Five bold 2022 49ers predictions revisited

San Francisco 49ers safety Talanoa Hufanga (29) lines up during the second half of an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons, Sunday, Oct. 16, 2022, in Atlanta. The Atlanta Falcons won 28-14. (AP Photo/Danny Karnik)


Everybody likes to point out when they are right, I’m no different.

As the 49ers pick up the pieces from a season which fell short of expectations, I thought now would be a good time to show where I missed as well.

Prior to the season I gave five bold predictions for the 2022 season. Let’s see how I did:

1.) Jeff Wilson Jr. will lead the 49ers in rushing touchdowns. WRONG

A midseason trade brought Christian McCaffrey to San Francisco from Carolina. McCaffrey finished as the 49ers leader in rushing touchdowns with six in just 11 game.

Seeing his playing time reduced, Wilson Jr. requested a trade and was sent to Miami following San Francisco’s week 8 win over the Rams. In his eight games with the 49ers, Wilson Jr. finished the same number of rushing touchdowns and fumbles lost, two.

2.) The defense will record the most sacks in a season under Kyle Shanahan. WRONG

Nick Bosa finished with a league leading 18.5 sacks. He didn’t get much help as the rest of the defensive line struggled to take down the quarterback.

Samson Ebukam recorded a career-high five sacks, second most on the team and Charles Omenihu was third with four and a half.

Drake Jackson had a strong start to his rookie season, getting to opposing quarterbacks three times over the first six games to finish fourth.

Jackson wore down as the season progressed, finding himself inactive during the playoffs after playing more that 15 snaps just once in the 49ers final four regular season games.

3.) The 49ers will throw for fewer yards than a season ago. CORRECT

San Francisco finished with 3,856 passing yards in 2022, down from 4,221 the season before despite having just two fewer attempts.

Trey Lance lasted just five quarters before being lost for the season with a broken ankle on a designed run.

Jimmy Garoppolo stepped in and was having his best year as a 49er before suffering a broken foot while trying to avoid a blitzing Miami Dolphins defender in week 13.

Brock Purdy took over for Garoppolo and didn’t lose a game until he too went down with an injury against Philadelphia in the NFC championship game.

The musical chairs at quarterback and injuries to their top receiver from the year before along with George Kittle were prime factors in the drop off.

4.) Deebo Samuel will surpass 1,000 receiving yards for the second year in a row. WRONG

Samuel started out slow after missing the beginning of camp training camp due to a contract dispute with the 49ers.

In addition to the slow start, Samuel missed multiple games due to injuries throughout the season.

Injuries were just one factor which limited Samuel in 2022.

The receiver saw a large drop off in downfield targets this season as his average depth of target dropped from 8.4 to just 4.3. As a result, opposing defenses did a better job of limiting Samuel to an average of 8.8 yards after the catch, the lowest total since his rookie season in 2019.

5.) The defense will record the most interceptions in a season since 2014. CORRECT

San Francisco’s defense recorded 20 interceptions in 2022, the most under Kyle Shanahan.

Jimmie Ward went down to injury during training camp, opening the door for Tashaun Gipson to step in at safety.

In Gipson and first year starter Talanoa Hufanga the 49ers found a pair of ball hawks. The duo combined to record nine interceptions, the most by a 49ers safety tandem since Antoine Bethea and Eric Reid had seven in 2014.

Despite being move to nickelback upon his return from injury Jimmie Ward recorded a career-high with three interceptions.

In total 11 different 49ers recorded at least one interception.

This article has 45 Comments

  1. WOW , honesty on a football blog. Your predecessor would never have admitted to being wrong on 60% of his predictions. I don’t keep tract of my predictions but would be surprised if I was right 40% of the time. How bout for your next round of predictions, you predict who the 9ers will resign of their own FAs. Then a list of those you think the 49ers will make a run at in FA. Finally a Mock draft.

    1. Wrong, Grant regularly admits when he is wrong. He does it all the time, some people just have this irrational hate of him that is not based upon what he really says. They take a couple of things they dislike and don’t listen to anything else he has to say.

