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Just a few months ago, we thought what's happened in the past two days was a longshot, only attainable through means previously thought impossible and a whole lot of luck. The lockout turned a 2011 season into a possibility instead of a certainty ... but now with week one in the books, we've got actual, factual stats and standings to work with. And after week one, we can start looking at the NFC West and how it's shaping up.
For starters, the 49ers have themselves a tie for the lead! So for now, you go right ahead and call yourselves division leaders if you so choose. They got themselves a win and handed rivals Seattle a loss, which is great to do right out of the gate. When it comes to the Seahawks, it wasn't so much the final result, but how they played. It was ... how you say ... ugly.
Offensively, Seattle didn't look they had even a vague idea of what they wanted to do, let alone an installed offensive system and gameplan. The 49ers defense ate them up, and quarterback Tavaris Jackson didn't look like he's the savior of a franchise. Of course, he was playing behind a very inexperienced offensive line, and that definitely was a factor. San Francisco's pass rush was dominant, and maybe that's because they're that good ... but it's probably a combination of the two.
If Seattle's offensive line doesn't get going (should improve with the return of Robert Gallery), Jackson will remain a largely ineffective quarterback. And if that special teams unit gives up a kick return touchdown shortly after the offense just brought themselves back in the game, then it's a done deal for them. The 49ers should feel good about their win over Seattle.
The Arizona Cardinals were the other team to pick up a win and share the co-lead with the 49ers in the NFC West. What they showed on Sunday was ... potential. They did beat the Carolina Panthers, but what's that mean when it all comes down to it? Last year, they were the worst team in the National Football League. So what the Cardinals showed was the ability to execute their gameplan when they're able. The worst thing you can be in this league is a team that can't do what it wants to do in the best situation to do it.
That's the good for them ... the good news. The bad news is that rookie quarterback Cam Newton was able to set a rookie week one passing record against a secondary that was already a question mark. Only time will tell if Newton ends up being worth the first-overall draft pick, but one has to assume that he's probably not going to average 400 yards a week. It was a game that almost got away from them, and they're lucky to have a win right now.
For San Francisco, they do have to feel that Arizona might be better this year than they thought. Arizona has been pegged by many as the basement dweller in the NFC West. It's a proposition that may yet come true, but the division will be looking on.
St. Louis, though ... they are still somewhat of a mystery. They got things started well, and against a very good team in the Philadelphia Eagles, but they lost their way pretty quickly and let their early lead slip away. But the offense did come out and run somewhat efficiently, while the defense showed things. You know what they looked like?
They looked like a young team.
And that's what they are ... but in this division, they're a young team that could be going to the playoffs. Philadelphia is simply better in every way. The big thing to take away from this game is the injuries. Sam Bradford, Steven Jackson and Ron Bartell were all banged up. Bradford may return for week two, but Jackson and Bartell are probably out for longer, especially Bartell, who is showing a fracture in his neck.
Those are big injuries, and while there's no cause to ever celebrate an injury, the 49ers have increasing odds the more that other teams get banged up. Also hurt were Rodger Saffold, C.J. Ah You, Danny Amendola, and Bradley Fletcher. The Rams would have been trending upward without the injuries, if only because they didn't look completely lost against the Eagles.
All that being said, the 49ers have to feel good about the NFC West so far this year. They're trending upward with their win over last year's division winner, while the Rams lost and the Cardinals failed to impress in their win. Let's not crown anybody, but that's a right first step for 2011 for San Francisco.
San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh held a press conference at Niners headquarters Monday afternoon, talking a bit about the mentality of the team as a whole as well as how he feels they are progressing as a unit overall.
One big point he made was the fact that it’s an ‘us’ mindset with this group of players. One keen media person made note of this, stating that Harbaugh went as far as to not even use the pronoun "I" at all when speaking about the team. But even if it wasn’t a cognizant move by Harbaugh, it’s one he embraces all the same.
Coach also had a lot of praise for Alex Smith’s play, noting his cool demeanor and decision making, along with his toughness (again). And even though the outside observer would say the Niners played conservatively on both sides of the ball, Harbaugh simply put it like this:
"We weren’t playing it safe. We play to win at all times."
