The 49ers will be without George Kittle in the Week 2 matchup against the New York Jets. Kittle suffered a knee strain against the Arizona Cardinals last week and the team is taking necessary precautions to protect their star tight end. According to Kyle Shanahan, due to the effects travel can have on an injury, the team decided to err on the side of caution and let Kittle rehab at the facility as the team faces the Jets.
"If it was a normal person, we probably would have ruled him out earlier in the week," Shanahan said.
The 49ers will have three tight ends active when they face the Jets on Sunday: Ross Dwelley, Jordan Reed and rookie Charlie Woerner. Shanahan expects all three tight ends to see an uptick in snaps on Sunday with Kittle out of the rotation.
"I'm confident in all three of our guys out there," Shanahan said. "All of them have their traits that they do some things better than the others. But all three of them are capable of running, blocking, catching. They all can do it all, so it's not like you're going to make any of them one-dimensional. We have a number of personnel groups. I expect all of them to play more. It was a little bit tougher rotating four of them last week. With only three up this week, they'll all get more playing time."
Kittle and other players working their way back from injury will meet up with the team during their week-long stay in West Virginia in between matchups against the Jets and New York Giants. Shanahan is hopeful Kittle will be ready to go ahead of the Week 3 contest against the Giants.
Additionally, cornerback Jason Verrett was ruled out for Sunday's game as he continues to make his way back from a hamstring injury. Ahkello Witherspoon was on hand for both Thursday and Friday's practices after clearing concussion protocol. General manager John Lynch joined the Murph & Mac Show on KNBR and gave insight into the fourth-year corner getting the start in place of Richard Sherman. Sherman was placed on Injured Reserve this week with a calf strain. Per league rules, he is eligible for return following the team's fourth game of the season.
Dee Ford is questionable heading into Sunday's game. Ford appeared on the injury report on Thursday and according to Shanahan, the edge rusher is dealing with "neck spasms." The team opted to rest Ford as he will continue meet with team doctors ahead of Sunday's decision.
After joining the team in person on Friday, Shanahan said newly signed receiver Mohamed Sanu was able to "line up with confidence" in his lone practice with the 49ers before Sunday's matchup. According to the head coach, it hasn't been decided if Sanu will be active against the Jets, given his limited time with the team. Shanahan said if the 49ers choose to dress five receivers on Sunday, Sanu will be one of them. It's worth noting, the 49ers suited up four receivers in Week 1 against the Cardinals.
"He's been in the Zoom meetings watching all of the installs. We threw him out there today. He didn't make any mistakes," Shanahan said. "I know if we go with five we wouldn't hesitate to have him out there and I know he'll be ready."
Despite the injury news, Brandon Aiyuk and Ben Garland are set to make their season debuts on Sunday, as neither appeared on the week's injury report.
The 49ers are set to take on the Jets at 10:00 am PT on Sunday, Sept. 20 at MetLife Stadium. For more information about this week's game, go to 49ers.com/gameinfo.