Manningham and Smith combination not clicking

Manningham and Smith combination not clicking
September 26, 2012, 7:34 pm
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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio -- Receiver Mario Manningham is in familiar surroundings this week, but he's still trying to feel at home in the 49ers' offense.In the closing minutes of the 49ers' loss Sunday to the Minnesota Vikings, Manningham caught a season-long 22-yard pass from quarterback Alex Smith. But he said the chemistry is simply not there with Smith, yet."We're still trying to get on the same page," Manningham said. "We're not fully on the same page like we want to be -- me and him or him and the other wide outs. But I feel like we're getting there."Smith has a passer rating of 102.7 with five touchdowns on the season. Four of his touchdown passes have gone to tight end Vernon Davis. Randy Moss has the other touchdown reception.Coach Jim Harbaugh said Wednesday that he gives Smith high marks for his play this season."He's playing at a very high level," Harbaugh said. "None of us are 100 percent on all of our decisions, and no player no coach. He's operating in the 'A' category."But, thus far, the additions of potential big-play receivers Manningham and Moss have not equated to more big plays for the 49ers' passing game. In three games, Smith is averaging 7.0 yards per pass attempt. Last year, he averaged 7.1 yards.The 49ers' offense has not changed much from a year ago when the club distributed the ball around to backs, tight ends and wide receivers with a short-passing game."Looking back on Sunday, could we have taken more shots? For sure," Smith said. "But in hindsight, it's so easy to say. When you're in the heat of the game, you're just trying to move the chains and get a score."Smith said he felt as if a couple big-play possibilities got away on passes to Moss. On the first drive, Moss could've picked up some significant yards on a second-and-6 play, but Smith's high pass skipped through his hands. The 49ers were forced to punt two plays later.In the second quarter, Moss was open on a corner route at the front of the end on a play that originated at the Vikings' 18-yard line. But Smith's pass again sailed high."I really feel like we left a lot out there with Randy -- me and him," Smith said. "(i) threw the high ball in the corner. Another high ball on the 'over.' I felt like if we hit those two, we're not talking about this, especially with him."Michael Crabtree leads the 49ers with 19 receptions for 183 yards. Manningham, whom the 49ers signed to a two-year, 7.375 million contract in the offseason, is third on the team and second among wideouts with 12 catches for 113 yards.It has been a rough month for Manningham, who missed more than a week of training camp when he returned to the Youngstown area after the late-August death of his grandfather, Gerald Wayne "Big Daddy" Simpson Sr.Manningham considers his grandfather one of the major influences in his life. Manningham, who was a high-school star in nearby Warren, Ohio, before going to college at Michigan, talked about playing this season in the memory of grandfather.
"Just going out there and playing my game, knowing I have an extra person out there helping me out, motivating me," Manningham said."(He) was there for me, showing me the ins and outs about life. Really, some of it doesn't have anything to do with football, just growing. Just being a man of your word. Just be accountable. Do what I need to do to stick out. Don't be like everybody else."