The second half of the New York Giants’ 2017 NFL season will begin with a trip west to face the massively re-structured San Francisco 49ers, a team that will be barely recognizable from the group that went 2-14 in 2016.
Let’s take a closer look at the 49ers as we continue previewing the teams on the Giants’ 2017 schedule.
NFC West: 4th
Offense: 19.3 points per game, 27th
Defense: 30.0 points per game, 32nd
QB Matt Barkley, QB Brian Hoyer, RB Tim Hightower, FB Kyle Juszczyk, WR Pierre Garcon, WR Marquise Goodwin, WR Aldrick Robinson, C Jeremy Zuttah, RT Garry Gilliam, C Tim Barnes, G Brandon Fusco, PK Robbie Gould, DT Earl Mitchell, LB Malcolm Smith, LB Elvis Dumervil
QB Colin Kaepernick, QB Blaine Gabbert, RB Shaun Draughn, RB DuJaun Harris, WR Torrey Smith, WR Jeremy Kerley, WR Quinton Patton, S Antoine Bethea
- Round 1 (No. 3) — DE Solomon Thomas
- Round 1 (No. 31) — LB Reuben Foster
- Round 3 (No. 66) — CB Ahkello Witherspoon
- Round 3 (No. 104) — QB C.J. Beathard
- Round 4 (No. 121) — RB Joe Williams
- Round 5 (No. 146) — TE George Kittle
- Round 5 (No. 177) — WR Trent Taylor
- Round 6 (No. 198) — DT D.J. Jones
- Round 6 (No. 202) — OLB Pita Taumoepenu
- Round 7 (No. 229) — DB Adrian Colbert
Three Questions About The 49ers
David Fucillo of Niners Nation answers our summer inquiries.
Ed: What is your favorite thing that the 49ers accomplished this offseason?
David: Firing Trent Baalke was the biggest thing they needed to do. There was a toxic culture in place, and while he had some successes as GM, there were just too many problems. Blame could be spread to a lot of people, but the buck had to stop with somebody. The owner isn't going to fire himself, so this was the next best thing. Hiring John Lynch was certainly a questionable choice, but getting rid of Baalke was important in getting this organization moving in the right direction.
Ed: What is the one thing they did not accomplish, or that happened to them, that has you the most concerned?
David: They did not do a lot to address the offensive line. They acquired center Jeremy Zuttah from the Ravens in a trade, and they signed some veterans, but for the most part, the unit remains similar to the group that struggled last season. Zuttah is an intriguing addition, and the change in blocking scheme will be something to watch, but questions remain for the unit.
Ed: Are you optimistic that this will be a good season for the 49ers or pessimistic that a down year might be coming? How would you define a good/bad season?
David: It's hard to figure out what my expectations are for 2017. A good season is not a playoff season, or even a winning record. The team could win four games and it could be recognized as a good season if we see some development. Most important in my mind is seeing the defense come together. The organization overhauled both sides of the ball, but the younger talent infusion is on the defensive side of the ball. If we see a step forward from that unit, it will qualify as a "good season" for the 49ers.
These 49ers are different top to bottom from the inept version of 2016. John Lynch took over from Trent Baalke as GM, and he didn’t let the fact that he was a rookie NFL executive slow him down. In a whirlwind of activity, Lynch completely remade the 49ers.
Kyle Shanahan takes over from Chip Kelly as head coach after helping the Atlanta Falcons build an offensive juggernaut. San Francisco has pretty much thrown out its entire 2016 offense — play book, personnel and all — and started over. The 49ers figure to be better on offense, but their choices at quarterback are still Brian Hoyer and Matt Barkley. Yuck!
The 49ers are transitioning from a 3-4 defense to a 4-3, and used two first-round picks on defensive end Solomon Thomas and linebacker Reuben Foster to help that move.
The game in San Fran figures to be one the Giants will be favored to win, and one they will need to win. It will be fascinating to see exactly what kind of 49ers team they will be facing.