Niners Swap Safeties, Send WR to IR Ahead of Monday Night Football

Getty Mohamed Sanu

The San Francisco 49ers have made some last-minute tweaks to their active roster ahead of a Monday Night Football matchup with the division rival Los Angeles Rams.

Matt Maiocco, of NBC Sports Bay Area, took to Twitter Monday, November 15 with news of the moves just hours ahead of what is a crucial game for the Niners following a tough loss to the Arizona Cardinals last week.

“The #49ers activated veteran safety Tony Jefferson for tonight’s game vs. the Rams,” Maiocco wrote online. “They place safety Tavon Wilson (knee) and wide receiver Mohamed Sanu (foot) on IR.”

Niners Starting Free Safety Should be Back From Injury for Rams

Jimmie Ward

Getty Jimmie Ward runs out of the smoke at Levi’s Stadium before facing the Green Bay Packers in Week 3 on Sunday, September 26.

According to the Niners depth chart as listed by ESPN on Monday, Jefferson will back up starter Jimmie Ward at free safety. Ward is technically listed as questionable for the game against the Rams, but he returned to practice late last week and has been expected to play since.

Also expected to play is running back Jeff Wilson Jr., who has missed the entirety of the regular season since suffering a knee injury prior to the start of training camp. Wilson is listed as third on the depth chart, but will fill in as RB2 for the injured JaMycal Hasty, who will miss the game with a lingering ankle issue.

Niners head coach Kyle Shanahan told media members earlier in the week that Wilson would receive snaps against the Rams on Monday night regardless, but the injury to Hasty makes it that much closer to a certainty. Wilson led San Francisco in rushing yards last season, tallying 600 yards on the ground along with 7 TDs.

Wilson also scored 3 touchdowns via the passing game in 2020 and should provide the Niners’ offense with a much-needed boost against a Rams team that was already a threat to score a ton of points before it signed free agent wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. earlier this week.

Loss of Sanu Leaves WR Group Thin

Brandon Aiyuk Davante Adams

GettyWide receiver Brandon Aiyuk, of the San Francisco 49ers.

Sanu wasn’t exactly lighting the world on fire this season before his injured reserve list designation Monday, but his departure still further depletes a position group that already took one big hit last week.

The Niners parted ways with injury-plagued wideout Jalen Hurd on Thursday, November 11 after a failed experiment that lasted nearly three seasons. Selected in the third round of the 2019 NFL Draft, the Niners had high hopes for the big, physical wide receiver capable of taking snaps at both wideout and running back. But fate decided otherwise.

Hurd scored two touchdowns during the first preseason game of his career before breaking a bone in his back that sidelined him for his entire rookie season. He returned the following year only to suffer an ACL tear that robbed him of another full season.

Hurd dealt with injury problems to the same knee on and off throughout this offseason, appearing in one preseason game during which he caught 4 passes for 25 yards agains the Las Vegas Raiders. The Niners returned him to IR after that game before ultimately calling it quits on the wideout last Thursday. Hurd never played a regular season snap during his 2 and a half seasons with San Francisco.

Kickoff between the Niners (3-5), who are winless at home this season, and the Rams (7-2), who have yet to lose a road game, is set for 8:15 pm EST/5:15 pm Pacific.

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