NFC Notes: 49ers, Cardinals, Seahawks


  • Should 49ers first-round QB Trey Lance start in Week 17, Matt Barrows of The Athletic writes that they must have a “more passer-friendly” system than his Oct. 10 appearance against the Cardinals where Lance recorded 16 run attempts, was hit in the pocket eight times, and sustained a knee injury. 
  • As for the 49ers potentially deciding between Lance and Jimmy Garoppolo if they reach the playoffs, Barrows points out HC Kyle Shanahan typically sticks with the veteran option at most positions. 
  • Regarding Garoppolo’s trade value, Barrows thinks his “over/under is one third-rounder” given the quarterback’s label as an “injury-prone” player. 
  • Barrow anticipates CB Emmanuel Moseley (ankle) returning to a starting role once he’s healthy, while veteran CB Josh Norman will continue starting opposite of him with third-round CB Ambry Thomas rotating in. 
  • Shanahan said Wednesday Garoppolo would go through a pre-practice workout with the training staff that would dictate his practice participation. (Nick Wagoner)
  • On the nature of Garopollo’s thumb injury, Shanahan explained: “I’ve been told he does not need surgery right now. To clear that up, (sprain) is way it was worded to me, he has a Grade III sprain. The reason they never mentioned to me a fracture is it doesn’t have much to do with the sprain; it pulled off a fleck of the bone.” (Cam Inman)
  • Shanahan added Garoppolo is “feeling a lot better today than he was a few days ago,” and still has a shot to play Sunday. (Barrows)
  • Garoppolo also expressed confidence about his availability: “Christmas made it feel a little better. It’s a torn ligament though, so is what it is. The pain not going anywhere, and it’s about being confident and doing what I normally do. We’ll see what it gets us but I do feel confident about it now.” (Inman)
  • Garoppolo mentioned 49ers GM John Lynch called him to apologize for accidentally liking a tweet about leaving him in Nashville after the loss to the Titans: “John’s first class. Always has been, always will be.” (Barrows)
  • Shanahan mentioned the 49ers should have third-round RB Trey Sermon available off of IR this week if sixth-round RB Elijah Mitchell can’t go, though he was hopeful for Mitchell. (Inman)
  • The 49ers hosted QB Tyler Bray, P Colby Wadman and P James Smith for workouts on Tuesday. Bray and Wadman ultimately signed to the practice squad. (Aaron Wilson)
  • San Francisco also hosted S Jordan Dangerfield for a visit. (Aaron Wilson)


  • Fansided’s Matt Lombardo talked with people around the league to diagnose the Cardinals’ second-half of the season struggles the past two years and HC Kliff Kingsbury was consistently identified as an issue. One league source with ties to the Cardinals said: “Honestly, I think it’s that Kliff has such an easy-going atmosphere in that building. Hell, leading into Week 1, the first team never practiced or played together at full speed. Veterans hardly ever practice. There isn’t any structure or discipline there.”
  • Others thought the Cardinals were overly reliant on talent and when injuries hit the roster, they haven’t been able to respond: “With Kyler Murray, a little banged up, no DeAndre Hopkins, no Rondale Moore, it really lessens what defenses have to do to beat them. And defensively, losing [J.J. Watt] was just huge. He was really impactful before the injury.”
  • Murray says people are hitting the panic button too early on Arizona, though: “People are making dramatic statements about the team. There’s nothing crazy that needs to be done. Everybody needs to do their job, everybody has to be a little bit better.” (Darren Urban)
  • Moore and Cardinals RB James Conner are day-to-day, and Kingsbury added they probably will be game-time decisions this week. (Urban)
  • Kingsbury was pessimistic about fourth-round CB Marco Wilson‘s availability this week with a shoulder injury. (Josh Weinfuss)


Seahawks RB Rashaad Penny believes he should be a big piece of the team moving forward. He’s been able to get healthy and has had a few big rushing games in the final year of his deal. 

“Hope so,” Penny said, via Adam Jude. “I mean, I come out to win games and help contribute. I think that’s the number one thing for me and, again, staying injury-free. And just being positive and doing whatever it takes to help the team win. That’s all it is.”

Penny thinks the key for him is just staying healthy.

“This journey for me is far from over,” Penny said. “I knew what I could do. I mean, again, it’s just I was never on the field. It’s unfortunate, but I’m thankful for whatever I’ve been doing these last few weeks. I couldn’t have done it without these guys giving me an opportunity to show what I can do and just never giving up on me.”

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