The 49ers received good news on the injury front Thursday. Running back Christian McCaffrey said he “feels great” and that he dodged a bullet with his knee issue. McCaffrey is confident he’ll play in full Sunday against the Miami Dolphins. According to the reporters on hand, McCaffrey looked healthy during practice.
McCaffrey is one of the main staples in this 49ers passing game. McCaffrey has the fourth-most targets (27) among all running backs since Week 8. He has the most first downs (13) and is tied for second in forced missed tackles (6) with the third-most yards after the catch (153), per PFF.
So, if the design doesn’t work out or Jimmy Garoppolo doesn’t like what he sees, he checks it down to McCaffrey, who makes a defender miss, and picks up a first down. That’s a luxury the 49ers haven’t had under Shanahan. Not consistently, at least.
Speaking of luxuries, the 49ers are set to get back one of the best and most complete defensive tackles in the NFL, Arik Armstead. Arik Armstead practiced for the third day in a row. He told reporters he would return Sunday against the Dolphins. Armstead has been out since October 3, which was Week 4.
In addition to McCaffrey and Armstead, right guard Spencer Burford and defensive lineman Charles Omenihu returned to practice. Omenihu’s return should not go unnoticed. He has been another superb find by the pro personnel department.
It was unclear whether the 49ers were being cautious with Omenihu’s knee irritation, as he sat out of Wednesday’s practice. Omenihu is seventh in the NFL in pressure percentage among all defensive linemen, per Sports Info Solutions. Using PFF’s win percentage stat, he’s fifth. The players ahead of him are Nick Bosa and other players of that caliber. Omenihu is producing among the best in the league.
Here’s the official practice report:
Did Not Participate:
WR Deebo Samuel (quad)
RB Elijah Mitchell (knee)
RB Christian McCaffrey (knee)
DE Charles Omenihu (knee)
G Spencer Burford (ankle)
DL Arik Armstead (foot, ankle)
We’ll know more Friday about Deebo Samuel’s quad injury. As of now, the team is either being cautious with Deebo, or there is a legitimate injury. However, Samuel makes plays that shouldn’t be taken for granted:
Elijah Mitchell hasn’t been placed on injured reserve yet, so he’ll remain listed until he does. Or is the question if he does?