The SF 49ers have been banged up with injuries in 2020, and those largely influence the midterm grades for each position this season.
It’s a fair question to wonder what could have been, had the SF 49ers enjoyed a relatively clean slate of health over the first half of 2020.
Nine games into their follow-up campaign after last February’s Super Bowl loss, the Niners find themselves 4-5 and in a bit of an odd situation. With the expanded playoff format, head coach Kyle Shanahan’s squad is anything but eliminated from the postseason. But with long-term injuries to players like quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, tight end George Kittle, EDGE Nick Bosa and others, it’s hard to fathom San Francisco realistically thinking it can compete for February football this season.
While those injuries have been bad, other shorter-term injuries have certainly hampered the SF 49ers’ collective efforts. As such, taking a look at midterm grades at the halfway point is a bit tricky, especially considering the sheer multitude of different starting lineups Shanahan and Co. have been forced to field.
Nevertheless, we’ll try dishing out halfway-point report-card grades anyway.
To accumulate each position’s grades, we’ll take a look at the following criteria:
- Standard stats, rankings in comparison to the rest of the NFL
- Advanced analytics from sites like Football Outsiders and Pro Football Focus
- Expected impact versus actual results
On top of that, where injuries have played a particularly negative impact, we’ll grade slightly on a curve, understanding second- and third-string players don’t necessarily carry the same kind of impact ability as starters otherwise would. For example, a banged-up defensive line sans Bosa can only be expected to do so much, and the grade reflects that on something of a curve.
But before we go there, let’s get through some other positions, kicking off with special teams.