Photo credit: ninerswire.usatoday.com
By Jeremy Harness
When the undefeated 49ers take the field at Levi’s Stadium Sunday against Carolina, there will be a big change. Or maybe two.
The 49ers knew that they needed to upgrade the wide receiver position at some point, and they pulled the trigger on a key move Tuesday, adding veteran wideout Emmanuel Sanders in a trade from the Denver Broncos.
Head coach Kyle Shanahan said that he expects to have Sanders to play Sunday, and that it is very likely that he will play both outside as well as in the slot, along with fellow receivers marquise Goodwin and Dante Pettis.
A key factor in the 49ers making this trade was the fact that the status of injured receivers Trent Taylor (foot) and Jalen Hurd (back), who have been out all season.
They are both on the eligible-for-return injured reserve list, but according to reports, the team has started to lose hope of getting them back on the field in 2019.
On the bright side, the 49ers are getting closer to having a key player back on the offensive side of the ball. Left tackle Joe Staley has been out since Week 2 with a hairline fracture in his fibula, but he practiced on a limited basis, and there is a chance that he will play Sunday.
Tight end George Kittle, receiver Deebo Samuel, running back Raheem Mostert and defensive end Dee Ford were all limited in practice Wednesday, but all are expected to be on the field against Carolina.
For the Panthers, quarterback Cam Newton was held out of practice Wednesday as ne nurses a foot injury, meaning that backup Kyle Allen is likely to be under center when the Carolina offense is on the field Sunday.