Over the first two games, the 49ers seemed snake-bitten as crazy bounces were not going their way. They righted that ship and are certainly showing signs of progress. One area though where things have worked in their favor are opposing team injuries. The Seahawks were absolutely decimated, which was one of the reasons the 49ers pulled out the road win. Last week again Detroit, the Lions were missing offensive and defensive linemen and the 49ers were able to pounce.
The string of opposing team misfortune continues against the New Orleans Saints this week. The timing on this comes as the Saints announced Jeremy Shockey would miss 3-6 weeks with a sports hernia. That follows Marques Colston's continued absence after thumb surgery. David Patten was sitting as their #1 receiver, but he left this past Sunday's game with a strained groin. Also Sunday, the Saints lost left tackle Jammal Brown to a groin injury with no word on whether he'll play this coming weekend.
As you can see, the Saints are joining the list of teams suffering serious injury issues. The 49ers are fortunate in that all their injured players this past Sunday are not expected to miss the Week 4 battle at New Orleans. There is still no word on Shawntae Spencer, but it's appearing more and more likely that he's headed to the IR with a knee injury. While not a devastating blow, it certainly doesn't help matters.
So, what do all the Saints injuries mean for Week 4? Well, I'd imagine we'll see a nice fat serving of Reggie Bush. In two career games versus San Francisco, Reggie Bush has accumulated 281 total yards and 4 touchdowns. Not too shabby and plenty of reason to keep him extra active on Sunday.
If Patten is also out that would leave Devery Henderson, Robert Meachem and Lance Moore as the starting trio of receivers. Probably more formidable than Seattle's group the other week, but a group that can be contained. So, do the 49ers run the nickel/dime package all game long? Would it be wise to give up the rushing yards to Bush but prevent the receiving yards? He always seems like more of a threat in the passing game, so an option could be to have a DB shadow him the entire game. A guy like Dashon Goldson would be able to keep up with him, but I could certainly see Bush shaking him off as Goldson over-pursues. So, another option is a veteran like Mark Roman spying him. Thoughts on that?
Aside from Anquan Boldin's second half performance against the 49ers, I feel safe letting them handle the receivers, whomever they may be. I'd imagine most coaches don't like overplaying their hand and game-planning a single player. However, Reggie Bush, at least against the 49ers, has turned into that type of player. If they can contain Bush, I have confidence they can contain the rest of the receivers.
As the injury reports are updated I'll pass that info along.