Healthy Jacobs forces issue on special teams

Healthy Jacobs forces issue on special teams
October 2, 2012, 10:24 pm
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SANTA CLARA -- Brandon Jacobs came off the practice field from his individual workout Tuesday and went into the locker room where the media waited to hear the status of his injured left knee.

Im ready to play. Its nothing now. Its all gone now, Jacobs said.

The knee injury has kept Jacobs out of the first four games of the season. But before the 30-year-old running back can return to play his first game, he has to return to a full practice with his team, which he has not yet done.

Hopefully I can get out and go practice this week take some reps and do some hard running and see where things go from there, Jacobs said. The hard running is in me to be that way, but I want to go out and be able to get out and do some fancy fast running and really put em down and pick em up and see how things feel. I just finished running outside, I ran some 60s. Thats as far as I can run. I felt pretty good. Its the little kinks I gotta run out, but I feel good.

The 49ers brought Jacobs in on a one-year deal before the start of the season, hoping to cash in on his explosive power. That power showed during the preseason where he was a perfect four-for-four in converting all of his short-yardage situations into first downs. He gained eight yards on his only carry on a first-and-10, the same play in which he injured his knee. But Jacobs feels hes close to a return.

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I feel good about my explosiveness. Ive got fresh legs other than the injury. My legs are pretty fresh. They havent been banged on like a lot of these guys in the league, Jacobs said. I know its coming, but I feel good, just leaving it up to coach and our medical staff to put me where they think I should be.

Where the coaches think Jacobs should be come game time against Buffalo creates an interesting choice for them. The 49ers' stable of running backs is full and doing just fine with the overall running game ranked third best in the league. But Jacobs' power is needed on third downs. San Francisco converted only 4-of-12 (33) third downs against a Jets defense that at the time was the worst in the league on third downs. San Francisco's offense currently ranks 22nd in the league in third down efficiency.

Activating Jacobs to help bolster their third down struggles will leave the 49ers short-handed elsewhere. More than likely, a player on special teams will have to be inactive for Jacobs to be a go. Jacobs is one of the few players on the roster who does not play a dual role, though he's not opposed to it.

I havent been in the special teams meetings, but whatever they need, Jacobs said. Coach, hell come to me, hell talk to me but nothings been spoke of yet.

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But the possibility of having Jacobs available to help keep drives going seems to be worth the risk.

You put a guy that size and with his power and strength behind that offensive line, said fullback Bruce Miller, I dont think youre going to see him going backwards. Hes going to fall forward and get the tough yards that we need and move the chains.

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