Jimmy Garoppolo is out. Done. That’s the worst news you could’ve imagined coming out of week three this season. Garoppolo’s absence cannot be estimated. The team will be nowhere near the same without him. Teams will be more confident against this offense unless C.J. Beathard shows some serious development, like he did on the beautiful throw to George Kittle that was wrongly called back. However, if he plays like he did in the preseason, the 49ers have problems.
The defense is also going through injury problems of their own with Richard Sherman, the 49ers best corner back by a longshot, out with a calf injury. However, for the sake of losing Jimmy G, we’ll only focus on players on offense that need to step up, starting with:
Obviously, right? C.J. Beathard is now the main man of this offense who averages 207.0 pass yards per game (24th in league) and 359.7 yards of total offense (17th in league). Last year didn’t treat Beathard so well excluding the lone victory at home against the New York Giants where he had his best overall performance. However, the big key to his bad performances last year also fall on the injury-ridden offensive line. This year, not to jinx anything, is a different case.
Beathard has a much better offensive line when you include the additions of rookie Mike McGlinchey and big money signing Weston Richburg at center. Mike Person has also been solid playing through injury, while Joshua Garnett can’t seem to shake off the injury bug. Beathard also has a healthy receiver and tight end core. The only key piece missing is Jerick McKinnon (not to jinx anything). Let’s see if he can lead this team to a few more wins, because a playoff run is anything but likely.
What a story, am I right? I know I didn’t see Matt Breida exploding onto the scene as he has in wake of McKinnon’s injury. Now Breida did give the fans an injury scare last week but if he’s healthy, he’s been balling. He’s tied with Ezekiel Elliott for the most rushing yards through three weeks, while carrying the ball significantly less times.
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Breida is averaging over eight yards per carry, which is a huge reason why the 49ers are second in the league in rushing. San Francisco averages 152.7 yards per game. The real question is obviously, can he stay healthy to keep this pace up? He’ll easily be over 1,000 yards with this pace but that’s if he can keep the momentum going behind this offensive line who has blocked great in the run game.
Simply put, Pierre Garcon has to step up. He only has seven catches for 89 yards through three games. He’s one of the top two receivers on this team but barely has anything to show for it. He doesn’t have a touchdown, either.
You could argue that he has regressed. Lack of separation and dropped passes have been a huge problem of his through the first three weeks. But he has to put all of that behind and turn it around with a new starting quarterback. Now these two have played with each other, but not as much. The 49ers are going to need Garcon’s veteran presence help the offense out. Otherwise, let the young receivers like Dante Pettis, Kendrick Bourne and Richie James take his spot (Trent Taylor is excluded).
Speaking of the offensive line for quiet a bit, they’ll be the key to keeping this offense intact. San Francisco may have to rely heavily on the running game which has been working but they cannot afford to be too predictable.
Sacks have been an issue, especially in coverage sacks so Kyle Shanahan should scheme up plays to get the ball out of Beathard’s hands quick. They key to this offense being productive ultimately now relies on the offensive line.