Photo courtesy of the San Francisco 49ers

Photo courtesy of the San Francisco 49ers

Kyle Shanahan praises Kerry Hyder, says D-lineman has saved injury-ravaged 49ers

Nov 19, 2020 at 12:53 PM--

There is no doubt that injuries have played a significant role in the regression of the San Francisco 49ers this season. As Bleacher Report stated in its most recent power rankings, "The Super Bowl hangover has claimed another victim."

The defensive line, a strength last season for the defending NFC champions, is among the groups that have been transformed due to injuries. It is almost unrecognizable from the unit that helped lift the team to 13 wins and the division crown last season.

Gone are DeForest Buckner, who was traded, Nick Bosa and Solomon Thomas, who suffered season-ending ACL injuries during Week 2, and Dee Ford, who has not played since Week 1 due to a back injury.

The 49ers hoped that re-signing last year's sack leader, Arik Armstead, and drafting a potential Buckner replacement in Javon Kinlaw, would be enough to maintain the defensive line's dominance. The two have a combined three sacks this season.

The rookie, Kinlaw, has shown flashes of a potentially promising career, though. Another player who has been a pleasant surprise is veteran Kerry Hyder — a longtime favorite of defensive line coach Kris Kocurek. The two worked together for three seasons in Detroit.

"I can't say enough about Kerry. Kerry's been a stud," head coach Kyle Shanahan said this week on KNBR's Murph & Mac show. "I've heard about him for a few years. Really just got to meet him this year. He was a stud in training camp, and how hard he went, never took a day off, never missed anything with injuries."

Hyder's workload this season ramped up as the defensive line lost key contributors to injuries. He has racked up a team-leading 5.5 sacks through 10 games and eight starts this season.

According to Pro Football Focus, Hyder's run-stop percentage of 10.3 — the percentage of a player's run defense snaps on which he was responsible for a stop — ranks second among edge defenders. Only Demarcus Lawrence of the Dallas Cowboys has a higher percentage at 12.9.

Hyder's 34 quarterback pressures rank No. 11 among edge defenders.

"I thought he was going to be a very good role player for us this year and give us some depth," Shanahan continued, "and by the [third] game of the year, he's starting for us, and he's been having to do it every week.

"Just how hard he went in camp, missing no days, and how quickly he had to kind of carry the load for us throughout the season, I've just been waiting for him to break down, to tell you the truth, because once a number of guys get hurt, it kind of becomes a chain reaction.

"Just what he's done for us week in and week out, the way he's been able to fight through and just grind every week, and still show up for practice, he's saved us big. He's played good football, and I've been pumped to have him here."

You can listen to the entire conversation with Shanahan below.

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