Plus, why the 49ers kicked a touchback on the final kickoff of the game
The 49ers returned to the practice field Wednesday, as did a few fresh faces. The Niners officially announced the signing of cornerback Buster Skrine to a one-year deal. San Francisco also opened the practice windows for CB Davontae Harris and DT Maurice Hurst to return.
Here’s the predicted injury report for Wednesday based on Kyle Shanahan’s media availability:
Did not participate:
TE George Kittle (calf)
CB Josh Norman (lung)
CB K’Wuan Williams (calf)
DL Javon Kinlaw (knee)
OT Trent Williams (rest)
DE Nick Bosa (rest)
OT Alex Mack (rest)
RB Elijah Mitchell (shoulder)
Shanahan said he doesn’t have any worries about Kittle’s availability for Sunday’s game against Seattle. Arik Armstead is no longer on the injury report.
Jalen Hurd’s practice window was not opened yet. Shanahan said Hurd “isn’t there yet.”
Shanahan spoke about Richard Sherman, who signed with Tampa Bay Wednesday morning:
“John (Lynch) has been in touch with him a ton. … We would love to have Richard here, but it makes sense why he went to Tampa.” Shanahan said the fit was better with the Bucs and that he thought Sherman would be available later this year.
Shanahan, on Trey Lance, playing more: “I think a lot of words were put in my mouth for some of that stuff, exaggerated pretty big. Trey’s our backup QB. This isn’t the preseason. We aren’t going back and forth the whole time. There’s not a big decision going into any week. We put in a game plan for the starting QB, and the backup needs to be able to do all that if hurt.”
On there being a potential quarterback battle: “It’s not a QB battle right now. We’re going with our starting quarterback right now.” Shanahan added that he believes Jimmy Garoppolo is playing well.
I promise you; there’s nobody who wants to see Lance play more than me. I’m excited to see the rookie play and develop under Shanahan with the current weapons on the roster. But, with that said, Lance isn’t playing for a reason.
Shanahan doesn’t feel confident in Lance making the correct reads consistently. If he did, Lance would start. There were flashes and glimpses of excellence during the preseason and training camp, but Lance proved that he wasn’t ready to play right away.
Once Lance has proven to Shanahan that he knows where to go with the football and has the playbook down, he’ll play. Until then, the keys will remain in Jimmy Garoppolo’s hands. Despite an interception and critical lost fumble, Jimmy G led the offense down the field to win the game and had them humming during the second half.
Special teams blunder
One talking point that isn’t brought up enough is the 49ers kicking the ball out of the end zone after they scored on their final possession. Special teams coordinator Richard Hightower said they wanted a touchback on the last kickoff out of respect for Packers rookie return man Kylin Hill. He had a 41-yard return in Week 2 vs. Detroit.
When Hightower said that, in my head, it translated to: “We would rather the 7th round rookie not hurt us or run any clock and instead give the ball to the MVP QB that’s been playing lights out with an extra 5-7 seconds.”
What’s the probability that Hill returns another kick 40+ yards? That risk doesn’t outweigh the Packers, who didn’t have any timeouts, running a handful of seconds off the clock.