Seahawks-bound Josh Gordon too unreliable to join undefeated 49ers

Seahawks-bound Josh Gordon too unreliable to join undefeated 49ers

One of the most physically gifted wide receivers in the NFL is expected to be at Levi’s Stadium when the 49ers return to action on Nov. 11.

But he will not be wearing a 49ers uniform.

The challenge for defensive coordinator Robert Saleh and his unit got a lot more complicated Friday, as the Seattle Seahawks were awarded talented-yet-troubled receiver Josh Gordon off waivers from the New England Patriots.

Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said Gordon will not be available this weekend against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Gordon is likely to make his Seahawks debut on "Monday Night Football" against the 49ers in Santa Clara in what figures to be a key NFC West matchup.

49ers coach Kyle Shanahan and his offensive staff know how great Gordon can be. They also fully understand how unreliable he has been at every stop along his eight-year NFL odyssey.

The Seahawks were No. 28 on the waiver claim order, and Carroll expressed surprise that 27 teams passed on Gordon. The 49ers are last in the priority order, and it is unknown whether they put in a claim. My guess is they did not.

The 49ers have been searching for reliable answers at wide receiver. The young receiving corps has been up-and-down, and even veteran Marquise Goodwin has been someone who has been unable to establish any consistency. Although he was healthy and ready to play, Goodwin was among the 49ers’ seven inactive players on Thursday night in Arizona.

The club appears to have finally found a reliable wide receiver with the acquisition of Emmanuel Sanders in a trade with the Denver Broncos.

The 49ers are 8-0 and atop the NFC West. They do not need to take on the complication of a player who has proven he is not dependable. Sanders has been with the 49ers for 10 days, and he has already shown there is no reason to worry about anything connected with his performance. He has immediately fit into the locker room and made everyone around him better.

General manager John Lynch said he is hopeful that Sanders pushes the 49ers over the top.

“What we knew is he’d make us better,” Lynch said. “We’ve long admired Emmanuel, for his talent but also his will. He’s a guy who loves the game and you see that come through the screen in the way he plays.

“He plays with heart, he plays with passion and he’s very skilled at what he does. And I think he’s a great fit for what we do offensively.”

[RELATED: John Lynch pleased with 49ers' roster, as key injured starters return]

In 2014, Shanahan was offensive coordinator of the Cleveland Browns. He saw some of the good, but mostly bad, during his time with Gordon. In five games, Gordon was targeted 47 times, catching 24 passes for 303 yards.

Before the season even began, Gordon was arrested for driving while impaired. He had his season-long suspension reduced to 10 games after the NFL enacted a new policy on substances of abuse. But the Browns also suspended him for a violation of team rules.

He did not play in 2015 or ’16 due to violations of league rules.

The New England Patriots acquired him in a trade with Cleveland in September, but he did not last long on Bill Belichick's team. Gordon, 28, appeared in just six games before the Patriots placed him on injured reserve with a minor hamstring issue. They officially cut ties once he was healthy.

Yes, the 49ers could have certainly found a place on the field for a player as talented as Josh Gordon. But it’s doubtful they were willing to take the chance of messing with the good thing they have going.

How Deebo Samuel, Kendrick Bourne enhanced 49ers' offense last season

How Deebo Samuel, Kendrick Bourne enhanced 49ers' offense last season

No stat is perfect, and that includes passer rating. One thing needs to be clear: It's not just a quarterback stat. 

Instead, passer rating showcases the passing offense as a whole and heavily weighs big plays. Deebo Samuel and Kendrick Bourne clearly strengthened the 49ers' passing offense. All you have to do is look at Jimmy Garoppolo's passer rating when targeting the two receivers. 

Pro Football Focus published an article Thursday that proved just how much the two enhanced San Francisco's passing offense. Garoppolo had a 121.1 passer rating when targeting Bourne, good for the ninth-best among receivers. Samuel was right behind as a rookie with a 120.2 passer rating.

Samuel's 74 percent catch rate also was the seventh-best among receivers in the entire NFL last season. 

Garoppolo targeted Samuel 81 times last season, according to Pro-Football Reference, and had a 70.4 completion percentage when throwing it the rookie's way, and a 109.2 QB rating. He targeted Bourne 46 times and had a 67.4 completion percentage with a 109.0 QB rating.

[RELATED: 49ers believe Aiyuk can fill void left by Sanders' departure]

Samuel is expected to be the 49ers' No. 1 receiver in his second professional season this year. He perfectly fits Kyle Shanahan's scheme of deception. Bourne, on the other hand, was relied upon in the red zone and led all 49ers receivers with five touchdowns in 2019. 

The 49ers might not have a superstar receiver yet, but it's clear this group is full of talent.

[49ERS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

49ers' Richard Sherman explains importance of white QBs speaking up

49ers' Richard Sherman explains importance of white QBs speaking up

As the world protests police brutality from the aftermath of George Floyd's brutal murder in Minneapolis, athletes in all sports have joined the fight. 

Former Warriors forward Stephen Jackson called Floyd his "twin" and became extremely emotional on social media upon learning of his death and held a press conference asking America to finally get real about race. Steve Kerr, Steph Curry and many others have voiced their thoughts and anger as well. On Sunday morning, 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman expressed his thoughts on Twitter. 

As he saw his tweets, Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer reached out to Sherman. Unprompted, Sherman spoke on the importance of white quarterbacks like Carson Wentz of the Philadelphia Eagles, Joe Burrow of the Cincinnati Bengals and Clemson star Trevor Lawrence all speaking up following Floyd, an African-American man, being murdered in broad daylight by four cops.

“I’m impressed with the white QBs speaking up because those are voices that carry different weight than the black voices for some people,” Sherman said to Breer. “Which means the people who refuse to listen to a black athlete’s perspective will hear the same thing said from a white athlete, but receive the message much differently. So it’s awesome that more people are speaking out, because in sports, you really have a love and appreciation for your fellow man, regardless of race.

“And I think that’s what makes sports and teams so special, because a lot of the stereotypes are torn down. You really get to know one another, not judge based off nonsense.”

Breer initially asked Sherman if he believes it's a responsibility of himself or other athletes to speak up right now. The veteran cornerbacks feels it's more a case-by-case basis and nobody should be forced to, though it's clear he sees the impact on doing so.

“It’s always based on the individual,” Sherman said. “Because not everyone has something to say and not everyone who’s an athlete should be forced to. There are many successful people in this world with platforms, but not everyone should speak.”

[RELATED: Why 49ers are No. 4 in King's latest NFL Power Rankings]

In a time like this, Sherman's words on white QBs speaking up is extremely important. Kerr said Friday that Floyd's death led to a lot of soul-searching for himself and that white people as a whole haven't done enough. He's right, as is Sherman. 

This is a time for white athletes, and white people in general, to listen and to speak up. We (as in white people) can't pretend we know what people of color go through every single day. We can't act like we do and can't tell minorities how they should feel or react right now. Instead, as Sherman highlighted, we must listen and be a voice for the unheard.

[49ERS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]