SANTA CLARA – Running back Tevin Coleman and defensive end Dee Ford are listed as questionable for the 49ers’ game Monday night against the Cleveland Browns and appear to be available for action if the team chooses to play them.
Ford has managed knee tendinitis and quadriceps irritation since training camp but has yet to miss a game. He is expected to play as a situational pass rusher against the Browns. Ford is tied for the 49ers lead with Arik Armstead and DeForest Buckner with two sacks apiece.
Coleman sustained a high ankle sprain in the first half of the 49ers’ season opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Coleman carried the ball six times for 23 yards in Week 1 before exiting with the injury.
"Tevin’s a good back, as everyone knows," 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said on Saturday. "(We) got him for about a half in the Tampa Bay game. Definitely being optimistic about him being ready to go on Monday. We’ll be excited to have him.”
The 49ers have found success on the ground without Coleman. Matt Breida leads the 49ers with 226 yards rushing on 41 carries (5.5-yard average). Raheem Mostert has 202 yards on 34 attempts for a 5.9 average. Jeff Wilson has four rushing touchdowns in two games as the short-yardage back.
The Browns also have some injury issues heading into Monday’s game.
Starting cornerbacks Denzel Ward and Greedy Williams are listed as questionable with hamstring injuries. Neither player participated in practices this week. Cleveland’s backup corners are T.J. Carrie and Terrance Mitchell, a pair of six-year NFL veterans.
49ers injury report
T Joe Staley (fibula)
CB Ahkello Witherspoon (foot)
DE Dee Ford (quadricep)
RB Tevin Coleman (ankle)
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Browns injury report
T Kendall Lamm (knee)
CB Denzel Ward (hamstring)
CB Greedy Williams (hamstring)
S Morgan Burnett (quadricep)
WR Rashard Higgins (knee)
T Christopher Hubbard (foot)
S Sheldrick Redwine (hamstring)
George Kittle was named First-Team All-Pro for the first time last season. He had the highest-graded season by a tight end in the Pro Football Focus era, and was the best overall player in the NFL last season by PFF's rankings.
And he could have been even better with some help from the yellow flag. Kittle hauled in 85 receptions for 1,053 yards and five touchdowns last season despite missing two games. With a little more luck, those numbers would have been even more impressive.
PFF's Ian Hartitz found that Kittle had three touchdowns nullified by penalties last year, leading all players in the strange stat.
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"Arguably the best tight end in the entire NFL could've had an even bigger season with a little better acting and/or performance from his teammates," Hartitz wrote.
It gets better (worse?), too. By Hartitz's count, the 49ers lead all teams with seven touchdowns called back by penalty in 2019.
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Through the video of Kittle's called-back TDs, it appears he should have had at least another 40 yards receiving on the penalty-ridden touchdowns alone. The 49ers' star tight end already had an elite season. This would have put him over the top.
If the 49ers can clean up their penalties and Kittle remains healthy, expect another huge season from the fourth-year pro.
The 49ers already have dealt with two unfortunate injuries to their receiving corps this offseason with Deebo Samuel's broken foot and Richie James' fractured wrist. There could be a silver lining to this summer's injury bug, though.
Trent Taylor looks strong and healthy on his surgically repaired right foot. This could be huge for Kyle Shanahan's offense and the development of quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.
Taylor sustained a Jones fracture -- the same injury as Samuel -- in training camp last year and never fully recovered. He wound up having to undergo five surgeries and missed the entire 2019 season. But in a recent workout video with teammate George Kittle, Taylor looks to be back to the player that quickly became a favorite target of Garoppolo's in 2017.
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The 5-foot-8 slot receiver was the perfect comfort blanket for Garoppolo after he took over the starting QB job late in 2017. Garoppolo completed 17 of his 20 pass attempts to Taylor for 191 yards in 2017, and had a 102.3 QB rating when targeting the slippery receiver over the final five games of the season.
Taylor's stats took a tumble in 2018 with Garoppolo sidelined. Fellow receiver Kendrick Bourne believes that's about to change this season.
Before Taylor went down in camp last season, 49ers coaches had high hopes for him. Really high.
"Several S.F. coaches believed he was headed for a Pro Bowl campaign at this time a year ago, and having former Patriots and Broncos star Wes Welker as his position coach and role model doesn't hurt," NFL Media's Mike Silver said back in May.
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Even if Taylor isn't a star or Pro Bowl receiver, he's proved his value by developing chemistry with Garoppolo when healthy. Every quarterback has their guy where they can feel their energy on the field. It's an invisible, invaluable bond.
Taylor could be that guy for Garoppolo, only making this offense that much more explosive.