Cox takes over as backup in return game


Cox takes over as backup in return game

SANTA CLARA -- Cornerback Perrish Cox will help the 49ers compensate for season-ending injuries to Kyle Williams and Kendall Hunter.Ted Ginn will continue to handle the main duties on kickoffs and punts. Cox has been tabbed as the team's new backup return man, he told on Friday, just prior to the 49ers' departure to play the St. Louis Rams.Williams and Hunter are the only other players on the roster who have returned kicks this season. Williams led the 49ers with averages of 13.0 yards on four punt returns and 27.2 yards on 13 kickoff returns.Hunter averaged 23.6 yards on seven kickoff returns. Ginn has averaged 10.6 yards on 25 punt returns and 23.0 yards on 11 kickoff returns.Williams (left knee) and Hunter (left Achilles) were placed on injured reserve this week and are officially out for the season."I really feel bad for both of those guys," Cox said. "Now, I have to step up whenever I'm called on."Cox, who did not have any kick returns in the exhibition season, has been practicing punt and kickoff returns all season, he said. He returned kicks with the Denver Broncos in the 2010 regular season and in training camp the following year. In 2010, he averaged 2.3 yards on three punt returns, with a 19.1 average on nine kickoffs.Rookie running back LaMichael James has been listed on the 49ers' depth chart as the No. 2 man behind Ginn on both kickoffs and punts. James has not been active for a game this season.Coach Jim Harbaugh on Friday declined to comment on the team's backups on punt and kickoff returns. Harbaugh did reveal, however, that Ginn takes over for Williams as the team's emergency quarterback. Ginn played quarterback in high school.With David Akers limited this week in practices due to a pelvis injury, Harbaugh said the emergency kicker is Andy Lee or Isaac Sopoaga. Akers has been cleared to play Sunday.

Mark Helfrich provides insight into Chip Kelly's line of thinking

Mark Helfrich provides insight into Chip Kelly's line of thinking

Mark Helfrich had a strong indication he would be fired as Oregon’s head coach. And he said he told Chip Kelly recently he would have no hard feelings if Kelly left the 49ers to return to coach the Ducks.

Kelly this week said he is not interested in abandoning his job with the 49ers to coach in the college ranks. Helfrich suggested during a radio interview on Friday that Kelly told him the same thing privately.

When it was suggested that Kelly hated to recruit, Helfrich did not disagree.

"That's a fact," Helfrich said in an interview on ESPN Radio's Russillo and Kanell. "I don't know hated recruiting. . . a dislike. A strong dislike. But I think Chip has that challenge in his mind right now to make it right in the NFL.

"I had some of those conversations with him a couple weeks ago when it looked like this was going south. That was a very awkward converation, but (I) just wanted to let him know that to take our personal relationship out of it in every way, shape or form if he wanted to consider this.

"But, me, reading between the lines, I think he wants to make it right in the NFL. I think he wants to win at that level. He's had a rough go of it this year, but he'll get it right."

Kelly compiled a 46-7 record in four seasons in Eugene, Ore. He left after the 2012 season to accept the head-coaching job with the Philadelphia Eagles. Kelly was fired late last season and took the 49ers job two weeks later.

In Kelly’s first season with the 49ers, the club is 1-10. The 49ers are on a franchise-long 10-game losing streak entering Sunday’s game against the Chicago Bears.

Helfrich was 37-16 in his four seasons at Oregon after his promotion from offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. Kelly said he spoke with Helfrich the morning after he was fired.

“I just felt bad for Mark. I love him like a brother,” Kelly said. “He’s a tremendous person. He’s a hell of a football coach, but he’s an even better person. Just felt for him and the rest of the guys on that staff. It’s an unfortunate thing that goes on in this profession. We all know about it when we sign up, but when it happens you’re still taken aback by it.”

Kelly said he hoped his denial of any interest in the Oregon job would end all speculation about his future. When asked if intends to remain with the 49ers, Kelly said on Wednesday, “Yep. So we're all done with that, I hope."

Injury report: Dial set to return for 49ers; Patton, Lynch questionable

Injury report: Dial set to return for 49ers; Patton, Lynch questionable

Defensive lineman Quinton Dial, who sat out last week’s game with knee and neck issues, will return to action Sunday for the 49ers at Soldier Field against the Chicago Bears.

Dial was not listed on the team’s injury report after going through two limited practices this week. The 49ers had only a walk-through Friday in Orlando, Fla., but Dial was cleared to return to full activity, the team announced.

Wide receiver Quinton Patton (concussion) and outside linebacker Aaron Lynch (ankle) were both listed as questionable for Sunday’s game.

Patton appears to be on pace to be cleared in the NFL’s return-to-play concussion protocol. He has returned to non-contact football activity after sustaining a head injury last week against the Miami Dolphins.

Lynch has already missed four consecutive games with a high-ankle sprain. Lynch has appeared in only three games this season. He sat out the first four games of the year while serving a four-game suspension for violating the leageu’s policy of substances of abuse.

The Bears listed six players as questionable for the game, including outside linebackers Willie Young and rookie Leonard Floyd. Young leads Chicago with 6.5 sacks, while Floyd is second with five sacks.

Quarterback Jay Cutler has been ruled out for the remainder of the season with a shoulder injury. Matt Barkley will make his second career start.

LB Aaron Lynch (ankle)
WR Quinton Patton (concussion)

QB Jay Cutler (right shoulder)
LB Willie Young (knee)
S Adrian Amos (foot)
WR Eddie Royal (toe)
LB Leonard Floyd (concussion)
CB Deiondre' Hall (ankle)
G Josh Sitton (ankle)