SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — The San Francisco 49ers are headed into the season with questions at kicker after both third-round rookie Jake Moody and veteran Zane Gonzalez went down with injuries in the past week.
Moody strained his right quadriceps in practice earlier this week and is listed as week to week, putting his status for the season opener at Pittsburgh on Sept. 10 in question.
Gonzalez strained his calf during pregame warmups Friday night and will miss a few weeks.
The injuries will force the Niners to bring in kickers for workouts in case they need an option for the opener if Moody isn't available.
“I’ve never been in this situation before where we have two really good kickers in our camp and a few days before the final 53 both kickers aren’t available at this time,” coach Kyle Shanahan said Saturday. "I think these next couple days are real important just for us to just see how the rehab’s going and things like that and trying to guess where it’s going to be two weeks from now when we kick off. We’re discussing everything and just being ready for any possibility to maneuver this roster however. But, we really don’t know what direction we’re going to go until time takes care of that.”
The Niners were hoping for stability at kicker after using the 99th overall pick to draft Moody out of Michigan. Moody has shown off his big leg repeatedly at practice but has struggled in games. He missed two field goals in his exhibition debut at Las Vegas and an extra point last week before making a game-winning field goal against Denver.
San Francisco is dealing with several other injuries with perhaps the most problematic being a meniscus injury to third-round rookie tight end Cameron Latu. Latu will likely require surgery and the Niners must decide whether to keep him on the initial 53-man on Tuesday to keep his option of playing this season open.
Backup running back Elijah Mitchell is still dealing with tightness in his hip and All-Pro safety Talanoa Hufanga had a procedure to remove a cyst from behind his knee and will need a few days off to heal.
Wide receiver Chris Conley is day to day with an AC sprain in his shoulder, running back Jordan Mason is day to day with a sprained foot, safety Taylor Hawkins will need surgery on his broken hand and cornerback A.J. Parker will miss a few weeks with a hamstring injury.
With receivers Ray-Ray McCloud (wrist) and Danny Gray (shoulder) also dealing with injuries that could sidelined them into the season, it could complicate the Niners plans as they cut the roster before Tuesday's deadline.
“It’ll all play into the factor of the 53,” Shanahan said. “We know the positions we want, we know the numbers that we need. We’ve got to see who’s available.”
The other big question for the Niners before the opener is whether they can end the holdout of All-Pro defensive end Nick Bosa. The Defensive Player of the Year is seeking a long-term contract to replace the fifth-year option on his rookie deal and end up with the richest deal ever for a defensive player.
General manager John Lynch said Friday night he remains optimistic a deal will get done soon.
“We’ve got a lot of work to do and we’ll continue to do that,” Lynch said. "He’s a great player. We want him here. We need him here.”
AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/nfl
Josh Dubow, The Associated Press