The other day when DeMeco Ryans said he expects defensive tackle Kevin Givens to be a break-out candidate on defense this season, the first question was, “wait, doesn’t he still have that legal charge hanging over his head?”
Well, that charge has been dropped.
Givens’ situation now has been resolved, and he is seen as an important member of the 49ers’ defensive line rotation. The charge, stemming from a Feb. 22 incident in Baltimore, recently was dropped.
Now that Givens’ status is known, the 49ers are expecting big things from him as he enters his third NFL season.
First-year defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans was asked Wednesday about which players he envisions taking big steps forward in 2021, Givens was the first name he mentioned.
“I think when you talk about young players who are on the verge of breaking out, I look at a young guy like Kevin Givens and the way he’s been working,” Ryans said. “It’s been outstanding to see him work. He’s getting better and better each day.”
Passer rating allowed: 64.1
Catch rate allowed below expectation: -16.5%
Tight window pct: 16%
Target rate: 12.7%
Average separation: 3.7 yards
Targeted expected points added: -21.8
Ladies and gentlemen, we’ve arrived at the one and only linebacker in the top 10. Warner’s numbers were freakishly good for a linebacker, a position that typically requires a read step to detect whether the play is a run or a pass before a player can then act on the play (giving pass catchers an advantage at the start), yet he still forced tight windows at a 16 percent rate, clearing the minimum requirement we set for linebackers in this exercise. His catch rate allowed below expectation of -16.5 percent is the best mark in that category for any qualifying player since 2017.
Kyle Shanahan commenting on Dante Pettis during the 49ers training camp in 2020:
“I was very excited with Dante,” Shanahan said. “He was one of the guys that I was looking forward to talking to the most. When he came in, I saw him right away and we got to talk and you could just tell his mindset, how his body was, that he spent the time away from us doing everything he could to put himself in a position to make this team and to be as successful as he can be.
“I was very excited with Dante. His mindset and body are in great shape. Very proud of Dante and he had his best practice just yesterday. The aggression and demeanor are there and I’ve been very pleased.”
Four of the 49ers’ five starting offensive line positions are settled after they re-signed Pro Bowl left tackle Trent Williams and picked up center Alex Mack during free agency. The only question here is who will start at right guard next to Mack and right tackle Mike McGlinchey.
San Francisco surprised the masses by picking former Notre Dame All-American Aaron Banks in the second round of the 2021 NFL Draft. Given how high he was selected, it seems reasonable to believe Banks has the upper-hand over the likes of Daniel Brunskill, Justin Skule and Tom Compton for that role.
No. 3: 49ers may employ much more Cover 4 looks
For the bulk of Robert Saleh’s tenure, the Niners used a Cover 3 scheme with a single-high safety, two boundary zone cornerbacks and the strong safety down in the box. This approach generally works when defenses have elite-level pass-rushers and high-caliber defensive backs, yet San Francisco lacked those in Saleh’s first two years.
So it’s no surprise he employed more traditional Cover 2 looks with his safeties being more interchangeable.
To guard against some of the more wide-open offenses the 49ers may encounter, particularly from the Arizona Cardinals, DeMeco Ryans may try to use more Cover 4 looks with the two safeties (Jimmie Ward and Jaquiski Tartt) being responsible for the areas around the hash marks, while the boundary corners handle duties outside of the numbers.