© Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports
Injuries have plagued the 49ers throughout the past two seasons. The 49ers brass is now doing something about it.
The team has fired head strength and conditioning coach Ray Wright, according to NBC Sports Bay Area’s Jennifer Lee Chan.
“It’s been too big of a deal for two years,” Kyle Shanahan said Monday. “Injuries are pretty random, but it’s also affected us huge. So, that’s something that we definitely have to sit back and really look at it from all angles and put a lot of time into. Just try to find a better perspective at it.”
Wright joined the 49ers with Shanahan and the rest of his coaching staff prior to the 2017 season. He spent five seasons with the Washington Redskins and one season with the Houston Texans as their head strength & conditioning coach before joining the 49ers. According to the 49ers website, “Wright oversees all facets of the team’s offseason workout program, which extends through training camp and the entire season.”
Throughout the past two years, 41 49ers players went on injured reserve. Of the 19 this past season, the two most notable were franchise quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, who suffered a torn ACL in Week 3, and recently signed running back Jerick McKinnon, who tore his ACL one week before the 2018 season started.
The injuries didn’t stop. The majority of the starting defense missed time. Every starting secondary member missed at least two games this season. Attrition at the safety spots forced the 49ers to cycle eight different players there throughout the year. At one point, Richard Sherman was an injury or two away from moving to safety.
Offensively, the trend continued. Receivers Dante Pettis, Marquise Goodwin, Trent Taylor, and Pierre Garcon all missed multiple games. Garcon played in just eight games for the second straight season.
Onto the running back room — three 49ers running backs, none named McKinnon — left games this year with injury. Those include Matt Breida, who was hampered by an ankle injury all year, Raheem Mostert, who broke his arm in Week 9, and Jeff Wilson, who left the season finale with a leg injury.
Injuries are random. They can be unlucky, but the onslaught of them, disrupting improvement in the form of wins from Year 1 to Year 2 in the Shanahan regime, seemed to be too great to ignore.
“There’s an old adage in football, I don’t know if it’s exclusive to football, but your best ability is availability,” John Lynch said Monday. “We haven’t had a lot of guys available and that’s something we’re looking into hard. It’s been ongoing. We’ll continue to do that because it’s something that needs to change and I don’t think anyone’s to blame. We have been studying it. We’ll continue to, and try to get a handle on that.”