49ers must get Davis involved with Manningham out


49ers must get Davis involved with Manningham out

Just like a year ago, the 49ers will enter the playoffs short-handed at wide receiver.

The 49ers have played two games without Mario Manningham and Kyle Williams. And they will be without their services for the remainder of the season due to significant knee injuries.

At the time Williams was lost for the season, he was third among the 49ers wideouts in playing time. Despite missing three full games due to injuries, Manningham ranks as the 49ers' second-leading receiver with 42 catches for 449 yards.

Manningham must undergo season-ending knee surgery after sustaining torn ligaments in the 49ers' 42-13 loss to the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday night. Williams' season came to an end on Nov. 25 when his ACL was torn against the New Orleans Saints.

Both players face long rehabilitation roads and are not likely to be available when training camp opens next summer.

In order for the 49ers' offense to compensate for the loss of Manningham, they must start to get production from tight end Vernon Davis, who has virtually disappeared over the past nine games. During that stretch, Davis has averaged just 22.6 yards receiving per game.

Randy Moss, 35, a 14-year veteran, is now the 49ers' No. 2 wide receiver. In 2010, when he played for three teams, Moss caught 28 passes for 393 yards and five touchdowns. This year, he has just 26 receptions for 406 yards and three touchdowns.

Michael Crabtree, who is just 67 yards shy of becoming the 49ers' first 1,000-yard receiver since Terrell Owens in 2003, leads the 49ers with 77 receptions and seven touchdowns.

Moss and second tight end Delanie Walker are the two players who saw the biggest increases in playing time in the two games the 49ers played without Williams and Manningham.

Moss played 60.8 percent of the snaps in the games against Miami and New England when Manningham and Williams were not available. In the other 13 games, Moss played just 36.2 percent.

Walker's play time increased to 70.4 percent from 54.4 percent in the two games that neither Manningham nor Williams was available.

Rookie A.J. Jenkins is expected to suit up for games now -- just as he did in the two games when the 49ers were down to four healthy wide receivers on their 53-man roster. But Jenkins played just eight snaps apiece in those games and never saw a pass thrown his way.

Ted Ginn, the 49ers' punt-return specialist, has played just 57 snaps of offense the entire season. He has just two catches for 1 yard on the season. So there is no reason to expect much -- if any -- production from the 49ers' third receiver.

Wide receivers Ricardo Lockette and Chad Hall are currently on the 49ers' practice squad.

The 49ers were determined to increase their depth at wide receiver and running back to ensure they would not run out of healthy players again. In addition to the signings of Manningham and Moss, the 49ers drafted Jenkins in the first round, but he has yet to prove he is ready to be a factor.

The 49ers also signed promising undrafted rookies, Chris Owusu and Nathan Palmer, who did not survive the final cuts and are on the 53-man rosters of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Indianapolis Colts, respectively.

At running back, the 49ers signed veteran Brandon Jacobs, who became disgruntled with his lack of playing time and was suspended. Second-round draft pick LaMichael James spent the first 13 games inactive before being pressed into service when backup Kendall Hunter sustained a season-ending Achilles injury.

The 49ers began last season with Crabtree, Joshua Morgan and Braylon Edwards as their top three receivers. Morgan sustained a season-ending injury and Edwards was injured, then released late in the season. Ginn was unavailable for the NFC Championship game, forcing the 49ers to go with Crabtree, Williams and Brett Swain as their top three receivers.

Now, more than ever, the 49ers need to get production from Davis, who is having his worst season since 2008, when then-offensive coordinator Mike Martz de-emphasized the tight end position.

Offensive coordinator Greg Roman and quarterback Colin Kaepernick have not found ways to consistently get the ball to Davis. That's mostly been forgiven because the 49ers (10-4-1) are in line to win the NFC West for a second consecutive season with a victory Sunday over the Arizona Cardinals. They can still be the No. 2 seed in the NFC playoffs with a win Sunday, coupled with a Green Bay loss at Minnesota.

Now, it's essential that Davis returns as a key component in the passing game because there are few other reliable options.

Davis should be available for the 49ers' regular-season finale against the Cardinals after sustaining a mild concussion Sunday night against the Seattle Seahawks.

Conflicting reports over Tomsula to Washington

Conflicting reports over Tomsula to Washington

Former 49ers head coach Jim Tomsula reportedly might be back in the NFL after a one-year hiatus.

Tomsula, who spent his first eight NFL seasons as a defensive line coach, could be returning to that job with Washington, Carol Maloney of NBC4 reported on Sunday. But according to the Washington Post, a deal is not done between the two sides.

If the deal were to happen Tomsula would be rejoining Washington defensive coordinator Greg Manusky and general manager Scot McCloughan, both of whom he worked with while members of the 49ers organization.

Tomsula was promoted to the head-coaching job over finalist Adam Gase two years ago after the 49ers' “mututal parting” with coach Jim Harbaugh. Tomsula was fired after the 49ers went 5-11 in 2015. Chip Kelly was hired to replace Tomsula. Kelly was fired after the 49ers went 2-14, including a franchise-worst 13-game losing streak.

Falcons rout Packers, postpone date Shanahan can sign with 49ers

Falcons rout Packers, postpone date Shanahan can sign with 49ers

Before the 49ers will have an opportunity to officially hire Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan as the team’s next head coach, executives Jed York and Paraag Marathe will have a chance to meet with him for a second time.

The Falcons advanced to Super Bowl 51 with an impressive 44-21 victory over the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship game. Shanahan's offense rolled up 493 yards and converted 10 of 14 (77 percent) on third downs. Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan completed 27 of 38 passes for 392 yards and four touchdowns.

Shanahan, who was voted the NFL Assistant Coach of the Year last week in a voting of the Pro Football Writers of America, is scheduled to interview with the 49ers on Friday, a source told CSNBayArea.com

NFL rules prohibit the 49ers from hiring Shanahan until after the Falcons’ final game of the season. Atlanta will face the Pittsburgh-New England winner in Super Bowl 51 on Feb. 5 in Houston.

Shanahan is expected to be involved in the 49ers’ process to hire a general manager. Minnesota assistant general manager George Paton and Arizona vice president of player personnel Terry McDonough are the finalists among a group of nine candidates who interviewed. The 49ers could also open up the search to consider other candidates, the source said.

Shanahan is expected to become the second coach in 49ers history to be hired after being a coordinator on a Super Bowl team. In 1989, the 49ers promoted defensive coordinator George Seifert after Bill Walsh stepped down following the team’s victory over Cincinnati in Super Bowl XXIII.

Shanahan’s father, Mike, was the 49ers’ offensive coordinator on the Super Bowl-winning team after the 1994 sesaon. Shortly after the 49ers won the Super Bowl with a 49-26 rout of the San Diego Chargers, Shanahan was hired as Denver Broncos head coach. The elder Shanahan served as Broncos coach for 14 seasons and won two Super Bowls.

Atlanta coach Dan Quinn was hired two years ago on the day after the Seattle Seahawks lost to the Patriots in Super Bowl 49. Quinn was Seattle’s defensive coordinator.