SANTA CLARA — More than four hours before kickoff between the 49ers and Packers on Sunday night, there were only two sounds heard from the field at Levi’s Stadium: the roar of jet planes taking off from nearby San Jose airport and the distinct sound of Robbie Gould’s foot hitting the pigskin before it sailed 55 yards through the goal posts.
Gould has missed the last three 49ers contests with a quadricep injury sustained prior to Week 9. Because of his particular job, the team has been careful with him, not taking any chances with a setback that could keep him out longer.
Following San Francisco's 37-8 win over the Packers, Gould told NBC Sports Bay Area that after his pregame kicking session he was feeling great and expects to play against the Ravens this Sunday. Players prognostications can not always be taken as gospel, but coach Kyle Shanahan alluded to the same news.
“I think he’s real close,” Shanahan said on Monday. “Like I said last week, if it was probably another position he would have gone. I know Robbie wants to go, but we’re going to be smart with that and we’re going to make sure that he is 100 percent and I think he’s getting very close to there. I know he was close to that last week so we’ll see how he is here on Wednesday.”
The team also hopes to get left tackle Joe Staley (finger) and running back Matt Breida (ankle) back on the field in Baltimore. How they practice this this week will be the determining factor.
Pass rusher Dee Ford, who sustained a hamstring strain against Arizona, also is a possibility to suit up to help the defensive contain Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson. Ford's chances sound a little less promising than Gould’s.
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“I think he’s very similar to the other guys in that group,” Shanahan said. “Robbie, Breida and Staley, I think they’ve all got a chance to go this week, but I still, just me throwing a number out there, it’s still going to be 50-50. Usually when you have a hamstring, that usually takes a couple weeks and I think it will be two weeks on Sunday. He’s definitely got a chance.”
For the first time since Shanahan and general manager John Lynch took over the reins in Santa Clara, the team has enough depth to still be very productive with key players missing from the lineup.