• Terrance Epps

Impact Players to Watch For vs. The Vikings


Image Credit: Kelley L. Cox, USA Today Sports

In the words of the legendary musician John Sebastian, Welcome Back, Welcome Back, Welcome Baaacck!!

Football finally made its triumphant return yesterday. The season kicked off with a nice battle of the birds, as the Atlanta Falcons visit the defending Super Bowl Champion Philadelphia Eagles. As the game unfolded, the thirst for more gridiron action slowly began to manifest in our entire being until it fully consumed us for the next six months. Kick-off weekend is always an exciting time of the year. Fans from all over the globe, come into the new season with the same hopes and aspirations of the previous city’s team champs. All 32 teams will begin their chase for the Lombardi trophy. While there are many storylines full of intrigue, let’s take a look at a few players on the Niners whom I expect to flourish.

Arik Armstead:

I cannot emphasize the importance of this player’s impact. With the steady emergence of Deforest Buckner, the Niners have been salivating for another disruptive lineman to compliment Buckner’s talent. As a former first round pick back in 2015, Armstead already had high expectations coming out of Oregon. However, during his four year pro career, Armstead has found it extremely difficult to remain healthy enough to stay on the field. He’s only played in 30 games since coming into the league and managed to accumulate 56 total tackles within that span. The Niners are hoping for an injury free campaign for Armstead as well as the entire unit.

Running Back Committee:

Welp! Now that the much anticipated backfield of “Jet-Juice” (Jerick McKinnon & Kyle Juszczyk), is put on hold until next season, I’m curious to see if the Niners are content with their current Running Backs or will they look to add some additional firepower to that position. Would it be conceivable to call Pittsburgh and try to pry Le’Veon Bell from the clutches of Steeler nation? Yeah, yeah I know…too expensive, locker room concerns and whatever else Bell may bring to the table, but boy oh boy would that be an interesting move or what? The Niners seem to be heading into week 1 with Matt Breida, Alfred Morris and Raheem Mostert to begin the season. With Mostert primarily featured as a special teams player, Breida and Morris will be expected to shoulder the load. Are they ready, willing and able to meet and/or exceed expectations? Guess we’re just going to have to sit back and observe.

Jimmy Garoppolo:

Last but certainly far from least, the man of the hour, Jimmy G! Not only mine but, all eyes will be plastered on Tom Brady’s protégé. With only seven career starts in the NFL, Garoppolo’s sample size is quite minute. However, the footage that’s available of his performances, is more than enough to comprise an adequate assessment of his game. Intelligent, accurate, leader, are just a few words to describe the Prodigal son from Franklin Park Illinois. Garoppolo has an opportunity to etch his name into Niners history. If he, and the entire offensive unit can consistently gel throughout the season, we may be in for a real treat. Despite the devastating injury to Jerick McKinnon, the weapons surrounding Garoppolo just may be enough to earn a post-season spot.

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