The 49ers are going to be without two more starters Sunday versus Washington.
Rookie receiver Deebo Samuel (groin) and defensive tackle D.J. Jones (hamstring) have been ruled out for Sunday’s game in the nation’s capital, the team announced Friday. Both players sustained their injuries during last week’s victory over the Los Angeles Rams.
They join left tackle Joe Staley (fractured fibula), Mike McGlinchey (knee), fullback Kyle Juszczyk (knee) and cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon (foot), who had already been ruled out after sustaining their injuries previously. Running back Raheem Mostert is listed as questionable with a knee sprain after missing the first two practices of the week.
Samuel has shown flashes of promise early in his rookie campaign, but the second-round draft pick has just 15 catches for 168 yards in five contests. His absence will likely lead to the debut of Jordan Matthews, who was added to the team last month when receiver Trent Taylor was placed on injured reserve with a foot injury.
Matthews signed with the 49ers in the offseason but was released during final cuts. The coaching staff likes Matthews’ veteran leadership and his ability to play all three receiver positions, including in the slot which could become important with Taylor out until at least Nov. 24 versus the Packers.
The 49ers have also been without the other recently drafted receiver, Jalen Hurd, who’s been sidelined since mid-August with a fracture in his back. Hurd won’t be eligible to rejoin the team until early December.
Matthews, 27, averaged 891 yards during his first three seasons after getting drafted in the second round by the Philadelphia Eagles in 2014. He was traded to the Buffalo Bills for a package including cornerback Ronald Darby before the 2017 season, and has since bounced from the Patriots and back to the Eagles mostly because of injuries. He’s been healthy since joining San Francisco.
“He’s played a lot of football,” Kyle Shanahan said Friday. “He’s a very reliable guy, we don’t mind putting him in there at any position. The game’s not too big for him. He plays very physical, he’s a big guy, he can run also, he’s got good hands.”
The 49ers will likely mix and match along the defensive line to replace Jones, who’s started all five games. Sheldon Day is the most natural fit at nose tackle in running downs. It’s likely Solomon Thomas and Arik Armstead spend more time along the interior against the pass. Thomas notched his second sack of the season last week.
Washington will be without former 49ers tight end Vernon Davis, who will miss his third straight game after sustaining a concussion against the Giants Sept 29. The team will also be without safety Deshazor Everett (ankle), linebacker Josh Harvey-Clemons (hamstring), guard Wes Martin (chest) and running back Chris Thompson (toe).
Cornerback Josh Norman (thigh, hand) is listed as questionable after not practicing all week.