The 49ers biggest training camp question begins with Jimmy G

NFC West hopefuls will have to prove they aren't a 1-year wonder

Tommy Call
July 24, 2018 - 10:22 pm

The San Francisco 49ers report for training camp in Santa Clara on Wednesday with the most hype the organization has had since Jim Harbaugh was in charge.

Before players suit up, there are still plenty of questions surrounding the squad.  So, let’s dive into the most important ones..

Can Jimmy G live up to the hype?

Jimmy Garoppolo, the man, the myth, the legend — wait one second, we can’t forget that this guy only started five games last season.

We all know he went 5-0 and turned the 49ers from a JV team to an actual NFL club, but with that success Garoppolo will now be under the most pressure he’s ever faced in his short career.

There were no expectations last season, first year coach, new playbook, 0-10 before he took over and the excuses go on-and-on.

This season you can throw all that out the window. Expectations will come from teammates,  coaches, the fanbase and the media. If Garoppolo slips up things could turn quickly, even if he takes a small step back some air will start to leak from the 49ers’ bubble.

Not to mention, can Garoppolo handle the limelight? We will see in training camp how Garoppolo handles questions about hype, being better than Tom Brady and adult film stars.

 

Where’s the depth?

There shouldn’t be many surprise cuts during training camp and the depth chart should be relatively set, but outside of the regular starters there isn’t much depth.

The 49ers will be depending on health and consistency to get through this season— a quality they haven’t had in season’s past.

Outside of wide-receiver, defensive line and slot corner, the 49ers are pretty slim at several important positions. If either Mike McGlinchey or Joe Staley go down with an injury Garoppolo could be in trouble.

There’s nothing like a bad offensive line to derail your season quickly. The 49ers need to have a contingency plan in place if one of their bookends land on the injury report.

Garry Gilliam is currently in line to be the 49ers swing tackle and is at best okay, but when you invest in your quarterback like San Francisco did, you need to be able to protect him at all costs.

The 49ers will be a team to watch on the offensive tackle market when training camp cuts start to happen. The 49ers are also slim at linebacker, boundary corner and running back. They’ll have to depend on young players and some undrafted free-agents to show enough in camp to give the 49ers brass enough confidence they’re deep enough across the board.

 

Are some of these guys one-year wonders?

Like Jimmy G, some skill players on this roster burst onto the scene after being relatively unknown.

Was that a product of Kyle Shanahan’s offense?

Maybe.

The arrival of Jimmy G?

Maybe.

But the real question is can they repeat that production?

Marquise Goodwin landed in San Francisco on a two-year deal to stretch the field in Shanahan’s offense. He did that and much more, leading the receivers in yards with 932 yards, 417 more than the second-best receiver, tight-end George Kittle.

Goodwin almost doubled his career high in yardage and receptions during his first season in San Francisco. The 49ers rewarded Goodwin with a contract extension, but now, like Garoppolo the former Olympian will face expectations like he’s never had before.

Another receiver who seemed to jump from a fifth-round rookie to Garoppolo’s safety net was Trent Taylor. Taylor isn’t exceptionally fast and doesn’t have blazing speed, but he clicked with Garoppolo.

He created separation with his quick feet and smooth route-running, but where Taylor really impressed was when it mattered most, Taylor seemed to be the guy. Taylor definitely had the clutch gene, but now everyone knows he’s Garoppolo’s guy meaning he will demand extra coverage on third downs and near the end of games.

Shanahan also fits in the one-year wonder umbrella. Everyone knows how talented of a play caller he is, but can he adapt and continue to grow his exciting offense? Year 2 will tell.

 

Last questions to follow heading into camp...

Who will play guard?

Tomlinson and Garnett have the most upside, but the 49ers went out and got Jonathan Cooper making it his fifth team since being drafted in 2013. At Least he brings some experience I guess.

What’s going to happen with Joe Williams?

Shanahan wanted Williams so badly the 49ers gave up two picks for him, but his season started and ended on the injured reserve. Now what? Matt Brieda made the most of his snaps last season and the 49ers spent a significant amount of money to bring in Jerick Mckinnon. Williams will have to bounce back quickly from injury to even make this team.

Keep it locked on 95.7 The Game and 957TheGame.com for all your 49ers training camp coverage.

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