49ers Mailbag: George Kittle expected to be available Week 6 vs. Rams

49ers Mailbag: George Kittle expected to be available Week 6 vs. Rams

LOS ANGELES -- The 49ers will not have three offensive starters on Sunday for their NFC West showdown with the Los Angeles Rams.

Offensive tackles Joe Staley and Mike McGlinchey, and fullback Kyle Juszczyk are expected to miss a month or more with their injuries.

Might the 49ers also be missing tight end George Kittle on Sunday?

That’s how this edition of 49ers Mailbag kicks off . . .

Q: Will George Kittle play? (Nathan Lane)
The 49ers did not make any transactions on Saturday. They also did not provide an update on Kittle’s condition, which would have been required if it had been determined he would not play.

Coach Kyle Shanahan said on Friday he expects Kittle to be available. That appears to still be the case. Look for Kittle to play on Sunday. Last season, he caught 14 passes for 247 yards and two touchdowns in two games against the Rams, so he figures to be an important piece of the team's game plan.

Assuming Kittle wakes up feeling good and does not experience any setback during his pregame warmups, he should be good to go. Kittle on Saturday posted on Instagram the following to let everyone know, "I ain't done."

View this post on Instagram


A post shared by George Kittle (@gkittle46) on

The team must declare its seven inactive players 90 minutes before kickoff.

Q: Any news on players coming back from IR? (Chris Lynn Overstreet)
Four players (thus far) are eligible to return off injured reserve this season: defensive lineman, Kentavius Street, wide receivers Trent Taylor and Jalen Hurd, and cornerback Jason Verrett. A player who goes on IR spends just eight games on the list before he is eligible to return.

Taylor is the best bet to return to action before the end of the season. The other spot will be determined by how the players respond in their rehabilitations and at what position they feel a need to add a player later in the season.

The 49ers do not have to declare which two players will return from injured reserve until, literally, they make that decision. They are keeping their options open with each of those players.

Q: When does the NFL need to determine the time/date of the week 16 matchup with the Rams? (Stépheñ Bůrkę)
The 49ers-Rams game scheduled for Week 16 is likely to be played on Saturday, Dec. 21. The NFL must make that decision no later than the Week 8 games in a couple of weeks.

The 49ers-Rams are among five games targeted for the Saturday of Week 16 to be televised on the NFL Network. The league will select three games from the list, which also includes Houston at Tampa Bay, Buffalo at New England, Detroit at Denver, and Oakland at the L.A. Chargers.

The start times for the Saturday games will be announced, and the two games that are not selected for Saturday will be moved to the Sunday schedule.

Q: Do you think Jordan Matthews has a chance to be activated this week? (Rob Nuufolau)
I expect wide receiver Jordan Matthews to be one of the team’s seven inactive players. All of the 49ers’ wide receivers are healthy and available, so there’s no reason for the 49ers to make a move there, as Kyle Shanahan explained.

“No receivers went down, so it probably won’t change with Jordan," Shanahan said.

It appears as if Jeff Wilson, who was inactive against the Cleveland Browns, will be in uniform due to Juszczyk's injury.

"Jeff has a chance. We still have our other backs, we didn’t lose any of them, but not having Kyle and losing a fullback does give us an option there," Shanahan said. "It’s going to be between him and another position."

My guesses for the seven inactive players for Sunday’s game are:

QB C.J. Beathard
WR Jordan Matthews
DL Jullian Taylor

[RELATED: How to watch 49ers vs. Rams Week 6 clash live online]

And, of course, the four injured players . . .
FB Kyle Juszczyk
LT Joe Staley
RT Mike McGlinchey
CB Ahkello Witherspoon.

NFL rumors: 49ers, seven other teams attend Colin Kaepernick workout


NFL rumors: 49ers, seven other teams attend Colin Kaepernick workout

Colin Kaepernick's venue change for his highly anticipated workout reportedly did not deter the 49ers and seven other NFL teams Saturday. 

San Francisco was one of eight teams to attend the quarterback's workout outside of Atlanta, ESPN's Adam Schefter reported Sunday.

