Matt and Mindi: Weather will dictate 49ers offense
Carlos Rogers is inactive for the first time in his 49ers career for the Wild Card game against the Packers in Green Bay. (USATSI)
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GREEN BAY, Wis. – Cornerback Carlos Rogers, who had started every game for the 49ers since signing with the organization in 2011, is inactive for Sunday’s game due to a hamstring strain.
Tarell Brown and Tramaine Brock will start for the 49ers against the Green Bay Packers in an NFC wild-card playoff game.
But the more important role for the 49ers will be the third cornerback to cover the slot receiver. Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio suggested last week that Eric Wright and Perrish Cox will share the duties.
Wright was listed as questionable late in the week with a hamstring strain of his own. Wright has not practiced well, according to one source. The 49ers might have more trust in Cox, whom the 49ers re-signed Monday after the Seattle Seahawks released him three days earlier.
There figures to be a lot of pressure on Cox and/or Wright. The Packers regularly line up three wide receivers with Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb in the slot position.
Nelson was the Packers’ leading receiver in the regular season with 85 receptions for 1,314 yards and eight touchdowns. Cobb played in just six games this season. He returned to action last week after being sidelined since Oct. 13 with a fractured tibia in his right leg.
“They play a lot of three wide receiver sets, even when they lost Cobb,” said Fangio, adding the Packers play three wideouts “75 percent or more.”
The Packers ran 78 offensive plays last week against the Chicago Bears in their NFC North-winning victory. Here’s how much their wide receivers played:
Jordy Nelson 77 snaps (99 percent)
James Jones 76 (97 percent)
Jarrett Boykin 39 (50 percent)
Randall Cobb 37 (47 percent)
But just because the Packers might have pass-first personnel on the field, it does not mean they’re going to avoid running the ball.
Running back Eddie Lacy carried 14 times for 41 yards in the Packers’ Week 1 loss to the 49ers. But he became a greater part of the Green Bay offense as the year progressed. Lacy led all rookies with 1,178 yards and 11 touchdowns with a 4.1-yard average.
"That was Eddie's first game," Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. "He admittedly was very nervous for the game. So, yeah, Eddie's playing much, just like any rookie in this league, he's got 16 games under his belt now.
"He knows what to expect, and he's comfortable in the offense, he's comfortable being asked what to do, so yeah Eddie is in a different place today."
So the 49ers’ nickel back is going to have to offer run support for a defense that will play most of the game without nose tackle Glenn Dorsey on the field. When the 49ers go with their nickel defense, the nose tackle leaves the field in place of a third cornerback.
CB Carlos Rogers
TE Derek Carrier
WR Nick Moody
OL Joe Looney
OL Ryan Seymour
DL Quinton Dial
WR Jon Baldwin
QB Scott Tolzien
WR Chris Harper
CB Jumal Rolle
LB Nate Palmer
LB Clay Matthews
G Lane Taylor
C/G JC Tretter