49ers key matchup No. 1: Crabtree vs. Peterson


49ers key matchup No. 1: Crabtree vs. Peterson

This is the final part in a series that spotlights three 49ers-Cardinals matchups to watch Monday, 5:30 p.m. (ESPNCBS, Ch. 5), at University of Phoenix Stadium49ers WR Michael Crabtree vs. Cardinals CB Patrick PetersonTale of the tape
Crabtree (15): 6-foot-1, 214 pounds, fourth season, Texas Tech
Peterson (21): 6-foot-1, 219 pounds, second season, LSUIn the 49ers' past two games, tight end Vernon Davis has been a non-factor in the passing game with a combined three receptions for 37 yards against the New York Giants and Seattle Seahawks.As much as the 49ers would like to get the ball to Davis, 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman is not going to force the issue.Matchup No. 2: Brown vs. Fitzgerald
"I think when we're our best, the ball's being distributed evenly," Roman said. "There are times, though, that we will design very specific plays for Vernon and they are kind of, 'It's Vernon or it might be read No. 2,' but that's it."But I don't think you want to make a living on that. I don't think anybody does. When people try to take away something to go to extreme measures, I think you want to go do something else."Therefore, the biggest disappointment in the passing game when the Giants and Seahawks were focused on Davis is that quarterback Alex Smith did not take advantage of the opportunities to get the ball to Michael Crabtree.Crabtree was frustrated with the limited number of opportunities that came his way from Smith. He had just three catches for 26 yards against the Giants and four receptions for 31 yards against the Seahawks.Crabtree leads the 49ers with 34 catches for 368 yards and one touchdown.
Matchup No. 3: Iupati vs. CampbellThe Cardinals will likely use linebackers and safeties to blanket cover Davis. Wide receiver Mario Manningham is expected to be back on the field Monday night after missing one game with a shoulder injury.So that means there should be some chances for Crabtree, who will be matched in single coverage most of Monday night against second-year cornerback Patrick Peterson.In two meetings last season, Crabtree had success getting deep on double moves against Peterson. Crabtree had seven catches for 120 yards in the 49ers' 23-7 victory at Candlestick Park. Three weeks later, Crabtree had seven receptions for 63 yards in the 49ers' 21-19 loss."I had the opportunity to guard Crabtree last year and that prepared me for a long season," Peterson said in a conference call with Bay Area reports. "It'll be a fun matchup again. It's always fun to match up against the guys the media says are the big dogs."Peterson, who also presents a threat to the 49ers as a punt returner, has a team-leading three interceptions along with eight passes broken up in seven games. If he can handle Crabtree without much safety help, it might enable to the Cardinals to focus on neutralizing Davis."On the back end, we have to be disciplined and ready for play-action pass," Peterson said. "They want to run, run, run and thrown it over our heads for touchdowns. We have to be extremely discipline as a defense."

Slimmed down Davis confident as he prepares to step in for Hyde

Slimmed down Davis confident as he prepares to step in for Hyde

SANTA CLARA -- Mike Davis’ first NFL season left him less than fulfilled.

He broke his hand and did not appear in 10 games. When he did play, his 1.7-yard average led to some whispers the 49ers’ fourth-round draft pick was already a bust.

Davis lived the disappointment. He heard the criticism.

On Sunday, he has his first big chance this season to prove himself. Davis is expected to see significant playing time – and, perhaps, his first NFL start – with Carlos Hyde out of action with a shoulder injury. The 49ers face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Levi’s Stadium.

Davis dedicated himself after his rookie season to a body makeover. He swore off Flamin' Hot Cheetos, his favored snack. He dropped from 217 pounds to 205 – his lowest weight since high school. Davis’ body fat dropped from 18 percent to less than 12 percent.

“I feel more confident in myself,” Davis said. “I feel my power is the same. The only thing I feel is really different is the speed and the mindset. My mindset has changed since last year as well.”

Davis opened this season as the 49ers’ No. 3 running back. He rose up the depth chart last week, supplanting Shaun Draughn, as Hyde’s backup. Coach Chip Kelly said Davis has made improvements that led to his promotion.

“Just hitting the hole, timing, making the right cuts,” Kelly said. “You’re burying yourself into the back of the guard or are you working off of the guard’s block and getting yourself to the second level and not getting touched by a linebacker, finishing runs, showing good vision. That’s kind of what you’re looking for in a running back when you’re going through practice.”

Davis carried five times for 13 yards in the 49ers’ 45-16 loss to the Buffalo Bills. In 12 career games, Davis has just 76 yards rushing on 45 attempts.

While Kelly rates Hyde and Draughn as more-accomplished receivers out of the backfield, he noted that Davis has improved that aspect of his game, as well as his pass protection.

“With coach Tom Rathman as your coach, he makes sure we know exactly what we’re doing,” Davis said. “He won’t put you out there if he doesn’t think you can handle it. I just made sure I go through the right steps and make sure I’m prepared into the game.

“I feel confident as ever. With Tom, we spend extra time and he makes sure our eyes are in the right place. That’s one thing we talk about more than anything.”

Report: Former 49ers WR works out for Jets

Report: Former 49ers WR works out for Jets

The competition between the Jets and Patriots extended into free-agent workouts this week. 

New England on Wednesday reportedly tried out Dres Anderson, a wide receiver recently released by the 49ers.

New York a day later brought Anderson in for a workout, according to ESPN's Adam Caplan. 

Anderson, 24, entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent with the 49ers in 2015. 

He has yet to appear in a regular-season game.

Anderson was released from the 49ers practice squad on Tuesday, Oct. 18 to clear room for another wide receiver, DeAndre Smelter.