Kyle Shanahan explains how 49ers' offense differs minus Kyle Juszczyk

Kyle Shanahan explains how 49ers' offense differs minus Kyle Juszczyk

The 49ers head into Sunday's NFC West showdown against the Rams with a 4-0 record, and they're doing it without a few of their key players.

Fullback Kyle Juszczyk's knee injury has him out for four to six weeks, right tackle Mike McGlinchey is sidelined with a knee injury of his own, and left tackle Joe Staley is expected to miss multiple games with a broken fibula. While losing all three players hurts the 49ers, going with Juszczyk might sting the most.

"Losing Juice, that's a different deal," coach Kyle Shanahan told Greg Papa on "49ers Game Plan," which is scheduled to air at 8 p.m. Saturday on NBC Bay Area. "Juice allows us to do a bunch of stuff -- the pressure we put on him."

Shanahan highlighted both Juszczyk's physical and mental game as what sets him apart from others, but the 49ers are figuring out a way to make use with what they got by using the tight ends at fullback.

"We move them there -- that's what most teams do," Shanahan explained. "We always have to have a plan in games if we do lose Juice, and we're not going to be able to do everything we do with Juice. You can't really replace him, but the offense is going to be drastically different."

[RELATED: Kittle deemed questionable for 49ers-Rams]

49ers insider Matt Maiocco detailed the uniqueness of Juszczyk's skills and how detrimental it could be for the team to lose him. It's not an insurmountable challenge to overcome, but the 49ers certainly will miss Juice.

49ers' Dee Ford injures hamstring, leaves Week 11 game vs. Cardinals


49ers' Dee Ford injures hamstring, leaves Week 11 game vs. Cardinals

The hits keep on coming for the injury-riddled 49ers. 

Edge rusher Dee Ford left Sunday's game against the Arizona Cardinals at Levi's Stadium after injuring his hamstring. 

Ford has played in every game this season, but he has been limited by nagging knee and quadriceps injuries. The San Francisco Chronicle's Eric Branch wrote last week that Ford has played in just 38 percent of the 49ers' defensive snaps this season, and Ford has not played in more than 50 percent of San Francisco's defensive snaps in a single game since Week 1.

[RELATED: Scouts reportedly not blown away by Kap's 'average' workout]

Still, Ford has been effective. Including Sunday's sack on No. 1 draft pick Kyler Murray, Ford has 6.5 sacks this season and given the 49ers' formidable pass rush another option for opposing offensive lines to worry about. 

The 49ers began Week 11 down three key offensive contributors (tight end George Kittle, left tackle Joe Staley and running back Matt Breida) and their kicker (Robbie Gould). They can now add Ford to their growing list of injured players.

NFL rumors: Evaluators not blown away by Colin Kaepernick’s “average” workout

NFL rumors: Evaluators not blown away by Colin Kaepernick’s “average” workout

Colin Kaepernick showed off his arm strength in a highly publicized workout at a high school outside of Atlanta on Saturday, but the former 49ers quarterback reportedly didn't "blow away" any talent evaluators. 

Kaepernick showed he was "[good] enough to be on a roster, likely backup level" in the eyes of a "consensus scouting report" NFL Media's Ian Rapoport gathered, citing sources, but his colleague Mike Garafolo reported Sunday that there didn't seem to be much interest in Kaepernick. 

"He had to blow some teams away," Garafolo said Sunday on "NFL GameDay." "He didn't do that." 

Kaepernick's "velocity was real good" but his "[accuracy] and touch" were average, according to the scouting report Rapaport cited. 

Left unsaid in Garafalo and Rapaport's reporting is why Kaepernick needed to "blow some teams away," and it has little to do with his on-field ability.

Kaepernick kneeled during the playing of the national anthem before games in the 2016 season, doing so to protest racial inequality and police brutality against African Americans. The 32-year-old consulted with former Green Beret Nate Boyer in deciding to kneel, but some, including President Donald Trump, criticized Kaepernick for what they perceived to be disrespect of the American flag. 

The 49ers, under new leadership after coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch took over the organization, told Kaepernick he would be released if he didn't opt out of his contract. Kaepernick opted out but has been unsigned ever since, and he ultimately settled a collusion lawsuit against the NFL in February. 

[RELATED: 49ers' Breida, Kittle ruled out vs. Cardinals]

In a brief statement to reporters after Saturday's workout, Kaepernick insisted he still wants to play football. 

"I've been ready for three years, and I've been denied for three years," Kaepernick said Saturday. "We all know why I came out here and showed it today in front of everybody -- we have nothing to hide. So we're waiting for the 32 owners, the 32 teams, [NFL commissioner] Roger Goodell, all of them to stop running. Stop running from the truth, stop running from the people."

If Garafolo's reporting is any indication, Kaepernick might not get that chance soon.