No. 2: Dante Pettis
In the doghouse no longer, young wide receiver Dante Pettis looks on the cusp of a big breakthrough game for the 49ers.
After barely having any snaps or targets on offense for the first two weeks, Pettis has eight catches for 76 yards and the game-winning touchdown against the Steelers. He was extremely close to another touchdown against the Rams but was marked just short.
While they aren’t the most impressive stats, consider Jimmy Garoppolo was often throwing quickly against the Rams to mitigate their defense. Also keep in mind that the preferred player for getting the ball to is tight end George Kittle.
Pettis is looking very close to claiming that mantle for the No. 2 preferred receiver, however, and he has a big chance to make this happen against a poor Redskins secondary.
Redskins used to have a top corner in Josh Norman, however time seems to be catching up to him as he has an abysmal 50.0 score by Pro Football Focus. If Pettis can be schemed against him, he can use his great route-running skills to exploit this weakness.
The key word here is “scheme.” The 49ers generally have a pretty good idea what they’re going to do on both sides of the ball before the game starts. Kyle Shanahan should find a way to get Pettis involved, even over the middle of the field where Pettis finally showed some grit against the Rams (a quality that had been lacking for the young wideout).
Pettis started 2019 very slow, but he’s working his way back to where the team thought he would be by now. All he needs is a chance to show what he can do against a weak secondary to get that confidence up.