Williams faces struggle to earn 49ers roster spot


Williams faces struggle to earn 49ers roster spot

It's not going to be easy for Kyle Williams to make the team.Right now, he's in decent shape. But if the 49ers add a wide receiver within the first four rounds, the task becomes very difficult.In a Friday post that told of four pass-catchers who might be available for the 49ers with the No. 30 overall selection, it was written that Michael Crabtree, Mario Manningham, Randy Moss and Ted Ginn are the 49ers' top four receivers.MAIOCCO: 49ers' pass-catching options at No. 30
That statement inspired a comment from afimisfits89 wondering why I listed Ginn, and not Williams, as the No. 4 receiver.The 49ers are rarely going to send four wide receivers onto the field during the course of a game. That's because tight end Vernon Davis never comes off the field, and the 49ers always figure to have either Frank Gore or Kendall Hunter in the huddle on third downs.So that means the No. 4 receiver spot is likely to be the 49ers' return specialist. And the 49ers' return specialist is Ted Ginn.Ginn went onto the free-agent market in hopes of finding more playing time as a wide receiver. When he did not find a team willing to find an expanded role for him on offense, he returned to the 49ers on a one-year contract.Ginn has been steady -- and, at times, spectacular -- as a return man. Wiliams' two turnovers in the NFC championship game proved costly. But his diving catch of a punt in the first half of that game was equally troubling because it brought his decision-making into doubt.
It's difficult to imagine the 49ers would put Williams in a position to return punts again in a pressurized situation.Williams does have skills as a slot receiver, no doubt. But is he good enough to win play time over the current group of receivers? Right now, he's the No. 5 receiver. The 49ers are likely to add a quality receiver in the draft, too, which would likely bump him to No. 6.
The 49ers gave no guaranteed money to Moss, so it's not a given that the veteran will be around when the team breaks camp. If Moss has the desire to play after unretiring -- and he still has his physical tools -- it should make for good better competition.And it will also make Williams' spot on the team tenuous.

Kelly: No changes to defensive staff


Kelly: No changes to defensive staff

SANTA CLARA – The search for answers will continue during the 49ers’ bye week. But coach Chip Kelly said he has already concluded he will make no changes to the defensive staff.

The 49ers surrendered 513 yards of total offense to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday at Levi’s Stadiium. The Buccaneers, who entered the game with the league's 27th-ranked run game, rushed for 249 yards in their 34-17 victory over the 49ers.

Defensive coordinator Jim O’Neil has come under fire, but Kelly told reporters he is not looking to make any changes to his staff. Kelly said he already spends ample time with O’Neil on a weekly basis.

“We spend time together during the week,” Kelly said. “We carve out time, in terms of how we watch film and what we do.

“There’s good communication there from that standpoint. It’s not like I don’t know what’s going on on the defensive side of the ball.”

Defensive players in the 49ers’ locker room expressed confidence in O’Neil’s scheme.

“I love this scheme,” safety Eric Reid said. “If everybody does their job, we shouldn’t get beat. But whenever there’s an explosive play, somebody is out of position. We just got to tighten up.”

Said defensive lineman DeForest Buckner, “We have a great scheme and we have the guys to fit the scheme that he’s trying to run for us. Everybody individually, including myself, just needs to do better.”

Outside linebacker Aaron Lynch, who left the game in the third quarter with a high-ankle sprain, expressed a view of the team’s defensive players that was more than a bit optimistic.

“We have the team,” Lynch said. “We possibly have one of the best teams in the NFL, easily. Hands down. We need to know how to keep finishing games and work together throughout the whole game. Once we get that down, nobody’s going to be able to mess with us.”

The 49ers rank last in the NFL in rushing defense. The 49ers gave up 561 yards rushing in the past two games, the worst back-to-back weeks in franchise history.

Buccaneers running back Jacquizz Rodgers was the latest player to feast on the 49ers' defense. Rodgers rushed for a career-high 154 yards on 26 carries to become the sixth consecutive opponent to gain more than 100 yards on the 49ers.


49ers' Armstead, Robinson, Lynch exit with injuries


49ers' Armstead, Robinson, Lynch exit with injuries

SANTA CLARA – The 49ers lost three defensive starters due to injuries in the third quarter of Sunday’s game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Levi's Stadium.

Defensive lineman Arik Armstead (shoulder), rookie cornerback Rashard Robinson (knee) and outside linebacker Aaron Lynch (ankle) were forced out of the game due to injuries.

Armstead’s condition appeared to be an aggravation of a left shoulder injury he has been managing since training camp. Armstead did not play in any of the 49ers’ four exhibition games due to the injury. He said the undisclosed condition might force him to have surgery at the end of the season.

Robinson made his fourth consecutive start. He and Lynch left the game on back-to-back plays. Robinson sustained a left knee injury, while Lynch exited with a left ankle injury.

The 49ers will return to action on Nov. 6 against the New Orleans Saints after the bye week.