San Francisco 49ers
The San Francisco 49ers may be the only team that could potentially keep the LA Rams from repeating as NFC West champions, but they are not without their own question marks as well. The 49ers look to begin the quarterback Trey Lance era as the team enters the 2022 NFL season; however, with an unproven, second-year quarterback, a lot has yet to be determined.
San Francisco had a remarkable string of success against the LA Rams over the past three seasons, winning six of their last six regular-season meetings. That was until the Rams knocked them out of a run at a Super Bowl title last season in the NFC Championship game.
Time will tell whether the Rams have flipped the switch. In the meantime, the 49ers have a lot to sort out when it comes down to their quarterback position. The team planned to trade former starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, and turn the reins over to new quarterback Trey Lance.
Now the question is, will Lance be able to be that franchise quarterback and continue or even elevate the 49ers’ success from a season ago? Not to be ignored though, Jimmy G is still on the roster and who is to say, if he’s still there coming training camp and pre-season, he doesn’t outplay Lance and retains his starting role on this team?
There is of course the drama surrounding versatile wide receiver Deebo Samuel. The matter is rather complex. While he demands to be traded, the 49ers’ front office has no intention of doing so. He wants to be paid more, and he wants to focus his playing time as a receiver.
While there is a chance for that all to get resolved before the start of the season, I do have my concerns about the fallout of limiting Samuel exclusively to a receiver role. One of Samuel’s most productive uses in a game is when he simply takes the handoff and runs for daylight. We all know the career of running backs in this league is short due to the number of hits they take and with Samuel being used in the running game, as well as the passing game, he is seemingly worried about taking on those additional hits potentially shorten his career. If they limit his carries in the running game, how much more predictable will the 49ers become on offense?
So much of the San Francisco 49ers’ hopes for success this season rest on the quarterback position. Still, on the whole, this roster is still the second-best in the division and unless Lance completely disappoints, this team will finish in second place in the NFC West.