More than a quarter of the way into the season, the San Francisco 49ers are playing like a brand new team — complete strangers to last year’s hapless doormats of the NFC West. Plagued by injuries, the Niners had a slew of bad luck that netted them a top draft pick in the NFL Draft.
So, let’s start there with the five 49ers to watch for the week 6 matchup:
EDGE Nick Bosa
Is this guy a dominant football player or an NFL heel that 31 teams hate with the passion of a thousand suns? Well, both. Bosa is obviously a menace to opposing linemen, and his strength will be a challenge for either LT Andrew Whitworth or RT Rob Havenstein. It could very well be that Cleveland Browns LT Greg Robinson made Bosa look superhuman on Monday Night Football, so let’s not crown the guy just yet.
OT Daniel Brunskill
Starting RT Mike McGlinchey injured his knee on Monday night and now the former Alliance of American Football standout, Brunskill, will be taking over starting duties on the O-line. In addition, OT Justin Skule will be subbing in for the injured OT Joe Staley. This matchup will be key, as the Rams’ EDGE rushers now have a fantastic opportunity to get to Jimmy Garoppolo.
QB Jimmy Garoppolo
The Niners star QB hasn’t had a sparkling stat line with a 51.2 QBR through four games, but he’s been relying on the run game and his four interceptions has been good enough. Is Garoppolo a system quarterback? Maybe he is! In two of the four games, Garoppolo has thrown for less than 200 yards and has only tossed more than 2 touchdowns in a game once. The guy plays it safe and does what he needs to do to keep the offense moving, but he’s not a defense killer.
CB Richard Sherman
There’s always an intriguing factor with superstar defensive players like Sherman that might be too long in the tooth to keep up with receivers like WR Brandin Cooks. However, Sherman is still a baller with a truckload of pride. And the dude talks so much that it’s not worth getting him going with bulletin board material. One aspect about Sherman right now is that he gives up a lot of sideline routes for short completions. QB Jared Goff could find success for the Los Angeles Rams if he throws towards Sherman, challenging the aging defender to step up. As we know, Father TIme is undefeated.
WR Dante Pettis
The second-year wideout scored the winning touchdown in their win vs. the Pittsburgh Steelers, but disappointed in the Monday Night Football game, dropping an easy touchdown reception. And he also engaged in an awkward interaction with WR Odell Beckham Jr. in which he exchanged jerseys, but then asked for his back! Pettis, a former Washington University player, could be ready to prove himself a go-to guy on the 49ers offense.