49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan provided injury updates Friday afternoon on a conference call after Thursday’s preseason finale. Defensive tackle Akeem Spence is in the concussion protocol. Linebacker Curtis Robinson has a high-ankle sprain. Linebacker Oren Burks suffered a knee sprain, but he’s expected to return in Week 1.
Shanahan said Thursday’s game wasn’t as bad as it felt, but only because it couldn’t have felt worse. He ended his opening comments by saying, “We have to clean that stuff up and make some decisions this week to help it.” That came off as someone who isn’t going to tolerate penalties or sloppy play any longer.
Malik Turner has been a pleasant surprise for most of us, but he’s been consistent all camp, according to Shanahan:
“What you guys see in these three games, that’s what we see every day in practice. I mean that guy has more output and yards ran and energy used on the GPSs. He goes as hard as he can on offense and special teams. And it’s cool when he gets in these games and all the work that he does every day, just how deliberate he is in all the drills and everything. You can see it carryover to the game. So a guy I’ve been happy for and he’s really shown a good example of how to be a pro to a number of these guys.”
Turner caught three of his five targets Thursday for 32 yards. Two of those went for first downs, although Turner did fumble once. In his previous two games, Turner caught three passes for 34 yards.
Turner’s special team ability and effort have caught the coach’s attention. Turner feels like a safe bet to make the roster.
Trey Sermon has taken strides in Shanahan’s eyes:
“I think definitely still. They didn’t have much opportunities and much room. I thought he had a real good play on a, I think it was a third-and-one or second-and-one where we had an unblocked guy in the hole that he made miss and almost made a big play when nothing was there. But Trey’s come a long way here this year. And he’s someone we can count on and it’s not just him, it’s the whole group. So all these guys I think are good enough to help us. We just have to figure out which direction we’re going to go.”
Here’s the third down play Kyle referenced:
Kyle Shanahan just praised Trey Sermon for this run on 3rd & 1 for winning 1-on-1 against an unblocked linebacker.— KP (@KP_Show) August 26, 2022
Shanahan said, “he almost had a big run,” and “Trey came a long way here in a year. He’s someone we can count on.” pic.twitter.com/idsHaCzFe7
The best running backs create for themselves. That’s Sermon’s best rep I’ve seen from him in the NFL. Falling forward is the name of the game. Kudos to Sermon.
Finally, Aaron Banks. We know the offensive line didn’t put their best foot forward. But Shanahan liked what he saw from Banks while reminding us it’s a team sport:
“I thought he had a better game this week than verse Minnesota. So I know there was definitely a couple that he missed, but I also thought it was a full offense there. There was a couple I thought we could have got rid of the ball a lot sooner. And there was a couple that the quarterback didn’t have a chance on, so as a whole, it wasn’t good enough. When you ask him in particular, I thought he did improve from the week before.”
Banks had a rough go at it against the Vikings. He looks like he’s still getting used to the speed of the NFL. We’re going to have to be patient with the offense. There are kids everywhere.
Between Trey Lance, Banks, and Spencer Burford, not to mention the youth at wideout, the product we saw yesterday, and probably through September, will be night and day from what we see come December.