and the nation Welcome in for our first interview for today's episode, we have Mr Grant Con on the MD Nation Hotline.
He is the Foreigners beat writer and publisher of Sports Illustrated, all 40 Niners.
You can follow him on Twitter at Grant Con, and I highly recommend you do that because he constantly has great little facts and tip.
It's coming out on his Twitter feed as I follow him along.
Keep update on everything going on as well.
Grant first of all, how are you doing? Are you and your family able to stay healthy during these times? Yes.
So far we're doing okay.
Taking one day at a time doing this.
How about you? We're doing We're doing pretty good here as well.
No, no complaints.
Just being a safest as, ah as we possibly can be.
Um I mean, with everything going on and being out there in California, everything the rules a little more.
How have you been able to keep your your pulse on the team's thus far? Well, the team has graciously or not so graciously mandated by the league made players available on zoom conference calls every week So we've talked to about three afforded for people, and 40 Niners players are usually so down to earth and helpful.
They've explained everything that's going on.
So to the extent that they're doing things, we understand what they're up to, and and we're abreast of the current information.
And, yeah, I'm glad they've been ableto access that and, ah, at least everyone still able to do their jobs.
And that's been the most important thing, especially since, you know, the hope is maybe football is the one sport that we can all hope that we'll be able to start on time.
We'll get a full season out of where everybody else kind of got interrupted, do the timing of this entire situation.
But we brought you in here today because we want Top 40.
Niners were, you know, fancy football.
We want to know what these guys are gonna be doing, what their outlooks are going to be like and just just you know, what are your ideas first and foremost being that this is, you know, college? And they were talking about what's the rotation that pack feel going to, because that has to be the number one fancy football question special on everybody's mind.
Yeah, and I was had a good answer for you.
I mean, I could tell you who the best running backs are on the team, but that's not exactly how the decision is made.
I mean, a lot of it is what Kyle Shanahan likes the best to trust.
And for whatever reason, that Tevin Coleman love Tevin Coleman.
They're paying him the most of the running backs on the team.
Well, I guess the way I look at it is the way Ricky Mostert finished last season.
They can't deny that he's the best player on the team.
They have to give him a chance to start.
So I think that he Wills probably begin the season as a starter and get about UM 13 14 carries a game with Coleman backing him up.
But you could even argue that the backup Jeff Wilson Jr is better than him.
So I guess they'll have to sort that out a little bit in training camp.
It's not a very fun, uh, backfield to draft room because it's a committee.
But Ricky most should be fantastic.
I mean, he averaged 5.
6 yards per carry last season.
And then that went up in the playoffs against better opponents with an increased workload.
So he should he should have an opportunity to start and have 1000 yards or more.
Um, I wouldn't touch Coleman because I'm not even sure he's disturbed.
2nd 2nd best running back on the TV.
Want most? Okay? I mean, yeah, that's the way I've been leaning as well.
But yeah, it's a nightmare because we all know college saying it could decide.
You know what? I'm gonna go with a different flavor this week.
Just just because I can.
Because he he likes to do that from time to time.
That's always gonna be a nightmare.
I think one of the things that falls back on is could we actually see the passing attack? Maybe take a step up Jimmy Garoppolo, you know, specifically in the situation cut.
Now he's two years removed.
His a c l injury.
Does he have a chance to see his production now increase? Will he be a little bit more aggressive if he has that? You know, further back in his his mental and the mental. Nine.
What's possible? As you said, he's more experienced further away from that injury.
Um, issue is he lost Emmanuel Sanders.
Sanders was event.
They had chemistry right away.
Um, and the reason Staters worked because he came from the Broncos, who were using the same offensive terminology of the 40 Niners.
Same indexed up.
So he we hit the ground running.
The 40 Niners have very dance terminology, like the place or like a paragraph.
So it takes rookies a wildest toe.
Figure it all out and mobile, but nowhere behind up.
After hearing the play in the in the huddle, I mean, Deebo, Samuel talked about it.
He came on in November and December.
Dante Pettus has talked about it.
