Dungy sees silver lining in 49ers' early rash of injuries originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
In an NFL season featuring a rash of injuries to stars around the league, the 49ers have been one of the most unfortunate teams.
Defensive linemen Nick Bosa and Solomon Thomas have been lost for the season with ACL injuries, while Jimmy Garoppolo, George Kittle, Raheem Mostert and Richard Sherman all are dealing with various short-term ailments.
Nevertheless, the 49ers are 2-1 and are coming off back-to-back dominant road wins over the New York Jets and New York Giants. NBC Sports NFL analyst Tony Dungy was forced to handle plenty of injury situations during his 13 seasons as an NFL head coach, and while joining the “49ers Talk” podcast, talked about how all the injuries early in the 49ers’ season could end up being a positive later in the year.
“No. 1, you see the depth, you see players come in and continue to get the job done,” Dungy told NBC Sports Bay Area’s Matt Maiocco and Laura Britt. “When they play well, and you get some of these guys back, it can help you down the road.
“That Super Bowl year I talked about, Bob Sanders played four games for us that year, well his backup had to carry the load and help us get through it and we won enough. Then when Bob came back, he lifted our team and we played to a different level.
“That can happen too, I think as you're persevering through this kind of thing, you get a confidence that hey when we get some of these guys back, when we get Jimmy back, when we get Deebo Samuel back, we’re gonna be that much better, I think it can be a benefit in the short-term.”
The 49ers saw the boost of bringing back an injured player for last year's playoffs, as linebacker Kwon Alexander's return to the lineup brought a major burst of energy to the defense before the divisional game against the Minnesota Vikings.
As long as players like Nick Mullens and Jeff Wilson Jr. continue to shine in place of the starters, there shouldn’t be much concern about the 49ers being able to win. But the injuries also impacted games against two of the league’s worst teams in the Jets and Giants, and the 49ers will need to be full strength, or at least play like they are in order to beat teams like the Seattle Seahawks and Arizona Cardinals (who already beat the 49ers once this year).
So far, the 49ers’ reserves and players who have been brought in to hold things over for those dealing with injuries have performed well, and if they can continue to do so, there won’t be a need to rush guys like Garoppolo and Mostert back onto the field.