Thursday, January 19, 2023

Skip Bayless puts this star over 49ers RB Christian McCaffrey

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After a second round berth in the playoffs was officially secured thanks to a 41-23 win over the Seattle Seahawks, San Francisco 49ers fans sat patiently to see which team would be their Week 20 opponents, the Dallas Cowboys, SF rivals from the 1990s or local product Tom Brady and his Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Although the former would win football on Monday night to secure the honor, none other than Skip Bayless, the controversial sports commentator, didn’t wait for the clash to become official Firing a tweet He explained that the team he covered at Lonestar State had the better back of the two.

“As great as Christian McCaffery was, I still go for Tony Pollard,” Bayless wrote. “Just a little more explosive.”

Written Monday night during a football game where Brett Maher missed four straight tries for extra points, it’s understandable why Bayless would be particularly excited about Dallas’ Pro Bowl back, when he ran the ball 15 times for 77 yards and caught three of them Balls thrown another 12 yards in his path in the win over Tampa Bay. However, without the benefit of in-game excitement, it’s hard to say Pollard is a more prolific NFL performer than McCaffrey, let alone something as unquantifiable as explosiveness, as the stats tell a different story.

Despite having to make a simple cross-country trip mid-season with a fresh playbook in hand, it’s hard to call McCaffrey’s 2022 season anything but a success.

McCaffrey played under three different head coaches, Matt Rhule, Steve Wilks and Kyle Shanahan, and finished the year with 1,139 rushing yards and 741 receiving yards, good for the second-highest and third-highest marks of his pro career, respectively. McCaffrey transitioned from system to system, quarterback to quarterback, and ended up earning an offensive score of 89.3 from Pro Football Focus for his efforts, the fourth-highest score for any running back in qualifiers.

However, one of those three quarterbacks to earn a higher PFF rating was Pollard, who posted a 90.3 offensive rating in his first 1,000-yard rushing season. Though he put in an exemplary performance in his first full season as the Cowboys’ RB1, that doesn’t mean he played as big a role on Dallas’ offense as McCaffrey did for the Carolinas and San Francisco.

Although Pollard averaged more yards per carry than McCaffrey on 51 fewer rushing attempts in 2022, making their individual efficiency as a rusher highly debatable, one area that really sets the Stanford product apart from its Dallas counterpart is its pass-catching ability. Despite being one of Dallas’ best offensive weapons, Pollard has only made 55 tackles as a receiver and finished the regular season with 39 catches for 371 yards and three touchdowns, hurdles McCaffrey only eclipsed during his stint with the Niners.

Eventually, if Pollard is to eclipse McCaffrey as the best all-rounder in the biz, catching passes is the next aspect of his game that needs improvement.

After I explained that Dak Prescott will outplay Purdy in Week 20 Earlier in the week, Bayless went a step further on Wednesday when he made a bold statement about San Francisco and her quarterback.

“Right now, the 49ers look like the best team in the NFC. But man, does Brock Purdy take some wild risks,” Bayless wrote. “He’s the opposite of a game master.”

Are the 49ers the best team in the NFC? That’s debatable, but calling Purdy a gunslinger who takes wild risks instead of just managing the game? Considering he only threw two picks as a starter in a total of 154 pass attempts, it’s safe to say if Purdy is a gunslinger, and he picks his spots pretty well, as evidenced by his 11th offensive rating of 78.0 on Pro Football Focus.

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