The San Francisco 49ers have likely lost Aaron Lynch for at least a game or two with a high ankle sprain. The injury could be shorter than that, but such sprains often result in an absence of at least three or four weeks.
If that’s the case, the 49ers are left with some question marks against the New Orleans Saints in Week 9, and potentially beyond. Eli Harold and Ahmad Brooks would get the start, and Tank Carradine would be the only outside linebacker on the bench. Ronald Blair could conceivably get some time there as well, but his snaps have been fairly limited to date.
And so, it brings up preseason fan favorite, Marcus Rush. The 49ers cut Rush at the end of training camp and signed him to their practice squad. He had six sacks in three preseason games, serving as an absolute force in the pass rush. Pro Football Focus graded him among the league leaders in pass rush productivity. Of course, they also graded him among the rush in run defense.
Rush may never amount to anything in the NFL. Players are on the practice squad for a reason. Some will emerge as NFL players, and have very productive careers. But plenty will fade away into oblivion. However, when a team is in a position like what we see with the 49ers, at some point you have to see what those developmental players have, right? I’m not expecting the second coming of Aldon Smith. Heck, I’m not even expecting the second coming of Corey Lemonier’s first year. I’m just curious about what Rush might bring to the table in real NFL snaps against first team players.
The 49ers are at a point this season where it should be entirely about figuring out what they have for the future. They are not going to make the playoffs in 2016, so let’s see what the young talent can do. It is safe to say the coaching staff does not like what Tank brings to the table. He got some opportunities early, but those have slowly dissolved, and he was only on special teams this past week. Why not give Rush a chance and see what he can do? What exactly do they have to lose?