SANTA CLARA — There are no surprise scratches from the 49ers’ lineup for today’s game, but intrigue remains at how they’ll approach a couple of positions.
At cornerback, keep an eye on who the 49ers deploy at nickel back to cover the Bucs’ slot receiver, a job that fell on Deommodore Lenoir in last Sunday’s 34-3 win at Jacksonville, a job that previously was held by Isaiah Oliver. The 49ers (6-3) will have six cornerbacks up to face the pass-oriented Bucs (4-5): Lenoir, Oliver, Charvarius Ward, Ambry Thomas, Shemar Jeep-Charles and rookie Darrell Luter Jr., who makes his NFL debut.
On the offensive line, left guard Aaron Banks is out a second straight game because of a hyperextended toe, yielding another start to veteran Jon Feliciano. Rookie Corey Luciano will suit up for the first time in his career, as a backup on the interior line.
At running back, Ty Davis-Price won’t suit up for the eighth time this season, as Elijah Mitchell and Jordan Mason remain the backups to NFL rushing leader Christian McCaffrey. Asked Friday why Mason (5.6-yard average on 21 carries) is buried behind Mitchell (2.4-yard average on 30 carries), coach Kyle Shanahan said: “We look at more than stats. Mitchell’s our No. 2 back. He’s done some pretty good things here and JP’s our three; he’s been our two at times. But it’s how most cases are in the NFL.”
Also out are: emergency quarterback Brandon Allen (10th time in 10 games), linebacker Jalen Graham (10 inactive games), defensive tackle Kalia Davis (10), and tight end Brayden Willis (six).
Bucs nose tackle Vita Vea, a Milpitas High product, is “dealing with an illness” but is expected to play, the team announced.
Vea played only four snaps before leaving with a calf injury from Tampa Bay’s 35-7 loss here last December.
That defense will be without starting safety Ryan Neal, who is inactive along with No. 3 quarterback John Wolford, running back Ke’Shawn Vaughn, linebacker Cam Gill, offensive lineman Matt Feiler, and tight end David Wells. Elevated from the practice squad is Richard Lecounte III.
GRIESE ON PURDY
Brian Griese, the 49ers’ quarterbacks coach, revisited Brock Purdy’s starting debut last year against the Bucs and how composed he was.
“It’s the first start of his career and he’s going against (Tom Brady) and everybody is making a big deal of this and I tell you, the kid was flatlined. He wasn’t too high or too low,” Griese told Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times. “It wasn’t long into training camp when guys started to turn their head and noticed this kid started competing against our defense. And he didn’t back down.”
Griese is in his second season as the 49ers’ quarterbacks coach, having left the ESPN booth to try his hand at coaching. “I didn’t realize how much I would enjoy just getting back to the relationships, which is what we all miss when we’re out of the locker room,” added Griese, who moved his wife and their two high school-age children to the Bay Area from their Denver-area home this season.
BAD NEWS FOR BOSA
Nick Bosa’s brother, Joey, was carted off Lambeau Field with what was announced as a first-quarter foot injury, leading to speculation he may have sustained a season-ending Achilles tear. Bosa is in his eighth year with the Chargers. He was limited to five games last season but returned in the playoffs after core-muscle surgery. He has 6 1/2 sacks this season.
Joey Bosa –
Right foot extended, position-wise in a typical Achilles injury mechanism.
He knew something was wrong immediately. Expecting bad news.
— Jeff Mueller, PT, DPT (@jmthrivept) November 19, 2023
Serving as captains for the 49ers today are defensive lineman Arik Armstead, tight end George Kittle, quarterback Brock Purdy, wide receiver Deebo Samuel, linebacker Fred Warner and left tackle Trent Williams — the six captains who were named before the season to serve in that capacity.
The 49ers filled their open roster spot Sunday by activating Luter off the physically-unable-to-perform list, after the fifth-round draft pick recovered from a knee-related injury five months ago. Guard Nick Zakelj had gone on Injured Reserve because of a torn biceps last game. To help with offensive line depth, undrafted rookie Corey Luciano (Monte Vista High-Danville) was promoted Saturday from the practice squad.