      1. Gojira,
        I was here before GC took over the blog. Any number of times that he was wrong I would ask him to admit it publicly and he would refuse. When ever he did, he did it in a disingenuous manner, GC can be very passive aggressive he and I debated the difference between his words and his tone many times. Don’t get me wrong like his Father he is a very talented writer but he is a provocateur not a journalist. imho

        1. I do agree Grant isn’t really a journalist. Sports journalism is all but dead and doesn’t pay the bills anymore. But just today Grant had a long show with another guy giving grades to the the team by each position group, it was mush more rational and free of the over the top takes.

          Grant certainly has his share of hot takes, and wild ideas. But more often than not, when you sort through that stuff, he comes up with rational reasons for his ideas. It is just that most often people only hear the loud and crazy stuff and don’t hear the more reasoned opinions. He always tells it like he sees it, and I frequently don’t agree with all he has to say, but I like that he is a provocateur, most people that cover the team are ass kissers that won’t challenge the obvious BS that often flows from the team. You need someone to kick the hornets nest because NFL teams now act like everything is a state secret and how dare you question them on anything. Also, Kyle is very condescending towards most of the reporters covering the team, especially anyone that calls him out. Just look at the news conference from yesterday, Kyle has a certain arrogance that doesn’t serve him well. It is one of his very real faults. We need people like Grant to challenge him. We also need people like Jack to bring the other side, a calmer and less emotional take on things.

          1. “Kyle has a certain arrogance…”
            Right on G! This is the biggest reason that he isn’t a closer. As far as Grant he is what he is and never pretends to be anything else.

          2. Meh. I don’t necessarily have any issues with Grant Cohn. He’s not my cup of tea but he’s free to make his living in the best way he sees fit. The problem I have with Provocateur Sports Journalists like Cohn or Skip Bayless is, at their core, their entire frame of reference is dishonest and manipulative. They write or state opinions that they may not necessarily even believe for the sole purpose of manipulating a reaction from their audience for clicks or comments. For me, If I don’t feel like you’re debating from an honest position I really don’t care about anything that comes out of your mouth. They are attention wh*res to me. Nothing more. Not worth my time.

            And on the Kyle’s arrogance is his downfall – argument. Totally agree. Strategic mastermind that’s willing to risk the health of the only QB on his roster in the NFCCG by leaving a top sack guy 1v1 on TE2. To me that sums it up. “My play design can overcome severe strategic mismatches.” Call it whatever you want but that screams arrogance to me. Having said that, you are WAY off base if you think having a sportswriter challenge Kyle Shanahan has any impact whatsoever on how Kyle coaches. We don’t need anyone to challenge a coach. We have no control over an NFL coach. What we as fans say or do has no bearing. Our only impact is either paying for tickets/merch or not. So just sit back and enjoy the ride because that’s all you can really do.

            1. I agree Patriot, I don’t like but I don’t care either about GC. I don’t at all care for click bait manipulation tactics that some writers employ. Who the hell is Dan Orlovsky? Never heard of him before until today, now I am typing about some guy I never heard of 15 minutes ago.

      2. Goj, grant is such a turkey! pls dont defend that guy! he has no choice but to admit being wrong ’cause hes wrong SO OFTEN !! The only time hes right about anything is when the niners fail…..but he constantly predicts their demise… of course he’ll be right every now and then…..only 1 out of 32 teams dosent FAIL each year.
        Grant Clown is running around blaming KS for getting all his qb’s hurt. Anyone who played tackle football knows there is a risk….that any player can get hurt on any play in any game. The odds go up if your tackling or being tackled. Only someone as unathletic as Grant, who never played a sport in his life……would overlook that and try to blame a coach.
        Then he bashes KS for not accepting blame and groveling for forgiveness!! such a clown! The jerry Springer of the 49ers journos!!! A wanna be skip Bayless/ Stephen A. ………..nepotism at its worst!
        If that aint bad enough….he calls for for his job over it.

        He rebuilds the worst team in the league and gets to the SB in 2 yrs……..
        he makes it to the final 4 in 3 of 4 years……..all WITHOUT A GOOD QB!!!!!!!!!!
        he made Matt Ryan an MVP! The last pick in the draft the top rookie? and JG look good as well!
        No head coach in the NFL has cam close to that without a hall of fame qb!!!

        whining about KS is ridiculous ! It took Reid and Bellicheck decades to win SBs as well as hall of fame qbs!!!!!!
        I guy that gets you to the final 4 every year will eventually get over the hump! And if he ever gets his HOF qb……..its a dynasty!!!

