The San Francisco 49ers have been dealing with a host of injuries all season long, and it won’t get any easier in Week 13 against the Seattle Seahawks. The team lost free safety Jimmie Ward to a broken arm, and now they will also be without rookie free safety D.J. Reed.
Reed replaced Ward on Sunday and then suffered a foot strain and chest contusion. Antone Exum replaced Reed, and it appears Exum will start at free safety on Sunday. The team will likely bring back Tyvis Powell to provide some roster depth. The team has a roster opening following the release of Reuben Foster.
The team might be adding some linebacker depth as well. Malcolm Smith played 22 defensive snaps next to Fred Warner before being replaced by Elijah Lee. On Monday, head coach Kyle Shanahan said Smith has been dealing with tendonitis in his lower leg and it was bothering him after the bye. He gave it a go, but then was replaced by Lee.
Shanahan said the team is, “probably going to have to get a linebacker and safety.” They need free safety depth inn part because they are also dealing with a banged up strong safety. Jaquiski Tartt suffered a stinger on Sunday, which resulted in rookie Marcell Harris getting right snaps. Shanahan said Tartt is day-to-day.
The team will re-evaluate Pierre Garçon on Wednesday. He missed Sunday’s game with a knee injury. Marquise Goodwin also missed the game, due to a family issue. Shanahan said Goodwin was still dealing with the issue on Monday, and is not sure if he will be available on Sunday.
If there’s ever a reason why the 49ers are struggling, it’s because they are playing backups of the backups. Having all these practice squad promotions out of necessity does not bode well for a football team’s success. The secondary is getting hit hard this year and the 49ers simply want to get out of the season without anymore long-term disasters.
Keep in mind, this is similar to what happened to Bill Walsh in the 1980 season. The players used to joke they’d have open tryouts just to get bodies. In 1981, Walsh went and got Ronnie Lott. If the 49ers end up with a top five draft pick, they best find themselves a high impact defensive playmaker.