The 49ers kick off 2021 training camp this week, and these questions should be at the very top of head coach Kyle Shanahan’s priority list.
After months of waiting, the San Francisco 49ers are finally going to get their pads back on in preparation for what should be a pretty provocative 2021 campaign.
A season removed from an injury-plagued 6-10 finish last year, the Niners hope their offseason moves are going to be enough to push them into the playoff picture once more. Only this time, there’s going to be a massive quarterback competition between the veteran, Jimmy Garoppolo, and rookie signal-caller Trey Lance.
That’ll be one major question for Shanahan and Co. to ask themselves during training camp, yet it might not be as vital, since San Francisco can probably find out ways to win with either quarterback under center.
And since it’s so obvious, let’s extend to other massively red-hot questions the 49ers will need to address when the pads come on.
No. 5: Can 49ers help Javon Kinlaw take that Year 2 leap?
The Niners need to maximize last year’s Round 1 NFL Draft investment in defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw, who flashed moments of brilliance but frequently underwhelmed en route to just 1.5 sacks.
Kinlaw didn’t have the benefit of a regular offseason his rookie year, thanks to the pandemic, so the hope was he’d use 2021 as a time to refine and hone his raw abilities into a truly prolific profile.
This is going to include adding some finesse to his power. Combined, the hope is Kinlaw will turn into a true interior pocket-wrecking force, which will free up San Francisco’s outside pass-rushers to have more one-on-one matchups.
If Kinlaw doesn’t take this leap, that aspect will be far more difficult.