Times Standard (Eureka)
McCaffrey ready to go, Mitchell up in the air
Running back listed as questionable before team leaves for Philly
Christian McCaffrey is ready to make good on his promise to play in the NFC Championship Game against the Philadelphia Eagles.
Whether the 49ers will also have Elijah Mitchell available to share the load remains to be seen.
McCaffrey was removed from the injury report entirely and coach Kyle Shanahan said he was “full go” during practice Friday before the 49ers’ team charter departed for Philadelphia
McCaffrey said Thursday there was “zero” chance he would miss the title game with a calf injury, was going through the paces during the media window Thursday.
Mitchell was listed as questionable along with cornerback Ambry Thomas (ankle). Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (foot) was ruled out as expected.
Although it’s unusual for players to miss an entire week of practice and then play on Sunday, Mitchell could still wind up being a power-running complementary back for McCaffrey depending on how he feels.
“He’s a violent runner. We started calling him Drano because he always goes to the right hole, but we also call him the trash man too because when he’s out there it sounds like trash cans are banging together,” Shanahan said.
As a rookie sixth-round pick, Mitchell missed five full games and parts of others due to various injuries and still set a club rookie rushing record with 963 yards.
Mitchell has played in five games this season and has had two stints on the injured reserve list with MCL strains. He is the 49ers third-leading rusher with 279 yards behind McCaffrey (746 yards) and Jeff Wilson, who had 468 yards before being traded to Miami.
Against Dallas in the divisional playoff, Mitchell had 14 carries for
51 yards. He also caught a 7-yard touchdown pass from Brock Purdy in the wild card win over Seattle.
If Mitchell doesn’t play, then undrafted free agent Jordan Mason, who gained 258 yards this season, would could step into the No. 2 spot behind McCaffrey in a game in which the
49ers hope to control with their ground game. RYANS TO TEXANS? >> A day after a report DeMeco Ryans is the Denver Broncos’ top candidate for their head coaching vacancy, Friday brought news that he is also the Houston Texans’ preferred choice, the NFL Network reported. Ryans was the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year with the 2006 Houston Texans, and he played six seasons with that franchise before finishing
with four years on the Eagles.
Ryans interviewed last week with the Broncos and Texans, and further interviews can’t take place until Monday if the 49ers advance to the Super Bowl. Shanahan said the 49ers have been kept abreast of what’s happening.
“I’ve got a pretty good idea. He lets us know,” Shanahan said. “I don’t think any decisions have been
made. I just know he has this opportunity.”
Shanahan said Ryans has balanced the interview process with his job running the 49er defense.
“He’s been great. He’s really enjoyed this time,” Shanahan said. “He’s done a hell of a job in those two games. He hasn’t missed a beat in terms of preparation. He enjoyed getting those interviews in his off time and this week has been all about work.”