The Arizona Cardinals take on the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday in Santa Clara, California.
David Fucillo of Niners Nation was kind enough to talk about the Niners and the big trade, the injuries on defense and what the fans think of this season.
We’ll share that over the next couple of days, here is part two.
Last game we talked about the young defense and their potential growth. Now, they have been beset by injuries throughout. Is there a worry about the injuries in the essence of long term continuity and growth of the group?
Fooch: That's a tough one to figure. I do have concerns about the injuries stunting growth. And in the case of Jimmie Ward and Reuben Foster, there are concerns injuries are just a thing with them and will inhibit their development regularly moving forward. Ward is in his fourth year, and has gone on injured reserve for the third time. They've been for different injuries, but it's disconcerting to see him regularly hurt. As for Foster, his February shoulder surgery has not been a problem, but he has dealt with a high ankle sprain and then a rib injury. Again, all unrelated, but concerning.
The 49ers defense was off to a solid start under new (and rookie) defensive coordinator Robert Saleh. They are implementing a defense predicated in part on what the Seattle Seahawks do. We have seen some areas where it works, and the 49ers have been able to start figuring out some cornerstone pieces. Defensive tackle DeForest Buckner is among the NFL's leaders in pressure from the defensive interior, and rookie defensive lineman Solomon Thomas has been among the best rookie linemen. Ahkello Witherspoon has emerged at cornerback the past couple weeks, making his first start this past week. Third year safety Jaquiski Tartt has emerged as a presence at safety, and somebody who could step in long-term.
All of this is to say, there are pieces emerging. I would prefer to see them all growing as a group, but for an 0-8 team, I'll take whatever silver linings I can get. The 49ers will likely be adding at least one or two big ticket options to their defense next spring, whether it be with high draft picks, their huge amount of cap space, or some combination of them. There will be enough changes that I am not super concerned about the injuries yet.
Thanks to Fooch for the great information, head over to Niners Nation to check out my answers on three questions and we will have the last part tomorrow morning.