3 Things the 49ers Must Do to Get Back to the Super Bowl Next Season

Max Staley
Jimmy Garoppolo on the field in the Chiefs' post-game celebration in Super Bowl LIV.
Jimmy Garoppolo on the field in the Chiefs' post-game celebration in Super Bowl LIV. / Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
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The San Francisco 49ers' are coming off the second-biggest collapse in Super Bowl history after squandering a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter. The season might've ended in heartbreaking fashion, but the 49ers look poised to be in contention for years to come.

With that in mind, here are three things the 49ers should do to improve their Super Bowl chances in 2021.

1. Improve Wide Receiver Corps

Emmanuel Sanders on the sidelines against the Kansas City Chiefs.
Emmanuel Sanders on the sidelines against the Kansas City Chiefs. / Michael Zagaris/Getty Images

With George Kittle, and Kyle Shanahan's ability to seemingly coax elite performances out of any running back, the 49ers' offense will surely be dangerous next season. But this wide receiver corps does leave a little to be desired. Outside of Deebo Samuel and Emmanuel Sanders, no 49ers' wideout had more than 30 receptions, and Sanders is no sure thing to return. Re-signing Sanders should be a priority, but the 49ers' would be wise to add another weapon, whether it's through free agency or the draft.

2. Re-Sign Arik Armstead

Arik Armstead takes the field against the Green Bay Packers.
Arik Armstead takes the field against the Green Bay Packers. / Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

The 49ers arguably had the most heralded defensive line in the NFL, and for good reason. They forced a hurry on 14.7 percent of opponents' drop backs (No. 1 in the NFL), racked up 48 sacks (T-No. 5 in the NFL), and had the league's third-best sack percentage (8.5). The dominance of that pass-rushing unit was key to San Francisco's success, and the 49ers should do whatever it takes to keep it together. With Arik Armstead's contract set to expire, San Francisco should make re-signing him a priority.

3. Open Up the Offense

Kyle Shanahan and Jimmy Garoppolo on the sidelines in Super Bowl LIV.
Kyle Shanahan and Jimmy Garoppolo on the sidelines in Super Bowl LIV. / Michael Zagaris/Getty Images

It didn't really feel like Kyle Shanahan ever completely trusted Jimmy Garoppolo. He was never asked to do too much, as his average depth of target (aDOT) of 6.5 yards was the second-lowest mark among all qualified passers. In fact, San Francisco had 89 carries to 27 pass attempts through its first two postseason games, and Shanahan electing not to try to score at the end of the first half certainly wasn't a vote of confidence for Jimmy G. Despite not taking on a big role, Garoppolo played pretty well in 2019, ranking top 10 in passer rating and touchdown percentage. He'll be another year removed from that ACL injury suffered in 2018, and that could make a significant difference in 2021.


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Max Staley is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Max Staley also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username mstaley1212. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.

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