While the San Francisco 49ers don’t expect Arik Armstead to return in time for Week 12 after finally returning to practice for the first time since October 1, the team received some good news for the game against the New Orleans Saints, as Deebo Samuel is expected to play after being ruled questionable on Friday. Samuel, who was ruled doubtful with a hamstring injury on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, will reportedly try to play barring a pre-game setback according to Adam Schefter’s sources.
Assuming Samuel makes it onto the field in Week 12, he will join an offensive that is otherwise at full strength as Trent Williams, the only other offensive player to land on the injury report during the week, has a clean bill of health way into the game and ended the week with final full participant status.
Even if the 49ers have built an offense that has more playmakers than goals every game, even if Pro Bowlers like George Kite have suggested that any talk of the team having too many mouths to feed, Kyle Shanahan’s offense will always be better with the number 19 on the field, as he is arguably the prototype of a “San Francisco 49ers Offensive Skills Player”.
When Shanahan was asked about Samuel’s hamstring injury and if it was a worsening of the same injury that plagued him earlier in the season in his final media session ahead of Week 12, Shanahan offered an insight into the status of his NBC Sports player, according to Mike Florio .
“No, it was something else,” Shanahan said. “We got back at 7am (from our game in Mexico), I’m sure he went home and slept for a while. It was a slightly strange day. On Tuesday he didn’t feel much of it. Got the information on Wednesday and then we were sure.”
Will Samuel’s availability in the game be limited due to his hamstring injury? Ultimately, against the 4-7 Saints, could it cause the all-pro multi-hyphen to miss time in the future if he tries excessively? Only time will tell, but with the 49ers taking an early lead, don’t be surprised to see Shanahan relying more on his reserves like he did against the Arizona Cardinals in Mexico City.
In Week 11, Danny Gray, the 49ers’ third-round pick from SMU, officially recorded a new career-high 10 offensive snaps against the Cardinals, which was the first time he’d hit double-digit snaps as a pro.
It was a big accomplishment for Gray as the rookie speedster was expected to add a vertical element to Shanahan’s offense as an out-of-option tempo change in place of the typical third receiver Juan Jennings, but so far hasn’t carved out a consistent offensive role. However, despite an increase in playing time on the field, Gray failed to log the first NFL catch, which eluded him in his first six professional appearances because he was not targeted in the game.
If the 49ers can walk away with the division, or at least walk away with a few games, Gray might get more opportunities to see the field and actually throw a few more balls, but right now his spot appears to be sitting on the bench, where he’s from learning NFL techniques from his colleague Brandon Aiyuk.