Strategy And Personnel

The Sports Xchange

November 22, 2018 at 1:34 am.


–WR Pierre Garcon (bruised knee, strained shoulder) sat out practice Wednesday, but head coach Kyle Shanahan indicated he might return for the Week 12 game against Tampa Bay. Garcon hasn’t played since Week 9 against the Oakland Raiders.

–G Joshua Garnett (thumb surgery) hasn’t been ruled out of the Week 12 game at Tampa Bay despite the ligament procedure that took place on the bye week. Garnett sat out Wednesday’s practice, but 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan said he might return to practice before week’s end.

–OLB Reuben Foster (strained hamstring) was limited in practice Wednesday in his quest to return to action in Week 12 against Tampa Bay. He’s missed the last two games.

–OLB James Onwualu was signed to the 49ers’ practice squad Monday. The Notre Dame product appeared in nine games for the Chargers last season after going unselected in the 2017 draft.

–SS Jaquiski Tartt (strained shoulder) has returned to practice this week and likely will be available for the Week 12 game at Tampa Bay. He hasn’t played since suffering the injury in the Week loss at Arizona.

PLAYER SPOTLIGHT: RB Matt Breida. The bye week couldn’t come too soon for the 5-foot-10 back, who has limped off the field more times than anyone has cared to count this season. But there was a time when the undrafted second-year back ranked among the NFL leaders in yards gained early in the season before his injuries kicked in. He figures to be as healthy as he’s been in several weeks after his in-season vacation.

GAME PLAN: Protect the quarterback and get to the other guy’s quarterback. It used to be that football teams talked about running the ball and stopping the run as the keys to success. But not the way the NFL game is being played today.

Neither team has the type of secondary that’s going to be able to handle the other’s receivers if the quarterbacks get ample time to throw. But Nick Mullens has made just two NFL starts, and had two interceptions in his second, while Jameis Winston has been harassed into at least two picks in each of his three starts. The team that forces the most mistakes figures to have the upper hand.

–49ers CB Richard Sherman vs. Buccaneers QB Jameis Winston. Like most quarterbacks, Winston figures to look away from Sherman when attacking the 49ers. But with two star-quality wideouts, chances are he’ll take his chances against the former All-Pro more often than most. And that could be just the opportunity the veteran has been waiting for. Sherman hasn’t returned an interception for a touchdown since Week 4 of the 2013 season.

–49ers TE George Kittle vs. Buccaneers OLB Devante Bond. The Buccaneers have allowed touchdowns to tight ends in five games this season, but none since Bond became the starter two games ago. The second-year pro figures to have his hands full this week with Kittle, who has caught 13 passes for 191 yards in Nick Mullens’ two starts.