The Seattle Seahawks face off with the first NFC West opponent of the schedule on Sunday, October 3, at 4:05 p.m. ET on FOX. This game will play a role in determining the champion of the division, but the San Francisco 49ers could enter the game without the offense’s top target. George Kittle is “not guaranteed” to suit up, according to Kyle Shanahan.
The 49ers head coach appeared on KNBR ahead of the NFC West opener and addressed the injury concerns among some important players. He specifically addressed Kittle’s calf injury and said that the issue resulted in the tight end missing a walk-through. Shanahan explained that there is no guarantee that Kittle will play against the Seahawks but added that the tight end could start without suiting up for a single practice session, provided there aren’t any further risks.
“I hope so,” Shanahan said during his appearance on KNBR. “I wish I could state it like that, but it’s not guaranteed. We were hoping it would heal a little bit more and expected it to by yesterday. He went out to give it a go in walk-through [yesterday], and it was just still bothering him, so we shut him down for the day.
“I haven’t seen him yet today. Hopefully, he’s coming in today, feeling better. He’ll get a few reps out there today, and then we’re hoping he’ll be ready by Sunday. Even if he doesn’t go today, George is a guy who’s played long enough, who plays the game as hard as he possibly can, whether he practiced that week or not.”
Russell Wilson Could Also Face a Shorthanded Secondary
The Seahawks offense has impressed early during the first three games of the 2021 season, with Wilson throwing for 895 yards and seven touchdowns without an interception. However, the unit has faded during the second halves of games against the Titans and Vikings, playing a major role in consecutive losses.
The game against the 49ers will provide Wilson and his surrounding talent with more opportunities to get back on the right track, and the potential lack of defenders will aid in this pursuit. The 49ers will be without nickel cornerback K’Waun Williams while Josh Norman remains “pretty doubtful” to play after suffering bruised lungs against the Packers on September 26.
“Right now, I’ll see how it is when I talk to the doctors today, but I would pretty much think it’s pretty doubtful,” Shanahan added during his appearance. “We’re hoping he can get out there. He’s trying to condition. Any time you get an injury like that when it’s in your lungs area and stuff like that, when you do heal up, you’ve got to get your stamina back. You’ve got to get your breath back.
The Seahawks Could Lose an Important Player in Week 4
While the 49ers could enter the matchup without Kittle in his normal starting spot, the Seahawks could also lose an important member of the offense. Wide receiver Tyler Lockett turned in a limited practice session on Wednesday before missing Thursday entirely. Fellow receiver DK Metcalf also had a limited session due to a foot injury.
Lockett temporarily left the loss against the Vikings on September 26 with a twisted knee. He was able to return later in the loss and finished the day with four catches for 31 yards. Head coach Pete Carroll told media members before Wednesday’s practice that Lockett’s knee was fine, per the “Seattle Times,” but now the hip creates concerns about the receiver’s availability.
Losing the seventh-year pro for the NFC West opener would be a crucial blow to the Seahawks’ offense. Lockett has been the team’s most reliable receiver during the first three weeks with 16 receptions for 309 yards and three touchdowns, and Wilson has looked to him when facing the blitz or in other critical moments.
If Lockett misses the game against the 49ers, there will be extra pressure on DK Metcalf and Freddie Swain. Rookie D’Wayne Eskridge could also shoulder some of the load if he makes his return to the field for the first time since Week 1.