With the deadline approaching for NFL teams to reach their regular-season roster limits, the 49ers are spending less time evaluating and more time preparing this week.
“The main thing is we're getting our guys ready for next week,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said. “We’ve got to finish up a few more practices and things, and there's still a lot of injuries where you don't know who's going to be available for Week 1.”
The 49ers open the regular season on Sunday, Sept. 13, against the Arizona Cardinals at Levi’s Stadium.
The 49ers expect left tackle Trent Williams and tight end George Kittle back on the practice field on Wednesday. Some of their other front-line players, such as Nick Bosa, Dee Ford and Brandon Aiyuk, might require a little more time.
The health of the 49ers is likely to impact some of the decisions the club must make in the coming days. Teams around the NFL must trim their rosters from the 80-player limit to a maximum of 53 players by Saturday, 1 p.m.
Part of the challenge for the 49ers is to remain flexible to stack their 16-player practice squad with a large number of individuals who have the ability to step in and contribute this season.
“The roster is always fluid and that's why I always talk about the final 53,” Shanahan said. “Everyone makes such a big deal about that day, everyone in the league, everyone outside of it, it sounds like a big deal.
“Saturday is the final 53, but never in the history of football is the final 53 been on Saturday. The final 53 is fluid every single day.”
As the 49ers begin to look at practices for the specific purpose of preparing to face the Cardinals in the opener, the club is also considering the decision that must be made for their home games.
The 49ers on Wednesday will practice for the third time inside Levi’s Stadium. The NFL has delivered some guidelines for allowable crowd noise and music inside stadiums during games this season.
No fans will be permitted inside Levi’s Stadium for at least the first game this season, so Shanahan and the 49ers plan to continue to experiment with what kind of artificial environment they feel benefits them the most for home games.
The 49ers experimented during a practice last week with no crowd noise or music inside the stadium.
"We’ve got that experience down and it is what it is," Shanahan said. "I don't think there's a big advantage or disadvantage to it. Everyone's in the same boat with that."