Bay Area non-profit organization that helps families and people experiencing extreme poverty, to sell face masks with Garoppolo’s iconic phrase across the front.If you’re one of the many 49ers fans who adopted the phrase last season and want to add to your mask collection, you can do so at https://jimmygmasks.com.
But he appears healthy now, and he’s still a superb route runner — the best one on the 49ers. He moves like a slot receiver. Plus he has fantastic hand-eye coordination and he makes contested catches in traffic.
And you can tell head coach Kyle Shanahan loves calling plays for Reed. Shanahan and his father, Mike, drafted Reed in 2013. They discovered and developed him.
And after just one week of camp with the 49ers, Reed already looks like the most consistent pass-catcher on the team other than Kittle.
Meaning if Reed stays healthy, he could catch roughly 50 passes, score eight touchdowns and the 49ers could have the best tight end tandem in the league.
Funny how things can change in a week.
Talent-wise this 49ers defense is very good but not great to the level of the early-2000s Baltimore Ravens or mid-1980s Chicago Bears. This 49ers defense is more comparable to the early-2000s Tampa Bay Buccaneers and even then, the 49ers might be worse on sheer talent.
So, why does this season’s 49ers defense have a legitimate chance to be as statistically dominant as those teams? It’s all tied to COVID-19.
Certainly, the 49ers have one of the most talented defensive rosters in the NFL right now. Second year defensive end Nick Bosa is considered a top candidate for the Defensive Player of the Year award, Richard Sherman is still an All-Pro cornerback even if he’s lost half a step, linebacker Fred Warner is primed to elevate into the argument for the best linebacker in the NFL and multiple other players could make the Pro Bowl.
“Jimmy’s been great,” Shanahan said. “I want him to improve on (everything). I want him to never have an incompletion, and never have an interception. So, we’re going to keep working on that until that gets done.
Jimmy has been great,” Shanahan continued. “It’s been fun to have him this training camp, coming off an offseason where he wasn’t injured.
“Last year, when he came into it, his mind was just 100 percent consumed with recovering from that ACL, as all players are who come back from an ACL. And it was just really cool coming into this camp where you could tell the whole offseason, he didn’t have to think about his ACL. That was out of sight, out of mind, and he could just focus on preparing for camp the best way that he could.
“And that’s why I think he’s come into camp definitely ahead of where he was last year coming off the injury. That’s allowed him to work through things better and get better from each practice, when you’re not consumed with, ‘Am I going to be able to take this? When it going to be my first hit on my knee?’
1. Damon “Snacks” Harrison - Nose Tackle
Why Harrison should be signed:
The 49ers run defense ranked 17th in yards allowed last season. With the departure of DeForest Buckner, it is likely that the run defense will be worse. The team is counting on strong seasons from D.J. Jones and Javon Kinlaw, which has its concerns.
Back to Harrison. Harrison resembles Buckner in the sense that he is an absolute iron man. From 2013-2019, Harrison played in 113 out of 114 possible games. He’s also just as impressive as a run defender, as he is durable. Harrison is one of the top run defenders in the game, as he posted a Pro Football Focus run grade of 87 or higher, in six of eight seasons.
A signing of Harrison would stunt the rookie season of Kinlaw. But that may be okay, considering multiple 49ers’ beat reporters have reported Kinlaw certainly looks like a project. If Kinlaw takes time to develop, it’ll be fine as long as there is an established veteran at the position to right the ship. Otherwise, there will be a lot of pressure on the 14th pick to hold his own on a Super Bowl caliber team.