They weren’t trying to hide anything from the Cowboys claimed Harbaugh, "we’re a rush three, drop eight team" and even though defensive coordinator Vic Fangio is known for his "exotic" schemes they played their game and got the job done.
Harbaugh was also asked about what he learned about his team after week one, noting that he liked how the team responded and competed to events throughout the game, even bringing up the great sideline energy of the team all afternoon long. The term he used about Niners teammates was "playing vicariously;" staying mentally engaged and active even when they weren’t on the field.
Another big point he made was about the perception of the team in the media, noting that he saw no 49er highlights after he went home and started "flipping through channels" watching game recaps and such, even with two kick returns from Ted Ginn Jr. Harbaugh would state that "We [the team] have to do something about that," not remain off the radar but grab attention league-wide that this team is for real. I hope he’s right.
During the San Francisco 49ers' 33-17 win over the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday, wide receiver Michael Crabtree played very sparingly in the second half due to his nagging foot injury. Crabs took some time to speak to the media after the game, and talk about how the injury effects his game:
Are you 100 percent? Do you feel like you're 100 percent?
"No. If I was 100 percent I would've finished the game, but I'm not 100 percent."
I don't think the Niners bank on Ted Ginn returning 2 kicks for touchdowns every game, so this is (still) not good news for San Francisco and it's fans.
Did you have any problems with your cleats?
"No. It doesn't matter what cleats I have on to tell you the truth. It's my foot. It's not totally healed but it's good enough for me to go out there and play. Coach put me in, he knows I've played football before."
Maybe Crabs should start playing in Skechers Shape Ups like Joe Montana, I bet his feet don't hurt. And thanks bud, we all know you've played football before.
Does it start to get sore at the end of practices as well, or was it just today?
"No not at all. It was just today. You're giving it your all in a game, it's the first game. It should be alright though."
Also, not good. It is the first game, they don't need this inhibiting him or taking away from his playing time the rest of the season. Somehow this thing needs to be nipped in the bud.
Obviously it's a week away, but do you think you'll be playing next week or does your foot need time to fully heal?
"I think I'm going to play every week. That's football. The season has started, so if it hurts again and I can't go then I'm just going to come out."
Maybe it's just me but I don't like how he worded this. It's like he can play until he's over it, then wave to the sideline and chill the rest of the game. I'm sure that isn't exactly the case, but still. They need him out there just as bad as he wants to be out there, yet unless it magically gets better or he takes time off, Crabs' foot problems seem to be sticking around.
For more on the 49ers, head over to Niners Nation to get in on the action.
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Alex Smith took some time to speak to the media after their game with the Seattle Seahawks on Monday, talking about where the team needs to improve and how Jim Harbaugh effects his play on the field:
How much of your plays do you think you're trying to vindicate Harbaugh's faith in you? He's gone way out on a limb talking about you, praising you all the time he's been here.
"Yes, I'm not thinking about that, just playing good in general. There are a lot of reasons to play good. The biggest thing is for my teammates and coaches. That's why I play this game. That's why I think the game of football is so special. So to be able to hold up your end of the deal is a lot, and this is the best time to walk away with a win. No better feeling."
Answered like a true field general. Alex knows the public perception that he carries, how many 'second chances' he's had with the same franchise and all that. This might be the first coach he's had that he isn't trying to prove something to, Harbaugh understands what it takes to be a QB in the NFL, and must feel that Alex's bum wrap may keep him down a little. Hopefully he can 'break out' somewhat this season.
You got a bear hug coming off the field, how was that? That was a nice moment.
"Yes it was nice. It was a big two-minute situation. We get down there on the goal line. Clock's running down. We call it the boot, and my number got called and found a way to get in. It was nice. He'd [Harbaugh] have to answer this, but I don't know if he kind of enjoyed that more than the touchdown pass."
When's the last time you got hugged by a coach?
"I couldn't tell you. I hugged coach-on the field? I don't know."
