Image Credit ; Andrew Giesemann
NFL fans put their hearts, souls and hard-earned dollars into their favorite teams and, as such, are extremely prone to hyperbole. Sundays and Mondays are filled with hot takes from fans overreacting to wins, losses and everything in between. With the 49ers not living up to expectations, overreactions have been running rampant among the fan base. These are some of the most popular and the reality that brings the takes back down to Earth.
Kyle Shanahan isn’t cut out to be a head coach and needs to be fired!
Let’s start with the most outrageous. Head coach Kyle Shanahan is off to his second consecutive poor start to a season. However, the difference this year is the weight of injuries and expectations from the offseason. For better or worse, a team’s performance is traced directly back to the head coach and many calling for Shanahan’s job point to the lack of fundamentals as a representation of poor coaching. Coaches can scheme and draw up game plans as much as they would like but, in the end, it falls on the players to go out and execute. Shanahan’s play-calling is still among the best in the league and when the players execute, it looks like an elite offense. He also doesn’t struggle with clock management, which has plagued many a team this season. Shanahan was signed to a six-year deal to conduct a complete rebuild and he is not going anywhere, nor should he.
C.J. Beathard needs to be benched and the 49ers should give Nick Mullens a chance to shine!
Watching quarterback C.J. Beathard is a roller coaster of emotions. One play, he’s hitting tight end George Kittle in stride for a big gain and the next he’s fumbling the ball after getting hit. There’s no question that Beathard has looked more comfortable in Shanahan’s offense than he did as a rookie last year, but his lack of pocket presence and accuracy under pressure are the main reason the 49ers are dead last in turnover differential. All of this said, preseason hero and third-string quarterback Nick Mullens is not the answer. After going undrafted, Mullens spent the entirety of last season on the practice squad so he does have some familiarity with Shanahan’s system but no experience against starting-caliber players. As much as Beathard was not ready last season, Mullens would be eaten alive by the speed of the game and opposing defenses. It may not be ideal, but everyone is along for the roller coaster ride that is C.J. Beathard football.
John Lynch hasn’t traded for any players to help the team! He needs to go!
The NFL trade market has been the Wild West compared to years past and the 49ers have been awfully quiet on that front. Big time players such as linebacker Khalil Mack and wide receivers Amari Cooper and Josh Gordon are among the pieces that have switched teams since the preseason concluded. The most that anyone has heard from the 49ers front office is that they have conducted their “due diligence” on each of these players. Considering that the receiving corps and pass rush have underperformed almost every game, watching these players change hands without the 49ers involved is frustrating the fan base. Much like Shanahan, John Lynch was signed to a six-year deal and both are in for the long haul. Since the pair have taken over, they have proven that when they desire a player, they will pay the price they think he is worth. Running back Jerick McKinnon and fullback Kyle Juszczyk were both rewarded with contracts bigger than their perceived market value. McKinnon’s preseason ACL tear has not allowed to showcase how he would fit in Shanahan’s system but Juszczyk has been used as a Swiss Army knife in the offense and proven his worth. Lynch clearly believes that the draft picks hold more value in a lost season than grabbing veterans off the trading block. The jury may be out of whether or not John Lynch has the makeup of an NFL GM but not trading for players in the middle of a season should not be the nail in the coffin.
George Kittle is the best tight end in the league, it’s not even close!
Let’s end this on a positive overreaction. TE George Kittle has been PFF’s highest graded tight end on the season and is the only sophomore player for the 49ers truly taking the next step in his development. He has been one of the lone bright spots among the offense with his consistency in both the run and pass game. Kittle routinely pancake blocks linebackers and defensive lineman as he plays through the whistle on every down. His ability and tenacity after the catch have him willing the offense to first downs and is why he leads the league in yards after the catch (YAC). However, the sample size is too small to crown him as the best just yet. Kittle may very well prove this reaction true by the end of the season but he needs to show that he can continue to shine on a weekly basis.
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