No. 2: Strike big with wide receiver A.J. Green
The 49ers will eventually have to pass the ball more than they have thus far. With only 168 attempts through the air, the Kyle Shanahan-lead offense is next to last in that category. The team is still scoring points in bunches and the run game is averaging almost 150 yards per game. However, when they face a squad like the Baltimore Ravens who ranked ninth in run defense, quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo will need to find some targets down the field.
The Niners receivers haven’t been all too spectacular in six games. Numerous dropped passes, missed routes and potential injuries are cause for concern among the Faithful. They need a guy to step up when called upon, but also be there to help the youngsters and provide some much-needed depth either in the slot or on the wide side.
A.J. Green is that guy. On most rosters, Green is No. 1 on the depth chart, including with the Cincinnati Bengals. However, injuries and lack of competitive football make Green a prime target for John Lynch. The former fourth overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft hasn’t played since re-injuring himself in Week 13 of last year.
At this stage in his career it’s possible he’s more of a “star depth” player than just “a star.”
When he isn’t injured, he plays and starts every single game. The product of the University of Georgia has racked up 111 games played and started, with 63 touchdowns and almost 9,000 yards in his career. Green has amazing boundary awareness, quick feet, soft hands and ridiculous strength to separate himself from the defender.
Check out this toe-tapping, jaw dropping catch… one of many.
During the final stretch of the regular season, the 49ers are going to be playing defenses who are just as strong as them across the board. Shanahan, Lynch and Jimmy G will need to start being aggressive through the air. Having Green on your depth chart and possibly starting will make this team go from “happy to be here” to potential champions.