49ers notes: Secondary spots unsettled for opener

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49ers notes: Secondary spots unsettled for opener

Sept. 6, 2011MAIOCCO ARCHIVE
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Matt MaioccoCSNBayArea.com
Safety Dashon Goldson said he is battling a sore knee that makes his availability for the 49ers' season opener against the Seattle Seahawks in question.Goldson said he sustained the injury last week in practice. He is not wearing a brace on his knee, but he said he could not have played in the exhibition finale Thursday night in San Diego even if it were a regular-season game.Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said he is not sure who will start Sunday in the 49ers' defensive backfield alongside strong safety Donte Whitner .Veteran Madieu Williams is listed as the 49ers' second free safety behind Goldson. Reggie Smith was atop the depth chart before undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his right knee Aug. 8 -- the same day the 49ers re-signed Goldson to a one-year contract. Smith is expected to return to practice this week.
Cornerback Shawntae Spencer is also expected to return to practice and could be available for some play time Sunday against the Seahawks. However, Tarell Brown
and Carlos Rogers are expected to start at the cornerback spots."We'll see how he feels and how he reacts to getting back out there," Fangio said of Spencer. "He hasn't done anything football-wise in over four weeks."That would be a tall task for him to come back this soon and play a full game. Maybe he can come back and play parts of it. That remains to be seen or to be determined day to day."Spencer sustained a left hamstring strain in practice July 31. He tried to return to the practice field on Aug. 14, but aggravated the injury.Wideout watch: Receiver Michael Crabtree is expected to return to practice this week, but his availability for Sunday's game remains in question. Crabtree sustained a fractured left foot and underwent surgery prior to training camp.Crabtree was removed from the physically-unable-to-perform list and caught passes in warmups last week. Currently, the 49ers have three receivers listed as starters on the depth chart: Josh Morgan, Ted Ginn Jr. and Braylon Edwards .The league has yet to announce whether Edwards will be suspended at the start of the season, stemming from his guilty plea of a DWI charge. A league spokesman told CSNBayArea.com that the matter is still "under review."
Crabtree has started 26 of the 27 games in which he has appeared in his two-year career. His only non-start was last year against Denver when the 49ers opened with a two-tight end formation. Crabtree entered for the second play of the game.Outside linebacker rotation: Rookie outside linebacker Aldon Smith, the No. 7 overall pick in the draft, is expected to be used as a pass-rush specialist. Ahmad Brooks and Parys Haralson will be the starters, Fangio confirmed."He'll be a part of our rotation outside," Fangio said of Smith. "Putting a number on that will be hard. But he'll definitely be a part of the rotation."New numbers: After the final cuts, several 49ers players ended up with new uniform numbers. Receiver Braylon Edwards claimed No. 17, the number he wore each for his first six NFL seasons with Cleveland and the New York Jets
The others to change numbers: center Jonathan Goodwin is No. 59, defensive lineman Will Tukuafu is No. 92 and defensive lineman Demarcus Dobbs is No. 96.Quarterback Scott Tolzien is No. 3, and inside linebacker Tavares Gooden was issued No. 56.Tolzien wore No. 16 during his career at Wisconsin and during his five weeks with the San Diego Chargers. Of course, the 49ers have retired No. 16 in honor of Joe Montana."I said, 'I want No. 16,'" Tolzien said. "And they said, 'No you can't.' And I said, 'No, I want No. 16!"
Of course, Tolzien was merely joking with 49ers equipment manager Steve Urbaniak.

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.