Maiocco Overreactions

49ers overreactions: Will failure to trade for cornerback haunt team?

NBC Universal, Inc.

The 49ers’ offense returned to their 30-plus-point ways, so nobody with a straight face is calling for the team to bench quarterback Brock Purdy.

And the defense looked a lot more similar to the defense of old. Their coordinator was on the sideline, and the playmakers were running around collecting sacks and takeaways.

The 49ers followed their recipe for success on Sunday in a 34-3 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars to snap a three-game losing streak.

Does their Week 10 victory make everything all right in 49ers Land?

Perhaps not.

That is why 49ers Overreactions is here.

Let’s see what the good folks are saying as the 49ers improved to 6-3 on the season:

Trent Williams and Deebo Samuel are the heart and soul of this team. Without them, we are mediocre. With them, we are unstoppable! (Mike F.)

Overreaction? No.

It is difficult to argue that point because the facts are the facts.

The last time Williams and Samuel were healthy from start to finish was the Week 5 game against the Dallas Cowboys. In the three games they either did not play or were noticeably hobbled, the 49ers lost and the offense sputtered.

Williams is an all-timer. He’s one of the best to ever play his position. His presence is a huge factor in tying together the 49ers’ offensive line and getting the run game going.

And Samuel’s presence is difficult to quantify by his catches, carries and yards.

“It's a different energy, a different burst,” 49ers running back Christian McCaffrey said of Samuel. “Just having him on the field, I'm not a D-coordinator and go play defense, but he's somebody you have to focus on. And then what he can do when the ball is in his hands whether it's in the receiving game or the run game is special.”

The 49ers still should have won at least two of those games without Williams and Samuel. And there are other important players on the team, of course.

But we’ve seen the 49ers without Williams and Samuel, and there is no mistaking that it’s a completely different vibe.

Offensive line is terrible. No QB protection. (Matthew T.)

Overreaction? Yes.

Purdy was outstanding on Sunday. He completed 19 of 26 passes for 296 yards with three touchdowns, no interceptions and a passer rating of 148.9.

He was sacked twice for minus-9 yards, so it’s not as if the pass protection was a complete disaster.

Compare that to the quarterback on the other side. Trevor Lawrence, the No. 1 overall pick of the 2021 NFL Draft, was sacked five times for 28 yards. Lawrence completed 17 of 29 passes for 185 yards with no touchdowns and two interceptions.

Are we to believe that Purdy did it all by himself without any help from the 49ers’ offensive line?

Do the 49ers have the best offensive line in football? Of course not. But they are nowhere near the bottom of the league, either.

The 49ers have built solid depth, so there could be some tweaks coming to the offensive line in the weeks to come.

Veteran Jon Feliciano seemingly has earned a regular role on offense even after left guard Aaron Banks is cleared to return from his toe injury. And, perhaps, the 49ers will give consideration to finding playing time for backup tackle Jaylon Moore after he filled in nicely for Trent Williams.

Still, the 49ers’ offensive line is playing well enough to win a lot of games.

It should be noted that 24 quarterbacks in the NFL have been sacked more times than Purdy, so the 49ers’ offensive line is doing plenty of good things, too.

I wish they would’ve addressed the cornerback position at the trade deadline. It could come back to haunt us. I feel that’s the weak point of our defense. (Mark H.)

Overreaction? Yes and no.

Do you really think the 49ers erred by not going after Rasul Douglas at the trade deadline?

Douglas is the only cornerback who switched teams last week. Buffalo sent a third-round draft pick to Green Bay in order to acquire Douglas and a fifth-round pick.

We don’t believe the 49ers missed out on the trade deadline because there were no cornerbacks to be had. They checked. And nothing made sense.

That said, the biggest issue with the 49ers in the first half of the season was finding an answer at nickel back.

Veteran Isaiah Oliver struggled in coverage heading into the bye week and lost his role in the defense for the game at Jacksonville.

Starting cornerback Deommodore Lenoir moved inside to cover the slot receiver, and Ambry Thomas entered the game on the outside in nickel situations. Thomas had a very good game on Sunday, and that should be the way the 49ers line up the rest of the way when five defensive backs are on the field.

We agree that the cornerbacks rank behind the defensive line and linebackers when it comes to the strengths of the 49ers’ defense. Let’s also note that opposing quarterbacks have a passer rating of 70.7 against the 49ers. So the secondary is doing a lot of things right, too.

It’s no surprise people focus negatively on the offensive line and cornerbacks.

Ask any fan base in the league what areas of their team is the weakest, and those two positions likely are going to be named more often than others.

Steve Wilks' position on the field had something to do with the way the defense played. (Juan C.)

Overreaction: No.

Coach Kyle Shanahan and Wilks spent last week trying to downplay the significance of Wilks moving from the booth to the sideline to call the 49ers’ defense.

But if it wasn’t such a big deal, why was the change made?

The 49ers’ defense was looking to make some changes that could help after three straight losses and shaky showings against the Minnesota Vikings and Cincinnati Bengals.

If things were going smoothly, there would have been no reason to mess with Wilks’ game location.

Strategically, where the defensive coordinator is situated on game day is of little consequence. But we fully believe having the defensive coordinator visible and accessible gives more ownership to the players and makes them more accountable.

If Fred Warner or Arik Armstead or anyone else sees an issue developing or wants to make a suggestion, he can approach Wilks on the sideline to provide face-to-face feedback or suggestions.

“It was good having him down there,” Warner said, “and the communication was flawless.”

It might not seem like much, but it’s a big deal when players know their voices are being heard.

The other part of this is that Wilks is still learning the scheme and his players. He was hired from the outside. He was asked to adapt to the 49ers’ system and work with the returning defensive coaches.

This is a process for Wilks that is going to take time. There’s something to be said for the total immersion of being on the sideline amid all the action to accelerate that process.

Moody needs to be replaced ASAP. (Faron B.)

Overreaction? Yes.

Let’s go straight to the stats: Rookie kicker Jake Moody is 14 of 17 on field-goal attempts (82.4 percent) and he’s 30 for 30 (100 percent) on extra points. Plus, his leg strength has provided the 49ers with improvements on kickoffs and more range on field-goal attempts.

Yes, he missed the potential game-winning kick in Cleveland. And, yes, he barely squeezed his end-of-half kick over the right upright on Sunday against the Jaguars.

So we understand how you might not have complete faith in Moody at this point, but he certainly does not need to be replaced.

Download and follow the 49ers Talk Podcast

Contact Us