49ers to get much-needed reinforcement for Week 4 vs. Rams

Daniel Brunskill #60 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images)
Daniel Brunskill #60 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images) /

1-2. 42. 49ers -1.5. 8:15 p.m. ET. Monday, Oct. 3. 51. ESPN. 2-1

The 49ers have reasons to be concerned about Aaron Donald and the Rams defense in Week 4, but getting Daniel Brunskill back from injury could be vital.

Los Angeles Rams perennial All-Pro defensive tackle Aaron Donald has been a massive thorn in the side of nearly every NFL offense in the league over the course of his Hall of Fame-worthy career.

However, Donald’s impact against the San Francisco 49ers, albeit impressive, might not be quite as exemplary as it’s been versus other teams.

Donald’s kryptonite with the Niners? Offensive lineman Daniel Brunskill.

The former undrafted free agent, who impressed as a versatile backup with San Francisco in 2019 and eventually turned into an unpredicted starter from 2020 and 2021, has missed the first three games of this season with a hamstring injury.

One could make the argument the 49ers were prepared to absorb his absence, particularly with their two first-year starting guards, Aaron Banks and Spencer Burford, performing adequately enough in their roles.

However, with perennial backup center Jake Brendel now starting in the wake of Alex Mack’s offseason retirement, coupled with All-Pro left tackle Trent Williams suffering a high-ankle sprain during the Niners’ Week 3 loss to the Denver Broncos, getting Brunskill back now instead of later could prove to be a massive boost.

49ers anticipating Daniel Brunskill to return vs. Rams in Week 4

There’s no doubting the fact San Francisco benefits from having one more day of rest for Brunskill, given the 49ers host Los Angeles for Monday Night Football in Week 4.

After not practicing at all for the first three weeks of the regular season, Brunskill was still listed on the Niners’ Week 4 injury report but was upgraded to “limited” status instead of the dreaded “DNP.”

Assuming Brunskill will be back and ready to go by kickoff, the Niners’ offensive line should feel slightly better matching up against Donald and a Rams pass rush that has seven sacks on the year but nevertheless ranks dead last in the NFL with a pressure percentage of 11.4.

Read More: Stats show why 49ers offense is struggling over first 3 weeks

Now, it’s a fair question to ask where head coach Kyle Shanahan deploys Brunskill on Monday night.

It’s possible the versatile lineman winds up taking over for Williams instead of fill-in tackle Colton McKivitz despite signs pointing to McKivitz being the primary option to start at left tackle versus LA.

What’s more likely, though, is for Brunskill to line up at center over Brendel, the latter having botched a key snap to quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo during that Week 3 loss in Denver that went for an offensive turnover.

Sure, Brunskill’s return isn’t going to move the needle much in terms of San Francisco’s advantage.

But, the 49ers are going to happily welcome him back nonetheless.

Next. 49ers vs. Rams: 5 vital matchups to watch on Monday night. dark