SF 49ers: 5 players who must bounce back in Week 2 vs. Jets

Dante Pettis #18 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images)
Dante Pettis #18 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images) /
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SF 49ers, Dante Pettis
Dante Pettis #18 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) /

No. 2: SF 49ers WR Dante Pettis has reached his NFL career crossroad

Does San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Dante Pettis want to play in the NFL? Is the former University of Washington standout passionate about — or interested in — the game of football?

It’s difficult to fathom that Pettis worked so hard during high school and college to become an uber-talented NFL wide receiver despite never wanting to play football in the first place. However, his game film is full of “business decisions” and clearly shows an overall lack of effort and productivity.

While Pettis would obviously be a fantastic touch or flag football player, he doesn’t appear to have the edge it takes to play wide receiver in the violent NFL, where contact isn’t a question, it’s a certainty. Time and time again, the wideout appears to cower in tight situations and demonstrates no interest in contested catches, which often result in interceptions due to his lack of effort.

Perhaps the final straw in Pettis’ 49ers career came last Sunday, when Garoppolo provided him with an ideal opportunity for redemption by tossing an extremely difficult but near-perfect uncontested pass to the wideout — one that only his feeble receiver could catch, and where there was little chance of any significant contact from Arizona’s closest defenders.

Not only did Pettis fail to extend his body to make the catch, he didn’t even touch the ball before it hit the ground between the two closing defenders; In fact, Pettis didn’t even appear to try to make a decisive play on the ball.

With a full view of the play unfolding in front of him, fellow wide receiver Kendrick Bourne raised his arms in a touchdown celebration while the ball was still in the air. He then walked back to the huddle in disbelief. Was the poor angle the Pettis took to the ball intentional? Throughout his college career, the wide receiver proved to be excellent at tracking deep passes. This ability isn’t something you forget unless you’re “forgetting” on purpose.

This is the National Football League. It’s difficult to believe this matter is an issue for debate.

A touchdown reception would have catapulted Garoppolo’s top-tier 103 passer rating over 120 and easily into the elite range. In a normal world, this alone would have silenced even the loudest, most-ignorant haters — but with today’s #JimmyHate2020 media, who knows. What we do know is Pettis’ doesn’t seem to care enough about supporting his quarterback, catching passes, or contributing to victory for San Francisco. There’s no room for that on a high school football team, let alone in the NFL.

Prove everyone wrong, Pettis, because this is your final chance. You’ve rightfully lost your quarterback’s trust, and thus your targets, which is forcing your offense to play a man down whenever you’re on the field. If you have some “dog in you,” please release it now.