Three months from the start of the NFL season, it must feel a little like Groundhog Day in San Francisco. Following a season in which numerous impact players on both sides of the ball were placed on injured reserve (Nick Bosa, Jimmy Garoppolo, Richard Sherman, Dee Ford, Solomon Thomas, etc.), San Francisco hasn’t quite put the injury bug behind them.
On Wednesday, head coach Kyle Shanahan made the decision to trim their offseason program by one week. The ‘9ers were scheduled to have a mandatory minicamp next week before Shanahan put the kibosh on those plans. In the early stages of the off-season, offensive lineman Justin Skule, defensive back Tarvarious Moore and running back Jeff Wilson Jr. have all suffered major injuries. This coming on the heels of a 2020 season that saw the team use a franchise-record 84 players.
Despite the banged-up personnel, Shanahan told The Press Democrat that injuries alone were not the sole reason for canceling next week’s minicamp. He cited the overall attendance and hard work put forth by the team as factors: “The guys came in and really attacked it hard and that’s really what I appreciated.” Shanahan continued: “Our guys never came in and demanded anything. They wanted to know what my plan was. I got a bunch of guys who really love football and who aren’t scared to work. Guys came in and did it each day, did everything we asked for. When they did that, I felt we’d accomplish what we’d set out to do.”
Keeping off the field for an extra week or two may not be the worst idea. The injuries suffered by Skule, Moore and Wilson Jr. have all been significant. Moore and Skule are expected to miss the entire season, while Wilson Jr. could miss the first half of the 2021 schedule.
Shanahan stressed that the team is always mindful of keeping players healthy, but there is only so much they can control, per The Press Democrat: “You’ve got to play football in order to get ready for football and the more football you play, the better you are and the longer that you can do it,” he said. “Every time you play a sport or every time you do anything, you’ve got a chance to get hurt. So obviously that goes up, but that’s what we’re paid to do. And that’s the only way you can get better at what we do is by doing it.”
After finishing last season 6 – 10, San Francisco would like to increase the wins, while decreasing the injuries. They kickoff the season September 12th in Detroit.