Utilizing the residual momentum from the strong finish to 2017 is vital importance for the 49ers. How far they can go in 2018 remains to be seen; it is clear however that the San Francisco 49ers are ready to win. …Kyle Shanahan, aiming to be remembered as one of the franchise’s great coaches, added some great pieces in his first draft, acquired a great quarterback halfway through the season, and then added some great pieces in his second draft. The 49ers fans have suffered for too long, but barring a disaster, the Levi’s Stadium is about to witness its first winning season since opening in 2014.
2018 should be the year that heralds a first ‘winning’ season for the 49ers since the franchise’s move to a new stadium in 2014.
That late surge, combined with some shrewd picks from Kyle Shanahan and his colleagues in the 2018 draft – as detailed further on Niners Nation – has also served to shorten the 49ers’ bookmaker price of winning the NFC West division. As of 1 May 2018, Betway prices them at just +240 to do so, and it is the sort of upward trajectory that seemed impossible this time last year. 49ers fans should, of course, be under no illusions whatsoever; the Rams are odds-on for a reason, but there is the team’s relatively difficult schedule to take into account, which could ultimately benefit the 49ers.
Difficult Rams schedule favors 49ers
The additions of Peters, Cooks, Suh and Talib could see the Rams’ Super Bowl odds shorten even further in due course, but there is the ever-present feeling that the form of quarterback Jared Goff will be the deciding factor, in the team’s chances of winning the division, let alone the Super Bowl. He was sensational last season, but wouldn’t be the first to suffer a ‘sophomore slump’, with the pressure now on his relatively young shoulders more than ever. In that regard, the Rams’ week 15 match against the Eagles could be significant for the 49ers, if they are still in the running to win the division at that point.
[Original content: No source] The sight of the Los Angeles Rams, as odds-on favourites to win the division, illustrates just how important it is for the 49ers to play to the strengths of players like Jimmy Garoppolo. Though a great side is a sum of constituent parts, nothing will ever be more vital than a reliable quarterback. With five wins in as many starts, Garoppolo is already looking like hero material. As noted by ESPN, his win streak also stands proud alongside a 67.4% completion percentage and a passer rating of 96.2. Hopes are high for the 26-year-old ahead of his first full season under a whopping five-year contract worth $137.5m. As Garoppolo already has two Super Bowl rings, alongside his 100% record in starts, the 49ers are clearly buying into the philosophy that early successes in a career beget more in time.
A 10-6 season is par for Shanahan in 2018
At 26, Garoppolo has at least ten years of ‘good’ football ahead, but no team wins with just a quarterback, however, and for head coach Kyle Shanahan, the hard work has only just begun. He had a huge job on his hands to essentially start from starch with the roster in 2017, in a draft that had minimal structure due to shortfalls in all positions. Players were picked almost at random, and as a result, no other team has more snaps from rookies in 2017. In this year’s draft, however, the approach was a lot more measured. The 49ers will want to protect their quarterback investment, and – as noted on Bleacher Report – that is exactly what the franchise did in selecting Mike McGlinchey.
New to all this? For more information about the QB rating system, click here.
[Original content: No source] The arrivals of Fred Warner and Tarvarius Moore have also strengthened a leaky defense. With their depth charts improving, DeForest Buckner, Reuben Foster, Joe Staley and Marquise Goodwin also look primed for a stronger season. Though there is a deserved optimism surrounding the 49ers, the primary objective will still be regaining the habit of grinding out a winning season for the first time since 2013.
If the rate of improvement overseen by Shanahan is maintained, then the 49ers will enjoy a highly productive 10-6 season in 2018.