Authentic Kids Randy Bullock Jersey In 2016, a handful of rookies became household names by playing like seasoned veterans. But the risk of sophomore slumps for players like Joey Bosa, Dak Prescott, Jordan Howard, Tyreek Hill, and Ezekiel Elliott may have fans feeling anxious as the 2017 season approaches.
The 49ers will be bad in 2017. That’s not a hot take, just the reality of the situation. Shanahan’s tenure won’t be judged off an obvious rebuilding year — wins and losses will be less important than how the team actually looks on the field.
If the 49ers are competitive every week, keeping games close, and responding to the culture Shanahan implements, then that’s an encouraging sign. It’ll give the team hope for the future as it starts building up a core of real NFL talent.
Nearly everything about San Francisco’s defense was a trash fire last season. The unit allowed a league-high 30 points per game, was dead last with 165.9 rushing yards allowed per game, and was No. 28 in defensive DVOA. All of these numbers are the worst in franchise history.
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Linebacker NaVorro Bowman was by far the best player on that side of the ball, and once he tore his Achilles in Week 4, the entire unit rolled over and died.
Thankfully, there are glimmers of actual talent on this defense. Thomas will be paired up with rising second-year lineman DeForest Buckner. Linebacker Malcolm Smith and defensive tackle Earl Mitchell came over in free agency, while Foster is solid insurance in case Bowman can’t come back healthy. Jimmie Ward, who got his fifth-year option picked up, will transition from cornerback to safety full time.
There are still too many holes in too many positions, but first-time defensive coordinator Robert Saleh at least has more to work with than Jim O’Neil did last season.