The San Francisco 49ers have clinched the NFC West and are on a seven game winning streak. Currently the third seed in the NFC, one game behind Minnesota, the Niners are assured at least one home playoff game for the first time since 2019.
With the team having a mini-bye due to playing on Thursday night, now is the perfect time to answer some fan questions.
Some terrific topics were brought up, including the performance of Jimmie Ward, the potential of trading Trey Lance and many others.
Cameron Britton, @CameronBrittonH – “Where would you rate Jimmie Ward’s performance now compared to when he first started this season?”
There’s no question Jimmie Ward struggled in the early part of his season. The veteran safety had missed the season’s first several weeks due to a hamstring injury suffered in training camp.
When he was ready to return, his return was met with a change from free safety to nickelback. Ward’s first start coming against Kansas City and Patrick Mahomes certainly didn’t help matters either.
Over the first three weeks, Ward allowed a passer rating of 120 and a completion percentage of 80.
Ward has completely turned his season around since. Over the last five weeks, the passer rating allowed has dropped to 48.44 and a 62.5 percent completion rate.
In addition to the strong performance in coverage, Ward has done a terrific job of helping the 49ers run defense.
Greg Thames, @ontheriverfilms – “So far this season, who are your 49ers’ offensive and defensive MVPs?”
My 49ers’ offensive MVP is Christian McCaffrey. This might be a surprise considering he wasn’t on the team for the first six weeks. However, the acquisition of McCaffrey in a trade with Carolina has wholly changed the offense’s performance.
Over the first seven weeks, the 49ers were averaging 20.7 points per game. In seven weeks with McCaffrey in the starting lineup, San Francisco has averaged 27.6 points. The running back has averaged 116.9 yards and a touchdown over this time.
The 49ers’ defensive MVP is Nick Bosa. Bosa has already tied his career high in sacks with 15.5. In addition, the defensive ends 38 quarterback hits lead the league.
Apart from their blowout loss to Kansas City, the 49ers’ defense has allowed just 11.5 points per game with Bosa in the starting lineup.
Wiseguy, @wiseguyinsider – “Can the 49ers secure a second-round pick and a fourth-round pick for Trey Lance to recoup some draft capital since they’ve found their franchise quarterback in Brock Purdy?”
As impressive as Brock Purdy has been in his first three starts, trading Trey Lance this offseason would not be an intelligent decision for San Francisco.
Having a quarterback on a rookie salary creates great cap flexibility for creating the best roster possible. Lance and Purdy will carry a combined cap hit in 2023 of slightly under $10.2 million. That’s about a quarter of what the top quarterbacks around the league are making now.
The Niners’ best bet is to roll the ball out and let the two quarterbacks compete for the starting job throughout the offseason. The competition will make both better. Let the best man win.
BigBlocksports, @BigBlockSports – “Is Danny Gray hurt or not good?
So far, the answer is both.
Known for his speed in college, the rookie has been dealing with hamstring injuries off and on throughout the season.
San Francisco covets toughness in its wide receivers. They must prove themselves as run blockers before finding a role in the offense.
Through the first 14 games, Gray has been on the field for only 64 offensive snaps. He has seven total targets and one reception for ten yards.
Ezra Pound, @Ezra1Pound – “Why is Roger Craig not in the Hall of Fame?”
This is a question that 49ers fans ask every year when the new Hall of Fame inductees are announced in the run-up to the Super Bowl. After all, Craig made history in 1985 when he became the first player to post 1,000 yards rushing and 1,000 yards receiving in the same season.
The truth is Craig’s accomplishment is already on display in the Hall of Fame.
I believe the sticking point for Craig is his rushing numbers. Over an 11-year career, he reached 1,000 yards rushing only three times. In fact, in the other eight seasons, he never cracked 900 yards.
Craig’s overall body of work should eventually get him into Canton, but it will be an uphill battle.
This article has 37 Comments
Agree with Jack: Let the disappointing Trey compete with Brock in OTA’s, camp, and preseason. Brock has been a pleasant surprise but he is very inexperienced in the NFL and lacks a big arm. Brady wants to play for the Niners but he also seems to be a below par QB now. Niners need to find a young franchise QB now. Both Trey and Brock are outstanding for their characters and stability and humility. Great intact families to support them.
Trading Lance would be something a raider franchise would do. You don’t trade the kid until he can’t beat out Purdey. And with the way injuries hit the RB’s and QB’s on this team. No way. Competition next off-season
Roger Craig fumbled as the Niners were driving toward a win over the Giants in the 1991 NFC Championship and a third consecutive Super Bowl appearance. Niners would now have six Super Bowls and the historic distinction of being a 3-peat Super Bowl champion were it not for that costly mistake. I’ve never forgotten. I’m sure some membersof the Hall of Fame selection committee have not either.
