What is echoing all around the NFL community is Kirk Cousin’s notorious opening day football record for the past 3 seasons. Kirk is no doubt hearing about it as well. We can assume from this enigma that psychological damages from what appears to be an annual issue could linger. If you think to hard about a personal problem it could fester into a self fulfilling prophecy.
Being a 49ers fan lets add some more wood to the fire. Kirk is learning about the nuances of a new offense isn’t he?
When You think about the aforementioned facts alone, the folks in the NFL community predicting impending doom on the 49ers are speaking from what basis?
Not enough of the missing Jerick McKinnon has been displayed to even determine how effective he was going to be.
To be accurate, the 49ers with a good percentage of the offense have been together with Kyle Shanahan for over a year. Jimmy Garoppolo has been with Shanahan a bit less, but the main thing is he now knows way more than he did last season when he rode into town and refused to lose for the final 5 games of the season.
This game is going to come down to execution, not just who is in what uniform.
In this game the injury report will have an impact. Again the 49ers have an advantage in this category.
The Vikings offensive line took a huge hit losing OT Aviante Collins, and center Pat Elflein. If there is any truth to Kirk Cousins having some kind of mental block with opening day, having a porous offensive line and Richard Sherman foaming at the mouth for him to throw an errant under pressure pass in his direction could cause things to fall apart in dramatic fashion for Cousins. My guess is Cousins has to know in his heart of hearts that he was overpaid by the Vikings to begin with. Failure not being an option can be a stress factor that could cause him to press harder which may also lead to mistakes.
Elflein will be replaced by recently acquired Brent Jones, while Collins will be substituted for by rookie Brian Oneill.
The 49ers have heard about how the NFL community feels about their pass rush. Deforest Buckner responded to that dig during one of those roll’n down the road with Joe Fann interviews. DBuck’s reaction was one of a man who has heard the complaint more than he can stand.
We saw a movement on the pass rush meter in the last two preseason games.
At least I did. The 49ers while not looking anything like the Jaguars rush, do look a bit more potent. I don’t know what Chris Kiffin is doing but it’s having an effect.
During the preseason game with the Colts, Andrew Luck escaped a couple of times out of that pocket, but he wasn’t running laterally as Quarterbacks have been able to do since the middle of the final term of the Obama administration. Had Luck not bailed out of that pocket he would have been body slammed.
Also it wasn’t the first unit during the final preseason game with the Chargers but Geno Smith had to hustle out of a flooded pocket as well. It could be that the Kiffin classes are having an effect from all levels of the defensive lineman.
There is also the fact that Arik Armstead is back in the lineup. I doubt it’s a coincidence that quarterbacks are having to get on their horse suddenly in spite of Armstead’s return.
Look for Armstead to have a day. With all the flack he has received from fans he could be the angriest lineman on the field.
Slot cover Mackensi Alexander who isn’t pro bowl bound in the first place has a tweaked ankle. Kyle had to smile when hearing about that. Trent was going to beat him up on his best of days. If Alexander plays he’ll be meat. The Vikings will replace him with rookie Mike Hughes, in nickel packages. Let the comedy begin from there. Garoppolo and Taylor will destroy with the short routes and slants.
Maybe the biggest factor in this game is that all pro Xavier Rhodes is dealing with a hamstring issue. It Rhodes can’t take Garcon out of the equation all odds are off. That is to much of an advantage for the 49ers and the Vikings to endure. That speculation means the 49ers would be extremely potent through the air. Trae Waynes hasn’t a prayer against Marquise Goodwin. Sure I’ve heard about his improvements but better corners than Trae Waynes is ever going to be are not able to guard Goodwin. (See Jalen Ramsey)
My biggest concern is of the running game with the 49ers. This is a mystery in lieu of the fact that things just got dismantled with the running backs a few days ago upon losing Jerick McKinnon. However having Matt Breida and Alfred Morris handling that responsibility in McKinnon’s absence just does’t make you worry that much.
The forever ailing Malcolm Smith problem does however. If Smith is out during the entire time that Foster is out he will most likely become a backup, and that would mean the 49ers would would want to scale back his contract to a backup’s compensation.
I don’t know if you noticed but last season the 49ers seemed to have hit a light switch when they knew the Jaguars were coming to town. They played the Jags harder than any team on the final weeks of the schedule. I’m looking for that attitude to travel to Minnesota. Faith can be a powerful force. This 49ers team will not know their role and shut up. The Vikings have a fight coming to them.