Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports


Former 49ers reporter ‘genuinely bullish’ on where the team is headed

Jul 19, 2019 at 7:59 AM--


Joe Fann worked as a San Francisco 49ers team reporter for the past four years. Because the team employed him, Fann wasn't always able to openly voice his opinions about the team or individual players. The 49ers, after all, provided his paychecks and the team doesn't publish self-critical content.

As of this week, Fann isn't with the 49ers anymore. He has taken a job with NBC Sports Northwest to cover, of all teams, the division-rival Seattle Seahawks.

It is important to note that he is not working for the Seahawks, so if he has a negative opinion about the team or a player, he can openly voice that opinion. That also means Fann can now feel free sharing all his thoughts on the 49ers. He didn't, however, have too many negative things to say as a guest of the 49ers Insider Podcast and likes what the team has done to improve.

"I am genuinely bullish on where things are headed," Fann told Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area. "I think (if) you look at the roster top to bottom, it's deep, it's talented. Yes, you need some guys to step up, and there's still plenty of 'ifs,' mainly Jimmy Garoppolo and what he's going to look like — I have no doubt he'll be healthy, but how well he'll play. But I think in general, the roster is good enough now where he doesn't have to be a top-seven quarterback. I mean, he can be a top-15 quarterback as long as he limits mistakes in big moments.

"You should have a defense that can win you some games. You're going to have a running game that should be able to win you some games.

"I think you look at the roster, it's easily as good as it's ever been since I've been following the 49ers as closely."

Fann goes on to point out the defensive line as a strength of the 49ers. He believes the linebackers will be "really solid."

Fann acknowledges that the secondary is a question mark on defense and feels the team needs Jimmie Ward, D.J. Reed, or Adrian Colbert to step up at free safety. He sees potential with all three players. There is also potential opposite cornerback Richard Sherman, where Ahkello Witherspoon and Jason Verrett will compete for the starting job.

"You might not have the depth chart, right now, in mid-July, but I think those aren't as serious of question marks, in my opinion, as they are in the eyes of some fans," Fann continued.

"You have an offensive line that's been together now for a full year, is entering season number two. I think Weston Richburg is going to be a bit more comfortable going into his second year."

Fann believes the wide receiver group may have more question marks than the secondary. The unit doesn't have a whole lot of experience outside of veterans Marquise Goodwin and Jordan Matthews. If you throw out those two players, no one has more than two years of NFL experience.

As for the 49ers' and Seahawks' rookie wide receivers, Fann expects more from Deebo Samuel in San Francisco than D.K. Metcalf in Seattle but cautions fans to temper their expectations.

"To me, with Deebo, it's going to be how quickly he can learn a playbook," Fann said. "There's no doubt that coming in as a rookie, year one, and getting a grasp of what Kyle Shanahan is asking you to do, that's a tall task. That's not saying he can't do it, but it's worth noting that it's not easy, either."

Health will also play a big part in Samuel's success with the 49ers as a rookie, says Fann. The receiver missed the last portion of the offseason program with a minor hip injury. Although, Samuel later noted that had a game been on the horizon, he could have played.

Fann feels the 49ers should be playing meaningful football in late-December and fighting for a playoff spot. He will see his former employer on November 11 when the Seahawks travel to Levi's Stadium and then again on December 29 when the 49ers travel to CenturyLink Field.

You can listen to the entire conversation with Fann below.






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