San Fransisco 49ers linebacker Michael Wilhoite is no stranger to being forced into action unexpectedly, in fact, he’s been here before, in 2014 he started 16 games for an injured NaVorrow Bowman.
The San Fransisco 49ers recently lost former pro bowler and all-pro linebacker NaVorrow Bowman for the season due to suffering an Achilles injury against the Dallas Cowboys at home at Levi’s Stadium. Per, the team’s website.
The Candidates to replace Bowman? Here’s what head coach Chip kelly had to say.
“If NaVorro is out for this week or an extended period of time it’ll be really those four that you will see in there,” Chip Kelly said prior to the injury announcement. “Bellore, Wilhoite, Hodge, and Skov. Those are the four we’ve got.”
Michael Wilhoite has the most experience out of the three other options mentioned by Kelly and Wilhoite has played both inside linebacker positions, the “Will and Mike” respectively.
Wilhoite was given the start over Gerald Hodges on Sunday against Dallas and responded with 12 tackles. Make no mistake about it the 49ers can’t replace a NaVorrow Bowman and it will be even more of a challenge to stop the run moving forward.
However, at least you have a Wilhoite on the roster who’s been there, done that, and in 2014, started 16 games for injured NaVorrow Bowman.
Important to note: Wilhoite signed a one-year contract this off-season. At 6′-0″, 240 lbs, Wilhoite started and appeared in 12 games in 2015, totaling 85 tackles, one interception, and one pass defended. Per, NFL.com.
In his four-year career, he’s accounted for 228 tackles, three interceptions, one forced fumble, and eight passes defended while appearing in 53 games with 31 starts under his belt. Via, ESPN.com.
Who might start opposite of Wilhoite? Nick Bellore thinks he’s getting the nod to start.
LB Nick Bellore said he believes he’s going to start on Thursday in place of NaVorro Bowman. It would be first start of his 6-year career.
— Matt Maiocco (@MaioccoCSN) October 4, 2016
In closing, while Wilhoite isn’t the explosive athlete Hodges is, with his sideline to sideline speed, he brings a different element to the table in leadership, experience, high competitiveness, proven productivity, and a calm, cool, and savvy veteran demeanor to the field and locker room.