The folks over at Pro Football Focus dished out more NFL power rankings, but the 49ers’ positioning isn’t as big a question as the other thing they say.
The NFL mogul that is Pro Football Focus might be going through some scrutiny right now, particularly in light of the outrage stemming from listing Dallas Cowboys offensive coordinator Kellen Moore as the No. 2 offensive play-caller in the league entering 2022.
San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan was ranked fourth, for what it’s worth.
Putting that all aside for a moment, at least in terms of trying to have PFF retain some credit here, it’s worth delving into what they had to say in pre-training camp NFL power rankings.
Few across the league likely think the Niners are a top-five squad entering this season, yet they’re still legitimate playoff contenders.
As such, PFF kept San Francisco in that group in their latest power rankings.
49ers at No. 9 in Pro Football Focus’ latest NFL power rankings
Listing out teams from No. 1 (Buffalo Bills) to No. 32 (Seattle Seahawks), PFF also categorized teams into different groups.
The 49ers fell into the second tier, appropriately named “could be their year” and a shade down from “true contenders,” who made up the top five.
Shanahan’s group came in at No. 9, a spot behind the AFC champion Cincinnati Bengals and just above the No. 10-ranked Cleveland Browns.
Argue that if you wish, and we won’t blame you if you do. But let’s look a little closer at what PFF had to say about the Niners’ ranking.
PFF reignites possible 49ers quarterback controversy between Jimmy Garoppolo, Trey Lance
If you’re close to San Francisco’s camp, you’re probably more than aware the 49ers have unsuccessfully tried trading quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo for the bulk of the offseason, a move mandated by the hopeful implementation of second-year pro Trey Lance as the future starter.
Garoppolo remains on the roster for now, and the Niners have indicated they’re not planning on “giving him away” for nothing.
Check out what PFF had to say about this, though:
"Jimmy Garoppolo is still on the roster and may very well be the starter again this season. His play has proven to be good enough for this team to win when he is healthy, and Trey Lance may represent the contingency plan for the likely injury to Garoppolo rather than the 2022 starter."
That last part is, well, provocative.
It suggests Lance is poised to be a backup “contingency plan” for Garoppolo in 2022 rather than the heir apparent, which honestly stands in contrast to nearly everything coming out of San Francisco’s offseason camp thus far.
Related Story: Jimmy Garoppolo and his uncertain future with 49ers
Perhaps this is the result of PFF not having close enough ears to the ground to realize Lance, in light of Garoppolo’s offseason shoulder surgery, has been getting all the first-team reps during offseason workouts and will likely continue getting them in training camp.
Or, possibly to re-spark yet another quarterback controversy, PFF is suggesting both Garoppolo and Lance will have to battle it out once again.
Roll your eyes if you want. We won’t blame you.