The San Francisco 49ers hired Chip Kelly to revitalize their hapless offense. That task became much more daunting.
Wide receiver Bruce Ellington has been placed on injured reserve and will miss the entire 2016 season, the team announced Tuesday. Ellington sustained a hamstring injury during the team’s third preseason game last Friday night.
This is a major loss for San Francisco’s offense. The 2014 fourth-round pick out of South Carolina was listed as a starter on the team’s most recent depth chart and was poised for a breakout season in Kelly’s high-volume passing attack. He also didn’t have much competition for targets outside of veteran Torrey Smith.
Ellington has 19 career receptions for 215 yards and two touchdowns in two professional seasons. He was also a prominent special teams player, racking up 325 punt return yards and 1,279 kick return yards throughout his short career.
There isn’t much proven talent behind Ellington on the depth chart. Quinton Patton could see a larger role in his fourth year with the club. Former fourth-round pick DeAndre Smelter is listed behind Ellington on the depth chart, along with second-year pro DeAndrew White, who caught two passes for 18 yards as a rookie last season. The team recently acquired former Jets and Lions wideout Jeremy Kerley in a trade.
San Francisco’s offense has taken a beating as of late. Running back Carlos Hyde sustained a concussion during last weekend’s game and remains in concussion protocol. The good news is Hyde should be ready for the team’s regular season opener Monday, Sept. 12 against the Los Angeles Rams.
The 49ers were hoping for an immediate resurgence offensively under Kelly, but a dearth of talent combined with questionable quarterback play could delay the revival.