49ers Mailbag: Miller to remain top fullback?

49ers Mailbag: Miller to remain top fullback?
October 23, 2011, 4:09 pm
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It'll be a Sunday spent mostly in front of the TV, as the 49ers enjoy their bye week. But we can still talk about the team.Let's go to the 49ers Mailbag. And if you have more questions, leave them in the comments section below and I'll try to answer a few questions there throughout the day.

Q: Should the Niners get rid of Moran Norris? (@Alpha138)
My answer: I don't necessarily think they should get rid of him after he returns from his broken fibula. He'll miss a couple more games after the bye week, and as a vested veteran his salary is guaranteed through the remainder of the season.However, I can't see Norris coming back to his former role as the 49ers' starting fullback. RookieBruce Miller got off to a rough start in Cincinnati, but he has gotten better and better. He's given the 49ers improved play.
Miller is more athletic and he's able to adjust better than Norris. He also offers more versatility to the 49ers' offense. After all, Miller already has five receptions for 40 yards. All of last season, Norris caught four passes for 20 yards.Q: If Miller stays @ 1 FB, what becomes Norris' role? Would he be willing to be primarily a special teams player? (@yougomango)
My answer: If Norris is not a starter, it seems it would be difficult to keep him on the 46-man game-day roster. He is not a main contributor on special teams, so he'd be kept on the 53-man roster as the No. 2 fullback -- as insurance.Delanie Walker, the 49ers' No. 2 tight end, gets more playing time than the fullback. That is not going to change, as Walker is definitely one of the 49ers' best 11 players. So there's no reason to have a second fullback dressed for games.
The 49ers do not have any glaring needs elsewhere. They have five receivers who should be able to practice this week, in addition to practice-squaders Joe Hastings and John Matthews. So that's not a concern.They are a little light at outside linebacker, butParys Haralsonn is expected back from a hamstring strain that knocked him out of the game against the Detroit Lions. If the 49ers needed somebody, they'd probably promote rookie Monte Simmons from the practice squad. Their final cut before the start of the regular season, Antwan Applewhite, was signed by the Carolina Panthers a couple weeks ago.Q: What are the niners focusing on improving for the bye week? (@rickdawg52)
My answer: The focus last week was on improving their health, and getting everybody's battery re-charged for the final 10 games (plus playoffs?) of the season.The new collective bargaining agreement mandates that all teams must give their players four days off during the bye week. A couple weeks ago, Jim Harbaugh told his team he'd give them an additional day off for each win they got after that point. With victories over Tampa Bay and Detroit, the 49ers earned six days off.Q: When is Braylon coming back? @giantsap
My answer: Wide receiver Braylon Edwards was scheduled to begin jogging and making cuts last week, as he returns from arthroscopic surgery he underwent on Sept. 19 to repair a torn meniscus cartilage.There's a decent chance he returns to the practice field this week -- perhaps on a limited basis. How he looks in practice will determine whether he'll be in uniform to face his first NFL team, the Cleveland Browns, next Sunday at Candlestick Park.