Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

49ers GM John Lynch explains how abnormal offseason likely contributed to increased injuries

Oct 29, 2020 at 11:41 AM--

There is no doubt there has been an increase in injuries this season. That isn't just limited to the San Francisco 49ers. You can look around at injury reports around the league and notice the increased numbers — and it's only Week 8.

While injuries have devastated the 49ers' depth, the team is riding a two-game win streak headed into an NFC West clash with the 5-1 Seattle Seahawks, who have dealt with injuries of their own.

49ers general manager John Lynch joined 710 ESPN Seattle on Thursday and explained that it always seems like injuries are up each season. However, in the past, when he and his staff would look back at previous seasons, the numbers were always comparable.

That isn't necessarily the case this season.

"This year is different," Lynch told John Clayton, "and I think it all goes to the fact that we just didn't have that offseason. We didn't have that ability to callus the players in a football mode. I think our players did a tremendous job of working really hard, but it's different. It's different than being with your team, practicing football.

"I was just talking with Bob Lange, our [VP of Communications], before we got on, and you go back to our training camp — everybody is used to going to camp with 90 (players). We went with 70. And then you have your [physically-unable-to-perform] list. We went to camp with 62 guys, and then you're trying to callus your players in a hurry, and you're behind the eight ball from the beginning."

Training camp was the first time since last season that NFL players got to practice together in an official capacity. The offseason is typically filled with meeting work, minicamps, organized team activities, and other in-person team- and chemistry-building activities. This year, everything had to be conducted virtually over Zoom, and players were on their own when it came to training. Sure they had virtual resources, but nothing in-person.

"Everyone, I think, has been doing their best," Lynch continued. "I guess the one consolation is everybody's in the same situation. But as you know ... it's a lot of hard work. But people in this business are creatures of habit, and this year's been totally different. You've had to reimagine everything that you do. So, that's provided some challenges.

"But we're still playing football, and I feel incredibly thankful and blessed that we can do that, make a living doing what we love, and in the process, entertain some folks who needed it because the world had been shut down for a long time. I know that a lot of the fans have welcomed football back."

Despite the slew of injuries that have impacted the roster, the 49ers sit at 4-3 and could increase their playoff hopes this weekend with a win against the Seahawks. The two teams clash on Sunday at CenturyLink Field.

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