49ers’ Kyle Shanahan Reveals Key Option ‘Will be Out For Awhile’

Kyle Shanahan

Getty Kyle Shanahan inside the tunnel with the 49ers before their October 3, 2022 home game.

The San Francisco 49ers walked into their home venue on Monday, October 3 rolling without All-Pro Trent Williams plus missing two Pro Bowlers from last year in Alex Mack and Laken Tomlinson. They not only walked out victorious against a stout defense, but didn’t allow a single sack in the 24-9 romp of the rival Los Angeles Rams.

Meanwhile, a Rams offensive line that also underwent changes due to retirement (Andrew Whitworth), free agency (Austin Corbett) and dealt with a myriad of injuries heading into the Week 4 contest was pummeled for seven sacks allowed — including a combined four from Samson Ebukam and Nick Bosa.

But even though the 49ers’ pass protection ensured no one, not even three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year Aaron Donald, would record a sack on Jimmy Garoppolo, the unit still sustained a key loss from the 15-point win as head coach Kyle Shanahan revealed to reporters on Tuesday, October 4.

Who Will be Out For Awhile

The 49ers will have to turn to another blindside protector for Garoppolo.

Via David Lombardi from The Athletic, Colton McKivitz suffered a significant injury during the game that will now get him to miss some time.

“Colton McKivitz has an MCL sprain and will be ‘out for a while,’ Shanahan said — 49ers will be on their third-string LT [left tackle],” Lombardi tweeted.

And who could step in permanently for the time being per Shanahan?

“Most likely Jaylon Moore, but Daniel Brunskill ‘is always an option,'” Lombardi added.

Despite the injury, the 6-foot-6 McKivitz managed to pass block on 21 plays and delivered the highest pass blocking grade by Pro Football Focus, who rewarded him with a score of 87.2. The 26-year-old didn’t allow a single pressure up his side. Meanwhile, his replacement in the third quarter Moore protected Garoppolo on seven plays, also not allowing a single pressure from the Rams. The second-year pro was given a grade of 79.5.

Williams injured his ankle against the Denver Broncos in Week 3 and is expected to be out for up to six weeks. As for McKivitz, his ailment is similar to what running back Elijah Mitchell and outside linebacker Azeez Al-Shaair sustained.

But while the 49ers will have to roll with their third blindside option, the franchise is in the process of welcoming back two valuable veterans.

Defense to Welcome Back Key Leaders

Shanahan revealed that on the defensive backend, veterans Jimmie Ward and cornerback Jason Verrett are projected to return to practice on Wednesday.

Ward had been out with a hamstring injury that dates back to August toward the end of the preseason. Verrett, meanwhile, had been rehabbing and attempting to come back from a devastating torn ACL. Their returns comes with the 49ers preparing to take on Baker Mayfield, Marcus Mariota and Super Bowl 54 champion Patrick Mahomes in a three week span.

Both will head back to a secondary unit that delivered a breakout evening against the Rams. Deommodore Lenoir got a sack of Matthew Stafford on a nickelback blitz call made by defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans, while emerging second-year safety Talanoa Hufanga delivered a pick six to seal the home victory. The 49ers also didn’t allow a single Stafford touchdown throw — making it the third consecutive game the 49ers defense didn’t allow an aerial score.

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