Just one day before the scheduled Thursday night matchup between the Green Bay Packers and San Francisco 49ers, news broke of another positive COVID-19 test between the two programs.
It was revealed on Monday that Green Bay Packers‘ second-round pick, A.J. Dillon, tested positive for COVID-19. ‘Intense protocols’ were initiated immediately to limit the spread of the virus among Packers’ personnel. Fellow running back Jamaal Williams and linebacker Kamal Martin have already been excluded from Thursday night’s game due to their close contact with Dillon. Dillon, Williams, and Martin are the only Packers on the COVID-19/reserve list.
We received word, this morning, that an ‘unknown player’ for the San Francisco 49ers has tested positive for COVID-19.
We learned just hours ago that, wide receiver Kendrick Bourne, is that player. Bourne has started four games for the 49ers, this year, and is one of just two receivers that has seen action in every game. He’s coming off his best performance of the year, recording 8 receptions for 81 yards against the Seattle Seahawks. Bourne is the only player on the 49ers’ COVID-19/reserve list, as of this time, but it’s reasonable to expect more players to be added to the list before tomorrow night’s game. Edit: Since publication, WR Deebo Samuel, WR Brandon Aiyuk, and LT Trent Williams have all been added to the list.
The 49ers were already down a starting wide receiver, in Deebo Samuel, who is nursing a hamstring injury – losing Bourne only deepens the wound. The 49ers will also be without quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and Nick Mullens is scheduled to start in his place.
With this lengthy list of inactive contributors to the passing game, we can expect to see plenty of work on the ground for the 49ers, but we were already expecting that. I don’t need to remind you all of the beat-down the 49ers gave the Packers on the ground the last time the two teams met – it’s branded into our memory.
The Packers are coming off a horrible performance against the Minnesota Dalvin Cooks, so we’re reasonably concerned about what we’re going to see tomorrow night. Defensive Coordinator, Mike Pettine has clung to the motto “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” but the Packer’s run-defense is broken. Pettine should consider prioritizing the 3-4 defense over the nickel and utilizing run-blitzes to clog some lanes against the 49ers. He should handle this game like his job depends on it – because it does.
Pettine should be given a chance to show his adaptive side, as all signs are pointing to Thursday night’s game being played as scheduled. While Levi’s Stadium will play host tomorrow, it’s been empty today. The 49ers were forced to close all facilities for the day and hold virtual meetings in lew of in-person practices – just as the Packers did on Monday.
It’s been a difficult short-week for both of these teams. This Thursday night matchup won’t show the true talent of either the Packers or the 49ers but it will show much more. This game will be a test of strength – the strength of will and of heart. We’ve all been similarly tested this year so we know what these players and coaches are going through.
Whichever team can look adversity in the eyes and overcome it, will walk away with a victory. You can trust Game On Wisconsin to continue to bring you any COVID-19 updates prior to Thursday night’s game. We wish Kendrick Bourne, AJ Dillon, and everybody worldwide that’s been affected by the coronavirus a speedy recovery. Special shoutout to my mom and my brother back in Green Bay who are currently fighting the virus. Much love to both of you.
Everybody stay safe and healthy, and Go Pack Go!