I doubt many players are keeping tab of when they lasted hug one of their various coaches, but the spirit of the question is a bit heart-warming. From Mike Nolan throwing him under the bus, to Mike Singletary yanking him in and out of games, I'm sure Alex appreciates the relationship he has with his new coach, even more so with his prior experiences with the aforementioned coaches. Hug away guys, just keep on winning.
It's a little bit early, a little bit of vindication for you, do you think?
"I don't know about vindication. It's 1-0. That's great. That's the biggest thing playing quarterback, bottom line it's getting the win. Find a way and defense helped a lot tonight. Special teams obviously with [WR] Ted Ginn [Jr.] there in the end. It's a great win like I said, but offensively a lot of room for improvement."
Alex doesn't seem like a guy who carries around an "I'll show them" type of mentality (though admittedly I've never met him), bringing me back to my point of how he's perceived in the media. He never wants to talk about him, just always praise his teammates; like Ted Ginn Jr. (and rightfully so). There's no revenge, no vindication, just a '1' in the win column, and that's all that should matter.
For more discussion and analysis of the 49ers, head on over to Niners Nation.
It has to feel good for the San Francisco 49ers to have a winning record again, even if it is only the first game.
After their 33-17 win at Candlestick Park on Sunday, head coach Jim Harbaugh spoke to the press about how the game went, what it takes to win, and how it feels to be a winner as a coach in the NFL:
Did you guys play the way you wanted the team to play today?
"Yeah, the only goal is to win and our guys did a great job. It's never easy to get a win in the National Football League. I thought our offense had a very blue-collar type of day. I thought [QB] Alex Smith played exceptionally well. He played tough. Good pass protection up front and they did what they had to do. No turnovers, that was huge. Defensively, it was lights out in the first half especially.
Truer words may never have been spoken. After the disarray of the Mike Singletary era, it's quite a refreshing way to begin Harbaugh's tenure; a huge W against a divisional opponent right out of the gates. Sure it took some magic from Ted Ginn (twice) but a win's a win, and now on to the next.
Do you feel different being 1-0 in the NFL as opposed to being 0-0 in your career?
"What I'm thinking about right now other than the feeling of winning, the great thrill of winning a game. That's what makes football fun. I'm sure it won't be too many hours until I really start thinking about this week. I always feel that a football team has a chance to gain its biggest improvement from week one to week two...I'm sure it won't be too many hours until I start focusing on that."
I love the fact that Harbaugh tells it like it is, explaining how he's actually feeling. It's not "well, I'll have to look at the tape" and a bunch of wincing and shoulder shrugs, it's straight up, real-talk 24-7. Once again, very, very refreshing.
You gave a big hug to Alex after his touchdown, was it because of the toughness that you mentioned? Is that the aspect that you liked?
"Yeah. He doesn't get that in, we're scrambling to clock it and try to get the field goal before the half, rolling the dice, putting it in his hands, and he came up big for us. Toughness. Great job sticking it in the end-zone by Alex."
One of the best performances from Alex during his time in the NFL if you ask me, especially the no turnovers part. You can tell he's more relaxed and actually focusing on what he's doing instead of worrying about making a mistake. Sure, he's been here for six plus years or whatever and it's only one game, nevertheless it's a jumping off point for 2011, and Alex is certainly off on the right foot.
You said to tune in to your conversations with Seattle Head Coach Pete Carroll before and after the game. How was the conversation on the field after the game?
"Good. He congratulated us on the win and said we'd see each other down the road."
I'm sure Harbaugh wanted to show the press the beef had been squashed between them to the media, but I was hoping for some serious smack talk that Harbaugh wanted a recording of. Wishful thinking I suppose.
For more on the 49ers, head over to Niners Nation to get your fix.
Jim Harbaugh made his debut on Sunday at Candlestick Park, and there was a lot of hope from the San Francisco 49ers faithful that he'd be able to improve his offense.
