4 early signs SF 49ers are in Super Bowl hangover

Head coach Kyle Shanahan of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
Head coach Kyle Shanahan of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /
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SF 49ers, Arizona Cardinals
Arizona Cardinals running back Kenyan Drake (41) runs against San Francisco 49ers middle linebacker Kwon Alexander (56). Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports /

No. 2: Concerning regression from key SF 49ers role players

A lot of things need to go right for a team to reach the Super Bowl. One of the elements not as discussed is the fact a Super Bowl team needs its B- and C-list contributors to have career-defining years.

In many ways, the SF 49ers got these kinds of performances in 2020. Offensive lineman Daniel Brunskill is, perhaps, the best example, coming out of nowhere from the ranks of the now-defunct Alliance of American Football to be one of the best uber-linemen in the league in 2019.

Check out his Pro Football Focus rankings between last year and now, though:

  • 2019: 73.0
  • 2020: 56.7

It’s looking more like Brunskill isn’t a starting-caliber player, merely a decent reserve thrust into a role for which he’s not adequately equipped. The same could be said of cornerback Emmanuel Moseley, who rose from the undrafted ranks into a starting role last year, only to see his 2020 efforts be less than stellar.

Yet there have been other regressing players who are supposed to handle those high-caliber roles.

A number of players could be pointed out, but the two who deserve to be mentioned most are right tackle Mike McGlinchey and linebacker Kwon Alexander. McGlinchey, in particular, hasn’t improved his pass-blocking prowess, already doubling up on the number of quarterback hits allowed this season (six) from the three surrendered last year.

Alexander, meanwhile, has been credited with three missed tackles this season and has seen his PFF grade drop all the way down to 49.9, making him the 42nd-ranked linebacker out of 76 qualifiers.