Top rookies inactive for 49ers

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Top rookies inactive for 49ers

SAN FRANCISCO -- The 49ers first two draft picks, A.J. Jenkins and LaMichael James, were among the 49ers' seven declared inactive players for Sunday night's game against the Detroit Lions.As expected, running back Brandon Jacobs (left knee) and receiverreturn man Ted Ginn were among the 49ers' seven inactive players. Jacobs and Ginn were also inactive for the Week 1 game against Green Bay.Second-year quarterback Scott Tolzien will suit up for his first career NFL regular-season game. This is the first time the 49ers have activated three quarterbacks since the new rules regarding inactive players went into effect last year.One 49ers injury that deserves some mention is punter Andy Lee's thumb on his left hand. He declined comment on his injury, which he sustained a week ago when he tried unsuccessfully to tackle Green Bay's Randall Cobb.Lee is also the holder on David Akers' kicks, which explains why Tolzien is active for the game Sunday. Tolzien is the 49ers' emergency holder. He spent a lot of time during warmups holding. So the 49ers are taking no chances.
Lee might require a painkilling injection prior to the game, and his ability to catch long snaps from Brian Jennings might not be a sure thing. And that includes field goals and PATs, too.
So Tolzien is active, and the 49ers' draft picks in each of the first two rounds are sitting this one out. The only 49ers rookie who saw action in Week 1 was safety Trenton Robinson, chosen in the sixth round. He did not play on defense, but he saw 15 snaps on special teams. Jenkins was active for the opener, but he did not play.
When I asked coach Jim Harbaugh on Friday whether he considered it a luxury that the 49ers does not need the rookies to contribute immediately, he answered, "Well, we certainly feel like we need them, and they are coming along. The situation hasn't presented itself yet. But they're both coming."49ers inactives
WR A.J. Jenkins
WR Ted Ginn Jr.
RB LaMichael James
RB Brandon Jacobs
G Joe Looney
TE Garrett Celek
NT Ian WilliamsLions inactives
QB Kellen Moore
CB Chris Houston
S Louis Delmas
CB Bill Bentley
LB Travis Lewis
T Jason Fox
T Corey HilliardThe Lions will play Sunday without three-quarters of their starting defensive backfield. Drayton Florence starts at cornerback for Houston; Jacob Lacey starts at the other cornerback for Bentley; and John Wendling takes over at safety for Louis Delmas The 49ers enter Sunday night's game with a streak of 26 regular-season quarters without committing a turnover. That is a 49ers record, and the team is four quarters shy of the NFL record record set by the New England Patriots (2010). Replacement referee Matt Nicks is assigned to Sunday's game. He most recently worked Mid-South Conference (NAIA) and Tennessee high school games. His crew called a combined nine penalties for 91 yards while working the Cincinnati-Baltimore game Monday night. Among the penalties called were a 20-yard pass interference call on Bengals cornerback Nate Clements in the end zone, and a 15-yard personal foul for Taylor Mays' helmet-to-helmet hit on Ravens tight end Ed Dickson. The NFL later fined Mays 21,000 for the illegal hit.

49ers specialists get drenched in preparations for inclement weather

49ers specialists get drenched in preparations for inclement weather

CHICAGO – The 49ers trained for the expected low-30s temperature and snow at Soldier Field with a week of workouts in the 80-degree heat of Florida.

However, the team’s specialists got some practice handling wet footballs during the 49ers’ final practice in Orlando, Fla.

Special-teams coordinator Derius Swinton and his assistant, Michael Clay, made a game of it. Long-snapper Kyle Nelson had to execute 10 perfect snaps to holder Bradley Pinion for field goals. Then, Pinion moved back to punt formation, where another 10 in a row were required.

But they had to be perfect while Swinton and Clay squirted water on the ball and at the hands of Nelson and Pinion, who also received a blast of water in his ear hole at one point.

“We always look up to see if there’s a chance of rain or snow, and we go, ‘Wet-ball drill,’ ” Nelson said. “They (Swinton and Clay) get to have fun, squirting water on us and use the water bottles.

“They make it as bad as possible.”

Nelson and Pinion teamed up to execute perfectly on all 20 field goals and punts.

“If I can do this, in a game it’s going to be even easier,” Nelson said. “They make it a lot harder in practice than it is in a game, so when we get to a game, everything is not as fast.”

The weather conditions on Sunday against the Chicago Bears will likely challenge Nelson, Pinion and kicker Phil Dawson as much as anyone. Dawson has been tracking the weather forecasts for more than a week to get mentally prepared for what he might face.

“Soldier Field is notorious for being a tough place to kick because of the wind and the field itself,” Dawson said this week on the 49ers Insider Podcast. “The footing is pretty poor. So when you add snow and moisture to the equation, it’s going to be one of those days.

“You need to have conversations with your coaches and let them know – be honest with them – about the difficulty. But you have to do that without it affecting your confidence to go out and get the job done.”

Said Nelson, “It takes more focus in bad weather. The snaps have to be a little more perfect. Bradley has to focus more on catching the ball, and Phil has to concentrate on the approach and be more cautious.”

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."