But it wasn't Harbaugh's offensive unit that made the most noise for San Francisco on Sunday. For much of the game, the 49ers most questioned unit was its normal anemic self. They averaged a horrid 2.7 yards per carry. Frank Gore had a pretty weak rushing performance save a late fourth quarter drive. Despite completing three-fourths of his passes and rushing for 22 yards on seven carries, Alex Smith only managed 124 passing yards on 6.2 yards per attempt. Worst of all, they converted one lone third down (which was pretty much third-and-an-inch) out of 12 opportunities. San Francisco managed 209 yards of offense and turned only ONE of five red zone opportunities into touchdowns, allowing Seattle to hang around for most of the game.
However, the units that really shined on Sunday came on the other side of the ball. Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio and special teams coordinator Brad Seely had their units raring to go on Sunday.
Fangio's defense totally locked down the Seahawks rushing attack. Seattle doesn't have a great offensive line, but they looked absolutely pitiful in trying to open holes for the Seattle runners as the 49ers defensive front manhandled them at the line. Marshawn Lynch had 33 yards on 13 carries (and he generated most of those yards on his own); Justin Forsett picked up three yards on three carries, Michael Robinson two yards on his lone carry. 49ers front seven defenders Navorro Bowman, Ray McDonald and Patrick Willis all picked up five to six tackles in containing the Seahawks runners.
When Seattle's run attack closed up, the 49ers got to work at battering Tarvaris Jackson. Jackson was sacked five times (twice by Justin Smith and Parys Haralson each, once by Ray McDonald), and Haralson forced a crucial fumble to set up a Niners field goal. Willis, Tarell Brown, Donte Whitner, Carlos Rogers, Ahamd Brooks and Aldon Smith also deflected passes, and Tramaine Brock picked off a Jackson pass at the end of the half.
The unsung heroes came on special teams. Punter Andy Lee boomed incredible punts of 61, 64, 58, 55, and 60 yards in the winds of the Stick. David Akers knocked in all four of his field goals, even if they were all red zone chippers, but also boomed kickoffs back and forced Seattle to start generally from within their own 25. And we've already talked about the contributions of kick returner Ted Ginn, Jr., who broke the game open at the end. But those contributions were equally valuable to ensuring victory for San Francisco.
San Francisco has to be greatly encouraged by the performance of their defense and special teams, but the offense simply has to improve. Otherwise the 49ers will be right back where they were for the past half-decade--a team that could only produce in certain places while remaining totally deficient in others.
The 49ers began the second half with the ball and an 0-6 mark on third down conversions. They failed to get a first down on the half's opening drive and took that third down (in)efficiency mark to 0-7. Seattle gets the ball and they get to 3rd-and-10, but once again, Doug Baldwin grabs a reception to convert on third-and-long. Then the Seahawks offense started to click, getting three yards here, eight yards here, and eventually had themselves on the eight-yard line threatening to score. Carlos Rogers makes a great play on first down in the endzone to break up a pass to Obamanu. Then Golden Tate is found on the quick slant to get the touchdown to finally put Seattle on the board 7-0.
San Francisco got the ball back and started it off with the customary run-for-zero-yards. They followed this with a deep bomb to Vernon Davis, which the tight end failed to even reach for, so it fell incomplete. Alex Smith found Davis on the next play, but it was a loss of three and the 49ers went on to punt.
Fortunately for them, Seattle lost some momentum on the next drive, going three-and-out, and being forced to punt. They needed that, as the last thing they'd have wanted was more momentum for their division. Unfortunately for them, they upped their 0-7 to an 0-8 on the previous drive, and an 0-9 after that.
A huge Leon Washington kickoff return was brought back due to an illegal block in the back. Mike Williams would go on to catch a great pass at the sideline for a first down. They get another completion and a first down, and the momentum is swinging back in their favor with two minutes left in the quarter. Then, the Seahawks go for a pass over the middle and Madieu Williams breaks it up with a great shoulder-to-shoulder tackle, but two referees throw the flag and it's called a hit to the head of a defenseless receiver. That's two referees right in front of it completely missing what happened. And it was very clearly a legal tackle.
