No. 1: Reinforcements Coming Back at the Right Time
The 49ers are going to have to figure out a way to absorb the loss of Kwon Alexander, true. But this isn’t the first bit of adversity the Niners have dealt with this season.
It’s merely the latest. But unlike Alexander’s season ender, a massive chunk of San Francisco’s injured players are poised to return.
And soon. Just in time for a playoff push.
The 49ers have been getting by for weeks with a makeshift offensive line, missing starting tackles Joe Staley (fibula) and Mike McGlinchey (knee). Staley was close to returning in Week 9, and the added mini break before Week 10 likely puts him in position to return against the Seahawks.
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McGlinchey is poised to return, perhaps, a couple of weeks later.
Starting cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon (foot) was also on pace to return around the time of Staley. Witherspoon’s backup, second-year corner Emmanuel Moseley, has performed well in the former’s stead. But Witherspoon was lights out before suffering his injury earlier this season.
But perhaps the best news for the 49ers is the pending return of fullback Kyle Juszczyk.
Juszczyk, who suffered an MCL sprain in Week 5 against the Cleveland Browns, is a major piece of Kyle Shanahan’s offense. Without him, Shanahan has been forced to improvise, missing out on a key lead blocker and mismatch in the pass-catching game. Simply put, Juszczyk’s ability and knowledge allow Shanahan to do a number of things he hasn’t been able to achieve otherwise.
If there were any questions about the 49ers offense, getting back three starters and key pieces in coming weeks should help answer them.
And that should be more than enough to propel Shanahan and Co. towards securing NFC West honors at the end of the season.