Vincent Frank, Contributor
Day 10 of San Francisco 49ers training camp didn’t go too swimmingly for the team as it prepares for Saturday’s preseason opener against the Dallas Cowboys.
Rookie No. 2 overall pick Nick Bosa, free agent cornerback Jason Verrett and veteran receiver Marquise Goodwin all departed with lower-body injuries.
Injuries to these three specific players can’t be seen as good things. Bosa missed a vast majority of his final season with Ohio State due to a core muscle injury. He also missed most of the 49ers’ off-season program with a hamstring injury.
Verrett, who is coming off a torn Achilles, has played a grand total of five games since the 2015 season due to a plethora of injuries.
There is, however, good news on this front.
NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport reports that Bosa suffered a sprained ankle. The defensive end will likely sit the remainder of the preseason, but should be good to go for Week 1 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
There’s no real reason for the 49ers to rush Bosa back here during the four preseason games. He’s more than held up against starter-caliber players during camp, offensive tackle Joe Staley included. As long as Bosa is healthy, he’s going to make an immediate impact as a Pro Bowl-caliber player out of the gate. The goal is now to make sure he’s 100 percent and ready to go for Week 1.
Reports also noted that Verrett suffered a minor ankle injury. The former Pro Bowler is likely out for Saturday’s game against the Dallas Cowboys. It’s not yet known how this injury might impact Verrett through the final three preseason games. San Francisco had been playing it close to the vest with him due to the numerous injuries the veteran has suffered over the past three seasons.
Third-year cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon was listed as San Francisco’s starter opposite Richard Sherman in its first depth chart of the summer. Verrett, 28, was always facing an uphill climb to be named the Week 1 starter. Given Witherspoon’s solid training camp, that has not changed.
Witherspoon will now be given more opportunities to prove that a disastrous sophomore campaign is behind him. At best, we can now expect Verrett to be the top backup on the outside and potentially fill in for K’Waun Williams in the slot at times.
As it relates to Goodwin, the injuries that plagued his Buffalo Bills career popped back up again last season. The veteran missed five games and caught only 23 passes. That came a year after he put up career-high numbers in receptions (56) and yards (962). It’s not yet known how serious his injury is. But it seems to be less severe than what we saw with Bosa and Verrett.
Despite being listed as the 49ers’ starter opposite Dante Pettis, rumors persist around 49ers camp that Goodwin is not a lock to make the 53-man roster. Depending on the severity of this injury, that could be magnified further.
The up-and-down performance of rookie second-round pick Deebo Samuel during camp will obviously impact Goodwin’s status as much as his current injury. Goodwin is set to count only $3.9 million against the cap in 2019, meaning that salary likely won’t be part of the final decision.
Other Training Camp Notes
After seeing the defense be a step ahead of the offense earlier in camp, Jimmy Garoppolo and Co. have stepped it up big time recently. That included Garoppolo throwing four straight touchdowns in red-zone drills on Wednesday. Two went to Trent Taylor and the other two to George Kittle.
For his part, Garoppolo is showing absolutely zero lingering effects from the torn ACL he suffered in Week 3 of last season. While the starter will not play Saturday against Dallas, the expectation is that he’ll make his preseason debut next week.
11-on-11 practice Wednesday culminated in Richard Sherman intercepting Garoppolo after a tipped pass from second-year linebacker Fred Warner. These two are expected to be big time catalysts for an improved 49ers defense in 2019. For his part, Sherman showed veteran leadership in criticizing his young defensive backs before that last-minute pick.
Following up on some other injuries, the 49ers practiced without the likes of Arik Armstead (calf), Ronald Blair (groin), Dee Ford (knee), Josh Garnett (finger), Malcolm Smith (hamstring) and K’Waun Williams (knee) on Wednesday.
Ford is expected to miss a couple weeks while undergoing treatment for knee tendinitis. The recently-acquired Pro Bowl pass rusher wasn’t expected to play much, if at all, during the preseason. So this can’t be seen as a major deal.
As it relates to Garnett, the former first-round pick will also be out for some time. The guard is battling for a spot on the 53-man roster, but just can’t stay healthy. It might be an uphill climb for him to break camp with the 49ers.