The game plan remains simple for the 49ers, yet it has been very difficult for them to execute this season. The 49ers do not have the kind of offensive firepower to be careless with the football. And the defense is not good enough to sit back and allow the opposition to force the issue. What the 49ers need is to avoid turnovers on offense and generate turnovers on defense. That formula has been missing through the first four games of the regular season. The 49ers have committed 11 turnovers through the first four games and generated just two takeaways in return. QB Tim Rattay makes his second straight start after missing two games with a separated right shoulder. He performed well at times in the 49ers' loss last week to the Rams. However, Rattay fumbled once and threw an interception. He is going to have to cut down on the mistakes for the 49ers to have any chance against any team. The 49ers' formula for success remains the same against any opponent. They must be able to get good yards from RB Kevan Barlow to stay out of third-and-long situations. If Barlow is typically getting 4 of more yards on first down, the 49ers can use the threat of the run to get the ball down the field in the passing game. On defense, the 49ers need to be more aggressive. The team has not generated any kind of pass rush with its front four, so defensive coordinator Willy Robinson has to be more creative and bold in sending LB Jamie Winborn on blitzes. Winborn is the team's second-best healthy pass rusher behind Julian Peterson. The loss of MLB Derek Smith hurts in the run game, but the 49ers have enough depth at that position to get through it. Jeff Ulbrich will move from the weak side to take Smith's spot, and Winborn will take over at Ulbrich's usual position. INJURY IMPACT: LB Derek Smith is expected to miss about a month of action with torn ligaments in his right ankle, 49ers coach Dennis Erickson said. Smith's injury means Jeff Ulbrich will move into the MLB spot, with Jamie Winborn taking over at WLB for Ulbrich. ... CB Mike Rumph is out for the season after sustaining a broken right forearm in the 49ers' loss last week to the St. Louis Rams. Rumph sustained the injury while trying to tackle Rams RB Steven Jackson. He is scheduled to undergo surgery to have a rod inserted into his forearm. ... DE Andre Carter is expected to miss 3 to 5 weeks after undergoing surgery to remove a cyst in his back that was pressing against a nerve. Carter has missed the last three games with a bulging disc in his back. ... DE John Engelberger (abdominal strain) and DE Otis Leverette (ankle) might not be able to play due to injuries. The 49ers might be forced to start Brandon Whiting and Tony Brown at the two DE spots. ... LT Kwame Harris (left knee/left ankle) will only start Sunday if coach Erickson is convinced he is back to 100 percent. ... DE Andrew Williams, who sustained a broken right lower leg in an Aug. 4 practice, might return a week or two after the 49ers' Oct. 24 bye week. ... C Jeremy Newberry underwent surgery to stabilize his right kneecap on Sept. 21 and is expected to miss most of the season. He is holding out hope that he can return to action in about a month.
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