        1. Agreed completely. It should be obvious to anyone with any degree of common sense that KS is one of the best coaches, if not the best in the NFL. I know people like to pontificate and pretend they know a lot about football but that’s only because they don’t know what they don’t know. We all get to voice our opinion and we all get to debate each other. I think that’s what blogs are for.

      3. Gojira

        I do not recognize you as a poster so I don’t know how long you’ve been around.

        Back in 2013 Grant and I got into a huge debate about the defensive scheme that Vic Fangio ran for the 49ers. He found some article about the 4-3 Under and how many people mistake it for a 3-4. So he attributed what he read in that article to the 49ers running a 4-3 Under defense. I spent post after post detailing how the 49er ran a 3-4 defense. But he wouldn’t budge. Finally I found multiple articles where Fangio referred to his defensive scheme as a 3-4. But that jackwipe posted a blog response to my comments without acknowledging the articles I found that contradicted his claims that the 49ers ran a 4-3 Under. I then called him out on it saying how could that be true if Fangio himself and his players claim they run a 3-4 defense. Then he had the audacity to say that maybe Fangio didn’t the real name of his defense or was lying to deceive the public.

        I can’t fine the article anymore but in it Fangio said: He’s run a 4-3 before but they’re (the 49ers) are running 3-4 defense. Here are other quotes by Fangio and his players.

        Fangio said. “The one thing that helped us defensively is they were a 3-4 here before, so it wasn’t a major changeover as going from a 4-3 to a 3-4. Our scheme is a lot different, [but] we still had 3-4 bodies.’’

        “We personnel it as a 3-4, but we’ll do a lot of things out of it that will look, to the visual eye, like a 4-3,” Fangio said. “I like to say that we’re a 3-4-3, a 3-4 that does 4-3 things also.”

        “It’s a 3-4 scheme, but can move the defense around and make it any way he (Fangio) wants to,” Jean-Francois said. “He’s a great coach with a great scheme. It’s fun to watch him work.”

        Grant lost all credibility and integrity with me after he doubled down on his stupidity and intentionally omitted the information and quotes I found.

        1. Allfor,
          I remember that debate very well. It took up the whole blog for pretty much a week. I was thinking of that when I wrote that GC doesn’t admit to being wrong.

        2. All, i remember that as well. just one of many examples of grant’s ignorance meeting his arrogance. We clearly ran a 3-4, had for years. Aldon Smith was the source of the confusion ’cause he usually was in a 3 point stance ( like a D line-men) and almost always rushed the qb……. once in a while he’d drop back or cover the flat on an exotic blitz, but very rarely……but by doing so, even rarely……it solidified the fact that we ran a 3-4. Aldon was also always listed as a OLB.
          I always thought it was a strange ” hill for grant to die on”…….a meaningless argument.

          Around that time Grant was convinced we would/should/must draft a CB in the first round every year……and we never did. I rubbed his nose in it one draft and he never liked me after that. Hypocrisy considering how he likes to CRITICISE THE SH** out of EVERYONE else.
          His draft takes were cringe as well, especially in hindsight……Tavon Austin should still be terrorizing us with his 4.3 speed…..against our tall stiff CBs……he should be rounding out a HoF career right now along with Colby

      1. How about an analysis of the current coaching staff. The coaching staff openings. Who’s available, who fits and why?

    2. Rodgers likely wants to go to the Niners for a final year but we have to pursue him openly and energetically. Trey is not the solution but few want to admit it. Brock might be worth waiting a year or more for but who will start next year? Is Carr worth a look? We need a capable, competent starter. We overpaid for trey and it has come back to haunt us.

