By Sam McPherson
The good news for the San Francisco 49ers this week as they prepare for their Week 8 road game in Philadelphia against the Eagles is that health is improving across the roster. The bad news is their opponent is very healthy and has the best record in the NFL right now. The Eagles are 6-1 with only a seven-point road loss to the Kansas City Chiefs as a blemish on their record, and Philadelphia has just one active player dinged up right now despite a short week of rest following a Monday Night Football win over the Washington Redskins.
The 49ers have just six players on the official injury report Friday, which is down from prior weeks when the number was usually in the double digits. San Francisco is smarting from a 40-10 loss to the Dallas Cowboys at Levi’s Stadium Sunday, easily the team’s worst loss of the season. The 49ers now face perhaps their toughest opponent of the season yet, on the road.
Foster listed as questionable but should play
Rookie linebacker Reuben Foster has had a rough go of it in his first year as a professional. First, he hurt his ankle in the season opener and missed five games as a result of the sprain. Then, Foster injured his ribs against Dallas last week and had to leave the game as a precaution. He was limited in workouts all week, but the team expects him to be able to play on Sunday against the Eagles. After a successful college career at Alabama, everyone knows Foster has to be itching to get on the field—and stay there.
Two other players on the defensive side of the ball have been ruled out for Sunday’s game in Philadelphia: Pass-rush specialist Aaron Lynch (calf) and cornerback K’Waun Williams (quadricep) both were unable to participate in practices all week. Williams has started three games this year, so his presence in the secondary will be missed, although Lynch has just one sack on the year in five games.
Offensive line a little dinged up
Two members of the offensive line—tackle Trent Brown (concussion) and guard Brandon Fusco (biceps)—are listed as questionable, and that could have a seriously impact on the offensive game plan if neither player is able to suit up for the Eagles. Brown has started every game for the 49ers since the start of the 2016 season, and Fusco has started all seven games for S.F. this year since coming over from Minnesota in the offseason where he was a regular starter since 2012. Losing that experience upfront could be big challenge with a rookie quarterback (C.J. Beathard) making just his second career start.
Also, wide receiver Marquise Goodwin has a back problem and also is listed as questionable. He leads the team with a 17.5-yard average per reception this season, and his potential absence would hurt Beathard’s ability to stretch the Eagles defense a bit and open up more room underneath for the running game and the short-passing game.
Health is one reason Eagles have best record in NFL
Philadelphia listed two players on the official injury report Friday: cornerback Ronald Darby (ankle) and linebacker Jordan Hicks (Achilles). Darby was a limited participant in workouts all week, so he is questionable for Sunday’s game. Meanwhile, Hicks is expected to miss the rest of the season with a torn Achilles, and he obviously didn’t practice this week. The 49ers are facing the Eagles on the road while the home team is extremely healthy and playing well.
- (OT) Trent Brown (Concussion) — Unable to Participate In Practice
- (LB) Reuben Foster (Ankle, Ribs) — Limited Participation In Practice
- (OG) Brandon Fusco (Biceps) — Limited Participation In Practice
- (WR) Marquise Goodwin (Back) — Limited Participation In Practice
- (DL) Aaron Lynch (Calf) — Unable to Participate In Practice
- (CB) K’Waun Williams (Quadricep) — Unable to Participate In Practice