No. 3: Jimmy Garoppolo utilizing passing options out of the SF 49ers backfield
For the first time since he signed with the 49ers in 2018, running back Jerick McKinnon will be suiting up on game day. His skills as a runner may not be up to par with teammate Raheem Mostert, but where he separates himself from the pack are with his skills as a pass-catcher.
Head coach Kyle Shanahan said he was one of the most skilled pass catchers in camp this year and should be an easy dump-off option for Jimmy Garoppolo whenever his other receiving options aren’t open.
McKinnon and Mostert are both a savvy route runners, which makes them even harder to pick up coming out of the backfield than your usual running back. If Jimmy Gan properly recognize when to use McKinnon and/or Mostert in both designed and play-action plays, where he notably strives in as a passer, he will be able to pick apart the Cardinals’ weak linebacker room.
“Jet” McKinnon will have a lot to prove in his return to action, so Garoppolo will undoubtedly look to take advantage of McKinnon’s skills in the passing game while retaining Mostert’s already-proven rapport.