The 49ers made a massive trade for QB Jimmy Garoppolo, but don’t hold your breath Faithful, we definitely won’t be seeing him take the field this Sunday (well unless CJ Beathard is taken out due to an injury, as Garoppolo will be active as the #2 QB). In fact, Jimmy might not play for the next few weeks, which is fine with me. If John Lynch has any indication they are going to be able to work out a long-term deal, let him take as long as necessary to learn the playbook while team gets healthy again along the offensive-line. Let’s take a look at the offensive match-ups the 49ers will see Sunday when they host the Arizona Cardinals.
*All grades are courtesy of Pro Football Focus and will be next to the respective players in parenthesis accordingly*
After a promising start to his career, rookie quarterback CJ Beathard (47.4) faced a huge challenge last week against the Philadelphia Eagles. The vaunted Eagles defensive-line was in Beathard’s face on almost every single play. The rookie signal-caller was running for his life, but still played a somewhat solid game. Beathard finished the game 17/36, 167 yards, 1 TD, & 2 INTs (one was returned for a touchdown). Unfortunately for Beathard, this week the 49ers placed their leading wide receiver, Pierre Garçon (82.5), on injured reserve. Garçon will miss the rest of the 2017 season with a neck injury, and will be missed dearly. In eight games with the 49ers, Garçon totaled 500 receiving yards on 40 receptions, but had yet to find the end-zone.
So who will step up on this 49ers defense against the Cardinals starting secondary consisting of CB Patrick Peterson (80.7), CB Brandon Williams (60.4), FS Tyrann Mathieu (49.1), and SS Tyvon Branch (89.1)? This unit also features reserves CB Travon Williams (75.4), CB Justin Bethel (44.5), FS Budda Baker (42.0), and former-49ers SS Antoine Bethea (87.5).
Without Garçon on the field for the 49ers, San Francisco will hope to have one of their young wide receivers step up to the plate. Perhaps one will rise out of the unproven likes of Victor Bolden JR (57.0), Kendrick Bourne (45.6), and Trent Taylor (51.5). This receiving group also features veterans like Aldrick Robinson (45.9) and Marquise Goodwin (70.4), who have yet to find their role in Kyle Shanahan’s offense yet this season. In order to find any success Sunday against the Cardinals, the 49ers will likely have to move the pocket pretty frequently for rookie QB CJ Beathard. Beathard looks to be pretty accurate while throwing on the run, so it shouldn’t be too tall of a task.
Running & Offensive-Line
This season, the 49ers running game was supposed to be their bread and butter. Man, that is so far from how it actually turned out. Bruising running back Carlos Hyde (44.0) has only topped 80 rushing yards twice this season — in weeks two and three. Since then, Hyde has totaled 68, 11, 28, 68, & 25 rushing yards in each game. These are definitely not the numbers you’d like to see from a back in a contract-year. However, you can’t put all the blame solely on Hyde (at least lately). The 49ers offensive-line has been ravaged by injuries this season. Some of the linemen who remain on the field playing are at best upper-level reserves, not meant to see extended playing time.
Newly-signed OT Bryce Harris looks to start in place of the injured Joe Staley (77.5), as he went down with a broken bone under his eye last week against the Eagles. Laken Tomlinson (47.3), Daniel Kilgore (43.7), Brandon Fusco (71.4), & Trent Brown (76.8) make up the remainder of the line. The 49ers also brought up OL Darell Williams JR from the practice squad this week as extra injury insurance, as we saw Trent Brown’s replacement, Gary Gilliam, exit the game last week with an injury.
The 49ers offensive-line will go up against a Cardinals front-seven that consists of: LDE Josh Mauro (44.4), NT Corey Peters (79.2), RDT Frostee Rucker (56.0), SAM Chandler Jones (83.9), SILB Deone Bucannon (36.6), RILB Karlos Dansby (39.6), & WLB Haason Reddick (45.6).
If the 49ers stay committed to the running game and don’t abandon it completely at halftime, they have of real chance of winning their first game this season. The Cardinals are not a very good team, especially at this point in the season. If SF is able to plug the holes on their offensive-line, and somehow stop anymore key players from getting injured, then they just might come away with this W Sunday.