Don’t overlook Pierre Garçon.
The 32-year-old wide receiver is easy to forget amid the chaotic end to last season where the 49ers went 5-0 and players like Marquise Goodwin and George Kittle thrived with Jimmy Garoppolo at the helm.
However, head coach Kyle Shanahan on Monday highlighted why Garçon’s return will provide a much-needed boost to the 49ers’ receiving corps.
“We’ve got a lot of confidence in Pierre,” Shanahan said on a conference call. “Pierre is a guy who you always know he is going to show up on Sunday. The physicality he plays with, very rarely drops the ball. He’s one of the toughest football players I’ve been around. You can really feel his value on game days the most.”
Garçon had his best, most active game of the preseason Saturday against the Colts. He played 35 snaps and caught two balls for 62 yards, including a 47-yard catch-and-run that wasn’t intended for him. The veteran was simply finishing his route when an errant throw from Garoppolo zipped in to him.
It was a perfect encapsulation of how valuable Garçon is to the 49ers’ receiving corps, even if he is experiencing the wear of 10 NFL seasons. He continues finding ways to make plays.
Garçon racked up 40 receptions and 500 yards on 67 targets in eight games last season. Shanahan is hopeful added offensive weapons will take some of the onus off of Garçon this season.
“A lot of guys had to play last year after Pierre got hurt. Earlier in the year, when P was here, we really counted on him. I want to say he had I think like 500 yards in those first seven games. So, he was a huge, huge part of what we did. Once he got hurt, it put a lot of pressure on the other guys. I’m looking forward to this year. Hopefully, we don’t have to put all that pressure on Pierre like we did early last year. But, I know when we do need Pierre, he’s always ready to go.”
It stands to reason that Garçon won’t jump right back on a 1,000-yard pace. Garoppolo established a good rapport with Marquise Goodwin that earned the receiver a three-year, $19.25 million deal this offseason. Trent Taylor had a strong finish to his rookie year with the new quarterback. So did George Kittle.
Garçon may not rack up gaudy numbers that jump off a box score and have fantasy football owners racing to pick him up. What he will do is step in and know when and where to be in order to make a play for the 49ers offense. We saw evidence of that Saturday in Indianapolis. San Francisco may have more productive receivers this season, but they won’t have one more important than Garçon.
Source: NinersWire | Kyle Madson | August 27th, 2018