Aldon Smith breaks up a big pass at the line of scrimmage on second down, which brings up a 3rd-and-13 for the Seahawks. Tavaris Jackson fumbles on the snap, recovers it, and they bring out the field goal unit. At the start of the fourth, it's good and the Seahawks get three more. 49ers lead 16-0.
On the Seahawks first drive of the second quarter, they converted a third down courtesy of Doug Baldwin, but Tavaris Jackson was intercepted by defensive end Will Tukuafu on the very next play. Actually, it went down as a fumble recovery for Tukuafu, but what's most notable is that it was his first play from scrimmage in the NFL regular season. Can you say awesome?
The 49ers would eventually turn that into points, taking a couple plays and an eventual dropped pass by Frank Gore on third down, when David Akers drilled a 24-yard field goal. That put San Francisco up 6-0 in the second quarter.
The Seahawks eventually had to punt again, not being able to get anything done against San Francisco's defense. Patrick Willis blew up the screen pass on third down, not a player alive could have caught that pass and turned it into a first down. Ted Ginn Jr. loses ten yards on the punt after making about what seemed like thirty or forty guys miss. A shame he was making them miss by running in the wrong direction.
On the second play of the next 49ers drive, Alex Smith scrambles and floats a pass up over two defenders, hitting tight end Vernon Davis for a 27-yard gain. The 49ers get to 4th-and-1 and they go for it, with Adam Snyder reporting as an eligible receiver. Snyder moves in motion and the Seahawks jump and get called on encroachment. Eventually, another 4th-and-1 comes up for San Francisco, but they elect to kick the field goal, and David Akers makes it for the third time today, this time from 31-yards to put the 49ers up 9-0 with 2:40 left in the half.
If you blinked, you missed Seattle's possession, where Patrick Willis blasted Tavaris Jackson on third down to force the punt. Alex Smith has a scramble for a first down, and then Vernon Davis hauls in another reception, this one for 16-yards. It was a beauty, where he spun and barely pulled it in. Then Michael Crabtree got his first reception of the game, a four yard catch over the middle. An encroachment penalty by Seattle sets the 49ers up with a 3rd-and-1, Smith drops back and throws to Braylon Edwards, who is being held by the corner, and the 49ers get the ball with a first down on the one-yard line with 17 seconds to go.
49ers showed pass, but Smith fakes the handoff and rolls out to the right, before running it in himself and spinning around a defender, to put the 49ers up 15-0. Akers makes it 16-0 with the extra point.
Seattle goes three-and-out on the opening drive, with the 49ers swarming and stopping Marshawn Lynch in his tracks on first and second down - but a roughing the kicker call on Tavares Gooden on fourth down gave them a first down and ten yards for their troubles. This led to a Seattle first down, which turned into another ... but the 49ers eventually got the stop and forced the second punt of the drive. Ray McDonald made two great wrap-up plays in the backfield to force fourth down, stopping lynch and a scrambling Tavaris Jackson.
The 49ers first offensive drive was even less eventful than that. After a scramble from Alex Smith, three runs to Frank Gore (one negated due to a false start from Joe Staley) later, the 49ers were punting on 4th-and-7. Not a pretty site. On the punt, the ball seemed to glance past Leon Washington, but Jim Harbaugh threw the challenge flag, contesting that the ball touched Washington as it went past. One angle shows it looking awfully close, another makes it seem like it's ... not-so-close. Either way, the referees didn't have enough evidence to overturn it and the Seahawks got the ball.
What followed was a whole lot of mediocrity offensively and some good defensive line play from both sides. Eventually, the 49ers backed the Seahawks up into their own endzone, and Jackson had to scramble out to make room for the punt. A 31-yard return from Ted Ginn set the 49ers up nicely, and they eventually made their way into the redzone ... with Alex Smith laying out two big blocks on a 12-yard run from Frank Gore. Then the first quarter came to an end.
The 49ers stall out, and David Akers gets a 27-yard field goal to put the 49ers up 3-0 in the second.
