Deebo Samuel

Irvin believes 49ers must utilize Deebo more to become ‘unstoppable'

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The 49ers are riding a dominant three-game win streak and sit atop the NFC West with an 8-3 record on the 2023 NFL season.

But Michael Irvin believes they haven't even reached their full potential yet. The Hall of Fame receiver turned sports analyst believes San Francisco can elevate its already talented offense if it utilizes star "wide back" Deebo Samuel more.

"They proved to me certainly that they have an ability to be [the best], like they've shown us all year," Irvin said on FS1's "Undisputed" on Friday. "But I'm going to tell you what I believe really takes them over the top when I'm really worried about them. The last three games, Deebo Samuel has 14 receptions on 17 targets. When you work your offense through Christian McCaffrey and Brandon Aiyuk, I'm like, 'Oh that's a great offense.' When you work it through Deebo Samuel, I get more afraid of you. Each play pumps up the whole team because he's the blood, heart and soul of that team. So it becomes a different thing.

"I think they're a great team, they're starting to get there. When this thing goes through Deebo, then I worry because it's back to being that physical force that brought up problems. Remember last year, Deebo was saying, 'Coach give me the ball.' He just becomes such a force and every time he runs, he runs so hard. He gets everybody else hyped. That's when they become unstoppable. So yeah they're a dangerous team, but not even as dangerous as they could be."

San Francisco's offense is stacked with players like McCaffrey, Aiyuk and George Kittle. It seems as if each player takes turns having big games, but Irvin believes consistent production from Samuel would help put the 49ers over the edge in the league.

The 49ers held a perfect 5-0 record to start the season before losing their first game in Cleveland against the Browns, a game which Samuel exited in the first quarter after sustaining a shoulder injury. He missed the next two games and the 49ers, including the loss against the Browns, dropped three consecutive games.

Following a much-needed bye week, Samuel returned to the field and displayed just how much his presence was missed, helping the 49ers demolish the then-red-hot-Jaguars 34-3 in Jacksonville.

The 49ers now flipped a three-game skid into a three-game win streak following a huge Thanksgiving feast of the Seattle Seahawks on Thursday. In the win, Samuel led both teams with seven catches for 79 yards along with a rushing touchdown.

Samuel has shown the impact he has on the field, and the 49ers will need that next Sunday when they take on the NFC-leading Eagles in Philadelphia for an NFC Championship Game rematch.

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