Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

49ers coach Kyle Shanahan gives injury updates, reveals plans for starters and QBs vs Raiders

Aug 27, 2021 at 2:50 PM--

Time will tell who plays and who doesn't for the 49ers during their preseason finale against the Las Vegas Raiders (Sunday, 1 p.m. PT), but there's a much clearer picture of what to expect after 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan's post-practice media session on Friday.

Shanahan provided some detail about which players will see the field on Sunday (and for how long), as well as which ones will likely sit out in order to rest up for the regular season opener next week. With Sunday's game being used as the "dress rehearsal" for the season opener, expect most of the starters to see some amount of playing time.

"Ideally just as a whole for starters I'd like to get close to the first half," Shanahan said. "I always say the whole half, but I thought we had a real good week of practice. So hopefully we've seen enough and I can take them out sometime in the second quarter. There's probably a few guys here and there that I might do earlier than that."

Jimmy Garoppolo will be getting the start at quarterback for the third straight preseason game and may see more reps than he saw over the first two contests. Rookie Trey Lance will see his share of reps at quarterback as well, with Shanahan making it a point to get him some time with the first-teamers, as he did in last week's game against the Chargers.

"I plan on putting Jimmy out there with the starters and going, and I plan on mixing Trey in there kind of like how I wanted to last week," Shanahan said. "We'll see how it plays out, but I definitely want to get Trey some looks with the ones in there."

Shanahan told reporters after the 15-10 win over the Chargers that he originally intended to put Lance in the game after one series in order to get him some time with the starters and then wanted to put Garoppolo back in the game to get him some time with the backups. But he abandoned those plans after the opening drive lasted 15 plays and decided instead to remove Garoppolo for the remainder of the game for good. Shanahan said Friday that he likely won't flip-flop the quarterbacks this week and that Garoppolo's afternoon will probably be over once Lance is in the game.

"I wanted to play Trey with the starters and I didn't want to leave the starters in so long to do that," Shanahan said. "So I wanted to make sure he got a number (of plays) in. If I left Jimmy in for 20 plays, which I thought was going to be a couple drives, I thought that'd be too long than to have him stay 20 plays for Trey. So once he had them on the first drive I thought we were good. But that was just that game. I'll see (about) this game but I'll hopefully get Trey in some there. Once Jimmy's out, he'll probably be done."

There will also be a handful of notable players who won't play on Sunday due to injury, although none of their injuries are considered serious. Among those are linebacker Dre Greenlaw (hip), cornerback Jason Verrett (foot), and wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk (hamstring). All three players are expected to be back on the practice field next week.

Also not playing Sunday will be defensive end Dee Ford, who hasn't seen any game action in the preseason while he works his way back from back issues that prematurely ended his 2020 season. There seems to be a slight chance that defensive end Nick Bosa will see his first playing time since suffering a season-ending torn ACL last year, but odds are he won't be back until the start of the regular season.

"Dee won't play," Shanahan said. "I'm going to talk to Nick today or tomorrow, probably at the hotel. Odds are he probably won't, but I haven't decided for sure yet."

Two players who are expected to play after dealing with injuries are offensive lineman Jaylon Moore and wide receiver Jauan Jennings. Moore has been battling stinger problems but will likely play against the Raiders.

"We left him out of practice the last couple days but he was good to go today even though we walked through. He should play Sunday," Shanahan said.

Jennings has been dealing with a heel injury that kept him out of last week's game against the Chargers but seems to be ready to go this week.

"He was out here today, so that was good even though it was walkthrough. I know he was feeling too hurt for him to go yesterday but I think things are looking good for him to play Sunday," Shanahan said.

Sunday's game will be the last chance Shanahan and the 49ers coaches get to see their players in action before deciding who stays on the team past the league deadline to cut rosters to 53 players. In years past, teams had one more preseason game to take a look at their players before making that decision, but the NFL did away with the game this year after expanding the regular season to 17 games. Shanahan won't get the chance to give as many reps to some of the players fighting for roster spots as he would have in years past, but he'll also be able to use practice as a guide when making final roster cuts.

"It's a big challenge, but that's also why practices to me tell us a lot more than some of these games," Shanahan said. "Games tell a ton too, but you get the basis of all your decisions at practice and you kind of want to confirm it in the game. So there's some situations you need, but it's not like you need that for all 90 guys or 80 or whatever we have left."

And even though he won't have a fourth game to judge those players, Shanahan would much rather have things the way they are now.

"I was probably as happy as anybody as the planet when they canceled the fourth game because it's not one I ever enjoyed at all," Shanahan said. "But now that we don't have it, yeah, there's a couple things. You'd like to see a couple guys that maybe you weren't thinking about on the practice squad but they get to play for four quarters and they show something in four quarters that (make you say) 'You know what, let's keep that guy.' And you maybe change one or two decisions. So, a little of that I'll miss, but I'm not trading it in to have to go through that game because even though you want to play guys in that fourth game that weren't going to be on your team, there's still a lot of guys playing in that game that have to play, and I've lost too many guys in that game just trying to get through it."

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