49ers Mailbag: Williams not yet cleared to play

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49ers Mailbag: Williams not yet cleared to play

ST. LOUIS -- Receiver Kyle Williams is not expected to be available Sunday for the 49ers against the St. Louis Rams, a source told CSNBayArea.com on Saturday.Williams has yet to receive medical clearance after sustaining a concussion a week ago against the Seattle Seahawks. Williams was sandwiched by two Seahawks players after he slipped on a fourth-quarter kickoff return.One Seattle player, Michael Robinson, was penalized 15 yards for unnecessary roughness, and another, Adrian Moten, was fined 7,500 for the illegal hit on Williams.Receiver Ted Ginn (ankle) is questionable for the game. The club will make a decision on his availability 90 minutes prior to Sunday's 10 a.m. (PT) kickoff.
The 49ers expect both Williams, who is showing steady progress, and Ginn to be ready for the 49ers' first playoff game.And now let's go to the 49ers Mailbag. . . Who has PRKR duties if Ted Ginn and Kyle Williams are out? (Jeff House)
Reggie Smith would handle the punt-return chores while rookies Chris Culliver and Kendall Hunter will be available to return kickoffs. Ginn's status for Sunday is uncertain, but look for some combination of those three players to see action in the return game even if Ginn is active. Smith had one fair catch on a punt last season. In 2009, he had three returns for 7 yards. Neither Culliver nor Hunter has returned a kickoff in a regular-season game.Any word on how long Delanie Walker is out for? (@dannyrube)
It'll be a surprise if Walker is available for the playoffs. He sustained a fractured jaw, underwent surgery to wire it shut and is currently on a liquid diet, according to multiple team sources. Walker visited teammates at the 49ers practice facility late in the week, and he could barely talk. He is forced to communicate mostly via text messages.The 49ers are holding out hope he'll be available if the club advances deep into the playoffs. That's why coach Jim Harbaugh said more will be known about Walker's status next week.Any chance we sign T.O.? (Nick Church)
No, gosh, no. Ginn and Williams will be back for the 49ers' first playoff game. If the 49ers were going to bring a player in from the outside, they would've already done it. So, basically, the 49ers are going to have the same corps of wide receivers in the playoffs that they used for the bulk of this season: Michael Crabtree, Ginn and Williams.Do you expect to see Kendall Hunter and Frank Gore on the field at the same time seeing how thin the 49ers are at receiver. (Michael Tubiolo)
The 49ers might do some different things with their personnel packages, but you'll mostly see their base offensive package consisting of fullback Bruce Miller and Frank Gore in the backfield. Or, they can go with second tight end Justin Peelle subbing in for Miller in two-TE packages. Gore and Hunter are capable of playing together, but I don't envision that being a huge part of Sunday's game plan. It's possible the 49ers could have only three receivers active, with Crabtree, Brett Swain and just-called-up Joe Hastings. If the 49ers really get into a bind, they could have rookie special-teamer Colin Jones jump out there to run a route or two.Any chance Boobie Dixon gets more carries? (Tommy Taaga Jr.)
The 49ers must win this game against the Rams to assure themselves the No. 2 seed in the NFC playoffs, which means a first-round bye and home game in the divisional round. Therefore, the 49ers are going to keep doing what they've been doing. Gore will be the main ballcarrier. And Hunter will be the change-of-pace back. Anthony Dixon will play special teams. He will not get significant action on offense unless he's forced to fill in or the game is well in hand.

Bowman guarantees he will not be odd-man out of 49ers' competition

Bowman guarantees he will not be odd-man out of 49ers' competition

SANTA CLARA – The 49ers’ biggest free-agent acquisition on defense and one of the team’s first-round draft picks play the same position.

Coach Kyle Shanahan said he is holding off on thinking about how everything is going to play out this season at the linebacker position.

“I really try not to envision it too hard because I see a lot of good players there,” Shanahan said Tuesday during the 49ers’ first week of organized team activities.

The 49ers awarded weakside linebacker Malcolm Smith guaranteed money as an unrestricted free agent totaling approximately $12 million. Then, on the first day of the draft, the 49ers’ No. 3 rated prospect experienced a free fall, and the club traded into the back end of the first round to select him.

While Alabama linebacker Reuben Foster has been sidelined through the offseason program as he recovers from shoulder injury, he figures to compete with Smith for the starting job. Foster will also learn middle linebacker, where NaVorro Bowman has earned first-team All-Pro honors in four seasons.

Bowman looks to be nearly all the way back from a torn Achilles that limited him to just four games last season.

“You don’t know what’s going to happen,” Shanahan said. “Seeing Bow out here and how healthy he’s been, knowing we’ve added some good free agents, and the way the draft worked out, having a linebacker we had ranked very highly fall to us at the end of the first round. We got a lot better pretty fast.

“When you ask me how it’s going to play out, I’m not sure. It’s a good problem to have. It’s something you’d like to have any every position. There’s going to be a very good player who’s not out there all the time. That’s not a bad thing. That makes the two guys who are out there go a lot harder and play better. It makes special teams better and it allowed you to survive injuries, which almost always happen.”

Bowman’s vision for the upcoming season includes him retaining his role in the middle of the 49ers’ defense.

"I won't be on the sideline, I'll tell you that right now,” Bowman said.

Bowman said he was not fazed with the 49ers selected Foster in the first round. Foster is likely considered the heir apparent to Bowman.

Shanahan called Bowman after the selection of Foster was made, but Bowman said he did not need to speak with the coach about why the selection was made.

“I wasn’t expecting it,” Bowman said of the phone call, “but it was good to hear from him, to see that he had something to say or an idea of what he wanted to get across to me.

“But we haven’t talked about it. I did that on purpose. It doesn’t matter to me. I’ll compete with anyone, whether he’s 21 or 35. It doesn’t matter. I’m a guy who’s going to give my best effort and have full confidence in my abilities to play this game. I know how much I study this game. I know how good I am and that’s what was going to bring back here.

“It’s always a competition. There’s always someone trying to take your spot. As a player, if you keep that in mind, you’ll always put the work in that’s needed.”

 

49ers reissue Bryant Young's number

49ers reissue Bryant Young's number

SANTA CLARA -- For the first time since Bryant Young retired following the 2007 season, the 49ers have placed his old number back into service.

Linebacker Dekoda Watson was issued No. 97 for the team’s organized team activities this week.

Young was a four-time Pro Bowl selection and eight-time winner of the Len Eshmont Award as the 49ers’ most inspirational and courageous player. No 49ers player has worn No. 97 in the past nine seasons or offseasons.

Rookie defensive lineman Solomon Thomas is now wearing No. 94 after being issued No. 96 for the rookie minicamp. Linebacker Reuben Foster is wearing No. 56.

Rookie defensive tackle D.J. Jones now wearing No. 96. Cornerback Rashard Robinson switched back to No. 33 after an earlier change to No. 26. Running back Kapri Bibbs is now 26. Rookie running back Joe Williams is No. 32 after wearing No. 33 at the NFLPA Rookie Premiere in Los Angeles over the weekend. Veteran running back Tim Hightower is wearing No. 22.