The San Francisco 49ers wide receiver corps still in shambles just days before their season opener on Sunday.
The 2020 offseason for the San Francisco 49ers was going swimmingly, especially following their NFL Draft haul and the trade for stud left tackle Trent Williams. Yet the honeymoon ended during the summer, as most of San Francisco’s wide receiver corps was sidelined with a variety of injuries. With their regular-season opener just days away, the position is still filled with uncertainty.
San Francisco’s top receivers, Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk, were absent from team practice on Wednesday, putting their status for Sunday’s game against the Arizona Cardinals in doubt.
The 49ers are going to be shorthanded offensively in Week 1
Ahead of Wednesday’s practice, head coach Kyle Shanahan said he didn’t expect Samuel to practice, but said he had “a small chance to,” per David Lombardi of The Athletic. Obviously, that didn’t happen. Shanahan made a similar statement in regards to Aiyuk.
Samuel was the first domino to fall back in June, as he suffered a Jones fracture in his foot while practicing with teammates in Nashville. The second-year wideout underwent surgery days after the injury, and was initially set to be sidelined 12-16 weeks. As training camp reached its conclusion, reports indicated that Samuel was seen sprinting on a side field during team drills, and was removed from San Francisco’s non-football injury (NFI) list on Sept. 5.
With Samuel sidelined, the expectation was that Aiyuk would serve as the team’s top receiver on the depth chart. However, that plan was scrapped after the first-round draft selection left practice on Aug. 23 with a left hamstring strain. Two days later, Shanahan described the strain as “mild.”
The only way these two receivers can suit up against the Cardinals is if they are able to practice in full without any setbacks. If neither Samuel or Aiyuk can do so, expect to see Kendrick Bourne and Dante Pettis start in their place on Sunday.