The San Francisco 49ers are struggling dearly three weeks into their 2015 season. There’s no two ways about that.
Despite eking out a win against a sluggish Minnesota Vikings side in week one, the Niners have been thoroughly steamrolled in their subsequent two games – being dealt heavy road losses by both the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Arizona Cardinals.
With quarterback Colin Kaepernick throwing a bakery’s worth of pies, lead running back mainstays Reggie Bush and Carlos Hyde both working through injury concerns, and kick returner DeAndrew White struggling to make any sort of impact, the only real highlight of the Niners’ annihilation at the hands of the Cardinals came in the form of a 37-yard Jarryd Hayne punt return; one that set up San Francisco’s lone score for the game.
And the Niners woes are front-and-centre in the firing line of the US media, with many outlets pointing to one solution: Giving Hayne more game time.
Multiple news outlets are calling for Hayne to be installed as the Niners Kick Returner in place of White, as well as being put in as the preferred backup Running Back option, ahead of rookie Mike Davis.
You have Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee clamouring for Hayne to be the guy on special teams.
“Jarryd Hayne has an aggressive punt return for 37 yards that sets up the 49ers’ only score of the game. But it also begs the question why DeAndrew White, and not Hayne, was returning kicks.”
Meanwhile Cam Inman of the San Jose Mercury reiterated that point whilst also suggesting rookie Brown wasn’t a better option than Hayne at RB.
“Mike Davis (seven carries, six yards) isn’t proving to be a better alternative than Jarryd Hayne while Reggie Bush recovers from a Week 1 calf strain.”
“Jarryd Hayne’s 37-yard punt return – his only action aside from a fair catch – reaffirmed the need for the 49ers to utilize him more. He needs to take over kickoff returns, a role that rookie DeAndrew White hasn’t fared well in the past two games, including a fumble on one return this game.”
And Scott Osler at the San Francisco Chronicle noted Hayne’s lone highlight in an otherwise bleak day in the desert for the Niners.
“Even the occasional ray of light for the 49ers was dim. Tomsula and his coaches have been trying to pump the brakes on the public hyperventilating over Jarryd Hayne, intimating that his preseason performances were a mirage.”
“Pressed into duty by necessity Sunday, Hayne returned one punt for 37 dazzling yards. Let’s see Tomsula put that toothpaste back in the tube.”
The benefit of having Hayne as the person he is, is that he is already a tenured, established professional athlete. And if the side crumbles around him, he’ll be able to handle the pressure any added responsibility placed on him will incur.
The conundrum facing coach Jim Tomsula, however, is stark – is it right to give Hayne the oars on a boat that’s springing leaks quicker than anyone can plug them? Or is it a much smarter, long-term option to stay the course on his player development and trust in a plan that should, all things considered, yield remarkable long-term results.
Whatever the case, the 49ers need to figure it out and figure it out quickly, as a barnstorming Aaron Rodgers and his Green Bay Packers – the Niners looming Week 4 opponent – won’t exactly be in the mood to make concessions.
Photo: Christian Peterson via Getty Images.
via The Daily Telegraph.