49ers notes: Secondary spots unsettled for opener

49ers notes: Secondary spots unsettled for opener
September 6, 2011, 8:15 pm

Sept. 6, 2011MAIOCCO ARCHIVE
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Matt MaioccoCSNBayArea.com
Safety Dashon Goldson said he is battling a sore knee that makes his availability for the 49ers' season opener against the Seattle Seahawks in question.Goldson said he sustained the injury last week in practice. He is not wearing a brace on his knee, but he said he could not have played in the exhibition finale Thursday night in San Diego even if it were a regular-season game.Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said he is not sure who will start Sunday in the 49ers' defensive backfield alongside strong safety Donte Whitner .Veteran Madieu Williams is listed as the 49ers' second free safety behind Goldson. Reggie Smith was atop the depth chart before undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his right knee Aug. 8 -- the same day the 49ers re-signed Goldson to a one-year contract. Smith is expected to return to practice this week.
Cornerback Shawntae Spencer is also expected to return to practice and could be available for some play time Sunday against the Seahawks. However, Tarell Brown
and Carlos Rogers are expected to start at the cornerback spots."We'll see how he feels and how he reacts to getting back out there," Fangio said of Spencer. "He hasn't done anything football-wise in over four weeks."That would be a tall task for him to come back this soon and play a full game. Maybe he can come back and play parts of it. That remains to be seen or to be determined day to day."Spencer sustained a left hamstring strain in practice July 31. He tried to return to the practice field on Aug. 14, but aggravated the injury.Wideout watch: Receiver Michael Crabtree is expected to return to practice this week, but his availability for Sunday's game remains in question. Crabtree sustained a fractured left foot and underwent surgery prior to training camp.Crabtree was removed from the physically-unable-to-perform list and caught passes in warmups last week. Currently, the 49ers have three receivers listed as starters on the depth chart: Josh Morgan, Ted Ginn Jr. and Braylon Edwards .The league has yet to announce whether Edwards will be suspended at the start of the season, stemming from his guilty plea of a DWI charge. A league spokesman told CSNBayArea.com that the matter is still "under review."
Crabtree has started 26 of the 27 games in which he has appeared in his two-year career. His only non-start was last year against Denver when the 49ers opened with a two-tight end formation. Crabtree entered for the second play of the game.Outside linebacker rotation: Rookie outside linebacker Aldon Smith, the No. 7 overall pick in the draft, is expected to be used as a pass-rush specialist. Ahmad Brooks and Parys Haralson will be the starters, Fangio confirmed."He'll be a part of our rotation outside," Fangio said of Smith. "Putting a number on that will be hard. But he'll definitely be a part of the rotation."New numbers: After the final cuts, several 49ers players ended up with new uniform numbers. Receiver Braylon Edwards claimed No. 17, the number he wore each for his first six NFL seasons with Cleveland and the New York Jets
The others to change numbers: center Jonathan Goodwin is No. 59, defensive lineman Will Tukuafu is No. 92 and defensive lineman Demarcus Dobbs is No. 96.Quarterback Scott Tolzien is No. 3, and inside linebacker Tavares Gooden was issued No. 56.Tolzien wore No. 16 during his career at Wisconsin and during his five weeks with the San Diego Chargers. Of course, the 49ers have retired No. 16 in honor of Joe Montana."I said, 'I want No. 16,'" Tolzien said. "And they said, 'No you can't.' And I said, 'No, I want No. 16!"
Of course, Tolzien was merely joking with 49ers equipment manager Steve Urbaniak.