Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports


Midseason Mailbag: Will the 49ers lock up Emmanuel Sanders to a multi-year deal?

Matthew Barr
Nov 8, 2019 at 12:00 PM


The San Francisco 49ers have wrapped up the first half of their season with a perfect 8-0 record. What better time than now to have a collection of questions from the Faithful. Enough of the chit chat, on to the questions!


Defensive coordinator Robert Saleh is going to have to hope that rookie linebacker Dre Greenlaw is ready to go. He will be expected to step in for LB Kwon Alexander after he was placed on injured reserve with a torn pectoral muscle. Greenlaw showed flashes of excellence in the preseason, specifically the first game against the Dallas Cowboys. Since then, he has totaled 14 tackles and a sack in limited playing time. I believe that we will see a combination of excellent play with some rookie mistakes mixed in as Greenlaw settles into the starting role.


Cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon is set to return from injury within the next few weeks. In his absesnce, CB Emmanuel Moseley has played much better than anyone had expected. However, Witherspoon was also playing at an extremely high level before he went down. Once back, I expect him to take over the starting role opposite of Richard Sherman. Rotating running backs in and out of the lineup is much easier than doing the same in the secondary. Corners need to consistently see reps from wide receivers in order to get their tendencies down and swapping Witherspoon for Moseley frequently will throw both players off their game.


First things first, newly acquired wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders has accomplished much more during his career than either Pierre Garçon or Marquise Goodwin had before they signed on with the 49ers. Head coach Kyle Shanahan has expressed how long he has wanted to add not just a Sanders-like player but specifically Sanders himself to his offense. The way Shanahan has been waiting so long to get his hands on Sanders, there is almost no scenario in which I can envision they let him walk this offseason without an extension.


Anytime the defense can get its eyes on an athletic quarterback who can alter the game with not just their arm but also on the ground, lessons will be learned. The 49ers aggressiveness on defense came back to bite them a bit against the Cardinals as they overpursued screen plays and collapsed on read-options. That learning experience will prove invaluable as the next three quarterbacks they face (Russell Wilson, Kyler Murray and Lamar Jackson) all possess similar athletic traits. This defense is either going to adapt or die.


Thursday Night Football is always going to see a limited playbook for both teams. With only three days to recover from the previous game and to prepare for their next opponent, practice time becomes extremely limited. I have no doubt that Kyle Shanahan was not going to roll out a full gameplan on the short week while also missing both starting tackles and offensive weapon Kyle Juszczyk. Come November 17, Cardinals' defensive coordinator Vance Joseph is going to have his hands full after Shanahan has a chance to bust out all the tricks in his bag.


You're the one living in an alternate universe. You tell me, bizzaro Mitch Wishnowsky.
  • Matthew Barr
  • Written by:
    Matthew Barr has been writing for 49ers Webzone and 49ers Hub since 2018 and co-hosts the 4th and Gold podcast which can be found on all podcast platforms. He can be found on Twitter fighting an endless battle to get the underscore removed from his handle, @MattBarr_.
The views 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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