With the San Francisco 49ers dealing with some notable injuries ahead of Week 11 versus the Arizona Cardinals, running back Tevin Coleman and tight end Ross Dwelley have to be key impact players.
The San Francisco 49ers were supposed to be getting healthier at key positions entering the second half of their 2019 campaign. But following the team’s first loss of the season, a Week 10 Monday Night Football overtime defeat at the hands of the Seattle Seahawks, it appears as if the opposite is happening.
The Niners will likely be without running back Matt Breida (ankle) and tight end George Kittle (knee/ankle) for their Week 11 home contest against the Arizona Cardinals, as both were listed as doubtful for the team’s injury report ahead of Sunday’s game.
Kittle suffered his injury the last time these two teams met back in Week 9 on Thursday Night Football. And while Kittle managed to provide a significant impact in the game after suffering his knee injury, he ultimately sat out the latter portions and wasn’t available versus Seattle.
Breida, meanwhile, suffered his ankle injury against the Seahawks.
While head coach Kyle Shanahan has left the door open for both player, especially Kittle, to be available against the Cardinals, the likelihood is running back Tevin Coleman and tight end Ross Dwelley will be featured more on Sunday instead.
Dwelley managed a key third-down catch for a first down late in Arizona to help seal San Francisco’s 28-25 road win. Yet he was mostly a non-factor against the Seahawks, catching just three passes out of his seven targets for only 24 yards.
Coleman, meanwhile, was held to just 23 yards on 12 carries for an average of only 1.9 yards per rush attempt in Week 9 against Arizona.
Granted, the Cardinals made it a point to stack the box, preventing Shanahan’s ground attack from being overly effective. As a result, the Niners averaged just 3.3 yards per attempt in Week 9, forcing quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to be the primary offensive playmaker.
With Kittle and wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders helping provide a lot of the thump, Garoppolo finished that game with a career-high four touchdowns.
The problem in Week 11, however, is both Kittle and Sanders (ribs) are on the injury report. Paired with Breida, the 49ers are going to have to resort to complementary players.
Such as Dwelley and Coleman.
Coleman has already established himself as a potential playmaker, as evidenced by his four-touchdown effort against the Carolina Panthers in Week 8. But the Panthers had to respect San Francisco’s pass attack — something Arizona might not necessarily focus on this upcoming Sunday.
As such, Dwelley suddenly becomes more of a focal point.
Granted, Dwelley isn’t required to replicate the kind of impact Kittle could have for this contest. But if Kittle is unable to go, Dwelley will need to act as a possible pass-catching decoy for some of the Niners’ other pass-catching weapons on Sunday.
Even if he doesn’t impact the stat sheet, Dwelley will need to be something of an X-factor nonetheless.
The 49ers and Cardinals kick off on Sunday, Nov. 17 at 4:05 p.m. ET from Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara.