Juice Check: Week 5 vs. Cardinals When injuries mount

#1 von liny195 , 18.12.2018 07:37

San Francisco 49ers Hats , football guys say “Next Man Up.” For San Francisco 49ers fullback Kyle Juszczyk, the Arizona Cardinals game was more like “Last Man Standing.” Besides Jerick McKinnon and Jimmy Garoppolo’s season-ending injuries, Marquise Goodwin and Dante Pettis were injured-inactive, Matt Breida had to leave after 13 snaps, and backup RB Raheem Mostert came down with a bad case of fumbleitis. That skill-player-deprived offense then had to play 98 snaps, the most for any NFL team in five years, due to the deadly combination of a strong running game and five turnovers. It was an offensive treadmill that never lead anywhere, like one of those dreams where you run and run forever and never get away from the monster (who is Chandler Jones, in this case).The result was a huge game for Juice, who played 68 snaps — a whole game’s worth most weeks, but only 70% of the Niner’s offensive marathon this time. He was targeted seven times, catching six for 75 yards, and even had an ultra-rare run for 12 yards. To top it all off, he shed a blocker and tackled Tre Boston after that safety intercepted a pass.He’ll be at least as needed Monday night against Green Bay, since four key skill players missed practice Friday due to injury: Matt Brieda, Pierre Gar莽on, Dante Pettis, and Trent Taylor (plus McKinnon of course). Star TE Kittle and 3/5 of the offensive line were limited in practice. At this rate, Juszczyk will be the leading receiver AND rusher.To be fair, the versatile FB was clearly a big part of Kyle Shanahan’s screen-heavy opening script, long before the in-game injuries and turnovers changed the tenor of the game. Twice on the first drive, he made an initial feint at a pass protection block, then turned around for a screen — and a big gain. The first play gained 16 yards.Better yet, Shanahancame right back 3 plays later with the exact same play — for 26 yards down to the two-yard line.I’m always amazed at how Shanahan finds a way in every single game to show formations not previously seen during the season. Last Sunday, Juszczyk generally lined up alongside the QB San Francisco 49ers Hoodie , not behind the tackle as before but in between the tackle and guard, on either side. He also ran a couple of plays where the FB lined up on the right wing or wide right, and then motioned back into I-formation. That’s a new one.Let’s not forget the excellent blocking job that Juszczyk continues to do in the running game. He’s a key reason for these long runs that Breida keeps breaking off, as Juice excels in getting to the second level defender, and Breida has excellent timing to hit the hole his FB just created at the perfect time. A lot of RBs do that on the line — that’s their job — but Juice and Breida are great at doing it a bit further downfield or running outside.On Breida’s first big run, a 17-yard pickup, watch how Juszczyk submarines defensive end Chandler Jones (55) keeping the speedy running back inches away from the DE’s grasp.With the offensive line starting to show run-game dominance, the fullback running a little and Breida working on his receiving, it’s tempting to dream of a healthy Niners squad running a 3-back formation with, say, McKinnon, Breida and Juszczyk — any of whom could run or go deep. Does a defense stay in base, leaving potentially 3 linebackers covering these potential receivers? Or go nickel, and face two explosive runners with a lead fullback? That’s a tough choice. I’d love to see them have to make it. We’ll be elbows deep in ‘Mullens Mania’ until the San Francisco 49ers play the New York Giants. Given how bad the Giants are, it may very well continue past that game. The 49ers have a history of playing the quarterback merry go-round and oftentimes it hasn’t ended well. Given all the love we’ve been spewing on Nick Mullens, this writer included, it’s probably time to bring up the last time a backup quarterback for the 49ers took the starting job after a brilliant game.No, not that time, I meant the OTHER time a backup quarterback took a starter’s job. No, not that time either. You know what? Forget it. Not even trying cryptic stuff here. I’m talking about the last time a third string quarterback took the starting job. A chance to save Mike Singletary’s job and put Alex Smith on the bench for good. Yep, I’m talking about Troy Smith. In 2010, the 49ers were a disaster and starting quarterback Alex Smith was feeling the brunt of it. The “We want Carr!” chants were heard loud and clear during a home game against the Philadelphia Eagles, and head coach Mike Singletary looked even more agitated on the sidelines than usual. The fans would get their wish in Week 7 against the Carolina Panthers, where Alex Smith suffered a shoulder injury. The game didn’t go well. Carr went 5 for 13, getting a paltry 67 yards and throwing a late-game interception. Heading into Week 8 against the Denver Broncos Customized San Francisco 49ers Jerseys , Alex Smith’s injury was still an issue. It was obvious the 49ers would need to go in a different direction. Enter Troy Smith, a third string quarterback signed from the Baltimore Ravens. In Week 8, the 49ers traveled to London to face the Broncos and Troy Smith started. And didn’t show much in the first half. Of course it’s not how you start, but how you finish — and Troy Smith finishing the game having completed 12 of 19 (63.2 percent) passes for 196 yards, one touchdown, no interceptions, and a 115.2 passer rating. Not too shabby. Of course the 49ers would have to give it another week. It was a life or death situation with the fans hatred towards Alex Smith after all. It was that bad. So in came the (then) St. Louis Rams. Troy Smith again impressed, completed 17 of 28 (60.7) passes for 356 yards, one touchdown, and a 116.7 passer rating. So the 49ers found their quarterback right? Nope. The next three games, Troy Smith would not get above a 65 passer rating. A far cry from the 115 and 116 he posted in his first two starts. He’d also average an interception each game. One of these gems was an awful blow out suffered at the hands of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. It goes without saying the 49ers were ready to return to Alex Smith and ride out the awful season. But it didn’t end there. Troy Smith’s finest hour came in the Week 16 game against the Rams. See, the 49ers had a chance to make it to the playoffs. A chance with a losing record, but still a chance. So the battle for the division was held in St. Louis, and wouldn’t you know, Troy Smith would get the start. He wouldn’t finish. Instead, after more paltry play, this happened (go here if the DMCA biscuits block the below video): That is Mike Singletary arguing with Troy Smith after more poor play. Alex Smith would come finish the game and fumble it away, sending the Rams to fight for the West in Seattle. This is a turn of events that led to Seattle winning and the unfortunately awesome “Beast Quake” playoff game. Singletary didn’t even make it to the end of the season. Following the Rams loss, the 49ers fired him and inserted Jim Tomsula to close out the season. Alex Smith played the final game against the Arizona Cardinals. Troy Smith was not brought back for 2011 when the 49ers hired Jim Harbaugh. And Alex Smith, under good coaching for once, became one of the better quarterbacks in the NFL. This was the last time a third stringer took the starting role, and Troy Smith showed all sorts of promise. After that game against the Broncos, there was some hope the 49ers found their quarterback. Unfortunately, once film was seen and tendencies developed (as well as awful coaching in an even worse offensive system) Troy was proven to be worse than Alex — so much so he never made an NFL 53-man roster after that season.Let’s hope history doesn’t repeat itself with Mullens.


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