With two of the San Francisco 49ers marquee edge-rushers missing a considerable amount of practice, their status for Week 1 was still unsure.
The 49ers have been hit by injuries all across the team’s positional groups, but losing the pair of defensive end Dee Ford and opposite rusher Nick Bosa for any game is about as a big of a loss the team could take.
However, San Francisco head coach Kyle Shanahan did give a somewhat encouraging update on Wednesday, stating that he doesn’t expect Ford or Bosa to be practicing in the immediate future, but that the duo ought to be back in time for the opening clash against the Arizona Cardinals.
Kyle Shanahan speaking before today’s #49ers practice. He says Nick Bosa (leg) and Dee Ford (calf) won’t practice this week but that he’d be “very surprised” if they’re not ready for Week 1.
— Matt Barrows (@mattbarrows) September 2, 2020
While Shanahan saying he’d be surprised if two of his stars missed Week 1 is encouraging, it’s also not a clear statement that the pair will be on the field.
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Ford and Bosa’s Impact
There’s not much that needs to be said about what Bosa brings to the table for the 49ers. The 2019 Defensive Rookie of the Year could only be described as a monster, totaling 13.5 sacks with four sacks in the postseason.
The former Ohio State Buckeye lived up to his billing as the second-overall pick of the 2019 NFL Draft and then some, and doing so at a premium position at the NFL cannot be understated.
However, it’s interesting to consider that Bosa missed a ton of practice ahead of Week 1 in 2019. That being said, he still earned a debut sack, and added two more in Week 3.
Meanwhile, Ford also took a bit of time to get embedded, and with injury sidelining the former Kansas City Chief for almost half the season, his production was still impressive.
6.5 sacks in 11 games is no bad return, especially when it includes two forced fumbles. It’s unfortunate to see Ford continuing to suffer injury woes, but with Shanahan’s Wednesday comments in mind, Ford should at least be able to get off the ground for Week 1.
It’s important to take Shanny’s words with a grain of salt. With a week and a half until gametime, things can very much change, and not necessarily for the better should Bosa or Ford aggravate their injuries by trying to recover too quickly.
What one should expect, though, is for the 49ers to take every precaution with any of their stars. With an injury wave rocking the San Francisco camp over the past month, the team will undoubtedly take things fairly slow and not look to rush any player back ahead of what will be an important season in Santa Clara, California.
In terms of having a real idea of Bosa and Ford’s chances for Week 1, it’s a waiting game. The question is easily answered if either or both return for practice next week, but they could still see playing time, even if they don’t hit the practice field next week.
Either way, Bosa’s proven toughness makes him an unlikely candidate to miss playing time unless it’s a must. With Ford, his history makes the water murky in terms of predicting his play time against the Cardinals.
Evan Reier is a sportswriter covering the NFL for Heavy.com and local sports for the Montana Standard in Butte, Mont. Reach out to him on Twitter at @evanreier and join our 49ers community at Heavy on 49ers on Facebook.