© Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
The 49ers are 1-0 following a 31-17 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but it was a sloppy success. Jimmy Garoppolo threw a pick-six and had an imprecise game, Kwon Alexander was ejected and offensive penalties saw three touchdowns called back.
In all that mess, which saw K’Waun Wliiams, Matt Breida and Robbie Gould all exit but return with dehydration, and a Tevin Coleman high ankle sprain which will likely keep him out for at least a couple of weeks, head coach Kyle Shanahan saw empowering performances from young defensive backs, and some inward-facing critiques.
And no, according to Shanahan, Deebo Samuel has not won the starting job; and Dante Pettis, who Shanahan said he is “very confident in,” needs to take more than the two snaps he did on Sunday (he caught one pass for seven yards).
“It’s definitely not Deebo’s job. It’s not anyone’s right now,” Shanahan said. “No one’s really taken that role. Dante had a setback with his groin injury where he missed some time in practice, so that gave him a little bit of a setback leading into Week 1 which made it easier for Deebo to start over him, but we went in knowing Deebo was going to get more playing time, but I definitely didn’t plan on Dante getting only two reps. He should have been in more than that and that starts with me and I’ll make sure not to let that happen again.”
Shanahan did say he was generally pleased with the team’s performance, especially defensively, and pass protection on Sunday. It allowed the 49ers to execute their offensive game plan of running the ball 30-plus times within the flow of the game. He was especially impressed with third-year corner Ahkello Witherspoon and second-year free safety Tarvarius Moore, who started.
Both players received plaudits from Shanahan (though Moore should have come away with a third pick-six, in his mind). He was, however, disappointed in his own play call on one of Jimmy Garoppolo’s two sacks in the game.
“That was just a bad play call. I thought they were going to go two shell,” Shanahan said. “We got a bad front with a guy blitzing and we had a guard pulling around to get one of them and the halfback needs to get another, but they had a little too much penetration and our guard got picked off and that leaves Raheem to block two people. I didn’t like the play call… they kind of got me on it.”