Feeling optimistic? You should be about the 49ers heading into 2022. In fact, let’s break down reasons why they replicate last year’s success this season.
The San Francisco 49ers ended their 2021 campaign with a heartbreaking loss to NFC West division rivals and eventual Super Bowl champions, the Los Angeles Rams. As we approach the beginning of a new NFL season with 32 championship-hungry teams, we’re going to explore the different paths San Francisco has to take in order to hoist the Lombardi Trophy at the end of the season.
Despite falling short of their ultimate goal, the Niners should take great pride in knowing the core of its roster is still relatively young and intact. For the players who remained on the team throughout those runs, it has only helped strengthen the overall camaraderie. After enduring a litany of battle-tested games within the past three years, the 49ers gained significant experience from those highly pressured situations.
If it wishes to finally get over the hump, San Francisco must stay the course and continue to build off of previous success.
As for what has worked for them recently, it’s been the ability to draft and develop young, superstar-type of talent. Guys like second-year running back Elijah Mitchell, 25-year-old “wide back” Deebo Samuel, 24-year-old wide receiver Jauan Jennings, 28-year-old tight end George Kittle, 24-year-old defensive end Nick Bosa and 25-year-old linebacker Fred Warner.
These are foundational pieces that are considered cornerstones at nearly every level on both sides of the ball. However, the team’s personality is usually a direct reflection of the head coach and staff.
With that being said, the 49ers have been fortunate enough to land one of the most detailed-oriented coaches in Shanahan.
Despite numerous players going in and out of the lineup over the years, Shanahan still knows how to generate maximum production from the “next man up.” San Francisco finished 12th in league passing and seventh in total rush yards for 2021.
Honestly, this is quite an impressive accomplishment when you consider all the trials and tribulations the 49ers had to endure from very early on. Everything from losing their starting running back, Raheem Mostert, in the opening game last season to dealing with injured quarterbacks at various points of the season, the Niners were faced with arduous challenges all year long and still overcame those odds to make a strong playoff push.
These are just a few of the qualities San Francisco has, which need to be slightly fine-tuned.
With the 2022 NFL Draft now in the rearview, we can look forward to the maturation process of this year’s incoming rookie class.