I also remember Jim Burt nearly killing Joe Montana in a playoff game.
I don’t know why, but the NYGiants seem to be a tough win for the 49ers in playoff games.
Same can be said for Tom Terrific in the 2 super bowls that they played against NY Giants.
I don’t forget things like that either.
Kyle Williams, Dusty Baker, Jose Cruz Jr, Candy Maldonado….the (short) list!!
Add Preston Riley to that short list
Well I was at the game as a ticket holder. Walking out of Candlestick Park with grown men crying was difficult to see. Sadly I think that one play was the deciding factor to keep Roger out of the HOA and frankly that’s not fair, I think the East Coast writers had some influence in this as well
You are so right about Roger Craig. Every time I think about all the great games he had I can’t forget that fumble. That fumble ended the Montana dynasty. He still should go into the hall of fame.
A few points:
I would lobby for Trent Williams to be the Offensive MVP. He’s the best player on the roster and the best player in the league at a premium position. 1st ballot Hall of Famer playing like a 1st ballot Hall of Famer. Don’t take his contribution for granted. If it must be a skill position guy then CMC makes sense. He effects every play even when he doesn’t get the ball. His versatility and production is pretty amazing.
Trade talk about Trey Lance is crazy talk. Just stop it. Trey is the future 49er starter. He’s going to need to completely fall on his face for the course of at least 10 games for Brock Purdy to win that job. Purdy is proving to be a pretty good backup and possible great trade bait next year.
Is Danny Gray just a low rent Denzel Mims? Super fast straight line speed but can’t run the full route tree and refuses to block? I kind of had high hopes for Gray. 49ers needed a ‘take the top off” type WR to loosen DBs up on those intermediate routes but Gray really hasn’t given this offense anything. Hopefully, Gray is one of those guys who takes a little time to adapt and turns it on in year 2.
I agree with most of your answers, Jack, as usual.
– I tend to agree with the above poster in terms of the 49ers offensive MVP, because Big Trent Williams has been spectacular in protecting the blindside of all three 49ers QB’s this season, and he’s been doing it despite a significant high ankle sprain that he sustained early in the season (week 3, on 9/25). Not only has Trent Williams played at an MVP caliber level this year, IMO, he’s also been one of the unquestioned leaders in the Niners’ locker room!
– Nick Bosa is not only the 49ers defensive MVP, he’s also the NFL Defensive Player of the Year, IMO, case closed!
– Jimmy Ward is an amazing, and versatile DB, and just a true baller on the football field, but I think he’s also largely underrated league-wide. Unfortunately, I think he’s going to get a raise next season, and I think the 49ers will let him walk because of the emergence of the younger, cheaper Talanoa Hufanga, as well as the high ceiling potential of the 49ers 2022 draft pick, Nickle CB – Samuel Womack III.
– Trey Lance & Brock Purdy should absolutely be allowed to compete for the starting gig in 2023, and the 49ers should feel really good about their QB position moving forward. And with all due respect to Jimmy Garoppolo, who’s been a stand up guy guy since he joined the 49ers in 2017, I think Kyle can finally start reaching his full play calling/ play designing potential!
– “Craig’s overall body of work should eventually get him into Canton, but it will be an uphill battle”…. I fully concur, Jack, and I am thankful that I was fortunate enough to watch Roger Craig’s career play out from start to finish!
– It was my opinion that WR Danny Gray was a bit of a developmental project when he was drafted. Because of this, I questioned his value in RND 4. That said, I get the impression that Danny Gray will do it takes to win Kyle’s trust nest year, and will earn his way into a much bigger role as soon as his 2nd season. Yes, he’s raw in terms of his route running, but by all accounts he is a hard worker, and he seems hungry to evolve his WR skills, to go along with his requisite toughness, and his unquestionable explosiveness as a deep threat WR!
Negative!!! Trey has not proven anything as of yet. And at the moment Purdy is in the driver’s seat. Should they hand the job to Purdy, absolutely not. But they should compete for it, in training camp and go from there. I think Purdy wins and Trey could end up traded or a High end backup as crazy as that sounds.
We still have one more “installment payment” to make on Trey Lance. Trading him now would basically mean we’re still making payments on a car we sold! Let’s see what he does in 2023 in an open competition for the QB job against Brock Purdy.
