Game snapshot: 49ers vs. Jets
2004 rankings: 49ers: offense 14th (30th rush, 8th pass); defense 12th (14th rush, 16th pass). Jets: offense 6th (8th rush, 10th pass); defense 9th (11th rush, 14th pass) FAST FACTS: 49ers: Tight end Johnson leads the NFL with 41 receptions. ... Jets: RB Curtis Martin has 12,171 career rushing yards, passing Franco Harris for ninth place all-time. ... Trying to start a season 5-0 for the first time in franchise history. PERSONNEL NEWS 49ERS --- CB Ahmed Plummer did not practice Thursday to tightness in his hamstring. Coach Dennis Erickson said he expects Plummer to be ready for Sunday's game. Plummer has broken up a team-high seven passes this season but has surrendered his share of plays in coverage. -- TE Eric Johnson has already established single-season career highs with 41 receptions for 460 yards. He is on pace to better his two-year totals of 76 catches for 683 yards. He did not practice Thursday due to a cracked rib, but Erickson said he'd be surprised if Johnson did not play against the Jets. --- LB Ray Wells might get an opportunity to contribute right away on special teams for the 49ers. Wells spent last season with the Titans after the 49ers released him at the end of training camp. The 49ers signed Wells this week after Julian Peterson was placed on injured reserve with a torn left Achilles. --- LB Jeff Ulbrich should take over as the 49ers' leading tackler on Sunday. He has 42 tackles in five games, just one behind leader Derek Smith, who is out with torn ligaments in his ankle. Ulbrich will start his second game at middle linebacker for Smith. Normally, Ulbrich plays on the weak side. --- RB Jamal Robertson, who got some significant playing time last week in place of Kevan Barlow, might be losing confidence from the coaching staff. Robertson has gained 71 yards on 16 carries, but he has also fumbled twice in critical situations. Last week, he fumbled at the Cardinals' 15-yard line when he bumped into RT Scott Gragg. --- DE John Engelberger, who did not start last week because of an abdominal strain, practiced Thursday and looks as if he'll be available to play Sunday. Engelberger leads all 49ers defensive linemen with 1.5 sacks. JETS --- RG Brandon Moore was downgraded Thursday because of a hamstring injury and will not play Sunday. Brent Smith was originally supposed to take his spot but Jonathan Goodwin will instead start on the right side, with Smith starting on the left side in place of Pete Kendall (broken right big toe). -- LG Kendall is out this week with a fractured right big toe. Despite the fact the injury will take at least a month to heal, Kendall plans on returning to the lineup next week. Although further injury to the toe could mean surgery, which would keep Kendall out 4-6 weeks. Smith will start in Kendall's place. Smith started all 16 games at RG last year. --- WR Santana Moss didn't practice Thursday because of a sore hamstring and is classified as "50-50" by coach Herman Edwards, putting his status for Sunday in considerable doubt. Jonathan Carter would likely see more action with Moss out and Wayne Chrebet would probably start. WR Justin McCareins would take over Moss' punt return duties. --- G Goodwin will get his first career start in three seasons with the Jets when he goes in at RG for the injured Moore. Goodwin played with mixed results as part of the guard rotation his first two years but has really come on this season backing up at both guard and center, even coming in to replace Kevin Mawae when the Pro Bowler broke a bone in his right hand in San Diego in Week 2. --- CB Derrick Strait will miss the next several weeks with a stress fracture in his right foot. Terrell Buckley will take his place as the primary nickel back. INSIDE THE CAMPS 49ERS With 49ers linebacker Julian Peterson out for the season with a torn left Achilles' tendon, the team turns to third-year player Brandon Moore to take over for the All-Pro selection. "The loss of Julian Peterson is huge," 49ers general manager Terry Donahue said. "At the same time, other guys have to step up and play." Moore will make his fourth career start Sunday. "It's a big moment for me," Moore said. "I'm excited; I'm nervous - all the good things that go along with starting your first game in your hometown. I'm dealing with it." Moore grew up on Long Island and was a fan of the Jets even before his brother, receiver Rob Moore, began playing for the team. Moore caught 628 passes for 9,368 yards and 49 touchdowns in 11 NFL seasons, the first five with the Jets. Middle linebacker Derek Smith will miss this week's game, too, forcing weak-side linebacker Jeff Ulbrich to move to the middle. Jamie Winborn will take over Ulbrich's old spot and Moore will play for Peterson. "It's nothing new with (Moore) being in there," Ulbrich said. "He's been here three years now. He's one of those guys from Day 1 I always thought he was a starting-type linebacker in this league. He just needed his opportunity." Moore leads the 49ers with seven tackles on special teams, but he has just one tackle on defense. He said the week of practice leading up to Sunday's game against New York makes things quite a bit easier as he heads into the game. "I think it's harder to be a second-team guy to prepare than it is to be a starter," Moore said. "A second-team guy gets maybe an eighth of the reps and has to be responsible for everything that's going on in practice and in games. Going in as a starter, getting all the reps and seeing all the looks is beneficial to me." JETS The Jets' offensive line goes into Sunday's game down 40 percent. Right guard Brandon Moore was downgraded Thursday and will miss the game due to a hamstring, joining left guard Pete Kendall, who is out due to a broken right big toe sustained against Buffalo last week. The good news for the Jets is that their replacements aren't exactly newbies. Brent Smith, who will replace Kendall, is an eight-year veteran who started all 16 games at right guard last season and Jonathan Goodwin, Moore's substitute, has been a reserve in the Jets' system for three years, playing both guard and center this season. "We're not going to lose any continuity," said center Kevin Mawae, who will all of a sudden have two new linemates playing right next to him. "The guys we're going with are guys we went with in training camp. There no lack of confidence in the guys that are in there." There is some pressure, though. The Jets' running game is ranked eighth, their passing game 10th and their offense is ranked eighth overall. "It's a little pressure but you can't really look at it that way," Smith said. "You've got to kind of relax to be able to play, but you know there's 52 other guys counting on you to do your job." With both Kendall and Moore sustaining their injuries in last week's game, it's given Smith and Goodwin all week to practice with the first team, something they don't get very often, even as the team's top two reserves. Since the Jets won't change their playbook even with two new guards that means Smith and Goodwin have to get ready in a hurry. "The backup guy usually hasn't seen a whole lot of real live work in a while," Smith said. "That's when you have to try and go as hard as you can in practice to try and get back up to the speed of the game. Obviously were not the best guards there are in the team because we're not starting so we have to play as hard as we can because everyone is counting on us to do our job." Smith may be selling himself short. He played very well last season considering Smith is a natural tackle who took over at right guard during training camp last year when Tom Nutten suddenly retired. He came into camp as the top reserve, even though he was cut before the first game and then re-signed a week later in a financial maneuver. Goodwin, a fifth-round pick out of Michigan in 2002, has been the backup at left and right guard but came in to play center in Week 2 in San Diego when Pro Bowler Kevin Mawae broke a bone in his right hand. "It's good that at least we have guys that have played some, we've got guys that have played different positions," coach Herman Edwards said. "(Offensive line coach Doug Marrone) has done a good job of training those guys to play other positions and that's what guys need to do."
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