49ers' 2023 roster has 'unbelievable potential,' John Taylor believes
49ers legend Taylor explains how team can return to Super Bowl originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
Three-time Super Bowl champion and former 49ers receiver John Taylor knows a thing or two about good football teams.
And in his eyes, the sky’s the limit for the current San Francisco squad.
“This current team has an unbelievable amount of potential,” Taylor said May 10 at the Dwight Clark Legacy Series event in San Jose.
Fresh off their second consecutive NFC Championship Game appearance, the 49ers head into the 2023 NFL season with a roster full of riches – tight end George Kittle, wideout Deebo Samuel, left tackle Trent Williams and running back Christian McCaffrey are just a few of the team’s All-Pro stars ready to get back on the field, and that’s just on offense.
Taylor, who boasts his own championship-winning touchdown catch, knows how it feels to hoist the Lombardi Trophy, and he explained exactly what it will take for the 49ers to return to the NFL’s big dance.
“As players, they’ve just got to tap into [themselves],” Taylor said of the 49ers’ potential. “… You’ve been there twice now. You’ve been to the NFC Championship Game back-to-back years.
“So, you have to say to yourself as a player, or feel, ‘I’m getting back there next year, but I’m crossing over that hump next year. Whatever it takes for me to do, whatever sacrifices I have to do, then that’s what it’s going to be.’ ”
As an East Coast native who grew up in Philadelphia, Taylor said he can’t wait for the regular-season NFC championship rematch between the Eagles and 49ers at Lincoln Financial Field in Week 13 later this year.
San Francisco beat itself in last season’s title game, he said, quarterback injuries aside. And with McCaffrey sitting on stage beside him, Taylor explained why he thinks the 2023 49ers have an excellent shot at going even further this season: Hunger.
“These guys right here have so much more potential than we did,” Taylor said. “... I’m sure last year, Christian, in his mind, was that close … you were right there, and in your mind, it’s like, ‘I don’t like this taste.’ ”
With training camp right around the corner, McCaffrey and the rest of the 49ers certainly have a goal in mind of returning to the NFL playoffs this season. And, hopefully, a Super Bowl berth will follow.
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But it all starts now, the running back explained.
“You’d be wrong if you said you didn’t have that same hunger as that locker room after the [NFC title] game still sitting with us,” McCaffrey explained. “But it’s a good thing. It's a good thing for right now – the sense of urgency is high, the intensity’s high and guys are ready to compete, first against each other.
“But in this league, it’s one step at a time, it’s one day at a time. You can always look to the future and have those goals, and we all do, but they’re built now.”
The potential for greatness is there. Now, the 49ers simply have to tap back in.
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