Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo will miss his second straight start with a sprained ankle for the San Francisco 49ers, clearing the way for Nick Mullens to make another start.
Garoppolo got hurt two weeks ago in a win against the New York Jets and hasn’t practiced since then. The Niners had held out hope he could get on the practice field Friday but they decided to hold him out and listed him as out for the game.
“If Jimmy could have played this week, he would have,” coach Kyle Shanahan said.
The Niners will also be without starting running back Raheem Mostert (knee), tight end Jordan Reed (knee), defensive end Dee Ford (back), cornerback Emmanuel Moseley (concussion), linebacker Dre Greenlaw (quadriceps) and cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon (hamstring) against the Eagles on Sunday night.
San Francisco will be getting some key pieces back this week with All-Pro tight end George Kittle set to return after missing two games with a knee injury and No. 1 receiver Deebo Samuel set to make his 2020 debut after breaking his foot during the offseason.
Kittle is one of the most important pieces to San Francisco’s offense as both a dominating run blocker and the team’s biggest threat in the passing game.
His 216 catches for 2,945 yards are the most ever for a tight end in his first three NFL seasons.
Samuel caught 57 passes for 802 yards and three TDs as a rookie last season and also made big contributions in the running game. He had 14 carries for 159 yards and three scores.
“It adds some excitement. You can get the ball into those guys’ hands,” Mullens said. “George and Deebo, those guys bring energy. They bring great energy. They’re leaders of this football team. That helps the entire offense, that helps the team. They’ve done great in practice. Very fast and very phsyical. Great mindsets. We’re pumped to have those guys out there.»
They will provide a big boost to Mullens, who has played well in place of Garoppolo over his career. He threw for 343 yards and a touchdown in a win last week against the Giants in his first start in nearly 21 months.
Mullens has been very productive when he has played, with his 2,620 yards passing in nine career starts ranking third most at that juncture of a career, trailing only Patrick Mahomes and Andrew Luck.
“I feel like San Francisco is blessed to probably have two starters, quite frankly,” Eagles coach Doug Pederson said this week. “The guy is a smart kid, he’s a hard worker. He puts the time in. You can see that in the way he plays. He doesn’t make mistakes. It’s rare that you see a poor decision, a bad throw or something like that on tape. He’s just constantly processing the information, doing the right thing with the football, helping his team win and just letting the offense work for him.”
NOTES: CB K’Waun Williams is questionable with a hip injury. … The Niners signed CB Jamar Taylor to the practice squad. Taylor spent training camp with the team and got extensive work in the slot when Williams was hurt in August. … Ford and Reed are expected to go on IR on Saturday. Samuel will be activated to fill one of those spots with the other still to be determined.
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