Despite beginning this page of the calendar on a bye week, 49ers outside linebacker Aldon Smith on Thursday was named NFC Defensive Player of the Month for November.Smith recorded nine sacks in just three games for the 49ers. On Nov. 11, Smith recorded two sacks against the St. Louis Rams. He torched the Chicago Bears for 5.5 sacks a week later. And on Sunday, Smith was credited with 1.5 sacks against the New Orleans Saints.Smith becomes the first 49ers player to be recognized as a Defensive Player of the Month since cornerback Walt Harris in November 2006. The 49ers have not had an Offensive Player of the Month since quarterback Jeff Garcia in November 2001. Last year, kicker David Akers was selected as Special Teams Player of the Month in December.Smith, a second-year player from Missouri leads the NFL with 16.5 sacks, just one sack behind Fred Dean's 49ers record set in 1983.With 30.5 sacks in his first two NFL seasons, Smith reached 30 sacks faster than any player in NFL history (27 games) since the sack became an official statistic in 1982. Reggie White recorded his 30th sack in his 28th game.Moreover, Smith has five games to record more sacks than anyone in his first two NFL seasons. White, a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, recorded 31 sacks in his first two seasons. Michael Strahan holds the NFL record with 22.5 sacks in a single season (2001).
Starting safety Eric Reid will not be available for the 49ers on Thursday night, and the other presumptive starting safeties are questionable, too.
Jimmie Ward (hamstring) and Jaquiski Tartt (neck) went through limited practice Wednesdsay and are listed as questionable to face the Los Angeles Rams in front of a national television audience at Levi’s Stadium on Thursday night.
Ward and Tartt are expected to be available for the game, but the 49ers’ only healthy safeties are rookies Lorenzo Jerome and Adrian Colbert.
Reid is expected miss more than one game with a sprain of the posterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. Reid is listed as out for Thursday’s game, along with linebacker Reuben Foster.
The 49ers medical staff no longer requires Foster to wear an orthopedic boot to stabilize his high right ankle sprain. General manager John Lynch said Foster is making good progress, but the 49ers are going to be cautious with him.
“The one thing I know is that freak athletes tend to be freak healers, as well,” Lynch told NBC Sports Bay Area.
“He wanted to play the first week in the boot. That’s just the way he’s wired. We got to make sure he’s all the way healthy before we put him in, and we’re going to do that.”
Tight end George Kittle (hip) and linebacker Eli Harold (foot) are questionable for the game and are expected to play. Kittle sustained his injury during the 49ers’ 12-9 loss to the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday. Harold was stepped on during a practice this week.
49ers injury report
LB Reuben Foster (ankle)
S Eric Reid (knee)
LB Eli Harold (foot)
TE George Kittle (hip)
S Jaquiski Tartt (neck)
S Jimmie Ward (hamstring)
The 49ers entered the regular season feeling as confident in quarterback Brian Hoyer as anyone on the offensive side of the ball.
But Hoyer has struggled through the worst back-to-back games of his 33-start NFL career. And the 49ers need him to get going, beginning Thursday night against the Los Angeles Rams, coach Kyle Shanahan said.
"I want him to get his edge back. I want him to get his confidence,” Shanahan said Wednesday on the KNBR Morning Show.
“We need Brian to step up, and we need everyone around him to step up.”
In the first two games of the season, Hoyer has completed 62.9 percent of his 62 pass attempts but for just 292 yards with no touchdowns and two interceptions. His passer rating is a lowly 60.7.
The 49ers have scored only four field goals and no touchdowns on their 21 offensive possessions in losses to Carolina and Seattle. Moreover, the 49ers have converted just four of 23 (17.4 percent) of their third-down attempts.
The quick turnaround on Thursday at Levi’s Stadium is something Hoyer said he welcomes this week -- of all weeks.
Last season with the Chicago Bears, Hoyer did not throw for fewer than 300 yards in any of his four full games. On Sunday in the 49ers’ 12-9 loss to the Seahawks, he managed just 99 yards passing.
“It was a tough game and now we move on,” Hoyer said. “Thankfully, this week we get to move on really quick and move on to LA.
”You get to put the last one behind you and move on to the next.”