Lining up vs. the Lions
GAME PLAN: The 49ers' offense has not been good this season, for a lot of different reasons. Their running game has been good in spots, but ultimately inconsistent. In the passing game, the protection has not held up, quarterback Jeff Garcia has not thrown the ball accurately, and receiver Terrell Owens has seemed tentative after sustaining a concussion in a Week 2 loss to the St. Louis Rams. This week, the 49ers might have the opportunity to look down the field a little more than they have in the past. Because the Detroit Lions have a weak defensive secondary, the 49ers should be able to take advantage of some of the match-ups on the outside. Owens will likely see a steady diet of double-teams, and he has not proven this year that he can beat that kind of coverage. So, the pressure is on split end Tai Streets to take advantage of some one-on-one match-ups to make some plays down the field. After toying with making some alterations to using their running backs on alternating series, the 49ers apparently will stick with the same platoon of Garrison Hearst and Kevan Barlow. Defensively, the 49ers need to get back in an attacking mode. Lions quarterback Joey Harrington is very adept at getting rid of the ball quickly and avoiding sacks, but the 49ers must turn up the pressure and harass the second-year player. MATCHUPS TO WATCH --- 49ers WR Terrell Owens vs. Lions CB Dre' Bly. Owens was in the news much of this week after losing his composure in last week's game against the Vikings and verbally attacking offensive coordinator Greg Knapp. Despite his outburst, Owens has produced better numbers through four games than he did a year ago at this time. Bly appears to be the only truly competent Lions corner. The team signed him to a five-year, $24.5 million contract that included a $6.5 signing bonus for his ability to match up with receivers like this. The Lions might be tempted to have Bly shadow Owens the entire game. --- 49ers RT Scott Gragg, who is still nursing a sore right ankle that kept him out of the first two games of the season, vs. Lions DLE Robert Porcher, who appears to be slowing down in his 12th season in the league. --- 49ers LG Kyle Kosier, who will likely get another start in place of injured Eric Heitmann, vs. Lions DT Shaun Rogers, who at a listed weight of 357 pounds, has a 64-pound advantage on Kosier. --- 49ers MLB Derek Smith, who leads the 49ers with 46 tackles, vs. Lions FB Cory Schlesinger, one of the game's few pure lead-blockers. --- 49ers OLB Julian Peterson, who is used primarily as a pass-rusher in nickel situations, vs. Lions RT Stockar McDougle, a 335-pounder who might be susceptible to Peterson's speed-rush tactics. --- 49ers CB Mike Rumph, who has struggled in a starting capacity while Jason Webster rehabs a knee injury, vs. Lions WR Charles Rogers, the No. 3 pick in the draft who leads the team with 18 catches for 192 yards and three touchdowns. INJURY IMPACT: Although both are listed on the injury report, quarterback Jeff Garcia (groin) and receiver Terrell Owens (Achilles) both practiced this week and will play. --- LT Derrick Deese will likely return this week after missing three games with a right ankle sprain. --- CB Jason Webster is expected to return to practice next week, and is tentatively scheduled to be available for the Oct. 19 game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Webster sustained a hyperextended right knee six weeks ago, at which time he sustained a hairline fracture of his tibia. --- LG Eric Heitmann is listed as doubtful for this week's game with a right ankle sprain. He most likely will be ready to regain his starting job Oct. 12 against Seattle. --- TE Eric Johnson is hopeful he will be able to play the final handful of games of the regular season after sustaining a broken collarbone Aug. 23 against New Orleans in an exhibition game.
Niners Digest Top Stories
Week 7: Beyond The Box ScoresFantasy Football Expert Mark Morales-Smith looks at some interesting stats and situations from five critical Week 6 matchups as he examines the box scores.
Scout FantasyTuesday at 9:28 AM
Kaepernick shows up in Muhammad Ali shirt49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick shows up to Orchard Park for his first start of the year wearing a Muhammad Ali shirt.
ScoutSunday at 11:21 AM
Week 2: Fantasy Football Deep SleepersFantasy Football Expert Jack Delaney reveals some under-the-radar players that could help you gain an edge in your Week 2 matchup.
Week 7: Fantasy Football Deep SleepersFantasy Football Expert Jack Delaney reveals some under-the-radar players that could help you gain an edge in your Week 7 matchup.
Scout FantasyYesterday at 7:46 AM