Chance for Willis to play Saturday


Chance for Willis to play Saturday

SANTA CLARA -- Linebacker Patrick Willis has not sustained any setbacks and said it's fair to say he's made "significant progress" after sustaining a right hamstring strain on Dec. 4.Willis continues to work closely with 49ers head athletic trainer Jeff Ferguson and Mark Uyeyama, the 49ers' head strength and conditioning coach. Willis ran at three-quarters speed as part of his rehab Monday night before the 49ers' 20-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers at Candlestick Park.He said there is a chance he can play Saturday against the Seattle Seahawks."I'm certainly hoping so. I'll just continue to do what 'Ferg,' our head trainer, asks me to do," Willis said on Tuesday. "And each day has been great. I most certainly hope to get back soon."
The 49ers want to be cautious with Willis to guard against any aggravation of the injury."Honestly, these last couple weeks, I've done everything that the trainers have asked me to do and worked with (Uyeyama) and (Ferguson) and our whole training staff," Willis said. "And we're just taking it one day at a time and being smart. Each day, my whole mindset is to get better with no setbacks. We've certainly done that. So we continue to work and when the pull the chains off, come back just as strong as I left off -- if not better."Larry Grant has stepped in and played well in Willis' position. But Willis said he remains just as eager to get back into the lineup."If I looked at it like that, I feel like I wouldn't be giving myself a chance to get better," Willis said. "I feel like I wouldn't be me. Larry has stepped in and done a remarkable job."

Harbaugh goes Biblical, responds to Jacobs' criticisms of his coaching

Harbaugh goes Biblical, responds to Jacobs' criticisms of his coaching

Former NFL running back Brandon Jacobs spent one season with the San Francisco 49ers in 2012 under head coach Jim Harbaugh.

Jacobs only played in two games and gained seven yards on five carries. The results were nothing like his 5,087 yards and 60 touchdowns over eight years with the Giants. 

Apparently being pushed to the bench as a 31-year-old veteran running back didn't sit well with Jacobs. 

“Going somewhere where they don’t have route conversions into certain coverages was just absurd,” Jacobs said Thursday on the Tiki and Tierney Show. “They’re just running routes in the defense, getting people killed. Size and strength is what they had, and that’s why they won.

"Let’s be real. They had great assistant coaches, but Jim didn’t know what he was doing. Jim had no idea. Jim is throwing slants into Cover-2 safeties, getting people hurt. That guy knew nothing, man."

On Saturday morning, Harbaugh responded to Jacobs with a tweet to him. 

Harbaugh went 44-19-1 in four seasons as the 49ers' head coach. He also added five playoff wins and a trip to the Super Bowl in the 2012-13 season, the one that Jacobs played for him.

Shanahan: Brooks earns place on 49ers' first-team defense

Shanahan: Brooks earns place on 49ers' first-team defense

SANTA CLARA – The eldest non-kicker on the 49ers’ roster is learning a new position this offseason.

But Ahmad Brooks has plenty of experience adapting to new positions during his 12-year NFL career. He has played inside linebacker, outside linebacker in a 3-4 and defensive end in pass-rush situations.

Now, Brooks has moved to the strong side linebacker position -- the “Sam” -- in the 49ers’ new 4-3 scheme under first-year defensive coordinator Robert Saleh.

“He’s getting them (first-team repetitions) because he deserves them,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said this week. “Watching how he played last year and then going into this offseason, you never know when a guy who has been around a bunch, if they’re going to feel that they need the offseason like other people do. And Ahmad’s been here every day and he’s needed it just like everyone has anytime you’re learning a new scheme.

“But anytime you have a veteran like that, you worry that, hey, maybe they won’t think that they do need it. But Ahmad has and he’s been here. He’s worked at everything. He’s in good shape. He’s done what we’ve asked in the weight room with Ray and he’s done everything with the position coaches and coordinator on defense. So, I think he’s learning it and he should because he’s putting the work in.”

Brooks, 33, has entered the past three offseasons with his place on the 49ers seemingly in jeopardy. But the 49ers have not been able to find a younger, better player to replace him. Brooks has tied for the team-lead in sacks in each of the past four seasons with 27 sacks over that span.

Eli Harold, Dekoda Watson and undrafted rookie Jimmie Gilbert were the other players who lined up at the Sam position during the first week of 49ers organized team activities.

Brooks and Aaron Lynch, starters at outside linebacker for the 49ers in the previous systems, have the steepest learning curves in the transition to a new defense. Lynch has moved to the team’s pass-rush defensive end position, known as the “Leo.”

“I think techniques are totally different,” Shanahan said. “How you want to take on blocks, how you want to play the run. Ahmad has been around a little longer than Aaron. So he’s probably had a little bit more crossover, some similar schemes.”