I think we can understand at this point of the season, that the 49ers are not in the same world they were last year. 2020 has hit us all so hard …and the hope we had for this team has been the extra punch in the gut many of us didn’t need. But all hope is not lost. Time, and time again as I see the 49ers take the field, I see the sparks that took this team to the Super Bowl last year. That spark may not have me thinking Super Bowl, but it does give me hope for next season.
I have really seen two things from the 49ers so far this season that give me considerable hope. First, the team has tons of talent that is injured, and it’s remarkable how getting any one of these players back in a week can bring a difference to the team, a new wrinkle, and a differentiator. Kyle Shanahan has the team over achieving with all of these players on the bench - perhaps unlike anything I have seen since the days of Steve Marriucci.
Second, and perhaps more importantly, now more than ever, we know where the weak spots are. There is no hiding. The holes are obvious, and the team will have to focus on shoring them up for next season. We know for certain that at quarterback, for example, Jimmy G may not be the best in the business, but he is miles better than the next man up, and the team can’t win without a top tier (though not necessarily elite) quarterback. Similarly the defensive backfield has been exposed without Richard Sherman, the pass rush decimated without Bosa. The gap Joe Staley left has been so large even Trent Williams hasn’t been able to fill it.
I am strongly encouraged that not only do we know our strengths… we do know we have some answers at receiver between Deebo and Aiyuk. We know the threats we have at running back, and where investment can be realigned… the same at linebacker.
As we sum it all up… It may not be the time to bet for this season, but 2021 is certainly going to be something to look forward to.