SANTA CLARA, Calif. — The San Francisco 49ers open training camp on July 26 at SAP Training facility. Here’s a closer look at a few storylines:
Can Jimmy Garoppolo bounce back from a torn ACL and become the franchise quarterback the 49ers believe he can be?
The Week 3 knee injury that derailed Garoppolo’s season was a double whammy because it left many still wondering if Garoppolo is truly the long-term answer at the position. The Niners believe he is and are paying him as such, but Garoppolo still has just 10 career starts to his name and has yet to show he can stay healthy and produce for an entire season. Aside from $4.2 million in remaining signing bonus money, the Niners could get out from Garoppolo’s contract without penalty after the 2019 season. Clearly, they intend to have him as their franchise quarterback for a long time, but this is an important season for him to prove he’s the guy they believe he can be.
The trade for and signing of Ford and the use of the No. 2 overall pick on Bosa are supposed to be the moves that finally put San Francisco’s defense over the top. Adding Bosa and Ford to a group that includes dominant tackle DeForest Buckner and former first-round picks Arik Armstead and Solomon Thomas put the onus on the Niners’ front four to lead the way to a defensive resurgence and turn some of the many close losses of the past two seasons into wins.
Do the Niners have enough at wide receiver after missing out on Odell Beckham Jr. and choosing not to pursue Antonio Brown?
The Niners made a strong push for Beckham but declined to go after Brown, which meant significant additions to a receiver corps that finished 2018 ranked 28th and 29th in receptions and receiving yards came elsewhere. The Niners took a flier on veteran Jordan Matthews and spent second and third-round picks on Deebo Samuel and Jalen Hurd. There’s talent and potential in that trio, plus returnees like Dante Pettis, but the Niners need more from this group to take the pressure off tight end George Kittle and to diversify the offense.
How important is this season for coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch after consecutive losing seasons?
It’s Year 3 for the Shanahan/Lynch regime and CEO Jed York has, thus far, expressed nothing but confidence and belief in his leadership duo. Shanahan and Lynch have six-year contracts, and the stability they’ve provided so far has been a welcome addition for a franchise that lacked it in years prior. Still, results on the field are going to have to come at some point. Neither Shanahan nor Lynch appear to be on the hot seat, but it will get warmer for them if the Niners can’t take a meaningful step forward in 2019.