Short weeks are difficult, but it’s still primetime. The San Francisco 49ers Week 3 matchup against the Los Angeles Rams will be their only chance to play under the lights in 2017.
Here’s this week’s mailbag ahead of “Thursday Night Football”. Most of the questions, as expected, are in regards to the 49ers offense that is still looking for its first touchdown of the season.
My guess is that Kyle Shanahan would tell you that he’d love to get those guys the ball more. I’d bet he also says that no one is getting the ball enough. There’s a reason why Pierre Garçon has only run the ball 24 times through two games despite putting up 124 yards against the Seattle Seahawks in Week 2.
It all comes down to the ability to sustain drives, something San Francisco has struggled with during the first two games. Converting on third down, limiting penalties and avoiding turnovers will be paramount against the Rams.
Specifically in regards to Juszczyk, Shanahan told reporters that the fullback's involvement in the passing game will depend on matchups. Some weeks Juszczyk will be heavily featured. Other times, like last Sunday, he will stick to his blocking duties at fullback. As far as Robinson goes, his role will likely remain the same as he continues to spell Marquise Goodwin and Pierre Garçon when needed.
Doubtful. I wouldn’t expect a change at QB anytime soon. Still, Pierre Garçon will be the first to tell you that he needs to play better. Shanahan said that Hoyer “needs to get his edge back” during his KNBR hit on Wednesday.
Hoyer has struggled through two games. His 292 passing yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions are numbers that speak for themselves. But it’s also important to keep perspective and understand that it’s a long season. It has only been two games and no quarterback is going to get benched for struggling against the Carolina Panthers and the Seattle Seahawks.
The entire offense needs to take a step forward on Thursday night though, and that starts with Hoyer.
This is another situation that seems unlikely. Trent Taylor has been fantastic as a punt returner so far. He’s currently averaging 12.3 yards per punt return which ranks third among players with at least four punt returns. Taylor also has a long of 21 yards. Most importantly, he’s taken care of the football and has made great decisions in terms of when to call for a fair catch.
Victor Bolden Jr. made his debut at kick returner in Week 2 and also showed well. Bolden averaged 23.7 yards on his three returns in Seattle. Expect him to remain in that role on Thursday.
The hope is that Jaquiski Tartt will be able to go in Eric Reid’s absence. However, Tartt is questionable to play with a neck injury. Should Tartt be out against the Rams, the 49ers would turn to either Lorenzo Jerome or Adrian Colbert. Robert Saleh didn’t give any indication as to which rookie is the leader in the clubhouse to start. Both got starting experience at free safety during the preseason, and they’ve gotten practice reps at strong safety.
It’s a situation worth monitoring. Tartt tweeted "can't wit to hit the field tomorrow" on Wednesday afternoon, so he may be good to go.
Do you think the Niners d can be elite ? — Andrew Gonzales (@agonzales71713) September 20, 2017
Absolutely. The 49ers defense currently ranks 10th in both scoring and total yards allowed. That’s despite playing an average of 35:40 per game, easily the highest number in the league. Right now the 49ers defense is playing very well. To become elite, the group must capitalize on opportunities to get takeaways and get clutch fourth-quarter stops.
The best part is that San Francisco is seeing early returns on its investments. DeForest Buckner dominated the line of scrimmage in Seattle. Arik Armstead also had one of his better games. Solomon Thomas is “getting better every day”, according to Saleh. The foundation is evident, and the pieces are already starting to produce.
Gotta love a good ole “shot in the dark” question. I’m predicting a long touchdown for Goodwin. I think he’s eager to atone for a few early mistakes this season. So let’s go with 80 total yards for Goodwin to lead 49ers receivers – a 40-yard touchdown and four other receptions at a 10-yard average. #math
There’s no timetable, but Foster is out of his orthopedic boot and was in great spirits on Tuesday. John Lynch told NBC Sports Bay Area that the rookie linebacker is making a “freak” recovery from his high-ankle sprain. Who knows what that means in terms of Foster’s return date, but it’s great news nonetheless.
I still think Week 4 against the Arizona Cardinals would be a stretch but a return in Week 5 against the Indianapolis Colts seems possible. Just know that the 49ers aren’t going to take any chances with Foster’s health.