So Emmanuel Sanders, rookie his replacement is a rookie named Brandon.
I may be great, but I would expect that she might start slow.
So it's gonna be interesting to see how Jimmy guys without Sanders early because Jimmy really came into his own Sanders last year and one of the reasons they traded for Sanders, that they felt the receivers for good enough and that they were holding to me back.
So it'll be interesting to see if the same thing happens next year.
And if it does, yes.
The Niners will feel compelled to make another trade for a veteran at the deadline.
Because that comes early.
Don't get a lot of changed.
A lot of kind of look at your roster.
See how things shake out.
I mean, yeah, because you only know what we Week eight week nine and get the trade deadlines.
You pretty much have to make a decision right then And there what you're going to have for the rest of the season, but falling following up on that with broad brain, and I you cause you brought him up there.
Um, I happen to be a 40 Niner span.
I wasn't crazy about them trading up for brain.
And I you What was your feeling? Was your ****ysis on that? Um, yeah, I thought that was a mistake.
Uh, that's the mistake you see from a team that's run by a head coach that probably using this plug in who? You guys, uh, bonified general managers.
And that's no, not one on the Niners, because they built their team up very well, but they saw it that dolphins were going to take Randon.
I use the Dolphins undrafted wide receiver in the entire draft when they thought maybe the Packers would trade for Branden you.
They took a quarterback they didn't want, and then they took a running back.
After that, I think the Niners Intel was lost.
They probably could have just hung back at 31 got Now, you bear, we will never know for sure.
Yeah, I mean, that's a good point, cause because they took brain, I usually it wasn't an option on the board, but to your point, no one else wanted to get a wide receiver.
T Higgins was considered one of top guys, and he didn't go until the beginning of the second round.
So, uh, yeah, I I wasn't crazy about that.
But as one of the things that happens, um, what speaking on the wide receivers put you on a fantasy level.
What's thesis Ealing that you can expect from maybe a Deebo Samuel who probably projects as of now to be the number one wide receiver? Unless they make a move like you're saying for a veteran? Yeah.
I mean, if you go back and look at his numbers from mid season on and radium for entire season.
Can you conclude that his postseason production she he was playing last season at a global level, like 1000 receiving yards and 400 rushing yards? He could really put up 1400 all purpose yards next season, partially because he's good and Carsley.
Because Shanahan left right.
It's like you have to look at the combination of talent and what Shanahan thing.
Because a lot of the Niners players in town and he doesn't always decide who gets to touch is based on who has the best numbers.
It's it's more what he his opinion of you.
Um, so this player meets both criteria, a k a.
Dante Pettis writes.
I feel like Nancy Pettus is allowed town.
And, yeah, he can't seem to get on the field.
Um, there was a lot to do with shaming and not really having great opinion of him speaking to you.
That those who do you think's gonna be the starter on the other side? Is that gonna be Brandon? I You could we ust deal on her next in.
I mean, there's some options there.
Yeah, Deebo Samuel started week one as a rookie, and Brandon I used the first round picks.
The plan is for him to start week one.
Uh, I would imagine he will start with one.
I don't know if he's gonna be a big time consistent producer, Week one, but I think we're probably gonna put him on the field, because if it's not him, it's Kendrick born.
Uh, I I'm not even sure Kendrick more gonna make the team.
He's probably gonna have to take a pay cut just to make it or they'll trader.
Yeah, I heard that as well.
I don't That's gonna be an interesting situation.
To be who you have to get Dylan heard out there, too.
I mean, they've been big on this guy, you know, they had a red shirt, him for a year, But you have to figure they want him on the field as well.
So if then either Don Pettit in my mind, either Don t Pettus or Kedrick born are gonna wind up being off of this team in some shape or form Once we get through training camp, that's that's my idea.
Um, the big star of this offense is George Kittel and just, you know, can he be? Can you have even a bigger year this year than last year? Hey, Could absolutely Means only had 12 touchdowns his entire career, which is silly because he should have 12 touchdowns this season on I think he would if he were on a team I conceived, so I don't know.
I e fortunately introduce more.
