Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images
When the 49ers’ receiving group splits out into unit drills as it did on Wednesday, there is one key element missing: height. With Jordan Matthews, the 6’3″ veteran cut from the 53-man roster and Jalen Hurd, the 6’4″ rookie out with a back injury that’s looking to be more severe than just “tightness” as it was initially termed, Kendrick Bourne and Dante Pettis, both listed at 6’1″, are the tallest on the roster.
Jalen Hurd’s back injury not very close to being resolved
That’s not a devastating lack of height, but it’s evident when the group lines up. And it might remain that way for a while, as the outlook on Hurd, which was initially day-to-day, has grown to a longer term scale.
“Most likely not going to play this week, haven’t ruled him out yet,” said head coach Kyle Shanahan on Wednesday. “But, if I had to say something today, he’s doubtful… I’m thinking it’s more week-to-week as opposed to day-to-day.”
That’ll leave opportunities open for the remaining wide receiver group, which obviously does not include Trent Taylor, who, though out of a walking boot, still has a limp and has not been involved in practice, nor announced to have a clear timeline for his return.
Excitement for Garoppolo, and Shanahan’s priority for Week 1
Everything the 49ers have built depends upon Garoppolo, something that does not appear to be an uncomfortable reality for anyone in the organization. More than anything, there’s a level of eagerness to have that franchise quarterback back on the field in a real game. Fullback Kyle Juszczyk pointed to Garoppolo’s excellent third preseason game as a cause for tranquility, and tackle Mike McGlinchey said the team is likely as excited as fans are to actually see him play.
“I think everybody is [eager],” McGlinchey said. “Not just here, but all over America is ready to see what Jimmy Garoppolo can do. We’re all really excited to see what he can do and we expect nothing but great things from him this week.”
Garoppolo himself is no different.
“A lot of excitement,” Garoppolo said. “It’s been a long time coming, so it’s finally here, getting into the game-week schedule and everything and it’s good to be back.”
That excitement will come crashing down quick if Garoppolo starts turning the ball over and the 49ers don’t respond in kind on the defensive end. After a NFL record-setting low of seven turnovers last season, Shanahan said his priority for Week 1 is to flip that.
“I think the first thing we’ve got to do is not turn the ball over,” Shanahan said. “I mean, if we don’t turn the ball over, I think we’ll have a chance to win every game we’re in. I definitely plan on us getting more turnovers on defense this year. I think that’d be the most important thing for us to get more than we had these last two years. After that, it’s just all 11 guys executing, not just Jimmy, but the other 10 guys on the field doing their assignments, staying ahead of the chains, not having pre-snap penalties and just not trying to have those setbacks.”
Practice updates (for 49ers and Buccaneers)
The following players were limited, out or returning in both team’s Wednesday practices. Most of these 49ers limited names are due to recovery from injury rather than setbacks sustained (with Hurd being the exception):
Non-participants – 49ers
- LT Joe Staley (vet day)
- Hurd (back) and Taylor (toe)
Limited in practice – 49ers
- DE Nick Bosa (ankle)
- WR Dante Pettis (groin)
- C Weston Richburg (knee)
- CB Jason Verrett (ankle)
- NB K’Waun Williams (knee)
Full participants – 49ers
- DE Dee Ford (knee)
Non-participants – Buccaneers
- S Justin Evans (achilles)
- QB Blaine Gabbert (left shoulder)
- LB Demone Harris (illness)
Limited in practice – Buccaneers
- TE Antony Auclair (calf)
- LB Devante Bond (hamstring)
- TE Cameron Brate (calf)
- LB Lavonte David (calf)
- S Mike Edwards (hamstring)
- DT Vita Vea (knee)
Full participants – Buccaneers
- LB Anthony Nelson (knee)