Tue, 05 Dec 2023

Four Takeaways from Kyle Shanahan as 49ers Prepare for 'MNF'

San Francisco 49ers
30 Sep 2022, 23:44 GMT+10

Briana McDonald

On Thursday, the San Francisco 49ers returned to the SAP Performance Facility to hold their first practice in preparation for a primetime matchup against the Los Angeles Rams. The team looks to pick up their second win at Levi's® Stadium and set their overall record to an even 2-2. Head coach Kyle Shanahan spoke with the media ahead of the 49ers practice to share updates before gearing up for their division rivals.

Here are four takeaways from the head coach:

Injury Updates

Shanahan shared the team's injury report before the team took the field on Thursday afternoon. Below is a list of players who did not practice:

DL Arik Armstead (foot)LT Trent Williams (ankle)RB Tyrion Davis-Price (ankle)LB Azeez Al-Shaair (knee)TE Tyler Kroft (knee)TE Ross Dwelley (rib)WR Danny Gray (hip)DL Javon Kinlaw (knee)

Offensive lineman Daniel Brunskill returned to practice (limited) on Thursday after dealing with a lingering hamstring injury from the preseason. Safety Tarvarius Moore was also limited in practice due to a hamstring injury.

Armstead is still working through plantar fascia, a condition that causes pain on the bottom of the heel, however, Shanahan said that the lineman's injury is improving and he's hopeful that he will will play against the Rams. The coach also mentioned that Armstead was close to playing in Week 3's contest against the Denver Broncos, yet stayed out to be safe. The team doesn't have any further updates on Williams' high ankle sprain, but Shanahan is hopeful that Williams won't land on the Injured Reserve list or require surgery.

SF's Versatile Offensive Line

With Brunskill back in action on Thursday, he's likely to see plenty of playing time on the interior of the line in Monday's contest. Shanahan praised Brunskill and sophomore lineman Blake Hance for their versatility along the offensive line.

"(Brunskill) works all inside and he's played tackle also," Shanahan said. "(Hance) can do all of it too. He's done all five for the Browns. He's been working all for us."

Offensive lineman Colton McKivitz will likely be the starting left tackle until Williams can return. When Williams was sidelined in last week's matchup against the Broncos, McKivitz stepped in for the majority of reps at left tackle. Week 4 won't be the first time McKivitz has come in clutch against Los Angeles - the offensive lineman also stepped in for Williams in last year's regular season finale against the Rams.

"The game's not too big for him. That was such a big game... I remember when I told Colton that he was up and it was no big deal to him. He went out there and performed. It was a huge challenge going against their two edge players and he battles all game."

A Look Inside the Running Backs Room

Running back Jeff Wilson Jr. had one of his biggest games last week in Denver where he recorded 12 carries for 75 yards, including a career-long 37-yard rush. Shanahan shared that the team's backup RB's would've also seen some game reps in the second half, yet Wilson Jr.'s stamina wasn't hindered due to the offense's shorter drives. Should San Francisco pick up their run game in Week 4, fans should expect to see Jordan Mason and Marlon Mack make appearances on the 49ers offense in primetime.

"They're as ready as they can be," Shanahan said.

Scouting Report on the Rams

Before Thursday's practice, the 49ers head coach gave an early scouting report of the Rams. With former Seattle Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner now in the mix of LA's defense, Shanahan explained how it gives the Rams more options to play with.

"Bobby's a middle linebacker who is also a very good pass rusher, so each week they can play him at different positions," Shanahan said. "It's the same thing they do with (DB) Jalen (Ramsey). Jalen, sometimes he's a corner, sometimes he's a nickel, sometimes he's their three-four edge backer in a nickel front. They do that with everybody, now they can do it with Bobby. They don't put him at corner, but it's about just switching people up and testing your rules. It's tough when they have those guys out there, how they mix it up."

Shanahan also gave some insight to LA's offensive side of the ball. Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford was sacked seven times in Week 1 against the Buffalo Bills, once against the Atlanta Falcons in Week 2 and once more against the Arizona Cardinals in Week 3. San Francisco's head coach noted the importance of a strong defense forcing their opposing offense to become one-dimensional and how it can play into the success of the game.

"(The Rams) had to throw it a lot more in that first week, but Matt does such a good job of getting rid of the ball. Regardless, it's hard to get to him. But anytime you can make teams more one dimensional, you get a lead like Buffalo did. It's a lot harder to get away with a win without having those sacks."

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