“Defensive tackle Arik Armstead and wide receiver Jauan Jennings have both officially been ruled out. Armstead has knee and foot issues while Jennings is still working through concussion protocol.”
“All the real football nerds are stoked for this linebacker matchup. These are arguably the best two middle linebacking groups in the NFL.
Fred Warner has held the title of top linebacker in the NFL for the last few years, but No. 2 has to be Roquan Smith. He’s got freaky range, aggression, and the intelligence required to be an elite middle linebacker who can both cover and clobber. He’s also free of some awful Chicago Bears teams that probably limited his national recognition.
His No. 2 is Patrick Queen, who is in that same modern linebacker mold. He’s got 4.5 speed and has improved monumentally since his horrific rookie year. The addition of Smith has benefited his performance, and gives the Ravens - like the 49ers - a rangy, aggressive linebacker pair that can take on coverage and run defense assignments.
Warner’s No. 2, Dre Greenlaw, is the Bowman to Warner’s Willis. He’s got that old school ability to hit in a way that makes a crowd go “Daaaamn!” like Chris Tucker.
It’s an opportunity for these pairs to make their case as the best linebacker duos in the NFL. They’re the shot-callers and tone-setters for their defense.
How Smith, Queen - and the Ravens’ swiss-army safety Kyle Hamilton - are able to limit damage from the 49ers’ skill position players will go a long way in determining how competitive this game is.”
“Shanahan did note wide receivers’ run-blocking duties have become more difficult in recent seasons because they can’t deliver now-illegal cut blocks below a defender’s waist. Still, that inability doesn’t give them any leeway.
“When people were running at you straight over just to kill you, (you were) allowed to cut so they couldn’t just tee off on you,” Shanahan said. “Now you’ve just got to stand up and take it, which isn’t a problem either as long as you fall down and he falls down with you. If he’s kicking your butt, he’s not making the play.”
Does that mean 49ers wide receivers are required to act like tackling dummies when necessary?
“Yeah, I mean, worst-case scenario, if you are getting your ass kicked you just kind of let them do it,” rookie wide receiver Ronnie Bell said. “Because if he’s whipping you, he’s not tackling whoever has the ball.”
“Yes, we’re concerned,” Shanahan said. “We do think he has a chance each week. I’d say it’s a little more the foot than the knee. Something that’s been bothering him for a little bit. I’m just hoping the pain will go down.”
“A focus, then, will be on Purdy and his deep arsenal of skill-position weapons working against the Ravens defense, which leads the NFL with 50 sacks.
“I think it’s a big game for everybody because there’s not just one way in particular (in which the Ravens excel),” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said Thursday. “They lead the league in sacks, right away you think about our O-line. That is true because they have good pass rushers. But also, that has a lot to do with how good our receivers do to get into their spots and getting open, Brock to get it in the right spots, guys not getting rerouted so they can’t get there in time. So, when you play a sound, good defense with good players all over, it’s a little bit of everything.”
“That was awesome because we had an eight-day week ... So that was the first time I was home by halftime and got to sit and watch the game with my family,” Shanahan told KNBR. “It was probably one of the most exciting games I’ve been able to watch because it did pertain to us a little bit, with what everyone was looking for, and I didn’t have to do work at the time so I got to sit down and enjoy it.
“However, I didn’t enjoy it very much because I was so frustrated, because it didn’t look like Seattle was going to win. So I was starting to check out a little but, and then all of a sudden that last drive it was like, ‘How the hell did that just happen?’ And my wife was cheering and we were pretty excited.”