Defense looking to 'tighten up' vs. Rams
Vernon Davis has nine receptions for 118 yards and two touchdowns this year. (USA TODAY IMAGES)
ST. LOUIS – The 49ers will attempt to snap the first two-game losing streak under Jim Harbaugh without All-Pro linebacker Patrick Willis.
Willis was listed Thursday night as one of the 49ers’ seven inactive players Thursday against the St. Louis Rams due to a groin strain.
Willis did not practice this week after sustaining the injury last week in the 49ers’ 27-7 loss to the Indianapolis Colts. Second-year player Michael Wilhoite is slated to get his first NFL start in Willis’ absence.
Tight end Vernon Davis will make his return to the lineup after missing last week’s game with a left hamstring strain.
Cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha will not play due to a right knee injury. He took part in some limited pregame work but was deemed not ready to play. He sustained his injury in the fourth quarter against the Colts. Tramaine Brock is expected to take over as the 49ers’ third cornerback.
Jon Baldwin and LaMichael James are active for the first time this season. Baldwin replaces Marlon Moore, who suited up as the 49ers’ third wide receiver for the first three games of the season. Baldwin, a first-round draft pick in 2011, makes his 49ers debut after being acquired in a trade from the Kansas City Chiefs for A.J. Jenkins.
James will make his season debut after missing the first three games with a knee injury he sustained in the 49ers’ final exhibition game. James is expected to return kickoffs. It is not known whether he will also return punts.
The 49ers also activated undrafted rookie cornerback Darryl Morris, who was promoted to the 53-man roster this week to take the roster spot that opened when Aldon Smith was placed on the reserve/non-football injury list.
Smith took a voluntary leave of absence to enter in-patient treatment for substance abuse. The 49ers list Dan Skuta as the starter at outside linebacker in Smith’s place. Rookie Corey Lemonier is also expected to see significant playing time.
LB Patrick Willis
CB Nnamdi Asomugha
WR Marlon Moore
WR Chris Harper
FB Owen Marecic
QB B.J. Daniels
G Joe Looney
RB Isaiah Pead
G Barrett Jones
G Brandon Washington
T Mike Person
DE William Hayes
T Rodger Saffold
TE Mike McNeil