      1. allie, with all due respect……Trey is a complete unknown. Hes started 3 games…..and his stats aren’t that bad ( 6 tds-3 turnovers) It would be a mistake giving up on him now.
        Go back to 2018…….Mayfield / josh Allen.
        BM went #1 overall…….JA went later…..
        BM had a great rookie year….JA had accuracy issues….
        well today, BM on his 3rd team in less than a year……JA top qb in the league!!!
        You cant teach 6’4 230 lbs
        Trey needs the reps, he’ll get em now that BP is hurt…….next year well have em both and need em both! We should grab a vet also….but not an expensive one ……more of a 3rd stringer practice squad guy

  2. 49ers defense is getting better in defending running QB? WRONG
    49er Secondary continues to be susceptible to aerial attack: CORRECT
    A more experience, stronger, heathier McGinchey will provide better pass protection: WRONG
    49ers finally found replacement for Dee Ford and DeForest Bucker: WRONG

    1. Some negativity there. I think the Niners did a pretty good job containing Hurts. Everyone has problems with mobile QBs. That’s why Lance was drafted.
      Our secondary lost both Mosely and Verrett to be expected. Lenoir got off to a slow start but picked up as the season went along.
      Actually McGlinchy has improved in pass protection this past year but probably not enough to make some fans happy.
      Dee ford was a waste from the beginning. Probably not possible to replace Buchner but hopefully Kinlaw is injury free now and will come back with a vengeance next year.

      1. Here’s a bold prediction when it comes to Felix and the year(s) ahead. The Niners will never, ever error, whether it’s on the field or in the front office. And if by some strange, unaccountable reason, they do happen to make a mistake, it’s not their fault. Period. Over and out. Thank you Felix.

        1. Gary, I’m sure that they make mistakes because after all, they are human. Sometimes I just don’t agree with some of the accusations made here but mostly I don’t feel that those of us who spend our Sundays sitting on our couch are remotely qualified to criticize professional football coaches. Others can do it if it makes them feel important but I doubt they offer the same detailed critique of other professions such as their dentist or electrician

          1. Felix,
            I believe that most of us are here to have fun and interact with other 49er fans. Part of that fun is expressing our opinions and reading others opinions. It is always okay to differ with another posters opinion just do it respectfully. I know that respect and the internet are foreign to each other but at least we can try.

            1. Also, I learn a lot by reading the different viewpoints. It helps me support some of my views and change other views/beliefs that I come to realize are based on conjecture or assumptions.

  3. Jack,
    Nice write up. I don’t agree that the 49ers fell short of expectations.
    After Garoppolo took over, I felt that his ability to run the offense (as he had proven before) could give the team the best chance at a Superbowl run.

    After Jimmy was injured, I had to lower my expectations of a SB appearance with the prospect of a 7th rd rookie having to take the reins.

    But after Purdy’s 5th straight win and the 49ers defense playing lights -out, my thought were again focused on the SB.
    I’m extremely disappointed in how the season ended, but imho, after the loss of our QBs and still making it to the championship game exceeds all expectations.

  4. So you were 2-3 on your preseason predictions. That’s not a great record. The problem here is that your predictions were very specific and verifiable. Rookie mistake but easily correctible. When giving football predictions, you need to be a Horoscope guy, kinda like Chris Simms. Make your predictions so vague and unverifiable that no matter the circumstance you can always claim you were right.

    2023 Prediction: 49ers physical and mental energy will be exceptional this year. 49ers will be very creative, and they will want to put that energy into a season that means a lot to fans. 49ers are also very athletic, so they will probably want to go high tempo periodically throughout the year to increase play potential. Bear in mind that much of this energy is nervous energy that burns out quickly so 49ers will also periodically Pace themselves.

    1. 1.9,
      “So you were 2-3 on your preseason predictions. That’s not a great record.”

      Was this comment directed at me?

      1. No. Directed at Jack. The entire comment is a joke. I don’t think it was a “Reply” but I could have clicked the wrong button.

  5. What gets me is how quickly everyone wants to jump onto the KS genius wagon. No one has even hinted that the is a defensive, special teams and/or personnel genius. But when I see the areas where offense has moved I see a lot of talent under performing. They wanted to get rid of Jimmy G but couldn’t figure out how – then he accidentally has his best year – genius! Jimmy goes down and a guy from the union hall turns out accidentally to be special – genius. The defense surprises with the most interceptions in Kyle’s tenure – genius. And if you want to say that the guy from the union hall was only great because of Kyle’s genius then how do you explain Josh Johnson’s performance in the biggest game of the year. The whole defense has its short comings but still manages to make a credible claim to be the best in the NFL – genius. How many franchise QBs have been drafted and signed in the NFL during Kyle’s tenure – How many by the 49ers. What is our QB situation next year? It is the arrogance that Gojira speaks of above that is hampering Kyle. People are too quick to crown Kyle as a genius and he actually believes it. I’d like to see more evidence before I am willing to go there. For me the real genius of this year’s success is now the HC of the Texans.

