Tagged in: 49ers

49ers QB Nick Mullens at QB for injured Jimmy Garoppolo

San Francisco 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan confirmed Friday what he’s hinted at all week: Nick Mullens will start at quarterback in substitution of the injured Jimmy Garoppolo on Sunday versus the New York Giants.

Shanahan stated Wednesday that Mullens would “most likely” start in place of Garoppolo, who is dealing with a high right ankle sprain, but he made it official Friday on KNBR radio in San Francisco. Shanahan told “The Murph and Mac Show” that Mullens will start for Garoppolo and that Garoppolo will not be active for the game, leaving C.J. Beathard as Mullens’ backup.

Mullens will be making his first start since Dec. 30, 2018, which was the final appearance in an eight-game stretch for him as the starter after Garoppolo tore his left ACL in Week 3 of that campaign. He threw for 2,277 yards with 13 touchdowns and 10 interceptions and had a passer rating of 90.8 as the Niners went 3-5 in his starts.

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Early in the week, the Niners had expressed some positivity that Garoppolo could play, but it became apparent by Wednesday that it was unlikely. Garoppolo suffered the ankle injury in the first quarter of last week’s win versus the New York Jets and played through it before being removed from the game at halftime.

Mullens ended the game, going 8-of-11 for 71 yards with an interception as the 49ers rolled to a 31-13 win.

During training at The Greenbrier Resort in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, this week, Mullens has taken on the role of starter in practice, with Beathard as the backup.

Garoppolo did not practice Wednesday or Thursday and is not expected to on Friday.

“He’s locked in,” tight end George Kittle stated Thursday about Mullens. “He’s got the game plan down, he’s got a rocket for an arm, he’s slinging it, he’s confident. And I know he’s just excited to get the opportunity to play. If he gets to play, I know he’s going to take advantage of that situation because that dude loves football.

He’s going to give it his all, so we’re definitely in good hands if Jimmy can’t go.” “I’m very confident in Jet,” Shanahan said Wednesday. “He’s done a great job in all the reps that he’s gotten in these two weeks.

Every time he’s gotten opportunities, he came through for us. Obviously, with those two guys being out, he should get more opportunities this week and he deserves it. I know he’s excited for it and we’re excited to see him.”

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Banged-up 49ers place CB Richard Sherman on IR

The San Francisco 49ers placed star cornerback Richard Sherman on the injured reserve list Wednesday and also could be without All-Pro tight end George Kittle this week.

Sherman strained his calf late in Sunday’s 24-20 loss to Arizona and was placed on IR when the injury didn’t get better right way. He will have to miss at least three games before he can come back but the Niners are hopeful it won’t be a longer-term injury.

Kittle sprained his knee in the same game and won’t take part in a full practice this week. Coach Kyle Shanahan said there’s a chance Kittle could participate in the lighter Friday practice before the team leaves to play the New York Jets on Sunday.

San Francisco played the season opener without two of its top receivers in Deebo Samuel (foot) and Brandon Aiyuk (hamstring), as well as its top two centers in Weston Richburg (knee) and Ben Garland (ankle).

Backup cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon is in concussion protocol as well after getting hurt on the final drive last week and Jason Verrett remains sidelined by a hamstring injury.

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“We’ve dealt with this before,” quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo said. “I think every team, you’ve got to deal with your injuries. … I think it’s really just about getting the guys out there you feel confident in who you know what they’re going to do and will do it on Sunday.”

Sherman has been one of the league’s top cover cornerbacks for the past decade. He was a second-team All-Pro last campaign when he locked down the defensive left side of the league’s top pass defense.

The 49ers start the week with Emmanuel Moseley and Dontae Johnson as the only two healthy outside cornerbacks. Johnson was promoted from the practice squad Wednesday.

“I know guys are ready to step up,” linebacker Fred Warner said. “It’s always next man up in this league. I think guys are ready and if we put the right week of practice in like we know we should, we should be firing on all cylinders this week.”

San Francisco also could be without backup receiver and returner Richie James Jr., who injured his hamstring in the game.

The Niners agreed to a deal with receiver Mohamed Sanu on Tuesday for more depth at that spot. Sanu must go through the COVID-19 protocol before he will be able to start practice Friday but is taking part in virtual meetings.

