It’s easy to be optimistic about the 49ers at this point in the offseason, but these nightmarish situations panning out in 2022 would be disastrous.
Offseasons are a point of bliss for every fanbase.
Teams are undefeated, every NFL Draft pick is going to be a Pro Bowler and this is the year when the Super Bowl is “ours.” Even those rebuilding teams can feel hopeful about flying under the radar.
San Francisco 49ers fans don’t need education about how quickly a season can unravel, though. Flashing back to 2020, the year after the Niners’ memorable Super Bowl run, a swarm of injuries turned the once-heralded “vengeance tour” into a debacle, as head coach Kyle Shanahan’s squad stumbled its way to a 6-10 finish amid losing so many of its starters to elongated injuries.
Entering 2022, there are plenty of reasons to be excited about San Francisco’s chances.
However, to play the role of a critic and worry worm, here are five scenarios where the 49ers’ 2022 campaign comes crashing down in a hurry.
No. 5: 49ers suffer another rash of debilitating injuries
The injury bug might as well loom over Shanahan’s squad like an imposing threat.
Granted, few cases could have been as bad as 2020, in which the Niners led the NFL in Football Outsiders’ adjusted-games-lost metric of 166.6, over 30 points higher than the next injury-riddled team, the New England Patriots (134.8).
2021 wasn’t anywhere near as bad, and San Francisco was deep enough to overcome its injuries en route to an appearance in the NFC Championship game. But the 49ers’ 119.5 AGL still finished fifth most in the league, suggesting Shanahan’s squads still have a notably high risk of dealing with injuries over the course of the year.
It’s difficult to quantify, yes. But there’s likely a threshold where teams can manage to absorb injury setbacks, yet if there are a handful of additional injuries, it proves to be just a bit too much to handle.
Should the Niners wind up suffering yet another injury-prone campaign in 2022, one can cross off the hope of having a playoff-bound season.