You just described what economists called “The Sunk Cost Fallacy”. Basically it should no longer matter what you’ve already spent on something when making decisions about it going forward. So Lance’s value is whatever it is on the market (I’m guessing 5th rounder?) but is that market rate worth more than having a talented young QB with experience in the offensive scheme as a backup/potential starter?
RF11, I think we need to see how this season plays out, don’t you? Obviously, if Brock Purdy helps get this team to the Super Bowl, it would be a tough sell in the locker room to move off of Brock in favor of Trey, especially without any kind of competition, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have an open competition even with the amount invested in Trey.
If Jimmy Garoppolo wasn’t looking for $25+M/Year and wasn’t coming off of shoulder surgery, I am 99% certain Kyle would have opened up a genuine QB competition between Trey and Jimmy, despite their investment in Trey the season prior. So I think, if Brock leads this team deep into the postseason, it would be a similar scenario going into next season, whereas I think it would be a big mistake to simply hand the starting job to Trey.
A lot of it obviously depends on how well Brock finishes out this season. The only thing that is certain about the 49ers QB room in 2023 is that Jimmy Garoppolo WILL NOT BE a part of it.
And, MAYBE, you will finally be happy.
And BTW, I don’t dissagree with the thought that Trey Lance could end up as the 49ers backup QB moving forward, although I do think that it would be an awkward enough situation for everyone involved (Kyle and the FO) at that point, to where it would probably make more sense to to trade Trey even if it’s for pennies on the dollar.
So I guess we mostly agree, RF11. Cheers!
;Lance is not going to be the starting quarterback next season. He could be a bust plus he cannot stay healthy.
It is not unusual for rookie WR’s to have muscle pull issues. After one year working with an NFL training and strength and conditioning staff hopefully Gray will find a way to stay on the field. The best thing that could happen to the 9ers is for Lance to win a open competition while Purdy also looks good. If Purdy continues to look good for a couple of games playing for a banged up Lance I believe they could get multiple 1st and or 2nd round picks after the 23 season. If they both look good eventually they will have to trade one of them, you can’t fit 2 very good QB’s under the cap.
I don’t know how I missed it. But I thought that Danny Gray was a smallish WR in the 5’10 185 lbs range.
He’s actually 6′ and 200 lbs, which makes him capable to handle the aggression of the game. It’s evident by his minimal touches that Shanahan is not completely confident in him. Yet, I’m still intrigued by Gray’s speed and want to see what he can do.
I think Ray Ray McCloud is getting Gray’s snaps. McCloud has Shanahan’s confidence as a punt returner. So he’s another (relatively) dependable YAC receiver.
But my hope is that Gray can make a couple of positive big game changing plays this season with his speed.
I would love for Gray to give the opposing defense something to prepare for.
The 49ers are the most woefully under represented team in the HOF. I believe that Craig belongs in as do Len Rohde, Charlie Kruger, Tommy Hart, Ken Willard, Randy Cross Joe Staley, Rickey Waters, Matt Millen (Raider fans may claim him) John Brodie and possibly John Taylor and Dwight Clark. Because of how many starting players you have in football (24 counting K’s and P’s) and how few they elect each year they will never catch up with all of the players that deserve to get in. imho
L’est we forget Woody Peoples, Howard Mudd, Forrest Blue…all 3 multiple All Pro choices..unfortunately for them, the only one on a playoff team was Forrest Blue (rip)
Trey Lance trade is a bait by 49ers organization to see if anyone will bite. They are testing the market.
Most yards from scrimmage by RB when Roger Craig retired at the end of 1993.
Including post season.
1. Walter Payton 22,074 yards
2. Tony Dorsett 18,079 yards
3. Franco Harris 16,467 yards
4. Eric Dickerson 16,211 yards
5. Marcus Allen 15,409 yards
6. Jim Brown 15,052 yards
7. Roger Craig 14,547 yards
Thanks for the numbers.
Comparisons are always interesting.
Should Emmitt Smith be here?
It will be very interesting to see how Purdy plays the rest of the season and how far the Niners go with him at the helm. This off-season, they will provide great competition for each other. I expect both to be on the roster next year.
Regarding the Lance trade question….There’s an old saying…EVERYTHING is for sale, for the right price…
The JIMMY GAROPPOLO VERDICT is finally in, and it couldn’t be any more definitive!
