Niner Noise’s Peter Panacy took in your San Francisco 49ers questions on Twitter, breaking down training camp, position battles and the NFL preseason in this Q&A session.
The San Francisco 49ers have gone through plenty of changes this offseason, ushering in plenty of excitement and hope for a team coming off a 2-14 season a year ago.
Offseasons spring hope, though, and chances are the Niners still will have a less-than-desirable record in 2017.
That’s just one storyline to watch, as head coach Kyle Shanahan looks to spark a new-look team on the right path.
Niner Noise site expert Peter Panacy took your Twitter questions to see what you, the fans, were wondering about this training camp and preseason.
Expectations for Kyle Shanahan
Shanahan is going to go through some growing pains as a head coach, since he hasn’t done it at any level before.
Coaching is a vastly different animal than being a coordinator, so it’s probably a good idea to temper expectations for the first season or so. As far as Xs and Os go, Shanahan is about as good an offensive mind there is.
That’s a positive, and it helps he has someone like his father, Mike Shanahan, to act as a mentor.
Kyle Shanahan’s six-year deal indicates, though, the 49ers are willing to be patient. And I fully expect him to serve out his entire contract, perhaps beyond, as the team gets back on track.
Kyle Juszczyk and the 49ers’ Tight End Depth
I’m still guessing the Niners keep three tight ends on their roster come the regular season. But fullback Kyle Juszczyk does offer a unique H-back-type weapon Shanahan can use from a variety of spots on the field.
Juszczyk might negate the need to keep someone like Cole Hikutini — an undrafted free agent known for his pass-catching abilities — as Juszczyk is equally effective in both the receiving game and blocking schemes, per Pro Football Focus. Hikutini is more one dimensional at this point.
My guess is one of those two, between McDonald and Hikutini, makes the roster but sees his role diminished by Juszczyk’s impact.
Is Brian Hoyer Going to See More Action vs. Broncos?
Weeks 2 and 3 of the preseason typically resemble regular-season games a lot more, so I wouldn’t be surprised if quarterback Brian Hoyer sees a full quarter, perhaps more.
Most chemistry with receivers is developed during training camp, but it’s about reps at this point.
The same goes for the offensive line, although it’s likely San Francisco continues to rotate players regularly, like it did in Kansas City. Cross-training depth players is the best way to increase their value.
Should the 49ers Target Kyle Fuller?
I wrote about this earlier today. Chicago Bears cornerback Kyle Fuller, a former first-round draft pick, fell out of favor in recent years and missed all of 2016 with an injury. So it makes sense the rebuilding Bears would consider shopping him.
Fuller has plenty of question marks, injuries being one of them, but he’d certainly be an upgrade over some of the depth corners the Niners have.
If I’m general manager John Lynch, I take a risk on Fuller’s upside and offer up a late-round draft pick.
Arik Armstead, Aaron Lynch and the 49ers Pass Rush
It depends on whether or not the 49ers are in base or nickel defensive fronts. Neither Aaron Lynch nor Arik Armstead were particularly effective against the run last year, per Pro Football Focus, and both are probably situational pass-rushers at best. So that probably negates much of the base 4-3 formations.
Since your question is about the pass rush, though, there’s a way to do it with Armstead lining up as the left defensive tackle and Lynch as the RDE, or LEO.
Niner Noise’s Chris Wilson drew this up on a recent defensive-fits piece. It will explain a bit more on how San Francisco can get these two into positions utilizing their prolific pass-rush abilities.
Be sure to continue checking out Niner Noise for continuous preseason analysis and updates as we near Week 1 of the regular season!