But the thing about George Cadle won't forget that they the Niners, haven't given him his contract extension yet.
Uh, sort of assumed that would happen by now, and I think we all assume it'll happen before the season.
But if it doesn't mean as his agent, his agent should tell him to hold out until he gets a new deal, because he's going to be playing for, like, a $1,000,000 he he needs to get like, 17 season.
You can't get hurt, uh, playing with little amount of money they owe him, and it's just strange that they haven't paid him yet.
I get the feeling that he wants to be paid like a wide receiver and they want to pay him like tight end, and that's a big issue so I still assume they're gonna go pay him.
But things get weird, and that's something to have in the back of the moment.
Back of your mind and draft.
It's Konica Jimmy Graham situation, right? Because, you know, Jimmy want to get paid, and we're, like, often a weapon and and and say it didn't really want to.
I hold it does not end in the same result of the Jimmy Graham situation Did I mean, I would have to think that being George kills, you know, foreign above the best player on that team.
You would think there has to be at least deal that gets done in some shape, way or fashion.
Well, let me Let me just caution you right there.
The Niners trade the force, but who, in my opinion, is every bit as good as George kiddo, and actually younger than kiddo? What? Most people don't know.
Um and so what? I would the way I would interpret that is it's a message to Kittel and his agent.
They're saying, Look, guys, make be reasonable, strike a compromise because we just ship the forced Buckner out of town.
And don't think you won't do it.
You eager to me. That's the message.
And I'm certain that Kittel in his agent heard it loud and clear.
That's an interesting point that also was kind of combined with They had.
Also Eric Arms that they needed to sign is as well.
Um, obviously Arm said that he signed for cheaper than Buckner would have had they kept him.
There's nothing like that on the offense of side of the ball.
But you still think, is the same situation? Well, I mean, United try to sign off on Hooper, who ended up signing for 10 year.
So it seemed like they might have been looking for that cheaper option.
Kind of like way paid the forced Buckner 21 million or Armstead 17 Kittel, 17 million or Cooper 10.
It seemed like they were doing that kind of, uh, masses offseason, but they didn't pull the trigger on in those tight ends.
Its configure their committed kittel.
But with the contract extension still waiting on that, and it's every day that it goes by, they haven't gotten done strange to me because it seems like that shouldn't priority number one.
I mean, I completely agree with that as well.
And just just one lasting on George because you brought him up with with the touchdowns and everything and the wide receivers being a little bit, If you in the red zone, I would I would say it releases the way they set up.
I got to think there's going to be an emphasis to get him or touchdowns this year.
Now I would sing, So you never really understand what Kyle wants to do.
I mean, if they're having a contract of speak and they want a roller tables value in every way to do that is not throwing the ball in the red zone and teams have done that's players for decades.
I mean, when the Raiders were having contracts disputes with Marcus Allen, they wouldn't given the ball in the red zone just to smoke themselves.
So maybe you know, Shanahan says, I'd rather feature tendered board and most anyone the red zone, just like she says he'd rather feature told in Coleman, then routine most of for whatever reason.
So I just don't know how, how Kyle Shanahan think, What will I do? He thinks that he can make anyone good anyone.
He thinks he made George Cadle great.
Remember, Kittel was 1/5 round pick of court like seven passes and, ah, great, great athlete.
But a lot of it is, I'm sure, in changing its mind, scheming him in the wide open spaces, and I think he thinks he can do head with just about everyone.
So instead of giving former 51 pick $20 million a season, maybe he can redistribute those targets and give it Take away some of Kendall's value.
This is a little bit of conspiracy, thinking, conspiracy theory thinking, but it's the kind of stuff that does happen in the business of the NFL.
I I love that point, especially the point about college and believing that he makes everybody great.
I 1000% agree that that has always always been his mindset.
Everywhere he's been, uh, maybe even the Falcons.
When the Holy Over and Devante Freeman, a chemical, were already great there, he probably thought he had a lot to do with that there because I definitely great and I think it bothered him that people said like Oh, get it with mio zones and that, Ryan, I think that always you felt like welcome.
