While it was certainly a winnable game for the 49ers, making the loss sting even more, there was some solace in the defeat, as San Francisco saw the arrival of a new face: defensive end Randy Gregory.
It’s safe to say that Gregory came onto the scene quickly, totaling three pressures, one sack, one tackle for loss, and three run stops in 26 snaps.
The snap count is especially eye-opening as Gregory already out-snapped fellow defensive end Drake Jackson 26 to 22, despite joining the team just this week.
As a result, Gregory trailed just Nick Bosa and Clelin Ferrell in that category, potentially paving the way for more to come as the acclimation period continues.
Head coach Kyle Shanahan alluded to that, pointing to Gregory’s instant impact and what’s to come with time.
“I thought it was a positive one just getting out there. He has been in our scheme for two and a half practices up to that moment. To be able to get in there and make some plays, get in the sack and the TFL. I loved his length out there. I love what we saw. I think the more he gets with us, the more he practices, the more he understands our scheme, the better he’ll get,” Shanahan said.
Gregory chimed in after his first game with the 49ers, sharing disappointment in the loss, given how close the tough battle was.
“Anywhere you’re at, it stings, especially a team like that,” Gregory said after the game. “We talked about all week about it being kind of a dogfight going in. I think some people that are casuals probably think the Browns aren’t the greatest team, but we understood the type of task we had at hand, the type of defense they had. So we knew we were going to be in a dogfight, and that’s the way it goes.”
“I think a couple of plays are changed and go our way, we come out with the win, but you can’t get stuck on that. On to next week.”
The 49ers will look to continue integrating Gregory as a pass-rusher starting with the Minnesota Vikings this week on Monday Night Football.
If he can continue producing as he did alongside the stars on San Francisco’s defensive line, the 49ers will hold an even stronger defensive front, increasing their floor.