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Kyle Shanahan talks about his history regarding the risk of rest versus rust

Shanahan discussed how the depth on the team takes a hit when you rest starters

San Francisco 49ers v Washington Commanders Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images

We know that Christian McCaffrey won’t play in the regular season finale due to a mild calf strain injury he suffered in Week 17. But that’s the only starter who is ruled out according to 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan.

Yet.

On Monday afternoon, Shanahan said, “I don’t have that plan yet. We’re still discussing all those things,” when asked whether Brock Purdy would start.

After Sunday’s game, Shanahan said that you simply can’t rest everyone, so some starters would have to play. Kyle spoke about his history regarding resting his starters and them coming back rusty for the playoffs:

“I think it can be tough, but it’s not just playing, it’s how much you practice and everything too. You’ve got to make sure that you prepare for games by practicing. We’ve got a game this week on Sunday. When you give guys the game off, practice changes too.

That can end up hurting guys a lot, and you end up just developing bad habits. I’ve seen it cost a lot of teams. Also, it does give some guys a chance to get healthy. When you do that, and you sit people, then some of the names you guys mentioned, but then other people have got to double up and do a lot more because you only get two guys off a practice squad also.

If you want to get more than two off practice squad, we’ve got to cut people on a roster, and then we don’t get those guys, just to get those guys up. So, it always can end up hurting. You rest players and that sometimes gets more players injured. That’s all that stuff you’ve got to balance out and that’s why there’s not a clear-cut decision on anything. You’ve got to look at each individual, in each situation and play it out as the week goes.”

Shanahan lays it out in terms of how resting players hurts the organization, and he has several valid points.

Some fans are in the mindset that the players get three weeks of rest as opposed to two. Listening to Shanahan speak about how important practice is and knowing that this team needs to practice a specific way ignores the importance of the week of practice leading up to the Divisional playoff round.

The difference in the bye week could be Ambry Thomas not having to play with a cast on his hand, or Aaron Banks being another week removed from a toe injury that’s bothered him since before the bye week. You could go on and on with the numerous injuries on the roster.