We asked an expert on the San Francisco 49ers to tell us more about the team’s identity in 2022 and what to expect in Week 7.
The San Francisco 49ers came into this season as potential Super Bowl entrants coming out of the NFC. Six games into the regular season, the Niners have lost their franchise QB for the year in Trey Lance and have lost to subpar teams like the Chicago Bears, Atlanta Falcons, and Denver Broncos. Sitting at 3-3 and with the Kansas City Chiefs coming to town, the 49ers have to wonder how things might look if they’re under .500 at midseason.
Given the urgent feeling in the room these days at Levi’s Stadium, the Chiefs know they can’t overlook the Niners coming off of a tough loss to the Buffalo Bills. But how tough can San Francisco really be? They have a ton of injuries and their record speaks for itself. Then again, Kyle Shanahan should never be overlooked and this is a team with plenty of talent despite their injured list.
What do you make of a Niners team that has losses on the books to the Bears, the Broncos, and the Falcons?
One word: inconsistent. Well, at least on offense. The defense has been exemplary until Week 6 when it was short six starters. One would think the offense could carry the defense at least a few times this season, especially given some of the talent on that side of the ball. But all three of those losses have revealed plenty of offensive inconsistencies.
Is this the ceiling of Jimmy G and the team just has to live with it?
Jimmy Garoppolo will be 31 years old this November, and it’s pretty safe to say he is who he is. Although he’s cut down on the interceptions so far this season, and by in large, he’s actually played fairly well, it’s understandable he’s limited as a quarterback. I classify him on that “good enough to be a starter” tier, but he’s not someone who can carry a team on his shoulders.
How has Charvarius Ward looked through six games?
Charvarius Ward has been outstanding for San Francisco thus far and is showing every bit the lockdown corner. Simply put, he’s been worth every penny, especially considering how big a liability the 49ers’ cornerback room was a season ago.
Looking ahead to this week, what’s the messaging been from the team’s leaders as they sit at 3-3 with the Chiefs coming to town?
Kyle Shanahan’s teams have had a notorious time playing down to the level of their opponents. Not to say Atlanta is bad, but the 49ers should have handily won that game. The players are saying the right things like, “we’ve got play to our standards” and “we’ll get better from this.” And they’ll probably say Week 7 is “just another game,” too. But I’m sure those who were around for Super Bowl LIV will look at it as a get-up game with a little extra motivation, and that’s fine. The Niners could use a spark like that.
How do you expect the injuries to sort out by the end of the week? Are there some guys who can already be ruled out?
The interior of San Francisco’s defensive line is banged up, although Nick Bosa is likely to return. However, missing Arik Armstead and Javon Kinlaw has hurt, and they probably won’t back. Same with safety Jimmie Ward who broke his hand on the first snap he played this season after missing the first four weeks with a hamstring injury. It’s a little brighter for Trent Williams, who has been out since Week 3 with an ankle injury. But surprisingly, the 49ers have managed Williams’ absence quite well.