With the panic of the three-game losing streak in their rearview, the 49ers returned to practice Wednesday ahead of a Sunday matchup with the squirrely Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Here’s what came out of Wednesday:
49ers injuries, including a season-ender
The 49ers lost another offensive lineman, and this one is for the year. Kyle Shanahan revealed that interior offensive lineman Nick Zakelj suffered a biceps tear Sunday against the Jacksonville Jaguars and will be done for the season.
While Shanahan said it wasn’t a traditional tear — “it was a little one,” he said — it was only going to deteriorate and it was advisable to deal with it now, rather than later.
Aaron Banks will also miss at least this week with a turf toe injury.
The team recently added interior offensive linemen in Henry Byrd and Jesse Davis to the practice squad. Ilm Manning and Corey Luciano are their other legitimate options. They will likely elevate at least one of those players for Sunday’s game, and/or as long as Banks remains out.
Shanahan intimated that the team may also try out some players this week, and Field Yates of ESPN reported that the 49ers put a claim in on Calvin Throckmorton, who was assigned on waivers to the Tennessee Titans.
While they have a short-term need for interior offensive line help, the 49ers may opt to use their vacated roster spot to return one of their three players with return windows open in DE Robert Beal, CB Samuel Womack III and CB Darrell Luter Jr. Corner is clearly a more pressing need than defensive end at the moment.
As for Wednesday’s practice, both Zakelj and Banks were out. Trent Williams (rest), Colton McKivitz (ankle, knee) and Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles (ankle) were all limited.
For the Buccaneers, the injury report is as follows:
Did not practice:
- G Luke Goedeke (foot)
- S Ryan Neal (thumb)
- LB Devin White (foot)
- WR Mike Evans (quadricep)
- CB Josh Hayes (concussion)
McKivitz’s injury puts the spotlight on Jaylon Moore and veteran Matt Pryor, the latter of whom is viewed exclusively as a right tackle option.
In other roster news, the team signed interior defensive lineman Spencer Waege and released edge Austin Bryant.
McCaffrey appreciates… just about everyone
Christian McCaffrey’s 17-game streak with a touchdown came to an end Sunday, but it was not for a lack of effort. Kyle Shanahan made a clear point of trying to get McCaffrey sole possession of the NFL record (he is tied with Lenny Moore) by feeding him four-straight times with a 34-3 lead late in the fourth quarter.
McCaffrey asked to go back in to go for the record and described Wednesday how appreciative of Shanahan he is.
“That meant a lot to me,” McCaffrey said. “That’s pretty cool of your coach to do that. I was very appreciative. He didn’t have to do that. A lot of people would probably tell him not to, but the fact that he did means a whole lot to me.”
The Shanahan tree is notoriously fond of running backs. In 1998, Mike Shanahan helped get Terrell Davis past the 2,000-yard mark (possibly spurred by potential guilt for taking him out early in blowout wins) on the final game of the season, in an otherwise meaningless win over the Seattle Seahawks. He fed him 29 times for 178 yards.
It could be argued that part of the reason McCaffrey didn’t break the record was the return of Deebo Samuel.
Samuel’s reverse touchdown run might’ve otherwise been a chance for McCaffrey. But both players open up space for each other, with Samuel’s pre-snap motions consistently putting defenders in conflict.
McCaffrey praised Samuel both for that gravity and for his commitment to blocking. His highest praise, of course, came for Samuel’s lead blocker on his touchdown run: Trent Williams.
“He might be the best player I’ve ever seen,” McCaffrey said. “There’s nothing he can’t do. He plays beyond X’s and O’s. He does things that other people can’t do and he’s been doing it for a really long time.”
No more Bosa-“Baaaaaker” beef
While there’s plenty of elite content from Nick Bosa’s flag-planting rookie game against Baker Mayfield in 2019, with him talking trash with his hilariously understated delivery, he insisted Wednesday that there’s no beef. He said he met Mayfield at the Waste Management Open this past year.
“He’s nice, Bosa said. “We said ‘Hi.’ I’ve never had anything against him. Just a joke as a rookie. It was fun.”
Chase Young was asked about watching Bosa sack Mayfield three times in 2019 while he was still at Ohio State, and smiled about it.
“You get to chirping, he might just chirp back,” Young said.
While Bosa’s lack of disdain for Mayfield could be devastating to some 49ers fans, this clip still remains:
Something about Bosa talking trash in that voice is deeply unnerving.