How do 49ers replace Williams, Hunter?


How do 49ers replace Williams, Hunter?

UPDATE: The 49ers on Tuesday afternoon officially placed receiver Kyle Williams and running back Kendall Hunter on injured reserve with season-ending injuries. The 49ers added undrafted rookie running back Jewel Hampton to the 53-man roster. The 49ers currently have one roster spot. The club also signed receiverreturn man Chad Hall to the practice squad.

The 49ers' slot receiverbackup punt returner and No. 2 running back are out for the remainder of the regular season and playoffs.
For all the talk that this means for the 49ers' top two draft picks, A.J. Jenkins and LaMichael James, it might turn into bigger opportunities for two veteran free-agent pickups: Randy Moss and Brandon Jacobs.Here's what the 49ers must consider as they move into the final five games of the regular season without Kyle Williams and Kendall Hunter.Replacing Williams
The 49ers' three best wide receivers are Michael Crabtree, Mario Manningham and Randy Moss. Williams was the 49ers' best slot receiver, so when the 49ers went with three wides, Williams was on the field, along with Crabtree and Manningham.NEWS: Kyle Williams to miss rest of season with torn ACL
After Williams' injury on Sunday, the 49ers used three wides on only one play: Manningham was in the slot, with Crabtree and Moss flanked out wide.Moss has 32.5 percent of the 49ers' offensive plays this season. He has been on the field, mostly, when the 49ers go with two backs, two tight ends and one wideout.But it becomes a question of which remaining receiver the 49ers believe is the best in the slot. If the answer is Manningham, then it will mean a lot more playing time for Moss.Manningham showed good short-area quickness when he lined up in the slot in the first half with Frank Gore on the outside. Manningham ran a whip route that left Saints cornerback Jabari Greer scrambling. He turned it into a 40-yard gain.MAIOCCO: 49ers offensive review -- Walker, Manningham deliver
When the 49ers drafted Jenkins with the No. 30 overall pick, they touted his versatility. He spent the summer learning each of the three receiver spots, including the slot. Jenkins has yet to play in a game. And his only chance to make a big contribution now will be to convince the coaching staff that the trio of Crabtree-Manningham-Jenkins is better than Crabtree-Manningham-Moss.With Williams and Hunter out of action, it means that the do not have much of a safety net underneath Ted Ginn in the return game.Cornerback Perrish Cox is the most logical backup as a punt returner. The 49ers signed Chad Hall to the practice squad, and he is an option to be promoted if they need another punt returner.James does not appear ready to return punts in a game, but he is definitely an option behind Ginn on kickoff returns.Replacing Hunter
The 49ers initially reported Hunter's condition as an ankle injury. But team athletic trainer Jeff Ferguson was seen examining Hunter's left Achilles on the sideline Sunday in New Orleans. The Sacramento Bee reported Tuesday that Hunter sustained an Achilles tear.REPORT: Kendall Hunter out for remainder of season
This is precisely the reason the 49ers kept Jacobs on the 53-man roster. Hunter was the No. 2 running back behind Frank Gore. He averaged 5.2 yards a carry, and every week his grasp on the backup job became more secure.There was simply no role for Jacobs because he does not play special teams. On most game days, Anthony Dixon was the 49ers' third running back because of his versatility while Jacobs was in street clothes, failing to secure a spot as one of the team's 46 active players.
Dixon has carried 12 times for 48 yards, mostly in mop-up duty, while Jacobs' two snaps on Sunday against the New Orleans Saints were his only times on the playing field this season.Hunter's injury means that the 49ers must decide on another No. 2 running back. Jacobs, an eight-year pro, has the track record. He has averaged 4.5 yards a carry in his career with 56 touchdowns. He is the logical choice to get the bulk of the playing time behind Gore.With Hunter's injury, it's possible that James could be active for the first time this season. It's also possible that James could be used on occasion when quarterback Colin Kaepernick runs those zone-read-option plays. James and Kaepernick worked those plays well during the exhibition season. James had 63 yards on 13 carries (4.8 average) in the preseason.

49ers, McDonald agree to five-year extension

49ers, McDonald agree to five-year extension

The 49ers signed tight end Vance McDonald to a five-year contract extension through the 2021 season, the team announced late Friday.

The deal is worth $35 million, including $16 million in guaranteed money, ESPN reported. The actual contract terms and amount of fully guaranteed money is expected to be less than the reported figures.

McDonald ranks third on the 49ers with 24 catches for 391 yards and four touchdowns. He has touchdown receptions this season of 75 and 65 yards.

"Vance has shown consistent growth throughout his four-year career and his production this season is the result of his dedication and hard work,” 49ers general manager Trent Baalke said in a statement. “We believe he has only scratched the surface of what he will be able to accomplish in his career. Vance is a tremendous ambassador for the 49ers, and his passion for helping others provides a wonderful example for this organization. We look forward to his continued contributions to this organization, both on and off the field.”

McDonald is in the final season of his original four-year, $3.99 million contract he signed as a second-round draft pick in 2013.

In McDonald’s three previous seasons, he caught just 40 passes for 475 yards and three touchdowns.

McDonald spoke last week about the greater chances he's gotten to prove himself since the 49ers traded Vernon Davis last season.

“I just always look back at the opportunity when Vernon went to (Denver),” McDonald said. “Just being able to have the trust and the opportunity to start games and play every down.”

Said 49ers coach Chip Kelly, "He’s one of our weapons on the offensive side of the ball and he runs better than most tight ends in this league. So really depends on week to week what people have available at the safety spot to kind of match up with him. But he’s certainly someone that I think people defensively have to game plan for.”



Injury report: Staley's streak of 92 consecutive starts in serious jeopardy

Injury report: Staley's streak of 92 consecutive starts in serious jeopardy

Five-time Pro Bowl left tackle Joe Staley is listed as doubtful for Sunday’s game due to a hamstring injury, the 49ers announced on Friday.

Staley has the third-longest active streak among offensive tackles with 92 consecutive starts. Only Cleveland's Joe Thomas (156) and Oakland's Donald Penn (153) rank ahead of him on the list. Staley has not missed a game since the beginning of the 2011 season.

Coach Chip Kelly said Friday morning on his weekly show on KNBR that the 49ers have two more days of training “and then we’ll see what Joe’s status is going into the game on Sunday.”

Kelly added, “That’s kind of what we normally do with everybody. The best thing to say with Joe is he’s day-to-day. We’re hopeful, but we have two more days out on the field.”

With Staley not expected to play, the 49ers will likely shift left guard Zane Beadles to left tackle. Andrew Tiller, who started the first five games of the season at right guard, would likely start at left guard.

The 49ers expect outside linebacker Aaron Lynch to return to action on Sunday after missing five games with a high-ankle sprain, Kelly said on KNBR. Lynch is listed as questionable, along with defensive tackle Quinton Dial, who has a left elbow injury

The Jets will be without at least one starter. Right tackle Breno Giacomini was ruled out due to injuries. Brent Qvale, a third-year player from Nebraska, is scheduled to make his fifth NFL start.

Defensive lineman Muhammad Wilkerson is listed as questionable with an ankle injury.

T Joe Staley (hamstring)
DT Quinton Dial (elbow)
LB Aaron Lynch (ankle)

RB Khiry Robinson (lower leg)
DT Steve McLendon (hamstring)
T Breno Giacomini (back, calf, shoulder)
LB Lorenzo Mauldin (ankle)
S Antonio Allen (concussion)
WR Jalin Marshall (concussion)
DE Muhammad Wilkerson (ankle)