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Frelund: Return of these two star players set up 49ers for playoff return

Rohan Chakravarthi
Jul 24, 2021 at 12:45 PM--


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Earlier this week, on a Game Theory segment, Cynthia Frelund gave her argument for why the San Francisco 49ers will make the playoffs in 2021 after missing out in 2020.

Frelund attributed their recent Super Bowl appearance as a factor in her decision as well as the multitude of injuries that affected the team last season.

"They were in the Super Bowl just like five minutes ago and they had a whole bunch of injuries, but they get all those players back."

Looking at the offensive side of the ball, Frelund highlighted star tight end George Kittle, who, according to Next Gen Stats, has averaged 8.0 yards after the catch per reception since 2018, which is the highest in the NFL given a minimum of 25 receptions.

In addition to Kittle, Frelund noted the improved offensive line, which could open up Kittle's game even more. In the offseason, the 49ers did bring in six-time Pro Bowler Alex Mack, while also re-signing star tackle Trent Williams and drafting Aaron Banks.

On the defensive side of the ball, Frelund stressed the importance of young pass rusher Nick Bosa, who is set to return from a torn ACL sustained in a Week 2 win against the New York Jets last season, playfully joking about the number of impressive stats that Bosa has accumulated in his short career.

"I had to look and see which one of the stats to actually pick because he has so many."

According to Next Gen Stats, in his rookie season, Bosa's 60 quarterback pressures ranked fourth in the NFL among players with at least 250 pass rushes. His 13.9% quarterback pressure rate also ranked fourth among the same contingent of players.

Despite the difficult division, Frelund believes that the returns of players like Bosa and Kittle to full strength will push the team back into the playoffs.

Other players suffering significant injuries last season included quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, running backs Raheem Mostert and Tevin Coleman, wide receiver Deebo Samuel, defensive end Solomon Thomas, cornerback Richard Sherman, and more.

With most of those players returning, perhaps Frelund's argument about the 49ers making the playoffs can come true.



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