Happy Friday one and all.
The Niners have been great through three games and look primed to go on another deep run in the NFC Playoffs.
We talked with Ryan Bainbridge of Niners Nation to find out just how good things are in the Bay Area.
Through three weeks Brock Purdy has picked up where he left off before the injury, is there any question if he is the future at the quarterback position for the San Francisco 49ers?
No. I don’t believe amongst the 49ers front office there is any question that Brock Purdy is the franchise quarterback now and for the rest of his career. They have moved on from Trey Lance and Sam Darnold is not a threat to dethrone Mr. Relevant. He has already made better plays out of structure than any of the other quarterbacks in the Shanahan era. He understands the system and what is asked of him. He is throwing downfield with confidence. He has built up a chemistry with the collection of weapons on this offense. Some fans (and the media) may still question his ceiling, and that’s fine. But diehards couldn’t be happier that Purdy is healthy and playing at a level close to, if not higher, than what he did in his 2022 season.
2. The Arizona Cardinals didn’t give much time to Steve Wilks, many felt like he was a very good coach who was in over his head and got a raw deal... What are your thoughts on Wilks through three weeks and will he be around long for the Niners?
Obviously it’s been a good problem that the 49ers have had to replace their defensive coordinators two out of the last three off-seasons as Robert Saleh and Demeco Ryans have gotten head coaching chances. It’s not easy to replace them! But from what we have seen from Wilks so far is encouraging. San Francisco is the highest graded defense (PFF), fourth-ranked defense in DVOA, and are top five in yards allowed per game and points allowed per game. Wilks has done a great job of blending his tendencies into the scheme that was already in place with Ryans’ defense. We’re seeing a lot more blitzing from players like Fred Warner and Talanoa Hufanga, but he is also comfortable sitting back on rushing a dominant front four. Hopefully Wilks continues the hot start we have seen and isn’t heading anywhere else this offseason.
3. Nick Bosa is now the highest paid defensive player in NFL history and that happened with avoiding any long-term holdout, what does he mean to the defense and just the Niners in general?
What it means for the defense is that everyone else’ play is immediately elevated. When news of the contract broke, Fred Warner began screaming in joy. He means that much to the group. Because he will take so much attention, other players on the defensive line have been able to shine. The interior dline group has probably benefitted the most from his presence, as Javon Kinlaw, Javon Hargrave, and Arik Armstead are among the top 5 defensive tackles in pressures through three weeks this season. And in general, Bosa is well-liked in the locker room. Offensive guys were celebrating as well when the contract was announced and you could feel the relief from Kyle Shanahan’s presser after the signing.
4. Give me an offensive or defensive player that most non-Niners fans won’t know who has looked good the first three weeks?
I think cornerback Charvarius Ward isn’t talked about enough in the national spotlight. With a lot of other defenders that get their due, it’s easy to look past the cornerbacks on this roster but Ward was a huge addition when San Francisco signed him two off-seasons ago. PFF ranks Ward as the 10th highest overall cornerback (among players with at least 75 snaps) and 9th highest coverage cornerback this season. He’s allowed a 59.3 passer rating against and has one interception and three pass breakups so far. As a fan, it’s great when the team can create pressure, but even when they can’t it’s even better feeling confident in the player lined up against number one receivers can shut them down.
5. The Niners are huge favorites, -14 according to DraftKings Sportsbook, are the Cardinals going to go to 4-0 against the spread under Jonathan Gannon or do you feel like that the Niners will cover?
I imagine most NFL fans were shocked to see Arizona upset Dallas last week and overall how competitive they have been through three games. But San Francisco has been the most complete team in the league this season. They’ve been incredibly efficient on both sides of the ball. And with this being a home game, I am optimistic the 49ers will get the win and it won’t be close, covering the two touchdown spread.