Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images
In four days, the San Francisco 49ers will face the Arizona Cardinals in a real, genuine—did we mention, actual—NFL game. It’s happening. Three days of practice and an off day will bring us to what will surely be the most bizarre season opener in league history.
Injury outlooks for Week 1
Fred Warner will return to practice on Wednesday after nine days on the reserve/Covid-19 list. Head coach Kyle Shanahan said it was something the team was “very nervous” about. We explain why here, given the timeline it’s almost certain Warner tested positive—something only he can confirm—for the coronavirus.
Shanahan said that it’s unlikely either Deebo Samuel (Jones fracture) or Brandon Aiyuk (hamstring strain) practice on Wednesday, and Jason Verrett (hamstring) would also remain out. Ben Garland (ankle), though, would be limited, practicing for the first time since the start of training camp. It won’t be clear until later in the week if Samuel, Aiyuk and Garland will be ready for the opener.
Everyone else who has been limited or dealt with injuries over the past few weeks (Richie James Jr., Nick Bosa, Dee Ford, Kyle Juszczyk, George Kittle, Ross Dwelley, Jordan Reed, etc.) appear to be on track to play in Week 1, though the team’s official injury report will confirm those statuses later on Wednesday.
Nick Bosa’s non-goals
There is not much to gripe about with Nick Bosa’s rookie campaign. He had 9.0 sacks in the regular season (10.0 if you include what should have counted as a third on Baker Mayfield) and 4.0 in the postseason, with at least one sack in each playoff game.
So, does the reigning Defensive Rookie of the Year and No. 17-ranked player on the NFL’s Top 100 (the highest ever debut for a defensive player) have anything on his checklist for this season?
Asked if he had any specific goals or was hoping to sack Kyler Murray, Bosa replied in the negative.
“I think my goal this year is to not think about that,” Bosa said. “So,” he said, laughing, “no.”
The one thing Bosa has yet to accomplish, aside from a Super Bowl win, is to sack an NFC West quarterback. That will change this year, but until it does, it will be hard for him to shake the widely-held view that he’s a bust.
Everything else: Featuring captains and Kyler Murray imitators
- Who gets to imitate Kyler Murray? It’s not Nick Mullens or C.J. Beathard. As Bosa put it, “Nick and C.J. aren’t cutting it with the speed,” so the 49ers are turning to Richie James Jr. and JaMycal Hasty to imitate the all-too slippery Murray.
- Shanahan revealed the team will have seven captains this year, with room to add one more if they so desire. It’s an increase from the five they had last year. None of these captaincies will come as a surprise: Jimmy Garoppolo, George Kittle, Mike McGlinchey, Trent Williams, Arik Armstead, Richard Sherman and Fred Warner
- The 49ers will have to keep their fake fan noise between 70-75 decibels for the full duration of the season opener, and likely for the rest of the season, unless the NFL changes its protocols. Shanahan described the situation on KNBR as a “form of human torture.”