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49ers injured reserve is plenty stocked

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The 49ers defense in particular has taken some hits from injuries. I don’t know if a fully unit would have been much better, but it is interesting to consider the hypotheticals.

The San Francisco 49ers placed linebacker Shayne Skov on injured reserve Tuesday morning, following a knee injury suffered in Week 12 against the Miami Dolphins. Matt Maiocco reported it is not believed to be a torn ACL, but whatever it is, it is enough to end his season.

Skov joins a lengthy injured reserve list. He is primarily a special teams player, but other injuries had moved him into position to potentially get more linebacker snaps. The 49ers injured reserve list is extensive, and the defense has taken some tough hits in particular:

DT Arik Armstead
ILB Ray-Ray Armstrong
ILB NaVorro Bowman
CB Chris Davis
WR Bruce Ellington
QB Thad Lewis
CB Will Redmond
S Eric Reid
WR Eric Rogers
ILB Shayne Skov

The team also agreed to an injury settlement with Ian Williams. Odds seem decent he re-signs after his ankles heal up. Williams was placed on the reserve/NFI list following the start of training camp. That ended his season. The team placed Will Redmond on injured reserve at the end of the preseason, and while he was viewed as a potential return option, the team eventually decided to end his season.

This was followed in Week 2 by the placement of Armstrong on IR after Week 2, and added Bowman to the list after Week 4. The team placed Armstead on IR after Week 9, and then Reid went on IR after Week 11.

The 49ers defense has had all sorts of issues from day one. Even before Bowman went on IR, the run defense was already a mess. If we want to play a game of hypotheticals, it really goes back to Ian Williams. If Williams had been able to recover from his ankle injuries, maybe we see a lot more from the run defense. If Glenn Dorsey had not torn his ACL, or had recovered quicker, maybe we see more from the defensive line.

None of it matters right now, but it is something to think about with regard to a defense that had a historically bad run, particularly against running backs. The defense has improved against the run, but the pass rush has not improved. The team has been without Aaron Lynch for a vast majority of this season, first with the four-game suspension, and then with his high ankle sprain. Who knows what a full season would have brought, but again, it’s one more loss to a defense that could not afford them.