49ers encountering nightmares, injuries preparing for Russell Wilson

49ers encountering nightmares, injuries preparing for Russell Wilson

With the 49ers, defensive coordinator Robert Saleh has constructed perhaps the NFL's best defense, but from the sounds of it, he hasn't been sleeping well as of late.

"He's creating a lot of nightmares lately," Saleh said of Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson on Friday, just three days ahead of the highly-anticipated divisional matchup between San Francisco and Seattle.

Wilson might be the leading MVP candidate at this point in the season, having led the Seahawks to a 7-2 record while throwing for 22 touchdowns and just one interception. He's one of the most accurate passers in the league and only four other QBs average more yards per attempt, but it's Russell's mobility and elusiveness that makes him so tough to defend. It's an uncommon skillset, and one the 49ers can't accurately recreate within their current personnel.

C.J. Beathard reportedly learned that the hard way, having injured himself at Thursday's practice while playing Wilson's role on San Francisco's scout team.

Out of all the QBs on the 49ers' roster, Beathard is not only the biggest, but also likely the slowest, so it begs the question as to why he would be used to imitate Wilson, but regardless, it's a funny image. Hopefully, Beathard was able to laugh about it.

While the 49ers know they'll have their hands full with Wilson, Seattle's signal-caller is feeling the same thing on his end. Specifically, he expects cornerback Richard Sherman -- his former teammate -- to make his life tough on Monday night. 

"Classic Sherm," Wilson responded when asked about Sherman's performance this season. "He's a ballhawk, a guy who can make a lot of plays. He's smart as can be. Going up against him is always a tough challenge."

Wilson knows he can't ignore Sherman's side of the field entirely, and will need to pick his spots.

"I know not to go over there too much," Wilson continued. "He's as good as it gets over there. I've got a lot of respect for Sherm and how he plays the game. He really understands things, sees things well, so you've got to be really smart when you go over there."

Sherman leads San Francisco with three interceptions, and when quarterbacks have targeted him, they've produced a worse passer rating (35.7) than if they had simply spiked the ball (39.6).

[RELATED: How 49ers' Sherman is living up to shutdown corner status]

Through nine games, Wilson has a passer rating of 118.2, easily the best in the NFL. Don't expect him or Sherman to shy away from the challenge.

Jimmy Garoppolo 'really good' but not elite, analyst Chris Simms says

Jimmy Garoppolo 'really good' but not elite, analyst Chris Simms says

Is your quarterback elite? Well, if you're a fan of the 49ers then no -- at least according to Chris Simms.

The NBC Sports football analyst couldn't confidently put Jimmy Garoppolo in the elite category, but still had plenty of praise toward him, especially knowing he plans on leading the 49ers to the Super Bowl.

"I think there's some quarterbacks in football right now: Russell Wilson, Aaron Rodgers, DeShaun Watson, Patrick Mahomes -- they kind of stand alone," Simms said.

After that handful of quarterbacks, Simms highlights a group of "good," a squad that he considers Jimmy G to be a part of. Plus, Garoppolo has a lot of "good" surrounding him.

The elite talents of tight end George Kittle are something that shouldn't be argued -- unless you're not sure if he's a decent blocker or not. Ahem, Doug Gottlieb.

"That's all you need to win a Super Bowl," Simms added.

The consensus around Jimmy G's eliteness is that he's not elite, but he's not bad, but he's good enough.

[RELATED: NFC offensive consultant on Jimmy G's eliteness

Got all of that?

His throwing abilities have been talked about, but once again the word "elite" was not mentioned.

49ers tackle Joe Staley doesn't have looming retirement on his mind


49ers tackle Joe Staley doesn't have looming retirement on his mind

A lot of times for athletes, it's not up to them whether or not they want to retire -- it's up to their body. For 49ers tackle Joe Staley, it's really no different.

"I like to think that I can continue to play football for as long as they'll have me," Staley said in an interview with 95.7 The Game on Thursday. "And that's my mindset. I've never thought about when an end is going to be."

The 35-year-old signed a two-year contract extension with San Francisco in June which ultimately means he could spend the entirety of his NFL career as a member of the 49ers. And while that seems like a long time, he's still soaking up the everyday grind of his job even with the setbacks he's faced this season.

"The challenges of this season have been different than seasons past," he said. "I love the adverse situations and you kind of learn a lot about yourself -- how you respond and challenge yourself daily with different goals ... "

Staley sustained a fractured left fibula earlier in the season during the Week 2 matchup against the Bengals and with a smile tried to remain positive but admitted: "it sucks." He was emotional after the injury but said that had a lot to do with how special the team was and the guys he was surrounded by.

Still, you can't fake the passion the six-time Pro Bowler brings to the 49ers and it appears you would have to pry the game away from his hands if you anticipate him hanging up his cleats any time soon.

[RELATED: How Jimmy G can enter record books in 49ers-Falcons]

"That love for the game is still there, burning," Staley said.

He finished the statement saying he doesn't have an honest answer as to just how much football is left in his body, but it's not something he's concentrating on at the moment.