49ers Top Offensive Threat Sidelined at Practice Ahead of Cardinals Matchup

Jimmy Garoppolo Deebo Samuel

Getty Jimmy Garoppolo and Deebo Samuel celebrate a 49ers touchdown at Chicago on Sunday, October 31.

The San Francisco 49ers began their Week 9 preparation for the 7-1 Arizona Cardinals without a prominent piece to their offense.

The NFC Offensive Player of the Week, Deebo Samuel.

The wide receiver, who went off on the Chicago Bears for 6 catches for 171 yards was not running through the normal drills and was held out of practice on Wednesday, November 3, all due to a calf injury he aggravated in the 33-22 road win according to the team’s website.

Samuel was one of four 49ers starters who didn’t participate during Wednesday’s session, via Matt Maiocco of KNBR 680 AM.

Will Samuel Still Play?

Good news for 49ers fans, plus those who have Samuel on their fantasy team: He’s not expected to miss the huge NFC West battle with the Cards.

Head coach Kyle Shanahan addressed Samuel’s status for the Sunday contest with the Bay Area media on Wednesday.

“No, he couldn’t go today,” Shanahan said. “Hopefully he’ll be able to go tomorrow.”

Shanahan is an ardent believer Samuel will be at full strength for the Week 8 contest.

“I’d be surprised if he can’t go by Sunday, but he definitely can’t go today,” Shanahan said, who added that the calf “was hurting him the week before and he played a lot and through a lot and it felt worse after.”

What Samuel Has Accomplished

Samuel has emerged as one of the league’s most dynamic deep threats and field stretcher through seven games this season.

According to Pro Football Focus, he’s tops in most games of 150 yards or more.

Plus, only Cooper Kupp of the NFC West rival Los Angeles Rams has more receiving yards than Samuel:

And, according to Next Gen Stats, Samuel delivered “the most incredible YAC” play in history. That particular play was this 83-yarder:

But that play was made possible with the blockers clearing the road for Samuel: Linemen Daniel Brunskill and Alex Mack.

“Usually, you do it perfect and it leads to fourth-and-two,” Shanahan said. “So there was some really good effort on that play from everybody across the board and then Deebo just having the speed to almost get it down there.”

Shanahan Stunned by How Samuel Played Against Chicago

Shanahan first explained how much Samuel has meant to the 49er offense.

“I think he means a ton,” Shanahan said. “I think he did last year too when he played, when you guys look at those games and whenever you can get a playmaker like that out there and guys got to worry about it, not only does it help him, but it helps other people around him.”

But was he expecting Samuel to go off on the Bears the way he did?

“I didn’t expect Deebo to have such a big game versus Chicago,” he admitted. “But the way the guys around him stepped it up too I thought it made things a lot easier just to allow that to happen naturally. And it was good on everybody’s part.”

According to PFF, Samuel drew seven different Bear defenders as the ‘Niners moved him around to create matchup problems. When matched with cornerbacks Jaylon Johnson, Duke Shelley and Kindle Vildor, Samuel caught one pass against each of them but the yardage totaled 149. Samuel did his most damage between the numbers with 175 yards there.

Now, he’s expected to be healthy against a Cards team that not only beat the 49ers 17-10 in Week 5, but held him to 3 receptions for 58 yards.

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