Columnist On 49ers' 2-0 Start: I'm Skeptical

The 49ers are 2-0 and may have the most underrated player in the league, but Dieter Kurtenbach has doubts

September 19, 2019 - 8:37 am
Jimmy Garoppolo Niners

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The San Francisco 49ers were supposed to have one of the best offenses in the NFL last season. Then Jimmy Garoppolo’s torn ACL happened.

Now healthy, Garoppolo has guided San Francisco to a 2-0 start. In fact, the Niners rank seventh in the NFL in total offense and third in scoring offense (36.0 points per game). The offense must be legit, right?


“That offense looked real rough against Tampa Bay, and I don’t really put much stock in Tampa Bay,” San Jose Mercury News columnist Dieter Kurtenbach said on Ferrall on the Bench, referring to San Fran’s Week 1 win. “The Niners won that game because Jameis Winston was apparently hellbent on throwing the game away to the Niners. They then go to Cincinnati and just whooped the Bengals’ ass. Sixty minutes of domination. The scoreline was not indicative of how much of an ass-kicking it was, and it was 41-17. Shanahan called a damn near perfect game, and Garoppolo, who I thought was really, really, really bad in Week 1 – it was embarrassingly bad for someone to be paid that much and not be able to do the simple throws that are the bread and butter of a Shanahan offense. He was able to make the simple throws against the Bengals.”

Garoppolo has completed 67.3 percent of his passes for 462 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions. The Niners host the Steelers (0-2) in Week 3, have a bye in Week 4 and host the Browns (1-1) in Week 5.

“We’re going to find out in the next two weeks if these 49ers are really contenders or if they’e pretenders,” Kurtenbach said. “I withhold some skepticism about them.”

About Jimmy G, yes, but not about George Kittle or Matt Breida.

“This guy is the best tight end in the NFL,” Kurtenbach said of Kittle. “If people don’t know it already, they’re going to find out here pretty soon. Kittle is now getting double-teamed on almost every snap, and Shanahan is totally exploiting defenses that do that. It is really fun to watch. Kittle is the real deal. He ain’t going anywhere.”

Kittle has 11 catches for 108 yards. Breida, meanwhile, ran 12 times for 121 yards (10.1 yards per carry) against the Bengals.

“Breida is a beast,” Kurtenbach said. “Breida might be the most underrated player in the NFL. He’s just got crazy agility, outstanding vision – a perfect back for Kyle Shanahan’s zone scheme.”

Click below to listen to Kurtenbach’s interview in its entirety.