Photo Credit: 49ers – Terrell Lloyd
Optimism is sometimes just that: optimism. The 49ers’ hopes that they would have Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk and Ben Garland all available for the season opener have not borne out.
Samuel, still recovering from a Jones fracture in his foot was placed on injured reserve on Saturday, but will be eligible to return by Week 4, after the team’s East Coast road trip to face the New York (New Jersey) Jets and Giants.
The team’s inactive list saw both Aiyuk and Garland miss out, too, and the 49ers go with four running backs, four tight ends and four wide receivers. The list is as follows:
WR Brandon Aiyuk
C Ben Garland
QB C.J. Beathard
CB Jason Verrett
LB Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles
DL Kentavius Street
Aiyuk and Garland were both questionable coming in, and the 49ers promoted Hroniss Grasu from the practice squad for today’s game as cover. Grasu may start, or be used as depth for Daniel Brunskill if he struggles at center.
Expect Dante Pettis to receive the lion’s share of snaps in Aiyuk and Samuel’s stead and a healthy (or unhealthy, depending on if you’re a Cardinals linebacker) dose of two tight end sets. He’s the only real outside receiver the 49ers have. Kendrick Bourne and Trent Taylor should see plenty of targets, too.
The only real surprise on this list is Kentavius Street. It leaves the team with eight defensive linemen. Street was stellar in camp and showed flexibility at a number of positions, but is the odd man out. Kevin Givens is effectively the nose tackle backup for D.J. Jones and both Javon Kinlaw and Solomon Thomas should share the snaps at 3 technique, with the four defensive ends set in Arik Armstead, Nick Bosa, Dee Ford and Kerry Hyder.