Just about an hour out from gametime and the inactive players have been announced. For the 49ers, Dashon Goldson, Kyle Williams, Ian Williams, Daniel Kilgore, Mike Person, Scott Tolzien and Demarcus Dobbs will not be suiting up. Of note in that list is Goldson, the team's starting free safety. A nagging injury will keep him out and in his place will be Madieu Williams, making his first regular season start as a San Francisco 49er. The team most likely intended for Williams to be the starter when they signed him in the offseason anyway, but Goldson returned at a good price and that pushed him down the depth chart.
For the Seahawks: Josh Portis, Kris Durham, Sidney Rice, David Hawthorne, Robert Gallery, Jarriel King and Al Woods will be inactive. Three names pop out there: Rice, Hawthorne and Gallery. Rice was the team's big free agent signing and he's out with an injury, while Ben Obomanu will step up for his pace on the depth chart. Gallery is an above-average guard who will be replaced by a shifting John Carpenter, while Hawthorne will be replaced by rookie K.J. Wright.
That's a couple of significant players missing for Seattle, while Williams remains an unknown commodity for San Francisco, but he did play well in the preseason, for whatever that is worth.
The 49ers host the division rival Seattle Seahawks in the 2011 season opener, a game in which both teams will look to set an early tone as favorites to win the division. San Francisco and Seattle met for the season opening game last season as well and the Hawks came away with a decisive 31-6 victory. San Francisco will look to return the favor.
The game will be a reunion of sorts for Jim Harbaugh and Pete Carroll, who had a famous rivalry at their previous posts at Stanford and USC, respectively.
If you're planning on watching or listening to the game, here's what you need to know.
Game Date/Time: Sunday, September 11th; 1:15pm PT
TV: Fox - Dick Stockton, John Lynch, Jaime Maggio
Location: Candlestick Part, San Francisco, California
Radio Schedule: 107.7 FM, 680/1050 AM - Ted Robinson, Eric Davis, Rod Brooks
Watch it online at: NFL.com
Complete online coverage: Right here.
TV Distribution Map: The506.com
For more on the Niners head over to Niners Nation.
After days of speculation, it appears 49ers free safety Dashon Goldson will miss week one against the Seattle Seahawks. Goldson has not practiced all week and his availability for Sunday has declined as he continued to miss workouts and drills.
Kevin Lynch tweeted the information earlier today:
Again no Dashon Goldson for practice, which makes him probably out for Sunday. Expect Madieu Williams to start for him.
Matt Barrows confirmed the news as well:
Ex-Viking Madieu Williams likely to start at FS for the 49ers. He might know the SEA offense better than anyone. QB, OC came from Minnesota.
That is an interesting take from Barrows to suggest a potential benefit by playing Williams, though one probably shouldn't look too far into it. As far as Goldson's injury goes, no official return date has been set, but 49ers fans can probably expect their safety back by week three at the latest.
My predictions against the spread for Week 1 of the NFL season. Your best bet might be to bet the opposite. Check out SB Nation NFL for full week one coverage.
With the end of the preseason came news that Kendall Hunter was going to be the go-to guy behind Frank Gore at running back, beating out second-year player and 2010 6th-round draft choice Anthony Dixon for the honor. It's likely that both will see carries this season, as Hunter provides more of a "change of pace" than Dixon, who may be the guy who gets the carries when Gore is either tired or hurt. It's kind of a weird situation, as Hunter is still technically the backup.
That being said, one of them looked clearly better than the other, and that one was Hunter. During the preseason, he looked better than Dixon each time out, getting more yards and more yards-per-carry, and in fact looking like the best rookie running back of his class. So we've established that Hunter has value and should get some carries, but what is realistic at this point?
It's really up-in-the-air, considering the question marks surrounding Gore coming off his season-ending injury in 2010. Gore looked good in the preseason, but nobody will really know how he's going to look until he gets out there. If Gore is on point, then he'll probably be hungry for carries early and often. Short of Jim Harbaugh and Greg Roman wanting to further evaluate Hunter sooner rather than later, it's likely that the rookie will sit while Gore take's the lion's share for himself. It probably won't be until later in the season for Gore's carries to slow down, so that's likely when the backups will get going.
