49ers expected to rest many first-team starters vs. Chiefs

George Kittle #85 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
George Kittle #85 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images) /

While Kyle Shanahan wanted to get his starters a series or so during the 49ers’ preseason opener versus the Chiefs, a lot of first-teamers will sit.

The San Francisco 49ers aren’t going to play their full crop of first-team offensive and defensive players for their 2021 preseason opener on Saturday night against the visiting Kansas City Chiefs.

This was to be expected, as head coach Kyle Shanahan told reporters earlier in the week that he was planning on sitting a number of starters, either to keep them fresh and healthy or because of minor injuries.

Shanahan also mentioned he was planning on giving his starters, at least those who would be available, at least one series. Although if the series was a quick one, the head coach would consider a second.

49ers expected to rest a number of first-team players vs. Chiefs

According to the Niners’ PR department, the following players aren’t expected to play on Saturday against Kansas City:

  • LB Azeez Al-Shaair
  • DL Arik Armstead
  • DL Nick Bosa
  • S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix
  • DL Samson Ebukam
  • DL Dee Ford
  • WR Jalen Hurd
  • TE George Kittle
  • C Alex Mack
  • RB Elijah Mitchell
  • CB Emmanuel Moseley
  • RB Raheem Mostert
  • TE MyCole Pruitt
  • WR Mohamed Sanu
  • CB Jason Verrett
  • DB Jimmie Ward
  • LB Fred Warner
  • CB K’Waun Williams
  • T Trent Williams

Not too many big surprises, although head coach Andy Reid countered and said his starters would likely play the full first quarter.

Bosa, Ford and Ebukam are all focusing on health, the former two coming back from serious injuries suffered last year. Warner, Kittle, Verrett, Williams and Mostert effectively have nothing to prove in a preseason game anyway.

Jimmy Garoppolo to start, Trey Lance to see substantial time

Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo is widely anticipated to get the start under center for San Francisco, while the rookie, Trey Lance, is expected to see at least 30 snaps once Garoppolo is pulled from action.

Lance will be operating behind a makeshift offensive line going up against a first-string Chiefs defense, at least for the back end of the first quarter. Considering the 49ers’ second-string offensive line has been problematic during training camp, it’ll be awfully provocative to see how the No. 3 overall pick from this year’s NFL Draft functions against a fully stocked KC defense.

Read More: 49ers O-line depth is emerging as a big problem

Lance’s elusiveness and speed might have to be on display by default, although fans will want to see him flash his arm, too.

At least these are tests the Niners want to put Lance through early. And doing so in meaningless situations like the preseason hopefully generate positive results without too many risks.

San Francisco and Kansas City kick off on Saturday, Aug. 14 at 8:30 p.m. ET from Santa Clara, California.

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