    1. 1. I don’t have any idea if KS is a genius but 3 trips to the NFC championship game in the last 4 years puts him right at the top of the heap.
      2. The reason they wanted to move on from Jimmy is due to his inability to stay healthy. If Jimmy could stay healthy they wouldn’t have drafted Lance.
      3. The only quarterback’s available in the middle of the season are all not on a team for a reason. The Johnson advantage was he knew the system.
      4. You give all credit to DeMeco but fail to mention that KS was the one who first hired him at the lowest rung and kept promoting him. Also for 3 years in a row one of his assistants has been promoted to head coach. It would appear to me that teams around the NFL might believe he is a genius at hiring and developing the best people.
      5. The defense and the offense both have short comings. Of course. Can you name a team that doesn’t? You didn’t mention what those shortcomings were or how they can be fixed.
      6. Somehow KS has been able to assemble one of the top rosters in the NFL. Genius? I don’t know but obviously very successful.

      1. 1. I don’t have any idea if KS is a genius but 3 trips to the NFC championship game in the last 4 years puts him right at the top of the heap.

        It’s interesting that despite the fact that Kyle is considered an offensive “genius” that his successful teams have largely ridden on the coattails of his defense (even more interesting is the same could be said about Harbaugh).

        2. The reason they wanted to move on from Jimmy is due to his inability to stay healthy. If Jimmy could stay healthy they wouldn’t have drafted Lance.

        I think given Lance’s athletic traits (big arm and mobility) I think it’s fair to say that some if not a major reason Kyle moved on from Garoppolo is because he wanted more versatility at the QB position…mobility and a stronger arm to get the ball downfield. It could be argued he might have wanted a guy that doesn’t put the ball into danger and turns it over at least once a game (Jimmy got much better at that in 2022).

        3. The only quarterback’s available in the middle of the season are all not on a team for a reason. The Johnson advantage was he knew the system.

        This is true. BUT Johnson looked like a deer in the headlights when he came in. Now that could be because almost the entirety of the practice snaps were given Purdy because they felt he needed it (because obviously he’s a rookie). But it could also be a personnel problem in that despite knowing the offense someone should have checked to see if Johnson be even halfway functional as a backup QB (the guy struggled to throw checkdown passes).

        5. The defense and the offense both have short comings. Of course. Can you name a team that doesn’t? You didn’t mention what those shortcomings were or how they can be fixed.

        There are no major on going problems with the 49ers (other than the QB position I suppose).
        The thing is that I think Kyle has failed to create a sustainable offensive juggernaut. At times his run game dominates. But then something goes wrong, an injury or defenses simply key in on the run. I think it’s because the 49ers have failed to develop a top tier QB. A top tier QB can cover up a lot of warts….a top tier QB can make up for injuries to linemen, receivers, backs…etc… A top tier QB provides an offense more fault tolerance. And in fact I think Kyle realized this and it led to Lance’s drafting to be developed into that kind of QB…..or to put it another way; Kyle wants his own Patrick Mahomes.

        6. Somehow KS has been able to assemble one of the top rosters in the NFL. Genius? I don’t know but obviously very successful.

        Genius? I don’t know. But he assembles good assistant coaches that all worked together. They have even changed things on the fly…as demonstrated by Saleh’s shift away from the Seattle defensive scheme towards closer to what they have today. In 2019 Saleh (and by extension Shanahan) brought in Kocurec and Joe Woods (DBs) to implement a new defensive scheme. Later Ryans took over and Undlin was brought in to be the DB coach. Kyle has had multiple coaches come in and out of his offensive coaching staff. Kyle’s ability to maintain and develop high quality coaches speaks volumes to how good of a head coach he is. As for personnel, there’s an obvious synergy between the personnel people in the front office the coaching staff for the selection and development of players.

        1. The only thing I would add is that Lynch and KS both stated the reason for moving on from Jimmy was his unavailability which has nothing to do with the type of quarterback they replaced him with. Unfortunately Lances availability hasn’t been any better.
          As for the defense being better than the offense. That’s been by design because defense wins championships. They clearly prioritized the defense when drafting especially in those first couple of years. The one thing the offense has been missing is a top tier healthy quarterback but then most teams are missing that. Their are 32 teams and maybe 5 top tier Quarterbacks.

