‘Put Me at QB’ Says Eagles Star, ‘No Disrespect’ to 49ers Game Managers

GETTY JANUARY 19: Jimmy Garoppolo #10 of the San Francisco 49ers reacts to a touchdown run by Raheem Mostert #31 in the first quarter against the Green Bay Packers during the NFC Championship game at Levi's Stadium on January 19, 2020 in Santa Clara, California.

Darius Slay was trying to compliment Kyle Shanahan’s dynamic offense, but it could be interpreted as a slight to the uninformed.

Slay, arguably the best cornerback in football, was asked if he thought the increasing uncertainty around the status of Jimmy Garoppolo would make it harder to prepare for Sunday’s matchup. The 49ers starting quarterback is dealing with an ankle injury and missed practice on Wednesday, the same ailment that caused Garoppolo to sit out last week. Backup Nick Mullens filled in and went 25-of-36 for 343 yards and a touchdown in a 36-9 win against the Giants.

Slay is a professional in every sense of the word, but he’s a bit of a prankster and likes to have fun. So when a reporter asked if it mattered who lined up under center for San Francisco, the Pro Bowl cornerback gave an honest answer.

“Not really, not with this group,” Slay told reporters on Wednesday. “The fact that they’re such a great run team, that, not to disrespect Jimmy G because he’s a great, talented guy, but they do a great job [on offense]. They have a great offensive line. They can power run that ball, you go back to when they played Green Bay in the playoffs, they done run for 300 yards. You could put me at quarterback and I’d be doing the same thing.”

Let’s be clear once again, Slay wasn’t trying to incite a feud. His point was that Shanahan runs a system predicated on the run, one that lulls the defense to sleep with a constant barrage of jet motion sweeps and wind-back blocks.

The 49ers rumbled for 285 yards versus the Green Bay Packers in last year’s NFC Championship Game and 471 rushing yards in two playoff wins. This year, they are averaging 132.7 yards-per-game on the ground despite being without their top two running backs. Impressive.

“They are a great run team,” Slay said. “So whenever they pick it up and try to throw the ball, we gotta be prepared for it, that’s the goal.”

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Checking the 49ers Injury Report

Garoppolo missed Wednesday’s practice, as mentioned above, but the 49ers are holding out hope he can play on Sunday night. Shanahan made it clear earlier in the day that there was no quarterback controversy in San Francisco. Jimmy G is their guy, no matter how great Mullens looks in fill-in duty.

“This is Jimmy’s team,” Shanahan said, via 49ers Web Zone. “He’s done a hell of a job for us, and when he’s healthy, he’ll be playing again for us.”

The 49ers did practice without the following players on Wednesday: DE Dee Ford (back), RB Tevin Coleman (knee), RB Raheem Mostert (knee), LB Dre Greenlaw (quad), CB K’Waun Williams (hip), CB Emmanuel Moseley (concussion), TE Jordan Reed (knee). Pro Bowl tight end George Kittle (knee) is expected back after returning to practice as a full participant. In addition, receiver Deebo Samuel (foot) was activated to the 21-day practice window. Meanwhile, defensive ends Nick Bosa and Solomon Thomas are out for the year.

“We really don’t concern ourselves too much with their injuries,” Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz said. “Everybody’s dealing with that in the NFL. I think the biggest thing there is their scheme has a long track record.”

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