The 49ers’ regular opener is close but feels so far away. Their 53-man roster is finalized, and head coach Kyle Shanahan is back in the headlines after recent transactions. Let’s take a look at three things we learned during the 49ers 2022 preseason below.
Samuel Womack elevates the defense
Samuel Womack’s ball skills were the best thing I saw all preseason. Womack held up in the slot and looked just as sharp on the outside. Yes, Womack did not go against the strongest competition in the three preseason games, but he made statement plays in everyone.
I’ll talk about the stress DeMeco Ryans’ defense puts on the defensive backs later. However, Womack’s press, ball skills, and coverage abilities are traits of a star corner. The cornerback room is as strong as it’s been in recent memory, and Womack could take them over the top.
The safeties will face the most pressure of any position group
General manager John Lynch knows what the safety position calls for. I gave the 49ers three reasons to take a safety with their first draft selection, but they weren’t done addressing the edge position. Now, the 49er defense will be without an All-Pro caliber player in Jimmie Ward for four weeks. It may be time to panic as the 49ers play the AFC West, the Miami Dolphins, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, especially when the 49ers love to run quarters, a safety-dependent coverage that leaves no room for error on the backend.
The 49ers aren’t sold on Trey Lance
This subheading hurt to type. Lynch and Shanahan told everyone in the offseason that “this is Trey Lance’s team.” While he remains QB1, it’s hard to believe re-signing Jimmy Garoppolo is for insurance.” I can’t think of any reason to bring back Garoppolo, but San Francisco’s front office thinks otherwise.
This could be a good thing for Lance. It applies pressure for him to succeed, and he has someone in his ear who’s been in this offense for five seasons. However, the franchise will be under high scrutiny if they miss the playoffs. San Francisco’s near Super Bowl-caliber roster has to be
At first, I had one of my subheadings: "The 49ers need Mike McGlinchey back asap.” That was an overreaction to the Texans-49ers game where Lance looked to be running for his life.
Then, I combined it with the makeup of the running back room, which was altered after the release of Trey Sermon (3rd round pick from the 2021 Draft.) The 49er running back committee looks to make a return after Elijah Mitchell carried the load last year. A room that has shifted from complete speedsters to more all-purpose backs.
The preseason had highs and lows and gave a hint of how the 2022 season could go. I said Lynch should be fired if Garoppolo is on the roster, but I just want to watch 49er football at this point.