By Sam McPherson
The San Francisco 49ers are 2-10 this season, but perhaps no one would guess as much based on the current air of confidence and optimism surrounding the organization. Coming off a 15-14 win in Chicago last Sunday, the 49ers are heading to Houston this weekend expecting to win.
There are two reasons for this budding momentum. First, the team may have found its quarterback of the future in Jimmy Garoppolo, and second, almost every single player on the active roster should be available to play against the Texans. That can only make Head Coach Kyle Shanahan happy at this point in the season.
Trent Brown still has a shoulder problem
After missing one game coming off the bye week, offensive tackle Trent Brown played last week against the Bears, but his shoulder injury is not fully healed. He skipped practice on Wednesday, but Brown did participate on a limited basis on both Thursday and Friday in workouts. He should be ready to start on Sunday.
He was the only player listed on the team’s official injury report Friday.
A healthy defense makes all the difference
In addition to the 49ers offense actually being successful enough to stay on the field for long periods of time that enable the defense to rest and recover, the San Francisco lineup is healthy with a lot of key parts in place for long-term success. This was evident against Chicago last week, as the 49ers posted their best defensive effort in five seasons.
Only safety Adrian Colbert missed any workouts this week, and he was merely limited in practice. Colbert is expected to play Sunday in Houston, meaning that once again, the S.F. defense will be at its best health when taking on an opponent in a road game. That matters on the scoreboard, as the Bears game demonstrated.
Everyone knows the Texans have had more than their fair share of injuries this year. Defensive stalwart and all-around hero J.J. Watt was lost for the season early with a broken leg, and the whole league cringed when rookie QB Deshaun Watson tore ligaments in his knee during Week 9 preparations.
The Texans are just 4-8 this year, and they come into this matchup with San Francisco with few injury concerns. After all, after losing Watt and Watson, every injury seems to be minor now. But running back Alfred Blue (concussion), offensive tackle Julien Davenport (shoulder), linebacker Jelani Jenkins (concussion) and wide receiver Braxton Miller (concussion) have all been ruled out for the game.
Meanwhile, offensive guard Xavier Su’a-Filo (groin) is questionable after missing practice on Wednesday and Thursday, although he was able to participate on a limited basis Friday in workouts.
- (OT) Trent Brown (Shoulder) — Limited Participation In Practice