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2021 NFL Team Preview: San Francisco 49ers


2020 was not kind to the San Francisco 49ers. Though the season began with high expectations, multiple injuries led the Niners to a disappointing 6-10 finish. QB Jimmy Garoppolo appears to finally be healthy but the Niners used their first-round draft choice on Trey Lance, a highly-touted prospect out of North Dakota State (

What will 2021 have in store for San Fran? “Jimmy G” will be the Week One starter at QB but can he stay healthy the entire season? We expect a big bounceback for the Niners this season and they could contend for the NFC West division title.

2021 Offense

After a breakout season in 2019, Garoppolo only appeared in six games in 2020 because of a nagging high ankle sprain. The 29-year old still put up a decent stat line (1,096 passing yards, seven touchdowns, five interceptions) for such a small amount of games. Though many folks want to get a look at Lance under center, this is still Jimmy G’s team.

The Niners running game may end up being running back by committee. Veterans Raheem Mostert and Wayne Gallman will compete for the starting job, but don’t count out Trey Sermon, a third-round draft pick out of Ohio State. Mostert was hampered by injuries last year, but Gallman is coming off his best season as a pro.

San Fran’s receiving corps has some decent playmakers. Deebo Samuel has a boatload of raw talent but is somewhat injury-prone. The former South Carolina star only appeared in seven games last season. 

Superstar George Kittle is one of the best tight ends in the league. He was also injured in 2020 and missed half the season. If Samuel and Kittle can stay healthy, this unit could have a fantastic 2021.

2021 Defense

DeMeco Ryans gets his first shot at being a defensive coordinator this year. Ryans takes over for Robert Saleh, who took the head coaching job of the New York Jets. Last year’s defensive unit did a fantastic job, especially when you consider that Nick Bosa only played two games.

When healthy, Bosa is one heck of a pass rusher. The former Ohio State star made the Pro Bowl during his rookie year of 2019. Veteran Arik Armstead does a decent job playing on the opposite end of Bosa.

The Niners secondary is a solid bunch who ranked fourth in the NFL in passing yards allowed per game last season (207.9). Corner Jason Verrett snagged two interceptions and 60 tackles in 2020. Free safety Jimmie Ward chipped in with 73 tackles and four passes defended.

2021 Special Teams

38-year old kicker Robbie Gould proved that his leg is still “good as gold” in 2020. The former Penn State standout made 19 out of 23 field goal attempts last year. Mitch Wishnowsky returns for his third season as the Niners punter after averaging 46.9 yards per punt in 2020.

Former Middle Tennessee State Blue Raider Richie James will handle most of the return duties in 2021. The 25-year old averaged 18.3 yards per kick return last season.


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