After building a squad dedicated to a strong foundation, San Francisco will now need to figure out how to contend without some key players.
The year 2020 has been marked with a global pandemic, civil unrest, fires and political distress. Now, to top it all off, the great sport of football and the NFL has seen a record number of injuries in only two weeks of play. The one thing in our lives that was supposed to make us forget about all of the horrible things that have taken place has also been struck with bad luck and misfortune.
The week two stat line shows a total of 21 impact players around the league injured. Injured players include Defensive Rookie of the year Nick Bosa, arguably the top running back in pro football Saquon Barkley, starting quarterback for the regning NFC Champion San Francisco 49ers Jimmy Garoppolo and all pro running back Christian McCaffrey.
But no one was hit harder by the injury bug of Week 2 than the San Francisco 49ers. The 49ers came into this season favorited as one of the best teams in the NFL. A team that just last season made it all the way to the Super Bowl and, yet, after Week 2 a total of 16 players are out with injury for the foreseeable future.
Garoppolo suffered a high ankle sprain. Bosa is out for the remainder of the year with an ACL tear. Interior defensive lineman and former first round pick Solomon Tomas is out with an ACL tear as well. Tight end George Kittle suffered an MCL sprain. Even running back Raheem Mostert has a mild MCL sprain.
Other impact players such as Tevin Coleman, Deebo Samuel, Richard Sherman, D.J. Jones and Dre Greenlaw are also injured. For the 49ers organization and their fans, this injury bug has taken a very promising team and totally shattered the foundation of this new 49ers regime.
In 2017, John Lynch was hired as the general manager for the 49ers and took a historically winning football team back to its roots. He hired head coach Kyle Shanahan, traded to acquire quarterback Garoppolo from the New England Patriots, drafted two top defensive lineman Nick Bosa and Solomon Thomas and took his 4-12 team in 2018 to a 13-3 deficit and a run to the Super Bowl in 2019.
Lynch is no stranger on the backbone towards building a contending football team — through a strong foundation and continuity. Now, in 2020, with the foundation built these slew of injuries have put a serious dent into the consistency of the 49ers squad.
Through these unfortunate injuries the team will now look for a substitute identity. New players and backups like quarterback Nick Mullens will have to lead the way for the 49ers. Mullens played the second half of the game against the New York Jets last week and went 8-for-11 for 71 yards and an interception. Mullen’s last in-game snap came in 2018 when he came in for Garoppolo after he tore his ACL and then later replaced C.J. Beathard.
San Francisco also signed four players this week, including former 2013 first round draft defensive lineman Ezekiel Ansah to a one-year deal. Ansah played six seasons (2013-18) with the Detroit Lions after they picked him in the fifth overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft.
But with a total of 16 players out, it will be hard for the 49ers to overcome such a deficit. The good news for them is that this coming week they will be playing against another struggling squad in the New York Giants, who have also lost their best player in Saquan Barkley to an ACL tear.