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Golden Nuggets: The 49ers must find a way to overcome the injury bug in 2021

Your daily San Francisco 49ers links for Wednesday, January 13, 2021 

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NFL: SEP 13 Cardinals at 49ers Photo by MSA/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Monday was a busy day for the 49ers as Robert Saleh and Adam Peters made it to the next round for their respective interviews and Martin Mayhew received a request to interview for Washington Football’s GM job.

With the Colts' left tackle retiring, some also fear that the 49ers may lose Trent Williams to Indianapolis. That speculation may be premature, but Williams did say he wondered what his market would look like during his exit interview.

Why the 49ers Must Not Rely on Injuries as an Excuse for 2021

The immense amount of injuries that this team suffered week in and week out dating back as far as training camp was too great to overcome. No team saw as many injuries as the 49ers did this season.

There is really no explaining this phenomena. The only thing that comes to mind is if the 49ers set up ladders on the full length of their football field and sprinted under them.

Injuries derailed the season for the 49ers. Certainly if health was not an issue, then they would have been playing on Wild Card weekend. While I believe that would have been the case, the 49ers must not rely on injuries as an excuse for 2020.

If the 49ers themselves fully buy into injuries being the lone cause for why they failed to meet expectations, then they will fail to meet them again in 2021. Buying into the excuse would mean that the players and coaches have NOTHING to improve on. That everyone played solid throughout the season

How Tarvarius Moore could play key role in 49ers’ new-look secondary


If the 49ers move on from Tartt, his replacement might already be in house. Third-year pro Tarvarious Moore played strong safety near the end of 2020 for the first time in his career and sounds like he’ll be prepping this offseason to become the full-time strong safety opposite free safety Jimmie Ward in 2021.

“I definitely want to bulk up this offseason, just add that extra layer for the protection and the longevity of the season,” Moore said last month. “So that’s definitely my goal this offseason, to gain at least five to eight pounds of true muscle.”

Moore, who wasn’t invited to the scouting combine in 2018, put his name on the map with a strong performance at Southern Mississippi’s pro day. He ran a 4.32 in the 40-yard dash, which ranked in the 99th percentile of safeties. He showed similar explosiveness in the jumping drills, posting a 38 1/2-inch vertical (85th percentile) and 133-inch broad jump (96th percentile).

What makes 49ers’ Saleh such an attractive coaching candidate

Saleh’s defense was the main reason the 49ers advanced to the Super Bowl last year. Yet, his better coaching job came this season when injuries decimated the roster and the 49ers’ defense still ranked among the league’s best in nearly every statistical measure.

He is a very good defensive coordinator. But his attention to detail and rare ability to earn the trust of those around him could make him an even better head coach.

Sure, the success of Saleh’s defense with the 49ers has helped him land a few Zoom invites. But his preparedness, people skills and overall vision are truly what make him one of the prime candidates of the NFL hiring season.

SF 49ers NFL Draft: 5 players who impressed most during CFB Playoff

If you want to see the difference a player can make, go back and watch how Ohio State’s offensive line looked before offensive guard Wyatt Davis went down before halftime with an injury and how that line looked afterward.

Davis, one of the premier prospective interior linemen in this year’s draft, handled his own very well against a talented Alabama defensive front before his injury, and one could see how the Crimson Tide needed to rely more on blitzes to get to Justin Fields.

Davis and fellow interior lineman Josh Myers were big reasons why.

Davis’ move skills were already well known before the injury, and one can only hope the setback suffered on Monday isn’t too serious.

It could, however, force Davis’ stock to fall into Round 2. And that wouldn’t be a bad spot for the Niners to look for some interior help to bolster what was a weak unit in 2020.

State of the 49ers, RB edition: Backfield speed and Kyle Juszczyk’s value

As far as consistency, Mostert and Wilson paced the 49ers’ backs when it came to the rate of runs that yielded positive expected points, per TruMedia:

Rushing success rate

  1. Mostert: 44.6 percent
  2. Wilson: 43.4 percent
  3. McKinnon: 34.3 percent

Mostert and Wilson have made it clear that not just anyone can succeed running in Shanahan’s system. Plus-burst and decisiveness are necessary to fit the creases opened by the zone-blocking scheme. Mostert and Wilson have also both delivered huge plays in the passing game over the past two seasons.