There was outrage from 49ers fans on Twitter this week after Ahkello Witherspoon said he feels like he’s the best cornerback in the NFL. For starters, who cares? Secondly, based on the first part of 2019 and the last month of 2020, I can see why Witherspoon feels that way.
There’s a good chance ‘Spoon starts in Seattle this season. He’’ have an opportunity to prove himself.
“He was way better than I expected.”
“Aiyuk was thriving as a true No. 1 WR.”
“I’m ready to put Aiyuk on the same axis of WRs that includes Stefon Diggs, Calvin Ridley, and Terry McLaurin. I was blown away by how good of a route runner Aiyuk was.”
The problem for the Seahawks is that if Jones ends up with the 49ers, he will be a taller receiver at a time where losing Shaquill Griffin in free agency has put the Seahawks’ cornerback position in transition. He’s 6 foot 3, 220 pounds, and the Seahawks appear to be going smaller at corner in 2021.
It’s not out of the question for the Seahawks to start two former 49ers – D.J. Reed and Ahkello Witherspoon – at cornerback. Witherspoon matches up well against Jones. He’s 6-3 and 198 pounds. Tre Flowers, who started seven games in 2020, also matches well with Jones’ size at 6-3 and 203. Reed, however, is just 5-9 and 188 pounds.
Bracket and MOD are pass-down calls because the star is out of the run fit, which means the defense could be outnumbered in the box. Alabama accounts for the numbers disadvantage by two-gapping their defensive linemen but it’s not ideal. If the defense wants the star to be part of the run fit, they’ll call Mix. Mix is essentially the same as MOD, but the nickel is much more aggressive against the run, and the safety has to come off the roof and aggressively play No. 2, even if he runs a bubble.
In that moment, and how Garoppolo has carried himself ever since, he has proven to be an even-stronger team leader than anyone could have ever imagined.
This is the kind of thing that fractures locker rooms. Long-time 49ers fans recall the divide, debate and controversy for the years in which Joe Montana was the starter and Steve Young was striving to replace him.
Ultimately, that situation worked out fine. The 49ers followed one Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback with another.
Garoppolo’s actions and words through this point have sent a message to the team and the fan base that there is no reason to take sides.
While I expect Hurd to show up this season, if he doesn’t, or if he has to be eased back in slowly, I expect Travis Benjamin to make an impact. Last season, Benjamin was not injured, but he did opt out of the season due to COVID-19 concerns. And considering the 2020 49ers had to use receivers like Dante Pettis, River Cracraft, Kevin White, and Trent Taylor, they could have used the speedy wideout. Benjamin has struggled with injuries so far in his career, but if he can stay healthy, the lightning-quick receiver has the chance to be a great fit for Shanahan as a slot receiver.