There are now tons of Xmas cards flowing from the Bay Area to Foxboro thanking Bill Belichick for the early Xmas he gave to Niner fans back on Halloween. On that night, the Niners received their savior QB, Jimmy Garoppolo, for years to come for a paltry 2nd round draft pick in 2018.
In an earlier post, I said that the Niners are 2 years behind the resurgent LA Rams who now boast an 11-4 record and clinched the NFC West title yesterday. With Garoppolo in place, Lynch and Shanahan can now focus on building their team around Jimmy G. instead of continuing to search for a quality QB. The Niners will have to pay Garoppolo handsomely, but he has now proven that he is worth every penny that he gets paid. With Jimmy G. in place, I am now saying that the Niners are less than 1 year behind the Rams and will compete for the NFC title with them in 2018 and beyond. The Niners and Rams will take their rightful places in the NFC West again as the dominance of the Seahawks is coming to an end.
While Garoppolo had yet another outstanding day with 21 of 30 completed passes with 2 TD’s and 1 INT and a passer rating of 102.4, it was the rest of the team who all played brilliantly to bring home the 4th straight victory. The young kids in their rookie year have all developed into legitimate NFL players and will form the core of this team for years to come.
Round 1: Pick 3 – Solomon Thomas, DL, Stanford – Getting better each week.
Round 1: Pick 31 – Reuben Foster, LB, Alabama – Will be our Willis/Bowman for years to come.
Round 3: No. 66 overall – Ahkello Witherspoon, CB, Colorado – Has developed into a good CB.
Round 3: No. 104 overall – C.J. Beathard, QB, Iowa – Will be good back-up to Jimmy G.
Round 4: No. 121 overall – Joe Williams, RB, Utah – On IR but could be Carlos Hyde’s replacement.
Round 5: No. 146 overall – George Kittle, TE, Iowa – Proving himself as a solid TE.
Round 5: No. 177 overall – Trent Taylor, WR, Louisiana Tech – Reminds me of Julian Edelman.
Round 6: No. 198 overall – D.J. Jones, DL, Ole Miss – On practice squad.
Round 6: No. 202 overall – Pita Taumoepenu, DL, Utah – On practice squad.
Round 7: No. 229 overall – Adrian Colbert, S, Miami – Has proven himself as a starter.
Matt Breida, RB, Georgia Southern – Great combo with Carlos Hyde.
Kendrick Bourne, WR, Eastern Washington – Good size with good hands and speed.
Key Players on Injured Reserve (IR):
RB Joe Williams – Potential replacement for Carlos Hyde if the Niners don’t resign Hyde.
WR Pierre Garçon – Looking forward to the Garoppolo-to-Garcon hook-ups next year.
OG Joshua Garnett – Hoping he can develop into a starting Guard next year.
DL Arik Armstead – Must prove himself early next year or he may not make the team.
DT Chris Jones – Must prove himself early next year or he may not make the team.
LB Malcolm Smith – Hoping he can be the player who won the MVP in the Super Bowl for Seahawks.
FS Jimmie Ward – Must stay healthy.
S Jaquiski Tartt – With Adrian Colbert, will form a good safety combo.
RT Trent Brown – Will be our RT for years and switch to LT when Joe Staley retires.
With a confident group of young players who are now strutting their stuff, my game ball this week goes to Kyle Shanahan. Not only has he gotten his players in a position to succeed, he called a brilliant game against the NFL’s best Defense. It wasn’t necessarily that the Jags defense played poorly…. It was more that Shanahan called plays that took advantage of where the Jags defenders lined up. He called plays where our WR’s ran routes that found holes and Garoppolo found them. He balanced his run/pass calls effectively (35 runs for for 131 yards and 30 passes for 242 yards). The gem call of the day was the run sweep with Breida to seal the game. The Jags were lined up to blitz and when Breida made it past their front 7, it was game over.
Shanahan also had a great game plan in the Red Zone. Garoppolo ran one in for the first TD and threw 2 TD’s. Garoppolo’s rollout to the left and his side-arm sling under a Jags defender to Trent Taylor for a TD is something that normal QB’s can’t make. It reminded me of something that Steph Curry would do to get an amazing assist.
As a matter of fact, the Niners are beginning to remind me of the Warriors 4 years ago. If Steve Kerr can do it, so can Shanahan…