Then again, Harbaugh and the 49ers organization have just invested another three years into Gore and his future with the team needs to be as close to guaranteed as possible. This might mean a decreased workload in comparison to past seasons, where he was the offense in every conceivable way. The default play was to run Gore down the middle and that was that. Maybe the team has a different plan this time around, which would mean some carries for Hunter early.
We've got a Sicilian vs. Man in Black Battle-of-Wits conundrum going on right now ... are we finished? Not remotely, we're only just getting started! (Perhaps not, actually going to wrap this up shortly.)
One piece of evidence will tell us that Gore is likely to take every carry greedily, while the next will tell us that Hunter and Dixon might just see the field sooner rather than later. Another possibility is that it's wholly dependent on how things go ... a play-it-by-ear situation, if you will. If Gore comes out looking like he has against Seattle in the past, he'll certainly get every opportunity to keep doing it.
But if not? Maybe Hunter can change things up and get some valuable yardage against the NFC West rivals. Or maybe it's just best to wait-and-see what happens, it will definitely be something to watch come Sunday, though.
The San Francisco 49ers are making their final adjustments before their week one showdown with the Seattle Seahawks. While a good majority of the team is healthy for the start of the season, the free safety position is a bit up in the air at the moment.
According to the official release from the team, Dashon Goldson did not practice Wednesday or Thursday. Reggie Smith is reportedly healthy and good to go, but the team had him acting as Earl Thomas on the scout team. This probably indicated that Madieu Williams will be the one to get the start in week one, though nothing has been made official yet.
Other than Goldson, the team appears ready to go. Michael Crabtree practiced for the second straight day since coming off the PUP list, though his availability and role in Sunday's game is not really known at this point.
As for the Seahawks, the main absence from their practice was wide receiver Sidney Rice. The veteran's shoulder has bothered him all preseason and his availability for Sunday is pretty doubtful at this point.
For more 49ers coverage, be sure to check out Niners Nation.
The San Francisco 49ers are mere days away from the start of the 2011 campaign, but will have to start the trek without a key piece of their secondary as safety Dashon Goldson is unlikely to play on Sunday to his knee injury per the San Francisco Chronicles’ Eric Branch:
The Niners injury woes are minor compared to the Seahawks as both Sidney Rice and Robert Gallery are questionable for them this Sunday, while the only other significant injury the Niners are dealing with is Mike Crabtree’s foot, even as he takes place in full practices and likely could play. Reggie Smith or Madieu Williams would be the likely replacements for Dashon this Sunday, though the team hopes Goldson won’t have to miss any more games because of this injury along the way.
For more discussion and analysis of the 49ers, head on over to Niners Nation to get in on the action!
The NFL season is just around the corner with 26 teams set to take the field for the first time in the 2011 season this Sunday. The San Francisco 49ers will open at home against the Seattle Seahawks. Though both teams are gearing up for the game in these final days of preparation, they are also both dealing with player injuries and recoveries.
The 49ers got a pleasant surprise on Wednesday as receiver Michael Crabtree practiced. Crabtree, who has been a question mark in recent days with regards to his status for Sunday's season opener, participated in fully-padded practice and ran routes. He may be good to go for Sunday, but there is no official word yet.
49ers starting safety Dashon Goldson missed practice on Wednesday with a knee problem. He could miss Sunday's game, and if he does Reggie Smith will be called on to take his place. Smith is coming back from an injury himself (torn meniscus), and safety duties could fall to Madieu Williams on Sunday.
Goldson is the only 49er who missed Wednesday's practice. Meanwhile, Seahawks receiver Sidney Rice missed practice on Wednesday with a shoulder issue. The recently-acquired receiver from Minnesota has been bugged by a bum shoulder since the first week of training camp and has been unable to shake it off. Center Robert Gallery and tackle Jarriel King also missed practice for the Seahawks while linebacker David Hawthorne was limited.
