The San Francisco 49ers went into this week knowing they’d probably be without Carlos Rogers on Sunday against the Green Bay Packers after the veteran cornerback sustained a hamstring injury in Arizona. Today’s injury report provided some additional bad news; not only did Rogers not practice at all, but Eric Wright was limited with a hamstring ailment of his own.
It’s never good news when two of the top four cornerbacks on a team suffer leg injuries, but it’s especially problematic against a team like the Packers. Green Bay utilizes three-wideout sets extremely often — “75 percent or more” of the time according to 49ers defensive coordinator Vic Fangio.
In Eddie Lacy, the Packers have their first feature back they’re willing to give 20+ carries per game since Ryan Grant back in 2009, but with Aaron Rodgers and Randall Cobb back healthy they can spread the field with some four-WR sets if they choose.
Green Bay Packers wide receiver snap counts
- Jordy Nelson: 1,102 (85 rec, 1,314 yds, 8 TD)
- James Jones: 863 (59 rec, 817 yds, 3 TD)
- Jarret Boykin: 673 (49 rec, 681 yds, 3 TD)
- Randall Cobb: 340 (31 rec, 433 yds, 4 TD)
If Rogers and Wright are both unable to play, the 49ers’ cornerbacks are Tramaine Brock, Tarell Brown, Perrish Cox (who rejoined the team this week after getting released by the Seahawks) and Darryl Morris (an undrafted rookie who has only played seven defensive snaps this season).
Fangio was optimistic earlier today about Rogers’ chances, saying he might “give it a shot today” and that his injury “is not as bad as originally feared,” but he also hinted at an injury for Wright that no one outside the team knew about until the practice report was released later in the afternoon.
Here’s what Fangio said when asked whether Cox would go back into the dime role (fourth cornerback) he held previously with the 49ers.
“He might get some other action too,” Fangio said. “In there with Wright switching on and off. Or, playing in our other five or six defensive back packages.”
The 49ers have had a tough time filling their No. 3 cornerback role all season. Nnamdi Asomugha struggled in the first three games of the season, and was replaced by Brock after injuring his knee. Asomugha was later released and retired several weeks later. Brown, Rogers and Brock played together for six games, until Brown suffered a rib injury against New Orleans. Brown no longer had his starting job when he returned against Tampa Bay as the No. 3 corner, and now he’ll be counted on to play every down on Sunday.
For a team that gave up 740 passing yards in its last two games, all this uncertainty heading into a game against Rodgers and the Packers is coming at the worst possible time. The 49ers are going to need Aldon Smith to come close to matching the two-sack, two-hit, four-hurry effort he had in Week 1 to help out the secondary. If Ahmad Brooks wants to start playing decent football once again, that wouldn’t hurt either.