Let me get another chance where I can show that it's not just two guys.
You know, I don't I don't disagree with that at all.
Um, last question about the team because no visible a lot.
People still play with defense.
Special teams for an IRS.
Obviously, you're going to at least be expected to be one of the top ones again.
We talked about Buckner a little bit.
Is Kin Law an adequate replacement for Buckner? And do you think this defense will be able to put up similar production They did last season? I think adequate.
The perfect word and I think similar affair expectation.
He's not a wonder.
One placement look.
There was the seventh pick in the draft, and in retrospect, that was too low.
He should have been top five top three.
He only got better after getting picked.
He's good in every way he produces.
He's durable, he's a leader.
I mean, he everything you want, and he just turned 26 his best football in front of him.
That's a tough loss.
They replaced him with a guy who was a mid first round pick. Good player.
College didn't have 10 facts in college.
Buckner had 10 sacks in senior year.
Not the same thing.
I would compare Kim a lot more to Armstead, who has developed into quite a player on guy.
Think that kid Law could as well.
But I wouldn't expect Kim Law as a rookie to really be anything close to what Buckner is right now.
Yeah, I mean, that's fair, right? Could Buckner has been great, and he's at the point of Veteran to your point.
Stolen is very much in his prime.
On camera is going to be a rookie, so we're gonna have to have to see.
There's going to definitely some kind of drop off in that in that area.
Um, I do think it needed today.
The 40 Niners defense should be top seven defense.
I don't unless I want to say it's hot fire just because I do have some questions about the secondary and then being able to stay healthy, especially Richard Sherman, so I don't really want to top five top seven.
I think that they still should be right there because you're still going to have probably the best At least one of the best pass rushers in the NFL, although there are dependent on Nick Bosa playing another full 16 game schedule.
Yeah, well, he did it last year. It was great.
It was fantastic last year, but I think I was surprised he played every game I think in rich people forgot.
Have for gotten how many injuries he had in college and how persistent that is she was for him.
If he can make if he gets hurt next season and Mrs Games, that prince could take a step back.
Uh, you know, every time the Ford Mistime defense wasn't quite the same without but what they're really gonna need Ford and and most durable.
I mean, that it is gonna was it to come down to Grant Thank you for coming on before we let you go.
Well, actually, before we let you go for that, um, I do end every interview with this one question.
Trying to consensus from from you guys, the insiders.
What's your personal feelings about the season being able to start on time this year? Um, I basically feel like anyone can figure this out in the world.
Um, if anyone can find a way to profit off of this misery to the NFL, it's basically like secular religion to be crashed it kind.
I mean, that's how seriously people take it in in America.
And I just don't think people will put up with not having football on Sundays, even if they don't get to go to the games.
So there's a lot of money.
I think they're going to play the games in front of no civilians because of how huge those national television contracts are.
And maybe I'm just personally for it because I covered the sport professionally and it's very hard to not have a season.
But I just have a feeling that they will figure it out, even if they have to push back.
They started a season the month or so.
Okay, I hope you're right.
I hope you start on time.
I know we have everything you know, access to us, and I hope it's safe to do so at that point to I don't want to do it recklessly.
Um, before we let you go, please let everybody know where to follow you out again and give us something that baby you're working on right now that people can look forward to and go check out.
Well, I'm working for Sports Illustrated right now.
You can check me out online on Twitter acting cone.
And this weekend, I'm gonna be doing a film break now on a Richard Sherman.
His strengths and weaknesses just coming off.
Ah, Pro Bowl season. He was fantastic.
Got got explode to an extent at the end of the playoffs.
And I think people are kind of wondering, like, how could he have played so well? Lots have been such a ah weakness at those key moments.
Like, what does he do? Well, and what weaknesses does he have now at this advanced stage in his career on Aiken? So exactly how, uh, what chain saw and how they exploited late in the season? What that means for 2020.
So I'm gonna be working on that this weekend.
That sounds great.
I'm definitely be checking that out.
Thank you so much for making the time to come onto this show today.
We really appreciate and we hope to talk to you again sometime in the future.
Take care. Thank you.