Image Credit: Andrew Giesemann
The San Francisco 49ers have been able to absorb the injuries the team has faced this year, with backup tackles Justin Skule and Daniel Brunskill showing up against pass rushers like Myles Garrett, and it looks like the team will have to continue to work without their two elite tackles Joe Staley and Mike McGlinchey. This week, against the Carolina Panthers, was the earliest Joe Staley would be able to come back, and even though he was a limited participant in Wednesday’s practice, it sounds like the team is going to give him at least one more week of rest and rehabilitation before putting him out on the field. It won’t take Staley many reps with the first team offense to be on the same page, so don’t count him completely out for this week’s game, but week nine sounds more likely.
This week the 49ers will also continue to play without offensive weapon Kyle Juszczyk and cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon. Witherspoon was also looking at this week to possibly return from his injury, but it is more likely that he will sit another game and be back in action in Week Nine after he suffered some setbacks this week in rehab. With those four starters out, the Niners will continue to lean on the “next man up”mantra which is so prominent in the NFL. Emmanuel Moseley has been playing well in Witherspoon’s absence, with the defense allowing ten points over the last three games against the Cleveland Browns, L.A. Rams, and Washington Redskins and hasn’t allowed 100 yards passing in any of those three games.
Skule and Brunskill will have their hands full trying to neutralize Brian Burns in pass blocking without the help of Juszczyk. The 49ers really dodged a bullet when running back Matt Breida was only poked in the eye and did not fall into full concussion protocol. Expect the team to run against the Panthers’ subpar run defense (ranked nineteenth in the NFL) to help eliminate the pass rush, so having Breida and Tevin Coleman at full health will be very important for the team.
Deebo Samuel is also back from a groin injury, giving him the opportunity to play opposite new teammate Emmanuel Sanders this weekend. With the offense missing only the two bookend tackles and Juszczyk, and with the addition of Sanders, depending on how much he plays, the offense should be able to handle the nineteenth-ranked defense in the league.
Nick Bosa seems to have fully healed up from his earlier ankle injury while fellow pass rusher Dee Ford has not allowed his quadriceps injury to slow him down. Safety Jimmie Ward has now played two games in a row with no injury, and so the team should compete against the Panthers with virtually the same roster it used against the Redskins plus Sanders, barring any last minute practice injuries or additional trades.
You can follow Travis on Twitter here!
Stay tuned to 49ersHub for more great 49ers coverage and analysis!