The Cardinals' offense has had quite the eventful week after losing Zach Ertz for the season to a knee injury on Sunday and releasing second-string running back Eno Benjamin. Kyler Murray is at risk of missing his second game in a row as well but is a game-time decision with a hamstring injury.
Here are the five players to watch on the 49ers' defense as they take on the Cardinals on Monday night:
S Talanoa Hufanga
Talanoa Hufanga made his second career start with the 49ers against these same Cardinals last season in almost the same scenario. Kyler Murray was ruled out with an injury, and backup Colt McCoy led the Cardinals to a 31-17 in Santa Clara. McCoy targeted Hufanga three times, completing three passes for 56 yards, including a 50-yard pass to Christian Kirk.
While the Cardinals' quarterback situation entering Monday night is similar to what it was in Week 9 last season, Hufanga is in a vastly different one himself. Hufanga is now an established player in the 49ers' defense, and if the Cardinals do go with McCoy on Monday night, as it seems, the 49ers' safety will have a sort of revenge game on his hands in Mexico City
CB Charvarious Ward and CB Deommodore Lenoir
Regardless of who the Cardinals do start at quarterback, they’ll still have some very viable weapons. Even if Marquise Brown doesn’t play on Monday night, who was designated to return from injured reserve this week with head coach Kliff Kingsbury hinting that Brown could play against the 49ers, the Cardinals will be well-equipped at receiver with DeAndre Hopkins and Rondale Moore.
Hopkins has played in four games since returning from suspension and already has 36 receptions for 396 yards and two touchdowns, with three of his four games producing ten or more receptions. Moore is currently third on the Cardinals in both receptions and yards and is coming off his best game of the season, finishing with nine receptions for 94 yards against the Rams last week. Ward and Lenoir will have their hands full on Monday night, especially if Brown makes his return.
DE Charles Omenihu
With Samson Ebukam’s status still up in the air, Omenihu could be called on again to play alongside Nick Bosa once again. Against the Chargers last week. Omenihu saw the second-highest snap count on the defensive line behind just Bosa and was credited with a season-high six pressures. The Cardinals' offensive line has allowed 27 sacks on the season, the 8th most allowed this season, and allowed Colt McCoy to get sacked twice last week against the Rams. Bosa is obviously the player on the line to watch but don’t forget to keep an eye on Omenihu on the other side.
LB Dre Greenlaw
Greenlaw’s return from injury was cut short last week after he was ejected for his late hit on Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert. Although he only played in the first half, Greenlaw finished tied with Fred Warner for the team-high with seven tackles. With the Cardinals missing Ertz and releasing Benjamin, Greenlaw’s job will be slightly easier than it could have been, but if Murray does play, and that seems unlikely at this point, he will play a large role in containing the quarterback.