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Friday, September 29, 2023

The 49ers’ toughest opponent isn’t the Eagles or Cowboys, it’s health

On Sunday, the 49ers finally reckoned with a force that could stop them from winning the Super Bowl this season.

And no, it wasn’t their Week 2 opponent, the Rams.

It was injuries.

After escaping from Week 1 with enviable health, the harsh reality of the NFL showed up in Week 2.

The 49ers’ top-line talent stands out from the rest of the league this season. And that top-line talent stands out from the rest of the 49ers roster.

Yes, the drop-off is always significant between star player and reserve, but the 49ers have, in the past, built deep rosters under general manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan. It’s a strategy that has paid off.

That is not how this 2023 team was built, though.

No, on this squad, the difference between star and backup is precipitous this season at several positions.

It’s enough to torpedo a season.

And the position where the difference between the best and the rest is largest might be wide receiver.

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