It will be a challenge for the 49ers to field 48 players in their Week 16 matchup with the Arizona Cardinals, Kyle Shanahan said Tuesday.
San Francisco has a short week to prepare for Saturday's contest. The fallout from the team’s 41-33 loss to the Dallas Cowboys has left an already-depleted roster even more decimated.
With 17 players already on injured reserve, Shanahan detailed a lengthy list of additional players who could miss the game. Along with closing the door on the rest of the season for Raheem Mostert and Deebo Samuel, the 49ers are down to two quarterbacks who are eligible to practice this week: C.J. Beathard and newly signed Josh Rosen.
Normally, when a team has been eliminated from playoff contention, it can afford to evaluate the lower rungs of the roster. Plans for the next season start to take shape and players who might not normally get playing time have a chance to show they are worth an investment.
But this is not a normal year. This is 2020, and Shanahan and the 49ers simply are trying to survive.
“We’re not in a situation where we can just sit and get some guys opportunities who maybe wouldn’t have had one in the year,” Shanahan said. “Each week we’re playing with all that we have. There’s no guys behind those guys so we’re just trying to make sure we get a team ready for Saturday.”
It’s not only injuries that have depleted the roster, but also situations that have arisen from players being placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list as well. As of Tuesday, the 49ers had four players unable to practice due to either testing positive or being a close contact.
“It’s been a challenge, especially recently with stuff that comes up with COVID on top of the injuries, those are the biggest thing,” Shanahan said. “You got to be prepared for something to come up with COVID. That’s the stuff we’re concerned with the most, just trying to field a team here for two more games.”
For now, the critical self-evaluation for 2021 will be put on hold. The 49ers are focused on Saturday and just trying to get through a week without any further loss of eligible players. With COVID-19 protocols requiring a player to repeatedly test negative prior to participating in any team activities, it's unlikely that any of the four 49ers on the list will be activated in time for Saturday's game.
“We are not at all thinking about next year,” Shanahan said. “We don’t have that luxury right now.”
Ruled out for the week:
- RB Raheem Mostert (ankle)
- WR Deebo Samuel (hamstring)
- S. Jimmie Ward (concussion)
- QB Nick Mullens (elbow)
Will see how the week goes:
- CB Richard Sherman (calf)
- DL Dion Jordan (knee)
- DL Javon Kinlaw (knee)
- S Tarvarius Moore (knee)
- OL Hroniss Grasu (knee)
- WR Richie James (ankle)
- QB Josh Johnson
- OL Colton McKivitz
- RB Austin Walter
- TE Charlie Woerner