49ers

Reed, Williams and 49ers' missing pieces get glowing reviews

49ers

With the exception of Emmanuel Sanders and Joe Staley, the 49ers are returning the vast majority of an offense that ranked fourth in the NFL in yardage and second in scoring last season. And with receivers Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk and Richie James all looking like they'll be able to return in time for Week 1, San Francisco's offense should be able to pick up right where it left off.

However, thanks to the arrival of a couple newcomers, as well as the return of some missing pieces, the 49ers' offense has the potential to be even better in 2020. 

Offensive tackle Trent Williams and tight end Jordan Reed were acquired via trade and free agency, respectively, while receiver Trent Taylor and running back Jerick McKinnon are finally healthy after both missed all of last season due to injury. The 49ers came within minutes of winning Super Bowl LIV without contributions from any of them, and now with less than two weeks until the season-opener against the Arizona Cardinals, it sounds like all four players figure to be a significant part of San Francisco's quest to get back to Super Bowl LV.

On Wednesday, NFL Media's Mike Silver reported back on how each of the four has looked so far in training camp, and the reviews are absolutely glowing.

"Five foot surgeries later, Trent Taylor is back and lighting it up again in camp," Silver said Wednesday on "Inside Training Camp Live." "Richard Sherman, who does not always dole out compliments to wide receivers, told me he looks fantastic. A coach told me he's been awesome. So, can Trent Taylor stay healthy and, under the tutelage of wide receivers coach Wes Welker, can he fulfill the promise that he showed a year ago when people were predicting big, big things?"

 

Jerick McKinnon has yet to appear in a regular season game with San Francisco after his first two seasons with the team were cut short by injury, but the dynamic back has since fully recovered, potentially giving coach Kyle Shanahan the weapon he has been missing.

"They envisioned him as a chess piece that would allow Kyle Shanahan to exploit matchups, and Jerick McKinnon is looking pretty good, I'm told, especially in the passing game," Silver added. "That could be a key addition."

RELATED: 49ers expect Bosa, Ford, other top starters ready for Week 1

Williams and Reed were two of Shanahan's best and most critical players during his time as Washington's offensive coordinator, and based on what the two veterans have done in training camp, it doesn't sound like they've lost a step.

"Richard Sherman told me that Jordan Reed ... at a recent scrimmage was back to his old ways, had a day and was always open, even when he got doubled," Silver continued. "So, a lot of promise there, a lot of injury history. And then of course, Trent Williams, the new left tackle, has been incredibly impressive blocking Nick Bosa during these intense training camp practices."

Taylor, McKinnon and Reed all sat out all of last season due to injury, while Williams missed it in a contract dispute. There's no guarantee they'll stay healthy or be the players they once were, but if they do and are, what was an already potent 49ers' offense could be that much better.