SANTA CLARA – Defensive end Aaron Lynch was limited during 49ers practice last week due to a back condition but he was cleared to play on Sunday.
Coach Kyle Shanahan said on Monday the decision to activate him was a “coach’s decision.”
“We had to think of what D-Linemen we wanted up, and we felt we needed some backups inside,” Shanahan said on Monday. “We had the backups on the outside, especially with our Sam position, that both of them could go in and play outside D-end and get us pass rush in our nickel and our base defense.”
Shanahan opted to have newly acquired defensive tackle Xavier Cooper active for the game as DeForest Buckner’s backup. Cooper played 14 snaps in a backup role.
“We needed to make sure Buck has a backup for the type of run game that we thought we were going to face,” Shanahan said.
Lynch tied for the team-lead in sacks his first two NFL seasons with six and 6.5 in 2014 and 2015. Last year, Lynch was limited to just seven games due to a suspension and an ankle injury.
On Sunday, the 49ers generated very little pass rush against the Panthers in a 23-3 loss. The 49ers did not sack Carolina quarterback Cam Newton. The 49ers must find a way to get pressure on Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson this week.
“Cam got outside on us, for the most part,” Shanahan said. “That's a challenge, always. It's going to be a challenge next week going against Russell [Wilson]. So you've got to stay in your lane so they don't escape it and move the chains with their legs. But we've also got to find a way to put more pressure on the quarterback, too.”