After Arik Armstead’s declaration that the turf at MetLife Stadium was less than ideal, several other 49ers personnel confirmed that they felt the same way.
The 49ers suffered numerous injuries to key players in their 31-13 win over the New York Jets. While not all of the injuries directly can be attributed to the newly-installed field turf, it definitely didn’t help matters. Coach Kyle Shanahan deemed the litany of injuries unprecedented.
“That’s as many knee injuries and ankle stuff and people getting caught on the turf as I’ve even been a part of,” Shanahan said. “I know our players talked about it the entire game, just how sticky the turf was. Unfortunately it’s a place we got to go back to next week.”
The 49ers’ win at MetLife stadium was one of the first games played on the new surface, which was installed during the NFL offseason. Trent Williams explained that field turf that hasn’t been “worn in” can prove to be challenging.
“It’s always pretty tricky to play on until it’s nice and worn down and broken in,” Williams said. “You never want to blame the injuries on that, but you kind of put your foot down in the ground in natural grass, it gives a little bit.
“But the turf, it gets stuck. If your weight gets going the wrong way, things can happen like we’ve seen today.”
Jerick McKinnon carried the ball three times for 77 yards and one touchdown. He noticed the difference but understands that the team has no choice but to play there again in one week.
“I’m not the biggest fan of turf,” McKinnon said. “It was a little thick but that’s how some field surfaces are. There’s nothing you can do about it. You got to adapt to it and make it work.”
Fred Warner led the team with 12 total tackles and believes they can’t think about the surface being a factor when they return next week. The linebacker declared that if they second guess themselves it could be worse.
Warner compared the surface to what he experienced in New Orleans last December, noticing during pregame that it was a little “spongy.”
“In terms of us playing there next week, it’s something you can’t really think about,” Warner said. “If you go out there and your mind is on 'we got to play on this turf' you’re bound to get hurt especially slowing down. You just got to play fast, play your game and let the rest handle itself.”
If nothing else, the 49ers now know what to expect for their second consecutive week in the same stadium. While the team can’t overthink how they play on the field, it’s almost guaranteed they will be somewhat cautious.
“Playing on new turf is pretty tricky,” Williams said. “I don’t want to say it’s dangerous but, it’s close to it.”