NBC Sports Bay Area's Matt Maiocco reported last week that the 49ers would attend. 

The 49ers, of course, were Kaepernick's last NFL team. A 2011 second-round draft pick, Kaepernick started 58 games in six seasons with San Francisco and led the 49ers to back-to-back NFC Championship appearances in 2012 and 2013. Kaepernick quarterbacked the 49ers to Super Bowl XLVII, finishing yards shy of winning the franchise's sixth Super Bowl. 

The 32-year-old has not played since he opted out of his 49ers contract in 2017, shortly after general manager John Lynch and coach Kyle Shanahan joined the organization. Kaepernick began kneeling during the playing of the national anthem in the 2016 season to protest racial injustice and police brutality against African Americans, and the 49ers' new regime informed Kaepernick he would be released if he did not opt out of his contract. 

Alongside former 49ers teammate Eric Reid, Kaepernick settled a collusion lawsuit with the NFL in February. Kaepernick's representatives claimed they moved Saturday's workout from the Atlanta Falcons facility to a high school outside of Atlanta due to language in the NFL's waiver release which they described as "unusual." Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio obtained the waiver, writing Sunday that the characterization was "an overstatement of its specific contents," but there was "enough language in the waiver to give a prudent, careful lawyer legitimate concern that an aggressive litigator would later argue that signing the document defeats all potential employment claims that Kaepernick could have made."

As for the 49ers, their attendance Saturday likely doesn't mean they're ready to welcome back Kaepernick into the only organization he has ever known. Shanahan told reporters last season that Kaepernick didn't fit his "style of offense" when the 49ers didn't bring Kaepernick in for a workout after Jimmy Garoppolo tore his ACL. 

[RELATED: Kaepernick tells Goodell, NFL owners to stop running from truth]

The reported remaining teams in attendance were a mix of contenders (Kansas City Chiefs, Philadelphia Eagles), bubble teams (Tennessee Titans, Detroit Lions) and also-rans (New York Jets, Washington), each of which has some kind of need at QB. Of course, that hasn't stopped 32 teams from passing up signing Kaepernick since he became a free agent in 2017.

It probably won't stop them in this case, either.  

NFL rumors: 49ers' George Kittle, Matt Breida out in Cardinals rematch

NFL rumors: 49ers' George Kittle, Matt Breida out in Cardinals rematch

Whatever mystery there was surrounding George Kittle's health status for the 49ers' Week 11  game against the Cardinals reportedly has now been solved.

ESPN's Adam Schefter reported late Saturday night that San Francisco's All-Pro tight end will not play Sunday against Arizona, citing a source.

The aforementioned mystery was some of the 49ers' own doing. After Kittle was listed as day-to-day at the beginning of the week, San Francisco coach Kyle Shanahan told Cardinals reporters on Thursday that Kittle would not play Sunday, only to have the organization walk those comments back hours later. 

Kittle sat out the 49ers' Week 10 loss to the Seahawks. He originally was injured on San Francisco's first offensive play in the Week 9 win in Arizona, but still managed to catch six passes for 79 yards and a touchdown in that 28-25 victory. Kittle leads all 49ers' pass-catchers in receptions (46), receiving yards (541), yards after the catch (300) and first downs (28).

Ross Dwelley is expected to start in Kittle's place at tight end against the Cardinals on Sunday. While Shanahan and the 49ers have confidence in Dwelley, there's no question San Francisco's offense will be negatively impacted by Kittle's absence.

[RELATED: 49ers-Cardinals predictions: SF should win despite injuries]

Kittle reportedly won't be the 49ers' only key offensive contributor to sit on the sidelines Sunday. Matt Breida, San Francisco's leading rusher, will not play against Arizona, Schefter reported Sunday morning.

Raheem Mostert, who is third on the 49ers' depth chart behind Breida and Coleman, should get a workload in line with his early-season numbers. Coleman left the 49ers' Week 1 win over Tampa Bay with an injury and didn't play again until Week 5, and Mostert averaged just over 11 carries per game during Coleman's absence. 

Down their leading receiver and rusher, the 49ers' depth will need to step up Sunday to get San Francisco back in the win column.