The 49ers emerged from their preseason finale relatively unscathed on the injury front, and not only that, they saw two potential big-time contributors make their exhibition debut.
Starting strong safety Jaquiski Tartt had been sidelined for most of training camp with a nagging turf toe injury that put his status for the regular season opener in serious jeopardy. But he was active for Sunday's 34-10 win over the Las Vegas Raiders, and assuming he's no worse for the wear, the 49ers can safely assume he'll be on the field in Week 1 against the Detroit Lions.
Tartt was credited with five tackles (three solo) against the Raiders. Coach Kyle Shanahan was pleased with what he saw.
"I was real pumped for Tartt to come back this week," Shanahan said in his postgame press conference. "He had two really good days of practice. It was looking like a longshot for him in the beginning, but he started feeling a lot better down in LA with the Chargers. He was telling us how good he was going to look, and he went out there on Wednesday and Thursday, and he wasn't lying. He had a great two days of practice. Didn't want to have to play him as much, but we had to also find out where he was at for this 53.
"We know Tartt, how good of a player he is and how much he can help us, but today was really almost like his third-and-a-half practice if you count a walk-through. So, I was just really pumped he was able to go out there, and I think he played about between 25 and 30 plays, which was the goal, to see if he could get through that. I'll watch the tape and stuff, but I was just real happy that he got through it, because we saw him playing at a high level in practice, too."
One of Tartt's tackles came on a third down in which he stopped a Raiders player just short of the sticks. He appeared to be in some pain as he went to the sideline, but exhibited no physical limitations for the remainder of the contest. Following the win, he reflected on his return to game action.
"It felt good," Tartt told reporters. "I've been real confident ever since I came back. I had the one play where I just hit knees with the other guy, so I started limping a little bit."
"To be honest, this has been the toughest injury I've ever had to overcome," he continued. "Initially I thought I was going to be back for the start of training camp. Had a setback, and the setback was pretty much just trying to get flexibility in my toe, and it was just being tough on me. But the training staff, everybody got together, got a good plan for me, and the plan ... it was a good plan, and now I'm here."
Tartt wasn't the only 49ers player to make his preseason debut against the Raiders. Wide receiver Jalen Hurd did as well, and he was a major focal point of the offense, hauling in a team-high four receptions (on six targets) for 25 yards. He also added two yards on the ground on his lone rush attempt.
Though there definitely were signs of rust, Shanahan put Hurd's performance in context.
"I was glad that he could get out there and get through it," Shanahan said. "He hasn't been able to practice as much, and I think he got about 25 plays today, too. I know some plays he would like to have back. A couple drops there it looked like, but I would consider it a success. It was his first time playing in a couple years in a game. He's had a long road to get back and get to that point. I think it was a big day for him getting through it."
With the preseason now completed, the 49ers must decide on their 53-man roster for the 2021 season. Assuming Tartt and Hurd didn't suffer any further setbacks against the Raiders, it sounds like Shanahan intends for both of them to be on it.