Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports


Positive signs Marquise Goodwin could have a big finish

Levin T. Black
Nov 6, 2018 at 4:44 PM


San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Marquise Goodwin was expected by many to have his first 1,000 yard season this year. Due to injuries, that is very unlikely to happen. Through nine games, Goodwin has just 13 receptions and 270 yards but that doesn't mean he hasn't had his bright spots.

For starters, he's only played in seven of those games and has missed large portions of others. Even in the games he has played, he's been limited by hamstring and quad injuries. Despite being hampered, he is seventh in the league in average target yards (minimum 23 targets) according to the NFL's Next Gen Stats. With 15.6 yards, Goodwin's average target distance falls just behind the Los Angeles Chargers' Tyrell Williams and just in front of the Detroit Lions' Marvin Jones.

There are more positives. When Goodwin has caught the ball, his elite speed has given opposing defenses problems. He's averaged 8.4 yards after the catch. That's good for the seventh most in the league among qualifiers. Furthermore, Next Gen gives Goodwin an expected YAC of just 4.0. The 4.4 discrepancy between Goodwin's 8.4 YAC and 4.0 expected represents the second biggest positive difference in the league. To put it simply, Goodwin is not just a deep threat, he's one of the deadliest once he has the ball in his hands. For reference, the Kansas City Chiefs' Tyreek Hill, widely seen as one of the best players in the open field, averages 6.5 YAC which is 1.7 yards more than the 4.8 expected by Next Gen.

In the few games that quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo played this season, he excelled when throwing deep. It leaves one to wonder what could have been if both Goodwin and Garoppolo had been healthy. This is especially true with how quarterback C.J. Beathard has played in place of Garoppolo. One of the many areas Beathard has struggled this season is on throws of 20-plus yards.

The 49ers will start Nick Mullens at quarterback instead of Beathard this Monday, according to Mullens himself. Goodwin had just one catch for 11 yards in Mullens' first start last week. The 49ers sought to get the ball out quick. Mullens didn't attempt a single pass of 20-plus yards against the Oakland Raiders. He didn't need to. Considering how well Mullens did, maybe the deep passing game will be utilized this week.

The 49ers have a favorable matchup on Monday Night Football for attempting some deep strikes. While the New York Giants are ranked a respectable 16th in passing yards allowed per game at 244, they fall to 21st in yards allowed per pass attempt at 7.1 and have given up the 18th most pass plays of 20-plus yards with 31. This will also be the Giants' first game without cornerback Eli Apple after trading him to the New Orleans Saints. Additionally, the 49ers should have plenty of time to develop deep routes. The Giants are one of the worst teams at getting to the quarterback. They rank 30th in the league with a sack percentage of 3.52.

It would be interesting to see how Goodwin can finish the season with Mullens under center. Could it be like last season when Goodwin had 545 yards receiving in the final seven games? Will head coach Kyle Shanahan call plays designed to get Goodwin open deep with Mullens playing and what kind of deep ball does the young quarterback have anyways? Hopefully, the answers begin to come on Monday.
The opinions within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.


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