The Armchair Quarterback Volume 71: Ghosts of 49ers Past

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To say injuries have been an issue for the San Francisco 49ers lately would be a severe understatement. They have been plagued by injuries the whole 2020 season thus far and we are not even halfway into it. It seems almost every week someone on the 49ers experiences some type of injury.

Players have been signed out of the free agent pool, and even some of those players have experienced injuries that have put them out for the season. Players have been called up from the practice squad with varied success (some have done more damage than good).

Needless to say, the 49ers have had to dig deep to find healthy bodies to compete week in and week out. The time leading up to the trade deadline may include a very important few days for the team as they may make moves to bolster their roster.

The situation makes you wish head coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch had a time machine to go back to try and stop those key injuries from occurring.

But what if they had a time machine with stipulations. In that they could go back anytime within the past 20 years and bring back players that spent time on the 49ers to give them a second chance. I’m talking about guys that had talent, but for whatever reason never made it with the team.

Who are some ghosts of 49ers past that could be useful during this season of need? Let’s take a look at a few.

Tha Carter 96

The 49ers are lean at defensive end at the moment with injuries to their starters Dee Ford and Nick Bosa. Then after signing Ziggy Ansah to fill in at that spot he too got injured. So, with the time machine the team would likely bring back a player like defensive end. Who better than Andre Carter?

Carter was the team’s first-round selection in the 2001 draft out of the University of California. In his first season he racked up 6½ sacks. In his second season he almost doubled that number with 12½. Somehow, that wasn’t enough to make the Pro Bowl. Another defensive end named Hugh Douglas from the Philadelphia Eagles, with the same amount of sacks and less-impressive numbers across the board, got the selection instead. But we won’t talk about that.

Carter’s sack numbers dipped the next few seasons and he would never top the 12½ sack mark. In 2006 he signed as a free agent with the Washington Football Team (or whatever the hell they used to be called back then). He would jump around the league a bit, finally getting his first (and only) Pro Bowl selection in 2011 with the New England Patriots, with – wait for it – 10 sacks. Go figure!

Carter’s size and speed on the edge would definitely help these current 49ers who are desperate for a pass rush due to all the injuries. He for sure would be a first-round time machine draft selection.

Did somebody call a Plummer?

Cornerback Ahmad Plummer was the 49ers first-round pick in the 2000 draft. He was a solid starter for the first four seasons of his career. He had a career best seven interceptions in 2001, his sophomore campaign.

His 2004 and 2005 seasons were both cut short though due to injury. And those injuries eventually forced him into an early retirement after just six seasons in the league.

In 2020, cornerback has been a position which the 49ers have been extremely slim at. Richard Sherman, Emmanuel Moseley and Ahkello Witherspoon have all suffered injuries this season. In addition to those names who play the outside cornerback spot, K’Waun Williams, who plays the nickel-cornerback role, has also been dealing with injuries.

This rash of injuries has caused the 49ers to go deep into the depth chart and practice squad to find healthy cornerbacks. And with the performance of Brian Allen a few weeks ago, really anyone who can just go toe-to-toe with a receiver and not give up big chunks of yards would do.

However, if the time machine could pull back a peak 2001 Plummer, he would be a great second-round time machine draft selection.

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