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Golden Nuggets: ESPN predicts a big day for Jerick McKinnon

Your daily San Francisco 49ers links for Saturday, September 26, 2020

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San Francisco 49ers v New York Jets Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Today, you’ll read about the 49ers lack of available jerseys, Jason Verrett, a Nick Mullens story, and a couple of other tidbits about the Niners.

Why the 49ers aren’t retiring Terrell Owens’ jersey — or any other numbers anytime soon

York said he prefers to honor the best 49ers not with retired numbers but through the team’s hall of fame, its museum and the ring of honor, which displays the jersey numbers of the 49ers’ greats on the west wall of Levi’s Stadium. To York, it’s both a philosophical decision and a pragmatic one: Over time, the 49ers risk running out of numbers.

“I just feel that there’s a way to do it that respects players of the past but also allows players in the present and the future to continue to wear a number,” he said in a recent interview with The Athletic.

York said there is no blanket policy. He’s leaving open the possibility that a future 49er transcends his position — the way Jerry Rice, Joe Montana and Ronnie Lott did — and eventually has his jersey retired.

“Retiring a number requires a pretty Herculean effort to get there, which it should,” he said. “With a ring of honor, I think you can honor more players that way. Again, if there’s a specific reason to retire somebody’s jersey, it doesn’t preclude you from doing that. But I think it allows you to extend it to (more players).”

Five 49ers players to watch vs. Giants in Week 3 of 2020 NFL season

It is not a certainty that Verrett will start on Sunday, but he has a good chance to get an opportunity with Ahkello Witherspoon going on the injury report late in the week with a hamstring injury.

Verrett is cleared and went through a full week of practice after missing three weeks with a hamstring injury of his own. He did not suit up for the 49ers’ first two games of the season.

Verrett appeared in just one game with the 49ers last season before going on injured reserve. He is trying to rebuild his career after being plagued by injuries since entering the NFL as a first-round draft pick of the now-Los Angeles Chargers in 2014.

49ers to start Nick Mullens at QB; George Kittle out again

That means Jerick McKinnon is likely to make his first start as a Niner since signing with the team in 2018. He missed the past two seasons with a knee injury.

“I’m very confident in Jet,” Shanahan said Wednesday. “He’s done a great job in all the reps that he’s gotten in these two weeks. Every time he’s gotten opportunities, he came through for us. Obviously, with those two guys being out, he should get more opportunities this week, and he deserves it. I know he’s excited for it, and we’re excited to see him.”

Jeff Wilson is expected to serve as the backup to McKinnon. Undrafted rookie JaMycal Hasty is likely to get called up from the practice squad for additional depth.

NFL tweaks policies on fake crowd noise

The league is now allowing stadiums to play fake crowd noise at levels up to 80 decibels, Tom Pelissero of NFL Network reports. The decibel level must be submitted to the league before the game and audio must be used evenly throughout the game, regardless of who’s on offense and who’s on defense.

Teams playing in empty stadiums or nearly empty stadiums are required to use the fake fan noise, but it’s optional for teams with at least 2,500 fans in attendance.

The networks use their own audio, so fake crowd noise that fans are hearing at home is not the same as the fake crowd noise that the players are hearing in the stadium.

49ers vs. Giants: 10 observations and our predictions for Nick Mullens’ start

Mullens remained his focused self throughout those games, beginning with a resounding 34-3 shellacking of the Raiders on a Thursday night. But he also made his 49ers teammates burst into laughter.

On the first drive, 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan thought that Mullens might need extra instruction, so he spoon-fed his young quarterback with especially verbose play descriptions over the radio.

Would you just shut up?!” Mullens implored in the huddle even though Shanahan couldn’t hear him on the one-way device.

The 49ers’ huddle cracked up. Mullens was comfortably in command of the playbook and the team went on the wallop the Raiders in the teams’ final meeting as Bay Area rivals.

That story was relayed in 2018 by 49ers tight end George Kittle, who was Mullens’ favorite target that season.

ESPN predicts big game for 49ers RB Jerick McKinnon vs. Giants

“49ers running back Jerick McKinnon will have his first 100-plus-yard rushing game since 2014 and just the third in his career,” wrote Wagoner. “With Raheem Mostert and Tevin Coleman out because of knee sprains, McKinnon will have an expanded role this week, and he gets it against a Giants defense that has been shoddy against the run over the first two weeks and hasn’t seen a rushing attack as dangerous as the Niners’ unit yet. McKinnon will take advantage and reach the end zone for the third time in as many weeks.”