SANTA CLARA — Cut from the 49ers’ camp a year ago, Colton McKivitz is now essential as their ‘starting right tackle’.
That’s the words coach Kyle Shanahan used on Sunday to explain why McKivitz joined nearly 20 front-line players in Minnesota’s 17-7 preseason win.
What does that say about Mike McGrinchy’s recovery timeline from the knee problem that kept him out last week since the preseason opener against Green Bay?
“He’s just saying he’s not healthy right now,” Shanahan said on a media conference call.
Therefore, the McKivits will start Thursday’s preseason finals in Houston with most of the players slated for the season-opening lineup in Chicago on Sept. 11, including quarterback Trey Lance.
By then, McGrinchee could once again play his role as the starting right tackle as long as the knee cooperates, along with the quad repair that sidelined him after last year’s midseason. .
McKivitz, a 2020 fifth-round pick, was shocked to be cut last year and recalled last week. sooner than you think. ”
He spent the season on the practice team before making an emergency start in place of left tackle Trent Williams in the regular season finale win over Los Angeles.
If the light tackle isn’t the 49ers’ biggest health crisis, it’s in the injured defender’s back. However, expected to return to practice on Monday are Emmanuel Moseley (hamstring), Donte Johnson (rib) and possibly Ambry Thomas (knee). Shanahan said cornerback Charvarius Ward (groin) should be back next week after the preseason finale, but there was no safety update for Jimmy Ward, who pulled a hamstring a week ago. rice field.
Other players expected to return to practice include defensive tackle Aric Armstead (knee), linebacker Curtis Robinson (groin), offensive lineman Jayron Moore (leg) and tight end Charlie Warner (adductor). ) is.
Injured in Saturday’s game were wide receiver Austin Mack (hamstring; out for several weeks) and offensive tackle Sam Schlueter (knee tendonitis; daily).
Without Lance’s play, the 49ers placed Nate Sudfeld and Brock Purdy in the quarterback rotation. Shanahan’s reviews for each were positive.
On Sudfeld: “Nate did a good job, so I don’t think[the conservative pass]was quite the case. Based on people, based on getting the ball in the right place at the right time, I want him to make what you call the right play…of play.So I think Nate has a good camp. Like all quarterbacks, no one is perfect, but he tries to do it on every play.
As for Purdy, he ended up being drafted 262nd after four years at Iowa State. It’s been a lot of football that he’s been through so many games, and I know it’s college football, but it’s still a lot of pressure from freshman through his senior year. So Brock has played a lot of quarterbacks and he didn’t let it change that he came here and being around a big light or an NFL player. A man and that gave him the opportunity to get better. ”
Guards Aaron Banks and Spencer Burford were the only players expected to face the Vikings defense as Week 1 starters, with mixed results.
“We both made mistakes, but it was nice to see them come back in the second quarter and rebound,” Shanahan said.
Another young guard who has had a good watch: undrafted rookie Jason Poe.
“He goes out and plays good every time he has an opportunity. The play that stands out for me is his physical strength when he’s pulling and so on,” Shanahan said. “I think that stands out to the average fan, but he’s a competitive guy who works hard every single game. He’s been doing that ever since he’s been here. gave me the chance to participate in this discussion.”