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49ers reward coach Kyle Shanahan with new 6 year deal

San Francisco is compensating head coach Kyle Shanahan with a new six-year contract that replaces the three years he had remaining on his deal and ties him to the 49ers through the 2025 season, league sources told ESPN.

The contract makes Shanahan one of the NFL’s five highest-paid head coaches. But what made this deal unique is that it was hardly a protracted negotiation between 49ers owner Jed York and Shanahan; the two men sat down and quickly figured out what each meant to the other, committing to their second six-year contract in just over three years.

Shanahan signed his first six-year contract with the 49ers in February 2017. This new six-year deal, completed recently, replaces that one. Shanahan has helped remake the franchise, leading it to an NFC championship last season. He is regarded as one of the best playcallers in the league and one of the top offensive minds in the game.

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Offensively, San Francisco averaged 29.9 points a game under Shanahan in 2019, which ranked second in the NFL.

On the defensive side of the ball, they were second in the league in points allowed at just 19.4 points per match.

Shanahan also has helped form one of the most progressive and diverse coaching staffs in the league. Of the 49ers’ 23 assistant coaches, 11 are coaches of color or women. Among them are assistant head coach Jon Embree, who is black, and defensive coordinator Robert Saleh, believed to be the league’s first Arab American coordinator when San Francisco signed him in 2017.

Shanahan spoke openly and passionately about race earlier this month, saying it is embarrassing for the NFL to have only three black head coaches and two black general managers. Shanahan, 40, is a former offensive coordinator for the Cleveland Browns and Atlanta Falcons.

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49ers RB Tevin Coleman has dislocated right shoulder

Head coach Kyle Shanahan exposed Monday at his press conference that running back Tevin Coleman suffered a dislocated right shoulder in the 49ers’ NFC Championship victory over the Packers.

Coleman sustained the injury around the nine-minute mark of the second quarter after falling awkwardly on his arm. He was carted off the field and did not return to the match. Despite the injury, Shanahan said that he “expects him to have a good chance to play” in the Super Bowl.

The 49ers didn’t miss Coleman versus the Packers, with Raheem Mostert rushing for 220 yards, the second-most in NFL playoff history, and four touchdowns. Imaging from Coleman’s MRI is still to be determined, but as of right now it doesn’t appear that Coleman will miss the Super Bowl.

A shoulder dislocation is not generally known as a long-term injury, so it’s really about the pain tolerance of Coleman.

It’s doubtful the former back for the Atlanta Falcons will rule himself out now that he has returned to the Super Bowl along with Shanahan after four years. 

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Along with Coleman’s injury, safety Jaquiski Tartt “irritated the same area” where he sustained a fractured rib injury. There isn’t much concern regarding his availability in the Super Bowl, but it is something to keep a close eye on. Tartt’s injury will also be about pain management. 

Rookie linebacker Dre Greenlaw came up gimpy late in the game and revealed in the locker room that he suffered an ankle sprain. Shanahan confirmed the injury and that it is being ruled as a “mild ankle sprain.” Just like with Tartt, there should be no issues with his availability. 

The three injured players have two weeks to get their bodies right and figure out how to manage the pain. Things could change with Coleman once the MRI results come in, but it is going to take something serious to prevent these guys from playing in the Super Bowl versus the Chiefs.

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49ers improve 11-2 with road win over Saints

The Saints scored a go-ahead touchdown with 53 seconds remaining, the fourth lead change of the day, and had the 49ers on the ropes with a fourth-and-two with 39 seconds remaining.

But New Orleans missed on two two-point conversions, including one after their final touchdown, and the 49ers kicked the game-winning field goal on the final play.

Jimmy Garoppolo hit George Kittle on for a 39-yard gain on that fourth-and-two play, with C.J. Gardner-Johnson missing a tackle that would have ended the game. Marcus Williams added a facemask penalty at the end of the play. It set up San Francisco in field goal range.

Robbie Gould kicked a 30-yarder as time expired to give the 49ers a 48-46 victory in the game of the season in the NFL.

The teams combined for 94 points and 981 yards. The Saints punted once, threw an incompletion on a fake punt that they thought they should have gotten defensive holding and Alvin Kamara lost a fumble. The 49ers punted three times and Garoppolo threw an interception.

The 49ers, who lost a 20-17 heartbreaker to the Ravens on the final play last week, moved to 11-2. The Saints fell to 10-3.

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Tre’Quan Smith scored on an 18-yard pass from Drew Brees with 53 seconds left in what looked like it was going to be the game-winner, but Garoppolo and Gould had the last say.

