With the bye week upon us, Akash Anavarathan and I took a bird’s eye view of the team in today’s Shanaplan podcast. After five games, the 49ers are 2-3. Things haven’t exactly gone according to plan, but there’s still a lot of football left to play. So, as of right now, what are the strongest and weakest parts of the team so far?
Akash’s Strongest: DeMeco Ryans
“There were early calls for his firing after the first couple of weeks...He’s been phenomenal. What he did to Kyler Murray on Sunday should not be forgotten. Held him to one rushing yard, I think. Their total offense, they were out-gained by San Francisco. They had Kliff Kingsbury and Kyler Murray in hell for most of that game. If the 49ers' offense could have put up any points there, they might have come away with winning it. Some of the DVOA, success rate, EPA per play metrics don’t show it, but they’ve been phenomenal.”
Rob’s Strongest: Nick Bosa
Just gonna leave this here...
Double team rate at edge (x) by pass rush win rate at edge (y), through Week 5.— Seth Walder (@SethWalder) October 12, 2021
Realized Raiders and WFT were omitted accidentally last week (name change error). Fixed now.
(ESPN / NFL Next Gen Stats) pic.twitter.com/T3BX8kbxNA
Akash’s Weakest: Kyle Shanahan
“I think they tried to accomplish too much. I think they tried to win as much as possible this season and develop a rookie quarterback...The coaching staff coming into the season came in with a funky plan, and then they tried the whole two quarterback thing. He’s been mismanaging some of these roster situations. His play-calling, which I hate nit-picking because it’s such an execution-based, subjective thing, but it’s just felt kind of off this season. Fourth down decision-making, just game management in general, has just felt off. I think that’s been the least impressive part, which is disappointing because he’s the team’s best asset, but he just hasn’t lived up to Kyle Shanahan standards.”
Rob’s Weakest: The Offensive Line
For a team whose offense is built around the ground game, the 49ers have been pretty bad at running the football so far this season. On the year, San Francisco is averaging 4.2 yards per carry - 17th best in the NFL. While some of that can be attributed to game situations, backups playing at running back, etc., it can’t all be explained by those mitigating factors. The simple truth is that for a team that still has all of its starters playing on the O-line, the blocking simply hasn’t been good enough. We all know the pass blocking issues that the team deals with, but those are supposed to be at least tolerated because of dominance at the other part of the job. This season, the run blocking has regressed, and I don’t know why.
Other topics covered in the show
- Which QB should start the rest of the season?
- Who is most to blame for the Brandon Aiyuk situation?
- Final record predictions