          1. Kyle wasn’t going to flat out say: “Ya know the guy that was the QB when we went to the Super Bowl. I think we can do better”. I think it’s a case of his actions speaking far louder than his words.

            You know who also prioritized drafting defensive players? Bill Walsh. Why? Because he figured he could coach up players on the offensive side of the ball.

  6. all i have to say is please no more drafting a third round round running back. we have tried that ad nauseum and it doesn’t work

  7. True coaching genius comes around once every two or three generations. I believe that Bill Walsh was the last and before that I think you have to go all of the way back to Paul Brown. Between those two you have had a few great coaches IE: Lombardi Belichick, Shula, Gibbs and Parcells (I’m sure I left someone out) The reason I argue with those who want to get rid of KS is my belief that the two most difficult tasks for the FO of any sports team are hiring a NFL HC and drafting a QB. I believe when you find a consistent winner you hang on to him or you may end up going thru years of Ericksons, Nolans, Singletarys, Tomsulas, or Kellys. Their are so many great coordinators and college coaches who are terrible failures as HCs. I think the Steelers have it right find a good coach and hang on to him thru thick and thin. imho

    1. Agreed. I think the biggest failures of teams is the turnover in coaches. I think winning is a team sport. It requires a good owner who stays out of the way and a GM and coach who are on the same page and work together. The Niners now have that after years of fumbling around. Their is no doubt in my mind that Shanahan is one of the best coaches in the NFL. It’s probably a disservice to him to call him a genius because it just leaves him open to criticism. However, he clearly is recognized as one of the best play callers and his player and coach evaluations are top notch.

  8. Coach,
    Obviously a hypothetical, but do you believe that Harbaugh would have won a super bowl with this team?

    I only ask because he also put together some very talented teams during his tenure. Should the 49ers have stuck with him through thick and thin?

    1. I don’t think you can compare Shanahan coaching the current team and Harbaugh coaching the current team. The current team was built for Shanahan.

      But as for comparing the coaches and regimes; one of the fears during the Harbaugh days was what would happen once his defense started to age. Harbaugh inherited many of his players or got mid career veterans (Carlos Rogers, Dontae Whitner). Remember Willis was going into year 4. Justin Smith was a 9 year Pro when Harbaugh got there. Sopoaga was a 5 year pro. Ray McDonald was a 4 year Pro. Dashon Goldson and Ahmad Brooks were a 4 year pros. Harbaugh had the same coaching staff for his entire tenure. Gore had already been there for 6 years. Staley and Vernon Davis for 5 years. So there was a lot of stability on the team and coaching staff. How his team would have handled major changes to the personnel and to the coaching staffs is unknown. Plus Harbaugh was stuck with Trent Baalke as a GM.

      Kyle Shanahan’s teams have had a lot of turnover. Think about how many players have come and gone since the 2019 Super Bowl. Jimmy G, Richard Sherman, Mike Person, Laken Tomlinson, Mostert, Buckner, Emanuel Sanders, Kwon Alexander, Tartt, Kauan Williams, Dee Ford. The coaches they’ve lost: Robert Saleh, Mike McDaniel, Ryans, Matt LaFleur, Joe Woods…and likely more to come. But through it all Kyle has kept the team in contention for 3 out of the last 4 years. So I think Kyle’s regime has a much more likely chance of being competitive for the long term.

    2. AES,
      I think Harbaugh was let go for other than football reasons. I believe that the beginning of the end was when after a game Jed York brought some high rollers into the locker room and Harbaugh basically threw them out of the locker room adding that the locker room was a place for men. I don’t think you can be that disrespectful to your boss and expect to keep your job. I always thought that Harbaugh might be on the spectrum.

      1. With regards Harbaugh he gave the same level of respect he was getting from a young owner who was out of his league. I think that situation with Harbaugh taught York a few lessons which has resulted in him being a better owner.

  9. Allfor,
    Good analysis. And nice points.
    The comment regarding Baalke is sobering, this guy whiffed on one entire draft. That type of incompetence could set back an organization for years – and it did.

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