Tagged in: San Francisco 49ers

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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Seattle Seahawks at San Francisco 49ers

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The San Francisco 49ers face the Seattle Seahawks in Week 7 of the regular season. The game takes place on Thursday, October 22 at 5:25 p.m. PT at Levi’s® Stadium.

Both teams enter the contest with 2-4 records. So this game isn’t just another chapter of this heated rivalry but also, perhaps, a last chance for either team to save its playoff chances in 2015.

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The Seahawks were pegged by many to make a triumphant return to the Super Bowl again this season after their heartbreaking loss last year but with the way things are going at the moment things are bleak and they could very well find themselves with a sub .500 record when it’s all said and done. The Hawks haven’t been able to utilize Jimmy Graham in the way he was used in New Orleans and Marshawn Lynch has had to battle injury woes and as such they are just 2-4 on the year and are three games behind the Arizona Cardinals. Russell Wilson needs to get this group together and put their frustrations aside or things might get even uglier as Kam Chancellor and Richard Sherman were at each others throats last week and that could be the beginning of the end of the Legion of Doom.
The Niners meanwhile sport an identical 2-4 mark and head into Thursday night’s game as a four point underdog. San Fran hasn’t been able to get things going under Jim Tomsula and while they have some play makers on the offensive side of the ball we haven’t seen a breakout from them yet. Carlos Hyde has been the line bright spot for the Niners this season as he will continue to be one of the game’s better runners moving forward but with San Fran playing from behind a lot his yards haven’t been as impacting and as such San Fran is well back of Arizona and are a long shot to even finish with eight wins this season.

LAST MEETING

The 49ers officially were eliminated from playoff contention when they fell 17-7 at Seattle on Dec. 14. It also marked the final straw for coach Jim Harbaugh, who later said he learned after this game that his tenure officially would end after two more games. That fate seemed sealed 17 days earlier, anyhow, when the 49ers lost 19-3 at home on Thanksgiving, a defeat that prompted CEO Jed York to apologize on Twitter to fans.

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Minnesota Vikings at San Francisco 49ers

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Date: Sept. 14, 2015

Time: 10:20 p.m. EDT

Location: Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara, Calif.

Minnesota Vikings kicking off their 2015 NFL season at Levi’s Stadium against the San Francisco 49ers.

The game will mark the official beginning of the Jim Tomsula regime in San Francisco, as the first-year head coach will try to guide quarterback Colin Kaepernick and the rest of his squad to victory in the primetime matchup.

It’s happening a year late, but the Minnesota Vikings will finally see their all-league running back and young quarterback side by side in a game in Monday night’s opener against the San Francisco 49ers.

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Peterson and Bridgewater are at opposite ends of their careers but figure to overlap the middle portion enough to make Minnesota relevant in the NFC North.

Last year, the team finished 7-9 and are looking to turn things around for football to be exciting again in Minnesota.

On the other hand, the 49ers have also had their share of problems during the summer.

There have been a lot of changes in the team, headlined by a change in the head coaching department as Jim Harbaugh has moved on and Jim Tomsula has come to take his place.

Quarterback Colin Kaepernick returns for his fifth season in San Francisco, but he will be protected by an almost entirely different offensive line and distributing the football to a handful of new skill-position players.

Longtime San Francisco running back Frank Gore will be receiving his carries from Indianapolis Colts signal-caller Andrew Luck this season, and the 49ers’ 2009 first-round draft pick Michael Crabtree is across the Bay Bridge hauling in passes from Oakland Raiders second-year quarterback Derek Carr.

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