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Golden Nuggets: Joe Staley says Lance could add pieces to the 49ers that defenses must account for

Your daily San Francisco 49ers links for Saturday, October 2, 2021

Green Bay Packers v San Francisco 49ers Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

This quote from Kyle Shanahan about Trenton Cannon made me think that Cannon will receive a few touches against Seattle — especially if it’s a screen pass:

“We brought him here for special teams but with what he’s shown us in practice, we have no problem putting him in at running back. I’ve watched what he’s done on other teams and when he’s gotten his opportunity, he has playmaking ability.”

How NFL defenses are evolving to stop the boot-action explosion

Traditional boot-action concepts are built like any old ‘flood’ concept: there’s a deep route, an intermediate route, and a short route. In the modern game, with almost all just about quarterbacks mobile enough to be a perimeter threat, the quarterback is – as coaches like to say – his own checkdown. If nothing is open, he can carry the ball himself.

(This, by the way, is why should be rightly excited/worried — delete as necessary — about the future Shanahan-Trey Lance partnership. We’ve yet to see one of the horizontal-stretch gurus paired with a genuine perimeter rushing threat.)

You know how the rest goes, too. Usually that quarterback rolls, opens up his hips and fires to a receiver swooping across the field. The defense bites one way, the ball flies the other way:

Seahawks-49ers preview: 5 Qs and 5 As with Niners Nation on pivotal rivalry game

3.) What has been the biggest surprise (pleasant or otherwise) to San Francisco’s 2-1 start?

I’ll give you one pleasant surprise and one otherwise. The pleasant surprise has been Deebo Samuel leveling up to an absolute monster. He’s currently second in the league in yards, and the offense almost singlehandedly ran through him the first two weeks. After an up-and-down sophomore season, marred by injuries, he has leveraged his unique mix of power and speed to ramble and rumble through defenses, like a souped up semi.

As for a surprise that’s not so pleasant, the lack of running game has been baffling. The team currently averages a minuscule 3.6 yards per carry, which pales in comparison to last year’s 4.3, and ranks a full yard lower than the Super Bowl team. Trying to recapture that 2019 mojo, Alex Mack was added at center to bolster the offensive line, and two running backs were added in the draft. So, what’s happening?

Why Joe Staley believes Trey Lance should play outside of red zone

“We see the limitations of Jimmy and we all know where his ceiling is,” said Staley, an analyst for NBC Sports Bay Area. “Is Trey’s ceiling going to be so much further? And there’s a balance act right now between playing Trey — is he the best player for this football team and hindering his long-term development.

“He’s not going down the field all of the time, but he is protecting the football. He’s making key third downs late in the game. I think he’s playing efficient football. But there’s that unknown that Trey has right now that’s causing a lot of fans and a lot of dialogue about what can be.”

“I think Trey can add pieces to this offense that defenses are going to have to account for and I don’t think we’ve even seen what that can be because the plays you run at the goal line and inside the 5-yard line, where you’ve seen him come in, are different from what you can see in the open field,” Staley said. “And I think he can do a lot of things, obviously, with his arm talent but also the play actions. It’s a different look for the defense to prepare for.”

Richard Sherman explains why he signed with Bucs over 49ers

“I went with the best offer I had, the best opportunity to go out there and put some great tape on, to lead another group,” Sherman said. “I feel comfortable and confident in my abilities to go out there and execute and help that team win. Obviously, I have a ton of love for the faithful and 49er fans and the 49ers’ front office and that team. A lot of guys and a lot of friends I’m still rooting for and cheering for throughout the season. Obviously still have a lot of friends with the Seattle Seahawks.

“But this was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up, and I weighed all of the options with my wife and my family, and this is what we came up with. Ready to strap them back up and go out there and show that these old legs still have some juice.”

Why Jimmy Garoppolo’s starting job isn’t likely going anywhere

The 49ers, for all their offensive shortcomings the last two weeks, are probably going to be in contention as long as Garoppolo is healthy which is why he’s not going anywhere this season – even if it does mean scuffling through a game against the Eagles and then needing a furious rally only to lose in the waning seconds to the Packers.

The 49ers knew exactly what the Garoppolo roller coaster was when they got on, and they’re not going to get off after the first steep drop because there’s another high coming. It’s the nature of his play and has been during his tenure in the Bay Area. It’s suboptimal for sure, which is why San Francisco is very likely moving off Garoppolo after 2021. But they’re fine with suboptimal this year if it means optimizing the astronomical talent waiting in the wings.