s
s
Sections
Search
We don't just cover the North Bay. We live here.
Did You Know? In the first 10 days of the North Bay fire, nearly 1.5 million people used their mobile devices to visit our sites.
Already a subscriber?
iPhone
Wow! You read a lot!
Reading enhances confidence, empathy, decision-making, and overall life satisfaction. Keep it up! Subscribe.
Already a subscriber?
iPhone
Oops, you're out of free articles.
Until next month, you can always look over someone's shoulder at the coffee shop.
Already a subscriber?
iPhone
We don't just cover the North Bay. We live here.
Did You Know? In the first 10 days of the North Bay fire, we posted 390 stories about the fire. And they were shared nearly 137,000 times.
Already a subscriber?
iPhone
Supporting the community that supports us.
Obviously you value quality local journalism. Thank you.
Already a subscriber?
iPhone
Oops, you're out of free articles.
We miss you already! (Subscriptions start at just 99 cents.)
Already a subscriber?
iPhone
X

The "Follow This Story" feature will notify you when any articles related to this story are posted.

When you follow a story, the next time a related article is published — it could be days, weeks or months — you'll receive an email informing you of the update.

If you no longer want to follow a story, click the "Unfollow" link on that story. There's also an "Unfollow" link in every email notification we send you.

This tool is available only to subscribers; please make sure you're logged in if you want to follow a story.

Login

X

Please note: This feature is available only to subscribers; make sure you're logged in if you want to follow a story.

LoginSubscribe

SANTA CLARA — The 49ers appear to have less talent than the New York Giants.

When they play each other Monday night at Levi’s Stadium, the 49ers won’t have their starting quarterback, Jimmy Garoppolo, or starting running back Jerick McKinnon. And the Giants will have their three best players — quarterback Eli Manning, wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. and rookie running back Saquon Barkley.

But the 49ers will be the favorites. Oddsmakers give them a three-point advantage because the Giants are under-performing. Their record is 1-7. And their offense has scored just 18.8 points per game, despite all of its talent.

“The Giants have an incredible set of skill players,” 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh explained Friday. “Barkley is phenomenal. The tight end, Evan Engram, is really good. (Wide receiver Sterling) Shepard’s a really good player. Odell is obviously really good. So, it’s going to be a great challenge for us this week.”

Despite their record, the 49ers still must respect the Giants’ offense, even though it hasn’t produced.

Beckham Jr., 26, is the highest-paid wide receiver in the NFL. He signed a five-year, $95 million contract extension with the Giants during the offseason. He’s a three-time Pro Bowler who gained more than 1,300 receiving yards in each of his first three seasons in the NFL.

Beckham Jr. broke his left ankle last season and missed 12 games. But he’s healthy now — the ankle doesn’t seem to bother him anymore. The past two weeks combined, he has caught 16 passes for 279 yards and one touchdown.

“I don’t see a hitch in his giddyup at all,” Saleh said. “He’s still a big problem for defenses.”

So is Barkley, the Giants’ running back.

They took him with the second pick in this year’s draft. Through eight games, he has gained 519 yards on the ground and 497 yards through the air. He’s on pace to gain 2,032 yards from scrimmage.

“(Barkley) is as hard of a guy to tackle as I’ve seen,” 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan said. “Whether that’s handing the ball off to him or throwing it to him, if that guy has the ball in his hands in space there’s not many people in the world who can get him down consistently. You’ve got to get him out of space and you need 11 guys swarming to him.”

Shanahan’s praise for Barkley was clinical and blunt.

Saleh’s praise for the rookie was full of passion and admiration.

“God,” Saleh gushed, “he is dynamic. He’s very deceptive because it doesn’t look like he is moving, but the son of a gun is moving. He’s got tremendous balance. He’s got great feet. He’s obviously used in the pass game. His yards per carry is sitting at 4.7, so he’s doing a really good job running the ball. I don’t want to put him in Barry Sanders’ world yet, but he’s got a chance.”

Meaning Barkley has a chance to become one of the greatest running backs of all time, like Sanders.

That’s how much talent Barkley has.

And yet, the Giants offense ranks 27th out of 32 teams in points scored. It seems broken. Their offensive line has allowed 31 sacks — tied for third most in the NFL. And Manning’s passer rating of 90.9 ranks 22nd among qualifying quarterbacks. He has thrown eight touchdown passes and six interceptions this season.

“There’s a lot of things that can go into play there,” Saleh said, referring to the Giants’ offensive struggles. “I still think Eli has great arm strength. I still think he can throw the ball with great accuracy.”

Manning’s completion percentage is 68.6 — seventh best in the NFL. So, if Manning isn’t the Giants’ problem, what is?

Giants head coach Pat Shurmur tried to answer that question this week on a conference call with Bay Area reporters. Shurmur is in his first season as the Giants’ head coach.

“We have made a lot of changes to this football team,” he explained. “I was watching last year’s game, the Giants offense versus the 49ers defense, and we only have four players from that roster that are currently playing. We have had a lot of change. We’ve gotten close in a lot of ballgames, but that doesn’t matter. We’ve got to find a way to get over the top.”

Shurmur may in fact find a way to get over the top. But media in New York are already questioning his ability. He failed with the Cleveland Browns, where his record was 9-23. In Shurmur’s case, the top may be a long way off.

Notes

Linebacker Reuben Foster (hamstring) and safety Jaquiski Tartt (shoulder) missed practice Thursday and Friday. They also missed last week’s game against the Oakland Raiders.

Both Foster and Tartt seem questionable to play Monday against the Giants.

Show Comment