In the span of THREE weeks, this 49ers offense has evolved further than it did under Jimmy Garoppolo going as far back as 2018. That’s a total of 54 STARTS for Jimmy G, including the postseason. It’s been absolutely remarkable to me, just how much further that Kyle Shanahan is already digging into his bag of passing-concepts since Brock Purdy took the reigns … a stretch of just over 11.6 QTR’s (175 minutes) of football. It’s been such a remarkable change of pace, that it hit me like a ton of bricks this morning as I combed through the 49ers game film in preparation to handicap week 16 of the NFL.
I understand that you play to win the game. And the fact of the matter is that Jimmy wins football games at a percentage of .691, which is pretty darn remarkable, I am not going to lie! But I’ve been making this point since I started closely following the NFL back in the 1980’s – and that is: W’s & L’s are not an individual statistics, nor are they QB statistics. The fact of the matter is …. they are TEAM statistics!
I think the price tag for rookie picks, i.e., first round and seventh round, makes it inevitable both Lance and Purdy will be on the roster for at least a couple of years. It appears both have the attitude of team first whether starting or not. We’ll see.
They’re not going to get a 2nd rounder for Lance. At this point he’s a young QB with 2+ years in Shanahan’s offensive scheme and he’s not too prohibitively expensive. So yeah…like Jack said probably best to keep Lance around as a potential starter or in the very least a talented back up with experience in the offensive scheme.
Jack: “The San Francisco 49ers have clinched the NFC West and are on a seven game winning streak. Currently the third seed in the NFC, one game behind Minnesota, the Niners are assured at least one home playoff game for the first time since 2019.”
But it’s important the 9ers continue to win……WHY?
As the 3rd seed the 9ers are assured ONE playoff home game. The number two seed, the Vikings, are pretenders, as we seen this week when they played the biggest loser in the NFL, the Indy Colts.
The Vikings play the Giants this next week and should lose. If the 9ers beat Washington and the Vikings do lose, the 9ers will be the 2nd seed with TWO PLAYOFF HOME GAMES.
QUESTION: Why, over the 1st 3 weeks, did Ward allow a passer rating of 120 and a completion percentage of 80?
THE ANSWER IS OBVIOUS: 1) he missed the 1st several weeks due to a hamstring injury suffered in training camp.
2) He is a veteran SAFETY, who was asked to play a new position, NB. Over the last five weeks, HIS passer rating allowed has dropped to 48.44 and a 62.5 percent completion rate. So why did anyone doubt him?
QUESTION: “Can the 49ers secure a second-round pick and a fourth-round pick for Trey Lance?”
ANSWER: Why would the 9er FO do something that obtuse? Let them compete for the job next year and may the best man win. Having a quarterback on a rookie salary creates great cap flexibility for creating the best roster possible. Lance and Purdy will carry a combined cap hit in 2023 of slightly under $10.2 million. That’s about a quarter of what the top quarterbacks around the league are making now.
Worst case: It takes Lance another year to develop and then, if Purdy is still the starter, the 9ers can trade Lance for more draft picks.
“Is Danny Gray hurt or not good?” Give the rookie a year with pro coaching and a year in the gym and we’ll find out.
* Roger Craig is not in the Hall of Fame……BUT SHOULD BE….And eventually, will be!
I think this weeks game will be a good test for the 9ers O line. Washington’s D line is very good. I will be curious to see how many yards per carry our RB’s Avg. and how they protect Purdy. I believe it will give us a good idea how they will look in the playoffs. imho
I agree, the 9er O-Line will be tested and will be a preview of how well they’ll play against playoff teams.
1) The Wash D is good, but the 9er D is, if not the best D in the NFL, one of the best…..advantage 9ers.
2) Both Wash and the 9ers want to run the ball. (Wash RB Brian Robinson has 652 yards rushing). 9er D will control Wash run game, while the 9ers score running the ball as well as passing. Advantage 9ers.
Wash only has one receiver the 9ers must shut down. WR Terry McLaurin, who has 1015 yards this season.
3) Offensively, the Commanders are ranked 25th or worse in scoring, third downs and yards per play.
4) 9ers play at home. Advantage 9ers.
5) 9ers are 3rd seed, but can move up to 2nd seed if they win out and Vikings lose a game. Wash is 7th seed after losing to the Giants. Advantage 9ers.
6) 2 Wash players named to the pro bowl: B. Scherff and J Allen. Five 9ers selected to Pro Bowl · Nick Bosa · George Kittle · Trent Williams · Deebo Samuel · Kyle Juszcyk. Advantage 9ers.
Washington 13 9ers 24
Purdy comes in cold, as a rookie, and plays like a pro, while Lance, drafted at #3, spends a year on the sideline learning the playbook, and we still don’t know if he can play. It’s obvious…
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