Garoppolo finished 26-of-35 for 349 yards with four touchdowns and the interception. Brees went 29-of-40 for 349 yards and five touchdowns.

The 49ers picked up a key victory, in terms of their quest to win the NFC West and, potentially, gain home-field advantage in the playoffs.

The Seattle Seahawks entered the day with a 10-2 record but currently are listed atop the NFC West standings because of their head-to-head victory over the 49ers on Nov. 11.

The 49ers can clinch a playoff spot Sunday night with a Los Angeles Rams loss or tie against Seattle. They can take over the top spot in the NFC West — and best record in the NFC — with a Rams victory.

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49ers FB Kyle Juszczyk out 4-6 weeks with knee injury

San Francisco 49ers fullback Kyle Juszczyk experienced a sprained MCL in Monday’s 31-3 win over the Cleveland Browns, the team announced Tuesday.

The Niners expect Juszczyk to be out for four to six weeks.

The three-time Pro Bowler caught two passes for 20 yards against the Browns. He also contributed to Matt Breida’s 83-yard touchdown run in the first quarter. His block on Browns defensive end Olivier Vernon helped open a lane for Breida to reach the second level and speed down the sideline.

San Francisco (4-0) is the only undefeated team in the NFC.

Maintaining that mark will be difficult because injuries are beginning to pile up for the second year in a row.

Juszczyk is an unsung hero for the offense. According to Pro Football Focus’ Austin Gayle, he was the highest-graded fullback (69.3) on the site in 2018: “No fullback played more than [Juszczyk], as he out-snapped all NFL fullbacks by 264-plus offensive snaps in the regular season. His pass-blocking (73.9) and run-blocking (73.8) grades were both impressive, especially considering his snap volume. To play at the level he played at a dying position in the NFL is quite the feat.”

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Juszczyk is the only natural fullback on the 49ers roster, and the scarcity of available options at the position will make it challenging to replace him.

Rather than use another fullback to occupy Juszczyk’s role, head coach Kyle Shanahan will likely have to play an extra running back or wide receiver to compensate.

How Shanahan chooses to combat this injury will be interesting. One probability is to keep fourth-string running back Jeff Wilson active, letting him serve as a lead blocker. How much he’s done in this kind of role, however, is up in the air.

Additionally, Niners tight end Daniel Helm is an option, as he currently sits on the practice squad and saw some fullback reps during the preseason. Third-string tight end Levine Toilolo could also fill the void.

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49ers start season 4-0 for first time in 29 years

Matt Breida ran 83 yards for a touchdown on San Francisco’s first play from scrimmage, Baker Mayfield was pressured into his worst game as a pro, and the 49ers stayed undefeated for their best start in nearly 30 years, beating the Cleveland Browns 31-3 on Monday night.

Tevin Coleman added a 19-yard score as part of a dominant ground game on a day when quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo passed for 181 yards and kicker Robbie Gould missed a pair of field goal shots and had a third try blocked.

San Francisco (4-0) joined the 5-0 New England Patriots as the only remaining undefeated teams in the NFL. It’s the first time the 49ers have won their first four games since 1990.

The Browns (2-3) are headed the opposite direction after losing two of three, with fresh worries about their young quarterback. Mayfield had a awful game. The No. 1 overall pick last year, Mayfiaeld completed 8 of 22 passes for a career-low 100 yards, had a 13.4 passer rating, threw two interceptions, fumbled twice and was sacked four times before being pulled in the fourth quarter.

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It’s the first time in Mayfield’s 18 career starts that he failed to throw a touchdown pass.

Things were rough all around for Mayfield.

San Francisco defensive end Nick Bosa poked fun at the Browns quarterback after forcing Mayfield into a hurried incompletion in the second quarter. Bosa, the second overall draft pick, got up and pretended to wave a flag and plant it in the turf as the crowd roared. It was a clear shot at Mayfield, who planted an Oklahoma flag in the turf after leading the Sooners to win over Bosa and Ohio State in 2017.

The 49ers were coming off a bye and had two weeks to prepare, while the Browns flew cross country. The win allows the 49ers to retain sole possession of first place in the NFC West, ahead of Seattle (4-1) and the reigning NFC champions, the Rams (3-2). It sets up an epic early-season contest against Sean McVay’s team in Los Angeles on Sunday.

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