49ers

Matt Breida should be his healthiest in weeks for 49ers-Giants game

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MATT MAIOCCO

Matt Breida should be his healthiest in weeks for 49ers-Giants game

SANTA CLARA -- Running back Matt Breida has been listed as questionable for five of the 49ers’ last six games.

He has not missed a game.

In fact, after giving the subject some thought, Breida disclosed he has not missed a game since his freshman year of high school, when he sat out with a broken forearm.

“You just play through it,” Breida said. “You’re never really going to be healthy. I think there are a lot of guys, it depends on whether or not they’re willing to play or they want to play or if they can play.”

Breida has started every game since Week 2 of this season despite dealing with knee, shoulder and ankle issues. When the season opened, he was expected to share the load with veteran Alfred Morris. But Breida has taken over as the team's primary back.

Breida leads the 49ers with 531 yards and two touchdowns on 96 rushing attempts. He ranks ninth in the NFL, and nobody with more rushing yards can top his 5.5-yard average.

While coach Kyle Shanahan gave the team four days off after the 49ers’ 34-3 victory over the Raiders last Thursday, there were no days off for Breida, who received regular treatment on his ailing body parts.

“It definitely helped me out a lot,” Breida said. “I’m starting to get back on the right track.”

Breida should be the healthiest he has been since Week 3 -- when he sustained a knee sprain in Kansas City -- on Monday when the 49ers face the New York Giants at Levi’s Stadium. Then, he will get additional time to recover during the bye week before he returns to his home area with a Nov. 25 game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

In Week 4, Breida’s shoulder popped out against the Los Angeles Chargers. One week later against the Arizona Cardinals, he sustained an ankle sprain. He compared the injuries this season to what he experienced as a sophomore at Georgia Southern, when he played through shoulder and ankle issues.

Earlier this season, Shanahan suggested the 49ers might give Breida a week off to rest his body. But Breida has been such an important part of the offense, and he insisted on playing. This is the first week in a while that there is no question Breida will be available.

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Ohio State captain tells Cardinals he would take Nick Bosa with No. 1 pick

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USATSI

Ohio State captain tells Cardinals he would take Nick Bosa with No. 1 pick

MOBILE, Ala. -- During a meeting with the Arizona Cardinals this week at the Senior Bowl, Ohio State receiver Terry McLaurin was asked to play the role of NFL general manager.

The Cardinals have the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL draft. McLaurin, a two-time Ohio State captain, said the Cardinals asked for his insight about defensive end Nick Bosa, a former teammate.

“And they asked, ‘Would you take Nick Bosa?' And I said, ‘Yes, for the No. 1 overall pick.’”

The 49ers own the No. 2 overall pick. If Bosa gets past the Cardinals, the 49ers would be a strong candidate to select Bosa to upgrade their biggest need of an edge rusher.

[RELATED: 49ers' staff wishes Josh Allen was at the Senior Bowl]

Bosa sustained a core muscle injury on Sept. 15 and underwent surgery two weeks later that was expected to involve a 12-week rehabilitation. On Oct. 17, Ohio State announced Bosa had withdrawn from school to concentrate on his rehabilitation for the draft.

“To be honest, I understood,” McLaurin said Wednesday at the Senior Bowl. “He has a life-changing opportunity. And while we missed him and we wish we could’ve had him, we understood. People couldn’t appreciate how serious his injury was.

“Even if he would’ve been able to come back, it may not have been until the Big Ten championship game. And he wouldn’t have been 100-percent healthy. So for him to put himself in that situation, not healthy, a 50-percent Nick Bosa is not good enough. We need 100 percent. We understood. We didn’t take any offense to it. But we did miss him.”

Bosa recorded four sacks in the three games in which he appeared this season as a junior. During his sophomore year at Ohio State, Bosa registered 8.5 sacks to enter the season as the favorite to be chosen with the No. 1 overall pick. His injury is not expected to have much impact on his draft status.

McLaurin, who spoke at length with Bosa when Ohio State traveled to Southern California for the Rose Bowl, described him as a “great teammate.”

“He’s always pushing the younger guys,” McLaurin said of Bosa. “He’s a very high competitor. Sometimes our coaches have to pull him back because of how hard he goes. He’s probably one of the best players I’ve ever played with.”

49ers hopeful Kris Kocurek can unleash Solomon Thomas in crucial third year

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USATSI

49ers hopeful Kris Kocurek can unleash Solomon Thomas in crucial third year

MOBILE, Ala. -- 49ers defesive coordinator Robert Saleh knows a big question for San Francisco's defense heading into 2019 is how they plan to use defensive lineman Solomon Thomas. Saleh explained new coach Kris Kocurek is going to have a lot of influence in that decision. 

“Kris Kocurek is studying him,” Saleh said, “and we’re going to sit down. I want his thoughts unbiased so I’m not going to put anything out there right now. He knows what we did last year. He knows where our thoughts are initially. We’re going to have him study it.” 

Kocurek was a coach that became available with the staff changes in Miami. Both coach Kyle Shanahan and Saleh said that it wasn’t anything against former defensive line coach Jeff Zgonina, as there was no plan to make a change. It was simply an opportunity they needed to take advantage of

“We all want to see what he says and how he views him,” Saleh said. “From there as an organization, we’ll do what’s best for the organization and put Solly in the best position to be successful.”

Thomas will be entering his third season, which Saleh says is a very important one for players. It’s a chance for them to be able to show that they can decipher what an offense is going to do, fast enough to be able to make plays. 

“You know the standard,” Saleh said. ‘You know the defense. You know what’s being asked of you. Can you recognize offenses fast enough now to be able to trigger and do things at a higher level? Usually a third year is a great year for players to play.

“I’ve been out here, I’ve seen the split, I’ve seen this release before. How quickly can you recognize it so now you can go make plays? It’s going to be a big year in terms of offensive identification for these guys to really showcase how good they’ve gotten.” 

Thomas has been steadily making progress after missing much of the offseason his rookie year, which stunted his growth. He played in all 16 games in 2018, registering 31 total tackles (24 solo), three for a loss. 

While Thomas only recorded one sack, he was a consistent disruption in the middle of the line. This was particularly notable in the 49ers' win over the Seahawks in Week 13 when he drew two holding calls late in the game that helped secure the victory. 

There has been a lot of pressure on Thomas to be a game-changing player after being selected as the third overall pick in 2017. The defensive coaching staff has struggled to figure out where he can be the most productive. They had originally played him on the outside, even though he was very productive on the inside at Stanford. 

The 49ers are hopeful Kocurek’s fresh set of eyes will help put Thomas in a better position to heighten his productivity and improve the team's struggling pass rush.