It was a fun weekend of football. Coaches who coach conservative continue to cost their team. We saw Frank Reich do it on Saturday then we saw Mike Vrabel do the same on Sunday.
The Tenessee Titans’ preparation to stop Lamar Jackson in Sunday’s AFC Wild Card matchup included using a quarterback, who ran a slower 40-yard dash than 49ers punter Mitch Wishnowsky, to emulate the reigning NFL MVP.
No wonder the Titans lost 20-13 to the Baltimore Ravens while allowing Jackson to rush 16 times for 136 yards and a touchdown.
ESPN’s Dianna Russini reported Sunday that the Titans used third-string QB DeShone Kizer as a stand-in for Jackson’s speed.
Kizer, at the 2017 NFL Scouting Combine, ran a 4.83 40-yard dash.
Wishnowsky, in 2019, ran a 4.63 40-yard dash.
And Jackson? He told reporters in 2018 (h/t ESPN) that he was timed running a 4.34 40-yard dash.
CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora reportedly had a few exchanges with NFL executives who feel a deal between the Texans and the 49ers could take place should the situation with Watson “go nuclear.” It would involve quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and “several high picks” going to Houston in exchange for Watson (h/t to Patrick Tulini for the find).
La Canfora notes that a trade with the 49ers would get Watson out of the AFC and reunite Garoppolo with new Texans general manager Nick Caserio, who was the director of player personnel in New England when Garoppolo was drafted.
It’s also important to point out the absence of players like Bosa and fellow EDGE Dee Ford, whose injuries mostly prevented the Niners from boasting a lethal speed rush from a Wide 9 alignment, which would have opened up more interior opportunities for a player like Kinlaw.
Kinlaw and Armstead, the latter boasting a 10-sack campaign in 2019 but had 3.5 last season, became the de facto best players on a shorthanded San Francisco defensive line.
With Bosa projected to be back from his ACL tear in 2021, that will no longer be the case.
A deeper and more healthy crop of defensive linemen only serves to benefit Kinlaw, who’ll also be able to hone his own abilities while managing the returns of much-needed reinforcements.
The 49ers were always going to need edge rush help, but news that Dee Ford may not return next season because of his back injury ratchets up the necessity of addressing this spot. San Francisco’s defense thrives when its putting pressure on quarterbacks. That will continue being the case even in a post-Robert Saleh era. Nick Bosa is the only pure edge rusher they have under contract for next season, and finding an affordable talent through the draft would be helpful.
After I pissed off this one player in particular, I texted his agent something positive to maintain the relationship, in the sense that we ever had one. He never returned my calls, but he texted me once, so I felt like we could do business.
This time, he didn’t text me back. Instead, he sent an audio text message, which is something I had never received or sent. It was like a voicemail you receive as a text message. And on it, the agent said something to the effect of, “I don’t know what you thought you were doing, I don’t know who you think you are, but I want you to know you’re dead to me, you’re dead to my client and I’m sure you’re dead to the 49ers. No one on the team or in the organization is going to talk to you after this.”