The San Francisco 49ers had a lengthy day on both sides of the ball in Week 5 thanks to overtime, and we saw all sorts of changes to the rotations. Injuries resulted in some adjustments having to be made, but the team also adjusted for scheme and “hot hand,” resulting in some veterans losing playing time. We’ve got the snap count below, and you can also view it in the gamebook PDF.
The most high profile differences were at linebacker and running back. NaVorro Bowman played the most snaps among linebackers, but the team went with a Ray-Ray Armstrong, Brock Coyle combination at times. One has to imagine that when Reuben Foster returns to action, that will further cut into Bowman’s playing time. The veteran linebacker is not pleased with it, but is being a team player.
Carlos Hyde ended up behind Matt Breida both in snaps and touches. After the game, Hyde said it was not related to his hip injury, and head coach Kyle Shanahan said he felt Breida was the hot hand, and he was going in that direction for the game.
Injuries in the secondary saw all sorts of shake-up. Rookie Ahkello Witherspoon was active for the first time, and before a concussion knocked him out of the game, he was getting defensive snaps ahead of Asa Jackson. Prior to Sunday, Jackson was the backup at cornerback. Adrian Colbert was inactive, which meant a need for more secondary help, but it’s intriguing that Witherspoon moved up to getting defensive reps. I thought he’d just get special teams work, but I guess not.
Rashard Robinson suffered an injury in the game after Witherspoon got hurt, and that led to some shuffle before Robinson eventually returned. At one point, Jimmie Ward moved to cornerback, and Lorenzo Jerome came on at free safety. Once the 49ers get Eric Reid back, that will replenish some of that secondary depth in a big way. The 49ers return to practice on Wednesday, at which point we’ll get a better handle on where Witherspoon and Colbert are in their progress back from their respective injuries.
Week 5 snap count vs. Colts