We’re headed for the home stretch of the NFL season. Ideally, your team is starting to get healthy as you make your playoff run. ESPN put together an article where they assessed the health of each team by giving a 1-10 rating, with ten being the healthiest.
The San Francisco 49ers 2020 season was disastrous health-wise. The team lost Nick Bosa and Solomon Thomas in a five-play span during Week 2. After that, the injuries spiraled out of control as seemingly half of the roster suffered a high-ankle sprain.
The Niners 2021 campaign got off to a similar start when running back Jeff Wilson sustained a torn meniscus in June after sitting down in the weight room. Then, shortly after, safety Tarvarius Moore and swing tackle Justin Skule were lost for the season. After one possession, Raheem Mostert was lost for the season. Finally, after one game, Jason Verrett tore his ACL.
And like that, “here we go again” was in full effect. While Deebo Samuel and Fred Warner missed the last game, the more significant injuries happened in the trenches. Nevertheless, the 49ers have managed to weather the storm of losing two recent first-round picks. Mike McGlinchey was having the best season of his career. Javon Kinlaw was starting to come along. After all of that, San Francisco still sits at .500 and in the final spot of the NFC playoff race heading into the final quarter of the season.
Every team is banged up to some capacity this far into the season. Three reporters gave their team an “8” health rating, with two of those being playoff teams in the Chiefs and the Patriots. The next six teams that received a “7” are all playoff contenders, too — both of the Cardinals and Rams were mentioned with this group.
Unsurprisingly, health is critical to your success. ESPN’s Nick Wagoner does a great job of covering the 49ers. He gave the team a “6” health rating. Here’s what he had to say:
Health rating: 6
Players on IR: 9
Starts missed because of injury: 62
How badly has your team been hurt? Relative to the disaster that was 2020, the 49ers have managed to stay fairly healthy after a foreboding start in the first week. No. 1 cornerback Jason Verrett and top running back Raheem Mostert were lost for the season in the opener against Detroit, and the Niners have also lost key players like defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw and right tackle Mike McGlinchey for the rest of the season. All of those are significant blows, but aside from those issues, the Niners’ top players have mostly avoided season-ending ailments. And though they got a big scare with recent lower body injuries to receiver Deebo Samuel and linebacker Fred Warner, neither is expected to miss more than a week or two. — Nick Wagoner
Only four teams in the NFL have missed more starts due to injury than the Niners. But, of course, losing Mostert and Verrett inflate that number. Plus, Kinlaw and McGlinchey out for the season doesn’t help.
Should we look at this and punish the front office for relying on players with an injury history or be impressed that the team has persevered through injury? The answer, as always, is a little bit of both.