Take 2 of Reggie Bush’s 49ers debut will be Sunday against the Green Bay Packers after the veteran running back practiced all week and was listed as probable on the team’s injury report.
Bush’s initial outing was cut short when he strained his left calf in the first quarter of the season opener against Minnesota, and he didn’t travel to Pittsburgh and Arizona.
“You never feel 100 percent,” Bush said Friday. “There’s always little injuries here and there. But if I’m there, then I’m playing. I’m giving 110 percent effort.”
Bush’s performance against the Vikings hinted at a big role as a change-of-pace option to workhorse Carlos Hyde. He ran the ball twice and was targeted once in the passing game before limping to the sideline.
He also was on the field on third down. Bush’s skill as a pass catcher out of the backfield – he’s first in career receptions among active running backs – should help quarterback Colin Kaepernick when his initial options are covered, something that was an issue in Sunday’s loss to Arizona.
Bush said he would make sure to be in Kaepernick’s “vision” in Sunday’s game.
“It’s just building that chemistry so that he knows that if he ever needs a quick outlet, just check the ball down (and) I’ll be there,” he said.
The running back’s speed and ability to run to the outside also make him a threat in the 49ers’ read-option game, although Bush said that’s only theoretical. Despite a lifetime playing football, including 10 seasons in the NFL, this is the first time he’s been in an offense that has a read-option component.
“I guess we didn’t have the quarterbacks that could run,” he said.
Even Alex Smith didn’t do much running when they were at Helix High School outside of San Diego, Bush said.
“When he got to college and he really started running the ball, I was shocked,” Bush said with a laugh. “Because I was like, ‘That’s not the Alex I know.’ ”
Smith rushed for 254 yards last season for the Chiefs, eighth highest for a quarterback. Kaepernick had 639 rushing yards, second to Seattle’s Russell Wilson.
No looking ahead – When the Cowboys played at Levi’s Stadium during the preseason, coach Jason Garrett made sure his players knew it would host the upcoming Super Bowl and that the goal was to return there in February.
The Packers, considered by many to be Super Bowl favorites, say they aren’t issuing any reminders of where Super Bowl 50 will be played.
“Nah, that’s not really my style or my approach,” coach Mike McCarthy said this week. “We’re aware of where the Super Bowl is, the 50th anniversary and all those things. … Our focus is on winning this football game.”
Aaron Rodgers also was asked if a game in Levi’s Stadium held extra significance this year. “Not really, no,” the Packers quarterback said.
More Armstead? – The Packers’ offense almost always uses three or more wide receivers, which means the 49ers will be in their substitute defenses packages for most of the game.
That ought to give pass-rushing linemen Arik Armstead and Tank Carradine more playing time than they’ve had in the first three weeks. Each has one sack this season; Armstead’s first sack of his career was Sunday against Arizona.
“Yeah, I was excited for Arik getting his first sack and really Ken (Acker) getting his first interception,” 49ers defensive coordinator Eric Mangini said. “Those are big moments for guys in the NFL.”
Injuries – Tight end Vernon Davis did not practice this week due to a knee injury he suffered Sunday and is listed as doubtful on the team’s injury report. Vance McDonald likely will start in his place.
McDonald (knee), cornerback Acker (back), guard Alex Boone (shoulder), receiver Bruce Ellington (ankle) and safety Eric Reid (hip) were among the 49ers listed as probable.