The San Francisco 49ers announced that NaVorro Bowman will not play in Saturday's preseason opener, and that has opened a big opportunity for Shayne Skov. The 49ers will start Skov opposite Nick Moody at inside linebacker. Desmond Bishop and Steve Beauharnais will serve as the reserve inside linebackers.
Skov spent part of last season on the 49ers practice squad, but has gotten a lot of practice time in training camp this year. Michael Wilhoite remains on the NFI list with a muscle strain, while Philip Wheeler has missed a week of practice with his own muscle strain. Bowman has been practicing, but the team is taking their time in the preseason so he is ready for Week 1.
This all leaves the 49ers with only four inside linebackers. The 49ers could work in rookie safety Jaquiski Tartt at linebacker in more of a big nickel package, but there has been no indication that will happen. Skov and Bishop are the two guys who could stand to benefit from the injuries. They are competing for no more than one roster spot, if even that. They will get a lot of playing time Saturday evening.