An early season injury in 2018 to quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo derailed a lot of the hopes and dreams for the 49ers as they looked to contend in the NFC West.
The team struggled to a 4-12 mark, ending the season last in the NFC West but with high hopes for the future.
This offseason the club picked up Nick Bosa in the draft, and hoping that a healthy return for Garoppolo will put the team in a much better spot at year’s end.
Today we take a look at three questions about this team as camp closes in.
1. The Health of Jimmy Garoppolo
It’s by far and away the biggest question mark about this team, not only in terms of where he’s at in his recovery, but also is he going to be able to raise his game to the next level.
A lot of people had high hopes for him last season, and in the three games he did play in, he had a quarterback rating of 90.0, with five TD passes and three picks.
The team will for sure not put a ton of pressure on him early in camp, hoping that he can bring his game back around. The sooner he’s close to 100 percent, the quicker this team can start to make strides.
2. How do the Running Backs Stack Up?
The club not only had an injury to their starting quarterback in 2018, but the running backs had their share of injuries as well.
The club was hoping for big things from Jerick McKinnon, but he tore his ACL a week before the season opener.
Matt Breida was very good for the team, going over five yards per carry and rushing for 814 yards total with three scores with constant ankle injuries.
Raheem Mostert, Tevin Coleman, youngster Jeff Wilson Jr. and undrafted rookie Austin Walter are all players that will be in the mix for carries, but the overall health of the running back core is a key as well.
3. Can the Linebackers Make an Imapct?
There’s a lot of youth at the linebacker spot, and this is a season in which that position on the team can finally take a step forward.
The club put a lot of stock in veteran Malcolm Smith, but it might be better just to move on and cut their losses with what they paid him in the place.
Kwon Alexander is listed as the starter at the MIKE, Fred Warner is at the SAM, and Smith at the WILL, but it would not be a surprise to see some of the youth the team has at the spot get chances to make an impact.