The San Francisco 49ers enter the 2020 campaign with high hopes following a year that saw them go from the bottom of the division to a Superbowl. Much of the success of the turnaround can be attributed to the elite defense and superb outside zone run game. However there many reasons to believe if the 49ers are going to get back to the promised land it will be on the arm of Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. The sting of a 4th quarter SuperBowl meltdown left a bad taste in the mouths of many when discussing Garoppolo. Unfortunately this diverts attention from the fact he had quite an impressive campaign in his first full season starting. Garoppolo finished 2019 in the top 5 among quarterbacks in completion percentage, touchdowns thrown, and yards per attempt. Here are a few reasons i believe Garoppolo and some new weapons will make the passing offense better in 2020
infusion of youth
The 49ers spent a first round pick on Arizona State standout Brandon Aiyuk. The 2019 First Team All Pac 12 has an impressive skill set including his ability to run after the catch. The ability to create yards after the catch is preciously coveted by Coach Kyle Shanahan. Aiyuk also possess’s tremendous physical attributes including an 81 inch wingspan despite being only 6 feet tall. Aiyuk clocked in at 21.97 MPH last season which would have made him the 4th fastest player in the NFL in 2019. Another Rookie to keep an eye on is Tight End Charlie Woerner. The 6th round pick out of Georgia has impressed in camp and may have an expanded role in the passing game.
veterans making a comeback
Trent Taylor returns this season a year removed from a foot injury that sidelined him for the entire 2019 season. Taylor’s ability to work the middle of the field out of the slot position gives this offense an added dynamic. Garoppolo’s accuracy over the middle of the field is one of his greatest strengths and having a safety blanket there should give him a significant boost. The signing of former Pro Bowl Tight End Jordan Reed was another big addition. The concerns surrounding Reed have always been based on availability, not ability. When healthy he is one of the pre eminent receiving threats at the Tight End position. Running back Jerick Mckinnon being healthy is also of great signifcance. Mckinnon provides the 49ers with a consistent receiving threat out of the backfield, something they have sorely lacked.
the genius of Kyle Shanahan
Shanahan has made his mark in this league by being an innovative offensive mind. His ability to stay a step ahead of defensive coordinators has been one of his greatest skills as a play caller. I expect Shanahan to do the same this year following a season that saw the 49ers finish 2nd in rushing. Having two elite receiving threats at Tight End should allow Shanahan the ability to force other teams to put their base defense on the field. This would provide a significant mismatch for George Kittle and Jordan Reed, as well as McKinnon coming out of the backfield. A trio that should cause nightmares for opposing linebackers in base defenses.