It’s gameday! For the first time in what feels like forever, we should see some of the 49ers best players on the field this afternoon. San Francisco will still be short-handed, but the more playmakers on the field the better their chances of pulling off the upset.
Who’s the biggest offensive playmaker the Rams have to worry about?
If Raheem Mostert plays and is healthy, it’s him. He’s just a big play waiting to happen every time he touches the football. Another player to keep an eye on though is rookie receiver Brandon Aiyuk. He may not play because he’s on the Reserve/COVID-19 list, but he’s been excellent over his last three games. He has 21 catches for 281 yards and two touchdowns on 31 targets in those contests. He’s also Pro Football Focus’ second-highest graded rookie WR this season. Aiyuk is just a really good player and the 49ers have done a nice job getting the ball to him the last few weeks.
Santa Clara County released new COVID-19 restrictions in light of its rising caseload Saturday, including a temporary ban on all high school, collegiate and professional sports, a mandatory quarantine for those traveling into the region from more than 150 miles away and new capacity limits for indoor businesses.
The new restrictions arrive as California experiences its worst COVID-19 surge yet and within hours of a similar rollback from San Francisco County, which was placed into the state’s most restrictive “purple” reopening tier starting Saturday.
Santa Clara County’s new restrictions will include a 14-day quarantine for all those traveling to and from the county from more than 150 miles away, according to documents obtained by this news organization, as well as a temporary ban on sporting activities — including professional sports like the San Jose Sharks ice hockey team. Cardrooms must temporarily close, while hotels and other facilities must be open only for essential travel or to facilitate isolation or quarantine.
No. 2: Ronald Darby, Washington Football Team
Verrett’s injury history, despite his standout 2020 campaign, might guard against the Niners wanting to retain him. He might have played his way out of a cheap re-sign deal anyway, meaning San Francisco could feel comfortable going after another short-statured defensive back.
Such as Washington’s Ronald Darby.
At 5-foot-11 and 193 pounds, Darby has the flexibility to play both on the outside and over the slot. He’s done both with Washington and to desirable results despite the Football Team’s relative lack of success this season. He’s already registered 41 tackles and seven passes defended over 10 starts, and he’s just a year removed from a two-interception campaign back in 2019.
It wasn’t all good news for the 49ers, who have been decimated by injuries and the coronavirus all season. Left tackle Trent Williams, receiver Brandon Aiyuk, defensive linemen D.J. Jones and Jordan Willis, linebacker Joe Walker and tight end Daniel Helm all remain on the COVID-19 list. Coach Kyle Shanahan said he believes only Williams has an ”outside chance” of playing this week.
The team has also been hampered by a lack of practice time this week.
”I know we had some guys out, maybe had to switch the practice schedule around as far as walkthrough and how much live reps we get, but it hasn’t been too bad,” quarterback Nick Mullens said. ”We had virtual meetings. Our circumstances are different a little but the same info is getting distributed as far as the game plan goes, the same reps.”
The team is exploring alternative sites for practices and games according to ESPN’s Nick Wagoner.
Possible locations include RingCentral Coliseum in Oakland, and Oracle Park in San Francisco, although there’s no certainty on whether those cities or counties would allow a football team to practice and play there.
The 49ers have two home games in that three week span, including Week 13 against Buffalo on Dec. 7, and Week 14 against Washington Dec. 13. They finish the month of December with two road games in Dallas and Arizona before finishing up Jan. 3 at home vs. Seattle.
Their game in Dallas comes the day before restrictions are set to be lifted at 5:00am Monday, Dec. 21 per Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle.