There has been some discussion going around about Kyle Shanahan’s appearance on the podcast “Flying Coach” last week. Over the weekend, the topic shifted to why Kyle Shanahan is so open about being frustrated with his current quarterback.
So will the 49ers have over or under 10.5 wins in 2021?
Easily over 10.5 wins.
It is quite difficult to see the 49ers not reel in 10 or 11 wins. The floor for them in wins is 10 in 2021, which would be a 10-7 record. Not the prettiest record anymore because of that extra loss, but that is the floor for them. If the quarterback position is not a concern this season, then there is no reason for them to not rip off 12 or 13 wins.
Even if envisioning over 10.5 wins is tough, whether it is because of a potential drop-off on defense with a new defensive coordinator or the offensive line is shaky, then I would still pick it. The 49ers have to get over that 10.5 number to clinch the division and set themselves up with great playoff seeding. Plus, Kyle Shanahan has only one winning season with the 49ers, so another dominant winning one to help clean up his record is something he surely wants.
Last year’s PFF numbers is a good proving point that he’s still capable of playing at an above-average level. Yet the drop-off point for any defensive lineman can be awfully quick, and one should note Kerr hasn’t always been consistent with his pass-rushing prowess over the duration of his career.
Will the 49ers benefit from a nine-quarterback-hit kind of season? Or will Kerr revert back into generating two or three per year, which was the average leading up to 2020?
If it’s the latter, run-stopping nose tackles aren’t exactly hard to find. And the Niners still have the younger, cheaper Givens to count upon, too. While depth is important, it doesn’t seem likely San Francisco would use roster spots for three 1-technique defensive tackles.
“If you look at my track record, you’d be like, ‘Damn, this m----- f----- dominated against the Rams.’ I even blocked a punt against them. Why even go at me? I don’t know, maybe there’s film. I wish I knew what offensive coordinators think of me. Do they say, ‘We’re going to go at this guy, he doesn’t cover as well, doesn’t tackle well.”? I don’t think they say that. I just would like to know.
“I know (McVay) is going to try to at me this year. I’ve been talking a lot of s---. I’m pretty sure it’s going to get to him, so we’ll see. I’ll get more balls thrown to me, so I’ll get more action, and if I can back up what I’m talking about now and this whole offseason, hopefully I’ll get paid more money.”
The part of this list that is disgustingly wrong is the Niners being +650. Giving them odds nearly twice as good as Seattle’s with a quarterback who has never played in the NFL (or Jimmy Garoppolo) and a defense without DeForest Buckner, Kwon Alexander, or (potentially) Richard Sherman is wholly detached from reality. The Niners have an excellent coach in Kyle Shanahan, but the idea that the team will be as good as it was two years ago when it made the Super Bowl makes no sense whatsoever. It is, quite literally, not the same team, not to mention the fact that they also have a number of key players coming off of injuries. Sure, anything can happen, but you’d have to be a severely deluded 49ers fan to take them to win the NFC at anything better than +1500.
But a sophomore slump compounded by injuries quelled the hype for Samuel. He made it in just seven games, catching 33 passes with one score.
Still, Samuel has been wickedly effective when healthy, averaging 13.3 yards per catch and 8.4 yards per rush. It’s safe to feel he’ll be even more dangerous in 2021 on the same field as George Kittle and Brandon Aiyuk.
But if he’s not and some of this hype level isn’t realized, San Francisco might start eyeing ways to find insurance plans, especially if it means avoiding messy contract-extension talks since Samuel’s deal is up after 2022.
Quarterback Jeff Garcia
Played for the 49ers from 1999 to 2003. Started 71 games. Went to three straight Pro Bowls. Threw 31 touchdown passes in 2000 and 32 touchdown passes in 2001. The last 49ers quarterback to throw at least 30 touchdown passes in a season. Also the last 49ers quarterback to throw for at least 4,000 yards in a season.
Defensive Tackle Justin Smith
Played for the 49ers from 2008 to 2014. Started 110 games. Went to five straight Pro Bowls. Was an All Pro in 2011 when he arguably should have won Defensive Player of the Year. Recorded 43.5 sacks for the 49ers.