The 49ers continue to be the most dangerous team in the NFC, if their nucleus of key players remains healthy.
Given the reckless abandon with which 49ers players play, that can be a big if.
Most teams will have injury issues from time to time, especially in late November. The 49ers are prone to have more than just a few such issues, because their players play with no hesitation.
Case in point, receiver Deebo Samuel has another hamstring issue, after Monday night’s game against the Cardinals at Mexico City. Coach Kyle Shanahan was asked on Friday whether it was a continuation of the prior hamstring issue that caused Samuel to miss the Week Eight win over the Rams.
“No, it was something different,” Shanahan said. “We got back at like seven in the morning, I’m sure he went home and slept for a while. It was a little weird day. He didn’t feel it much on Tuesday. Got the information on Wednesday and then we were safe about it.”
Samuel was limited in practice all week. He’s officially questionable for Sunday’s game against the Saints.
When their key skill position players are healthy (Samuel, running back Christian McCaffrey, tight end George Kittle, receiver Brandon Aiyuk), the 49ers have a “pick your poison” offense; quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo used that very term when talking about it on Friday. Remove one or more of them from the mix, and the offense becomes less poisonous. Which makes the 49ers more vulnerable.
That’s really the question as they make their run for another NFC West title and potentially prime playoff positioning. Will the tendency of the team’s players to perform with no regard for their own personal well-being prevent them from performing?
If not, the 49ers may finally get Super Bowl win No. 6.