As Willis' backup, Grant proves he knows 'jack'


As Willis' backup, Grant proves he knows 'jack'

SANTA CLARA -- The 49ers don't need Larry Grant to be a jack of all trades on Sunday in the likely event All-Pro linebacker Patrick Willis does not play against the Arizona Cardinals.The 49ers just need Grant to fill-in at the spot that Willis plays -- the "jack" linebacker -- and maybe wear the green dot, as well. This season, the weak inside linebacker position is "jack," and the strong inside position is "mike."
Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said he has yet to decide whether Grant or "mike" linebacker NaVorro Bowman would wear the helmet with the radio transmitter. The player with the green dot on the helmet is counted upon to relay the defensive play from the sideline to the huddle.Grant had two different helmets available to him Sunday against the St. Louis Rams. When Willis left the game in the first quarter with a right hamstring strain, Grant wore the helmet with the transmitter to assume the duty that Willis has held with the team this season.
Grant recorded five tackles and a sack in the 49ers' 26-0 victory over the Rams."Sometimes you have to deal with the loss of a player," Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt said. "It didn't seem like it affected them very much even though I know how outstanding of a player Patrick Willis is." Cornerback Carlos Rogers said he will return to practice Thursday after sitting out Wednesday with a sore left knee. Rogers said there was some bruising, but he rested as a precaution. He said he is unsure how the knee got banged up Sunday against the Rams. His availability for Sunday's game against the Cardinals does not appear to be in question.

49ers activate Jimmie Ward


49ers activate Jimmie Ward

SANTA CLARA -- Safety Jimmie Ward was cleared Wednesday morning to begin practicing with his teammates after missing nearly four weeks of training camp with a hamstring injury.

Ward underwent conditioning tests on Monday and Tuesday to complete the final hurdles before the club activated him off the physically unable to perform list.

Ward sustained a hamstring injury during the conditioning test on the eve of training camp.

Ward was moved to cornerback last season, where he started 10 games.

He finished the season on injured reserve with a shoulder injury. He was the 49ers' primary nickel back in his first two NFL seasons.

Jaquiski Tartt originally took over at free safety at the beginning of camp. But after Tartt missed significant practice time with a ribs injury, undrafted rookie Lorenzo Jerome stepped in.

Jerome started the 49ers’ first two exhibition games at free safety.

Shanahan evaluates Hyde's performance in early goings of 2017 preseason


Shanahan evaluates Hyde's performance in early goings of 2017 preseason

SANTA CLARA – Carlos Hyde, the 49ers’ No. 1 running back, has gained just 26 yards on 10 carries in the first two exhibition games.

But aside from a play Saturday night against the Denver Broncos when he did not gain as many yards as coach Kyle Shanahan thought he should, the 49ers appear satisfied with what they’ve seen from Hyde.

“It takes 11 guys to execute a play,” Shanahan said on Wednesday. “Usually, the guy with the ball in his hands is the one who’s rewarded or blamed. But I’ve been happy with Carlos’ reps during the preseason.

“I definitely want to do better. I want to score every time we call a play, so I’m usually disappointed if it doesn’t end in a touchdown. But he’s done a good job for us.”

That does not mean that Hyde has been perfect. Shanahan recounted a play on Saturday in which Hyde did not read the blocking correctly and gained fewer yards than his coach expected.

“There was one run in particular I thought the O-line blocked it for about a 4-yard gain and he got 1 yard,” Shanahan said. “(He was) trying to do too much on one play, which happens a lot with running backs. So there was one play he left about 3 yards on the field.”

Hyde finished the first half with gains of 6, 2, 7 and 7 on a series that ended with a lost fumble from backup running back Tim Hightower.

“We blocked well and he got to the right hole and when contact hit him at 5 yards, he fell for 2 more,” Shanahan said of Hyde. “So I thought he got exactly what we blocked for and a little more after that.”