Williams finds slot in 49ers' offense as rookies sit


Williams finds slot in 49ers' offense as rookies sit

SANTA CLARA -- Wide receiver Kyle Williams has yet to catch a pass this season, but he has been in the starting lineup for the first two games.
Williams has been on the field, along with Michael Crabtree and Mario Manningham, whenever the 49ers go with three wide receivers. He is considered the team's best fit as a slot receiver."Kyle is a really shifty receiver," 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman said. "He's got great quickness, change of direction, really good short-area player. He's got good hands. I think Kyle continues to improve as a route-runner. He's got the quickness you look for inside, and he can get separation from a defender in short quarters."A lot of times in the slot, you're going to end up running routes on a defender and it's either the first read or you got to get open quick in a short area. He excels in that area."Randy Moss has also had a role on offense with five receptions for 61 yards and a touchdown. Ted Ginn has missed the first two games of the season with a right ankle sprain. And rookie A.J. Jenkins, a first-round draft pick, has yet to step onto the field."There's a lot of competition at the receiver positions," Roman said. "The receivers are playing pretty darn well. We look forward to diversifying what we're doing with them. And expand on everybody's role who practices well."It will be difficult for Jenkins to ever get on the field this season with Crabtree, Manningham, Williams, Moss and, presumably, Ginn ahead of him. After all, most backup players must have a role on special teams, and Jenkins has not won a role on special teams.
For the same reason, running back LaMichael James, a second-round pick from Oregon, has not been active for either of the 49ers' first two games. James, like Jenkins, does not have much special-teams value. James struggled during the exhibition season as a punt returner.
Kendall Hunter is a solid No. 2 back behind starter Frank Gore. Anthony Dixon gives the 49ers versatility as the No. 3 running back and reserve fullback, as well as being a core special-teams player.And when running back Brandon Jacobs returns to action from a left knee sprain -- it's doubtful that will happen Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings -- that will mean the 49ers must declare one more player inactive.And when Ginn and Jacobs return to action, it'll be even more difficult for Jenkins and James to factor into the team's offensive plan with their already-deep position groupings at receiver and running back.

49ers' Smith, Raiders' Williams not among Walter Payton Man of the Year finalists

49ers' Smith, Raiders' Williams not among Walter Payton Man of the Year finalists

Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald, Giants quarterback Eli Manning and Panthers tight end Greg Olsen are the three finalists for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award.

Fitzgerald, one of the top receivers in the league, has made grants of more than one million dollars for the "First Down Fund."

The fund promotes reading and technology access for kids from kindergarten through 12th grade as well as supports efforts to prevent and cure breast cancer and support breast cancer survivors. 

Also, the fund makes grants to the American Cancer Society as well as breast cancer organizations based in Arizona and Minnesota, for activities such as education, support groups, and free mammograms. 

Fitzgerald was a finalist in 2012.

Olsen founded "Receptions for Research" after watching his mother deal with breast cancer in 2009.

The foundation’s program focuses on cancer research, support and education programming.

The program has distributed more than $520,000 to six hospitals and foundations.

The program’s most notable and largest fundraiser, Kicks for a Cure, has raised over $850,000 in its eight year history.

Olsen was previously nominated in 2015.

Manning is a two-time Super Bowl winner. He supports "Tackle Kids Cancer" at the Hackensack (N.J.) University Medical Center. Their research team gives patients access to more than 100 cutting-edge clinical trials to combat pediatric cancer.

Manning has volunteered for the "Tackle Kids Cancer" campaign since the start of the 2015 season and has visited the Children’s Cancer Institute.

Manning was previously nominated from 2007-2013 and was a finalist in 2015.

The winner will be announced the week of the Super Bowl in Houston.

Report: Kelly candidate to replace Shanahan with Falcons

Report: Kelly candidate to replace Shanahan with Falcons

The person who replaces the next 49ers head coach could reportedly be the previous 49ers head coach.

Atlanta Falcons coach Dan Quinn, who reportedly told his staff last week that Kyle Shanahan would take the 49ers job, has been compiling a list of offensive coordinator candidates.

On that list to interview is former 49ers coach Chip Kelly, reported Jay Glazer of Fox Sports. Kelly interviewed with Jacksonville Jaguars coach Doug Marrone for the team's offensive coordinator position last week. Marrone hired Nathaniel Hackett.

The 49ers are not allowed to hire Shanahan until the Falcons’ season is over. A source told CSNBayArea.com that the 49ers' interview scheduled depends on the outcome of the Falcons' NFC Championship game on Sunday against the Green Bay Packers. The 49ers plan to interview Shanahan for a second time Monday and Tuesday if the Falcons lose on Sunday. If the Falcons win and advance to the Super Bowl, the Falcons will make Shanahan available for an interview on Friday.

The 49ers announced the firings of Kelly and general manager Trent Baalke just hours after the team concluded its 2-14 season.