The 49ers and Seahawks square off in their 2011 season opener at 1:15 Pacific time on Sunday. The game is scheduled to broadcast on FOX.
San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh and quarterback Alex Smith talked to the media today in preparation for this weekend's season-opener against the Seattle Seahawks. Each of them had things to say, although it's hard to say if any of it would be terribly interesting to you.
Let's start with the head coach, where the most interesting quotes had to do with Pete Carroll. (You can listen to the full audio by clicking here.) As many of you West Coast football junkies know, Carroll and Harbaugh had a testy relationship when they were respectively coaching USC and Stanford in the Pac-10. Harbaugh didn't seem too concerned about that dynamic leading up to Sunday's game though.
When you look at Seattle, do you see aspects of what you saw at USC? Do you see similarities in that team in what you saw in the Trojans?
"A well-coached team, there’s no question about it. The thing that’s always impressed me about Pete Carroll teams is the amount of scheme that they get coached and understood by their players and an answer for just about anything you do both offensively and defensively. They’re very, very good on special teams. They’re well coached top to bottom. Specifically as you look at them, as a defensive football team, that has always been the case of Pete Carroll coached teams."
What can you take scheme-wise from what you’ve experienced from the Pac-10 against Carroll?
"When they were at USC I thought that was what stood out to me, the amount of scheme that they taught to their players. Now, it’s quadrupled with what they’re doing in Seattle and what they’ve gotten done there. I think they do a great job, not only Pete but the defensive coaches.I’m really impressed with their defensive coordinator. It’s a well coached, high volume scheme on defense. Their players play really hard. They get great effort and it’s a tough football team to run inside on. They anchor with the tackles and they’ve got speed on the edges. [Seahawks S Earl] Thomas, the safety, is an outstanding player. Their corners are physical, strong guys. It’s a heck of a defense."
Can you understand the intrigue of now seeing Jim Harbaugh and Pete Carroll on opposite NFL sidelines after some of the battles you guys had in the Pac-10?
"Is there intrigue? Not really. I think we’re both locked in to what we’re trying to do."
So yeah, no soundbytes for you media.
Alex Smith's conference was equally vanilla. The only interesting nugget was that Michael Crabtree is practicing with the team in full-stride.
How much practice time have you had with [WR] Michael Crabtree this past week? Are you finally throwing to him?
"Got to a little bit, yeah. Got to throw with him yesterday a little bit, so that was good. It was good to see him out there running around. He’s extremely talented. He’s going to help us a ton."
The Niners could certainly use Crabtree back and make sure the offense is functioning at optimal levels.
For more on the 49ers, go to Niners Nation.
The San Francisco 49ers have set up their roster for the upcoming season, and the question now turns to how the depth chart fills out position-by-position. The 49ers have worked out an updated depth chart, and here's a look at what we know about the wide receivers and running backs in San Francisco.
The wide receiver pool will fill out with Braylon Edwards, Josh Morgan, and Kyle Williams, Tedd Ginn Jr and Michael Crabtree. It appears that the recently-acquired Braylon Edwards, who found out on Tuesday that he will not have to serve a suspension for a DUI last season, will have a shot at one of the two starting wide receiver slots. Ginn and Morgan also figure to factor in at the top of the wide receiver pool. Crabtree, meanwhile, sits at the bottom of the depth chart due to his foot injury, according to Samuel Lam. As he works his way back into health, Crabtree will certainly climb up the ranks.
Meanwhile, Frank Gore will lead the running backs with Anthony Dixon slotted as the second running back and Kyle Hunter as the third. Hunter will also handle the team's main kickoff return duties this year.
The running back position seems to be fairly stable at this point with a clear pecking order from top to bottom. The wide receiver pool, however, is a completely different story. The receiver position should begin to clear up and change as the 49ers get their first few games underway.
The 49ers open their 2011 NFL season with a home contest against the Seattle Seahawks. Following the debacle in Seattle to open the 2010 season, the 49ers hope to get the Jim Harbaugh era off to a better start. We'll be here with news updates, injury reports and recaps of the game. For more on the 49ers, head over to Niners Nation.
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