The injuries are starting to stack for the San Francisco 49ers.
Dre Greenlaw is now on the mend for about six to eight weeks due to a groin injury that he is having surgery on. While it is fortunate he isn't out for the year, it still stings the 49ers. Losing a solid starter is never a beneficial situation.
However, the loss of Greenlaw will not burn the 49ers entirely as they have Azeez Al-Shaair who is more than capable as the 49ers starter.
Al-Shaair has been a player who has seen some strides of improvement every year with the 49ers. Looking at how strongly he performed against the Detroit Lions in Week 1 is a testament to that. Now it is just one nice game that he put on display, but I think the 49ers have an adequate linebacker at their disposal.
“Azeez, he did a really great job," said DeMeco Ryans at his presser on Thursday. "He stood out. Everyone could see the effort, the tackling in space, the way he played, that's the way a linebacker should play. He made a lot of plays for us. I was pumped up, excited for him, proud of the way he stepped up and played for us. And Azeez is a guy who is smart. He's a smart guy who's versatile. He can play multiple positions. So, I'm excited to see where Azeez started the season and he'll continue to get better and better, but I'm very proud of the way he played on Sunday.”
There is no way around it. Al-Shaair had himself a game against the Lions. In fact, he was better than Greenlaw even with his house call interception. Facing the Eagles will definitely be a greater challenge than the Lions for the 49ers, so Al-Shaair possibly won't have as many highlight plays as he did.
But this is the game for him to prove that he is a starting caliber linebacker and that Week 1 was not a fluke. He certainly can do so and if he can do it against a mobile quarterback in Jalen Hurts, then I bet we start to see similarities of the linebacker shuffle in 2019. I am referring to when Kwon Alexander tore a pectoral muscle, then Greenlaw filled in and never gave up the starting role back. It will be an interesting moment when Greenlaw is returning if Al-Shaair has been playing stout.
For now, he needs to hold it down against the Eagles on Sunday.