49ers pregame report: Jason Verrett out ill; Cowboys surprisingly inactivate Ezekiel Elliott

Dallas Cowboys leading rusher Ezekiel Elliott and 49ers cornerback Jason Verrett are surprise scratches for today’s game in Arlington, Texas.
Verrett is out with an illness, according to the 49ers. He’s started every game since missing the first two with a hamstring injury.
The 49ers’ cornerback corps will welcome back Emmanuel Moseley (hamstring) and K’Waun Williams (ankle), and they figure to start in the nickel package with Richard Sherman. Dontae Johnson and Ahkello Witherspoon are other options.
Whoever suits up for the 49ers will face a tough tandem in Cowboys’ leading receivers Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb, who’ve combined for 1,684 yards and nine touchdowns.
Elliott missed practice time last week with a calf contusion but coach Mike McCarthy and owner Jerry Jones expressed confidence Friday that Elliott would play, as he has every previous game this season.
“He wrote the book on how to play with pain and how to be compromised, physically, to play. So I expect him to play,” Jones told Dallas’ 105.3 The Fan.
On Sunday, McCarthy told USA Today’s Jori Epstein about Elliott: “He’s been fighting through a number of things each and every week.But you never have an indication that he’s not going to go because he’s been very consistent, very professional.
“I know it’s killing him not being out there with his teammates. That’s the way he’s wired. He’s been fighting through a lot this year.”
— Tony Pollard figures to serve as the Cowboys’ No. 1 ball carrier today. He has 75 carries for 339 yards and two touchdowns, including 11 carries for 39 yards last Sunday at Cincinnati. Elliott has rushed for 832 yards this season and, of his five rushing touchdowns, none came in the past eight games since Dak Prescott’s season-ending injury.
— Raheem Mostert, the 49ers’ leading rusher, will suit up despite aggravating an ankle injury in last Sunday’s loss to Washington. Also active are Jeff Wilson Jr., Tevin Coleman and Jerick McKinnon.
— Linebacker Mark Nzeocha won’t suit up for the 49ers despite coming off Injured Reserve on Saturday. Nzeocha last played in Week 3, when he sustained a quadriceps injury against the New York Giants.
— Wide receiver Deebo Samuel won’t play for the seventh time in 14 games this season. He aggravated a hamstring injury last game and is not expected to play again this season, unless the 49ers make the playoffs.
— Backup center Hronnis Grasu (knee) is the 49ers’ only other inactive, but three players are on the NFL’s COVID-19 reserve list (guard Colton McKivitz, running back Austin Walter and tight end Charlie Woerner).

The 49ers-Cowboys draw the Land Clark officiating crew. Clark is in his first season as a referee and his crew ranks 4th among the 17 NFL officiating crews in penalties. The home teams have won the last four games this crew has worked.
— Rick Gosselin (@RickGosselin9) December 20, 2020

— Also out for the Cowboys are cornerback Rashard Robinson, quarterback Ben DiNucci, wide receiver Malik Turner, linebacker Luke Gifford, defensive ends Bradlee Anae and Ron’Dell Carter.
— Series history: This marks the 37th all-time meeting between the clubs and their first in which both are in last place outright in their respective divisions, according to NFL Network’s Andrews Siciliano. The Cowboys lead the series 17-18-1.
— After losing their previous two games at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Ariz., the 49ers will return their to face the host Arizona Cardinals on Saturday and then plan to play their regular-season finale Jan. 3 there against the Seattle Seahawks.
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