Ginn sustains ankle injury, Edwards sits it out

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Ginn sustains ankle injury, Edwards sits it out

SAN FRANCISCO -- Coach Jim Harbaugh said he wanted the four receivers active who gave the 49ers their best chance to win Monday night.And Braylon Edwards was not one of those receivers.Edwards, who saw limited practice time last week with knee and shoulder ailments, was inactive for the 49ers' 20-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers. But he might soon be needed again.Receiver Ted Ginn left the game after sustaining an ankle sprain on the opening kickoff of the second half. A team source indicated that X-rays were negative, but his status for Saturday's game against the Seattle Seahawks is uncertain.
Ginn returned to the sideline in the second half and watched the remainder of the game in street clothes without the use of crutches.The fact that Edwards was not in uniform was a bit of a surprise after he suited up for the Dec. 11 game against the Arizona Cardinals. He did not play Dec. 4 against the St. Louis Rams, as he focused on strengthening his right knee and left shoulder.Harbaugh indicated afterward that the decision to deactivate Edwards was not health-related."We went with the three," Harbaugh said. "Felt like (Kyle) Williams, Ginn and (Michael Crabtree) gave us the best chance. Then, we also wanted to use Brett (Swain) on special teams. Those were the four we dressed."Crabtree and Williams supplied virtually identical numbers for the 49ers. Crabtree had four catches for 35 yards, while Williams caught four balls for 33 yards. Swain made his first reception of the season -- a 9-yarder -- after Ginn was injured.
Edwards ranks eighth on the 49ers with 14 catches for 172 yards in eight games.--Left tackle Joe Staley, who received medical clearance Sunday one week after sustaining a concussion, started and played most of the game. He left the game in the fourth quarter when he got kicked in his left leg. Staley underwent X-rays that were negative, he said. In a statistical anomaly, punter Andy Lee's net average was actually better than his gross average -- thanks to Antonio Brown's minus-10 yard return in the fourth quarter. Lee punted six times. His gross average was 47.5, and his net average was 49.0."Guys are covering," Lee said. "They're getting down the field and I don't have to worry about anything." The 49ers became the first team in NFL history to not allow a rushing touchdown in their first 14 games of a season. The 49ers are also on pace to set a team mark in average points allowed. The 49ers have surrendered just 13.2 points per game. In 1976, the 49ers allowed 13.6 points per game.

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 49eres 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.

49ers begin final phase of offseason program

49ers begin final phase of offseason program

The 49ers have graduated back to the phase of the offseason when offense-vs.-defense drills are allowed.

Because of the hiring of Kyle Shanahan, the 49ers were allowed an additional “voluntary” minicamp before the NFL draft. That meant the 49ers were permitted to skip from the two-week conditioning phase of the offseason straight to what is allowed under Phase III.

But after the three-day minicamp in late-April, the 49ers were forced to retreat back to Phase II, when on-field drills but could not include offense vs. defense.

Beginning Monday – and over the next three weeks -- the 49ers can get back to conducting the standard one-on-one, 7-on-7, 9-on-7 and 11-on-11 "non-contact" drills. The 49ers have the maximum number of 10 organized team activities scheduled. The official offseason program concludes with a mandatory minicamp scheduled for June 13-15.

The real competition does not begin until the pads go on during training camp. but here’s a look at the team’s most notable offseason competitions (one position you will not find is quarterback, where the depth chart of Brian Hoyer, Matt Barkley and C.J. Beathard appears clearly set):

Running back: Carlos Hyde, entering the final year of his original four-year contract, has a lot of competition to hold onto his role as the featured back. He is coming off his most-productive season, finishing just 12 yards shy of the 1,000-yard mark when he sustained a knee injury with one game remaining. Shanahan and running backs coach Bobby Turner lobbied for Utah running back Joe Williams in the draft. They clearly see a fit for him within the system.

Pass-rush end: The 49ers’ pass rush was among the worst in the NFL the past two seasons. Arik Armstead will be given an opportunity to see if he can adapt to the “Leo” position. Aaron Lynch must earn the confidence of the coaching staff and front office. The 49ers added explosive, 243-pound pass Pita Taumoepenu in the sixth round.

Tight end: The 49ers confirmed Vance McDonald was available for a trade during the draft. After finding no takers, the 49ers brought back McDonald and he rejoins the competition among rookies George Kittle and Cole Hikutini, and veterans Logan Paulsen, Garrett Celek and Blake Bell.

Cornerback: Rashard Robinson is the obvious choice to start on one side. And assuming Jimmie Ward remains at free safety, the 49ers have no other player on the roster who has started a significant number of games at cornerback. Rookie Ahkello Witherspoon, a third-round draft pick, will have a legitimate opportunity to win a starting job, as long as he displays a willingness to stick his nose into the action and play with the requisite level of physicality. Dontae Johnson, Keith Reaser and Will Redmond should also be in the mix to replace Tramaine Brock, who was released shortly after his arrest after an alleged domestic incident last month.

Center: Jeremy Zuttah, a Pro Bowl performer, was added in the offseason via a trade with the Baltimore Ravens. Daniel Kilgore has been the 49ers’ center the past three seasons but injuries have limited him to just 23 starts over that period of time. Zuttah has position flexibility. The 49ers could determine the best thing for the offensive line is to move Zuttah to one of the guard positions – to challenge Zane Beadles or Joshua Garnett -- if he is not clearly better than Kilgore.

Weakside linebacker: The 49ers signed veteran Malcolm Smith on the first day of free agency, providing him with $11.5 million of fully guaranteed money. The 49ers ranked Alabama linebacker Reuben Foster as the No. 3 overall prospect in the draft. They traded up to select him at No. 31 overall. Assuming Foster is ready to compete at the beginning of training camp after undergoing offseason shoulder surgery, it appears likely he would line up in that position and compete with Smith. The 49ers’ medical staff does not believe Foster will require any additional surgery, and Foster said he expects to be cleared for the opening of camp.