49ers Mailbag: Who sees more action with Manningham out?

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49ers Mailbag: Who sees more action with Manningham out?

On the eve of an ultra-intriguing regular-season game in Foxboro, Mass., we go to the 49ers Mailbag to answer some questions:

Mario Manningham is almost definitely out right? (@jmike4949blvd)
Yes.

In fact, while I was in the air Saturday on the trip from San Francisco to Boston, the 49ers made it official: Manningham will not play Sunday against the New England Patriots due to his shoulder injury.

What this means is more playing time for No. 2 tight end Delanie Walker, more playing time for fullback Bruce Miller, and more playing time for Randy Moss in two-receiver formations.

The 49ers do not figure to use three-receiver sets too often -- maybe a dozen times through the course of the game. When the 49ers go with that formation, mostly on third downs, you can expect to see rookie A.J. Jenkins get on the field. He played eight snaps last week with Manningham sidelined. He'll probably see at least that much playing time on Sunday, too.

Will LaMichael James see more carries this week? (@bjdpaskeland)
James suited up last week for the first time this season. He is taking over for Kendall Hunter, who sustained a season-ending Achilles injury in the 49ers' 11th game.

Hunter had 72 rushing attempts this season or approximately seven carries per game as Frank Gore's backup. James carried eight times for 30 yards in the 49ers' victory last week over the Miami Dolphins.

That seems about right. So, no, I do not expect James to account for a dramatically higher share of the carries. After all, Gore is still the man who makes the 49ers' offense click.

Do you think Brandon Jacobs will be on playoff roster? ‏ (@sachibub10)
Jacobs does not want to play for the 49ers, and the 49ers do not want him around. The 49ers cleared out his locker and gave it to newly re-signed outside linebacker Eric Bakhtiari.

I do not foresee any situation in which the 49ers would want Jacobs in their locker room ever again.

Jacobs will not play for any team this season. There were reports Jacobs would file a grievance against the 49ers. It might eventually come to that, but that has not happened and it would not occur until after the season.

Any grievance Jacobs might file would be all about money. It would have nothing to do with releasing Jacobs so he could sign with another team.

With the three-game suspension to end the regular season, Jacobs stands to lose $167,000 in base salary. In all likelihood, Jacobs' camp will attempt to reach some financial settlement with the 49ers to avoid filing a grievance.

What are the chances that the 49ers play a lot of nickel against the Brady led O? (‏@RichBonsall)
It's a given. Expect to see a lot of Chris Culliver and very little -- if any -- of nose tackle Isaac Sopoago, the starter in the 49ers' base defense who heads to the sideline when the 49ers go with five defensive backs.

The big question is whether the 49ers will play a lot of their dime defense. That would require fourth cornerback Perrish Cox to enter the game and send inside linebacker Patrick Willis to the sideline.

Cox played more than Willis in the first game of the season against the Green Bay Packers. Cox also played a lot against the Detroit Lions in Week 2, but he has not seen much action since that time.

The 49ers will certainly play some dime. But how much? The key is how they choose to account for tight end Aaron Hernandez. Some teams tag Hernandez as a wide receiver and use defensive backs to cover him. The Patriots also feature such pass-catching targets as Wes Welker, Brandon Lloyd, Danny Woodhead and Julian Edelman.

Bill Belichick and Co. might want to force the hand of 49ers defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, who must make the decision to keep Willis on the sideline or take his chances with a possible mismatch with Willis covering a smaller, quicker Patriots receiver.

Is Alex Boone the long-term answer at guard? (@JimKralik)
If the club remains healthy, and he's not needed elsewhere, Boone figures to be the 49ers' starting right guard through at least the 2014 season.

Right tackle Anthony Davis is signed through 2014, and he'll remain at right tackle through that time. If Davis does not sign an extension before then, the 49ers would move Boone to right tackle. Left tackle seems out of the question for a while with Joe Staley signed through 2017.

In addition to being the 49ers' starting guard, Boone also serves as the team's top backup at both tackle positions.

49ers assistant GM Gamble leaving organization

49ers assistant GM Gamble leaving organization

The San Francisco 49ers Wednesday announced that Tom Gamble is leaving the organization. 

“The 49ers organization has tremendous respect and appreciation for Tom Gamble and his many years of service,” said General Manager John Lynch. “He is a class act who has helped a great deal in this transition, and I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know him. After working together over the last month, Tom and I agreed that it would be in both of our best interests for him to pursue other opportunities. Tom is a true professional and we wish him and his family great success in the future.”
 
“I must thank Jed, the York family and the entire 49ers organization for the wonderful memories they provided me and my family, but it is time I move on,” said Gamble. “This past month, I have had the pleasure of working alongside John Lynch and the talented staff he has assembled. The team is in capable hands and I wish them nothing but the best.”

Gamble, who recently completed his 29th NFL season and 10th with the 49ers, returned to the team in January of 2015 as the senior personnel executive and was later named assistant general manager on July 25, 2016. He spent the 2013-14 seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles as vice president of player personnel. Gamble originally joined the 49ers in 2005 and spanned eight seasons with San Francisco including two as the director of player personnel (2011-12). He oversaw both the college and pro personnel efforts of the 49ers. As the 49ers director of pro personnel from 2005-10, Gamble monitored every NFL roster with an emphasis on scouting talent of upcoming pro free agents, while also maintaining continuous depth of personnel on the team’s roster.

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Lynch, Shanahan hold 'positive' discussion with Kaepernick

Lynch, Shanahan hold 'positive' discussion with Kaepernick

General manager John Lynch confirmed during a radio interview that he and 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan met with quarterback Colin Kaepernick at his office Wednesday morning at the team headquarters in Santa Clara.

“I would characterize it as just a really positive discussion,” Lynch said during an appearance on KNBR, confirming a CSNBayArea.com report the sides met for the first time since Lynch and Shanahan were hired in their new roles.

Lynch said he and Shanahan have committed to being completely honest with Kaepernick, who can opt out of his contract to become an unrestricted free agent as early as next week.

Lynch did not divulge the topics of conversation. He said a commitment was also made to Kaepernick to not speak publicly about the specifics of their conversations.

“I do think that there are some things that are sacred,” Lynch said. “We did have a great discussion and I think Colin left excited and we left excited.

“And I think as Kyle and I believe, the evaluation process is still very much fluid. We’ve only been on the job a couple of weeks and I can tell you we both very much enjoyed being around Colin, and he seems like he’s in a real good place.”