The 49ers had 12 former players nominated for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Patrick Willis will be a snub each year he doesn’t make it.
Also, congrats to Mitch Wishnowsky on winning Special Teams Player of the Week. He pinned the Eagles inside of their 10-yard line twice.
I’m a fan of this big, tough, and versatile team player. Patrick is a better runner than credited, because he
worked in the shadow of Cam Akers and before Akers, Dalvin Cook. He also played in the middle of a coaching transition at FSU.
Patrick is good at what one would expect from a back of his dimensions, which hasn’t always been the case in
recent years with big men. He generates movement in collisions with defensive linemen and linebackers. He can win direct collisions with all three levels of the defense.
When faced with bouncing a run outside or lowering the pads and taking on a defender at the line of scrimmage, Patrick will opt for the one-on-one, physical confrontation. Although he’s a tall runner, he will drop the pads and attack his opponents so he can hit and slide over top for extra yardage.
So . . . what about Frank Gore?
“I would never put anything past Frank,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said on Wednesday. “If we gave him a little heads-up and some notice, he’ll always be ready. We thought it was a little early for that. Guys still have a chance of playing this week.
“(We) would never fully rule that out. Don’t know exactly where he is right now. There are a number of people in here who have a relationship with him. If that time ever comes when we need to do it and he wants to do it, we would never rule it out.”
Randall Cunningham, Jake Delhomme, Boomer Esiason, Jeff Garcia
Cornelius Bennett, Lance Briggs, Tedy Bruschi, London Fletcher, Seth Joyner, Willie McGinest (also DE), *Sam Mills, Hardy Nickerson Sr., Takeo Spikes, Pat Swilling (also DE), *Zach Thomas, DeMarcus Ware, Patrick Willis
Eric Allen (CB), *Ronde Barber (CB/S), Dre Bly (DB), *LeRoy Butler (S), Nick Collins (S), Antonio Cromartie (CB), Merton Hanks (S), Rodney Harrison (S), Albert Lewis (CB), Tim McDonald (S),
But after watching the film of Sunday’s 17-11 win over the Eagles, it’s clear Shanahan is calling passes for Aiyuk.
The quarterback, Jimmy Garoppolo, simply isn’t throwing to him.
Remember, Aiyuk mostly played with Nick Mullens last season — those two had a terrific connection. Aiyuk is an excellent route runner outside the numbers and down the field, and Mullens loves throwing those long passes.
Garoppolo doesn’t. Garoppolo knows when he throws long passes toward the sideline, he tends to get intercepted — that’s what happened almost every day in training camp this year — and if he gets intercepted, he could get benched. So he’s playing the most conservative style of football of his career. That’s why Aiyuk isn’t getting the ball more often. Garoppolo isn’t capable or willing to get Aiyuk the ball where he typically wins.
The 49ers for the first time in the Kyle Shanahan era went three-and-out on their first three drives. They didn’t get a first down until there was 13:13 left in the second quarter. In all he punted five times, averaged 45.2 yards per kick and pinned the Eagles inside the 20 three times.
There were two kicks in particular that stood out though. One of them came with 7:21 in the second quarter when he unloaded a moon shot that landed at the Eagles’ 1 and ultimately downed at the 3.
You definitely knew the history and the expectations,” Smith said. “It was such a rebuilding process my first few years. There was a ton of turnover, trying to get the building right and get the locker room right. In the midst of that, you are just trying to do your job as best you can. No doubt, those banners hang there and you can’t miss them. The rich history, so much of the alumni is still around and you get to meet them and get to know them. So, you definitely know the expectation level.”
Smith faced constant questions about whether he could translate his college success in Utah’s wide-open offense to the NFL while the league was exploding in popularity and the internet was suddenly offering a platform for anyone who wanted one.