Since 2020, cluster injuries have turned the last two seasons into clusterf— ahem— into uphill battles. So far in 2021, that trend has continued. This year, it’s the depletion of the cornerbacks that has hurt the most, and Kyle Shanahan gave an interesting answer yesterday that could mean more change at the position.
Here’s what Kyle said he was asked about whether he’s comfortable with newcomer Dre Kirkpatrick and 3rd round draft pick Ambry Thomas playing corner:
“Yeah, that stuff we’ll discuss this afternoon. I really just finished with the players, but w have to be comfortable with whoever we have on the roster. And when you get there, whether it’s running back or whether it’s corner, it’s next man up. The good thing about Dre is he has been in this league for a while and he’s been a number of places and I’ve really enjoyed what I’ve seen from him these last two weeks since he’s been here. But losing K’Waun for a few weeks, possibly Josh Norman, I know that’s stuff [general manager] John [Lynch] and everyone upstairs is working on all day and we’ll discuss that later tonight.”
Ambry Thomas was not mentioned anywhere in that answer, which I guess is appropriate considering he hasn’t been anywhere near a game the last two weeks. If Thomas is still working his way back into form after opting out of his last year in college due to COVID-19, that 49ers could really be in some trouble.
John Lynch can make all the calls he wants, but he can’t just make a good corner materialize out of thin air, and anyone that’s available at this point has their warts. The Jaguars also traded DB CJ Henderson to the Panthers yesterday, so one potential target is already off the books.
If Thomas can’t shake off the rust soon and at least contribute in some way on the field, the 49ers could be in for a long three weeks with Seattle and Arizona following Green Bay on the schedule.
For more on the cornerback situation as well as Kyle Shanahan’s explanation for some of the biggest calls of the game on Sunday, listen to today’s 49ers in Five podcast!