Niners game plan
GAME PLAN: Running back Kevan Barlow sat at his locker after the 49ers' 23-13 loss last week to the Bears and spoke about how the team simply was not executing its plays. "We got good coaches," Barlow said. "They put us in some good positions. It's up to us to get the job done." Certainly, the 49ers' coaches are not in a good situation because of the team's lack of talent. The offensive line is in shambles, the receiving corps lacks big-play ability and their quarterbacks are immobile. One of the challenges that faces offensive coordinator Ted Tollner and coach Dennis Erickson is how to get tight end Eric Johnson involved in the offense again. Johnson was tossed around off the line of scrimmage against the Bears and had difficulty getting into his pass routes. He managed just one catch for 9 yards. The 49ers plan to move Johnson around and get him into more favorable matchups. The 49ers also have to be more creative in finding ways to get the run game going. Barlow is averaging 3.6 yards a carry this season. Earlier this season he had a 60-yard run. Take that run out of the equation, and his average carry has netted just 3.1 yards. The 49ers absorbed a 34-0 loss to the Seahawks on Sept. 26 with Ken Dorsey at quarterback. The 49ers hope to have starter Tim Rattay back on the field Sunday at Monster Park. Defensively, the 49ers will have to continue to employ linebacker Jamie Winborn on more blitzes. With Julian Peterson out for the season with a torn Achilles tendon, the 240-pound Winborn is now the team's best pass-rusher. He leads the 49ers with four sacks. The 49ers certainly can't afford to sit back with their four-man pass rush because of their inexperience at cornerback. The 49ers will start backups Shawntae Spencer and Jimmy Williams in place of injured Mike Rumph (injured reserve) and Ahmed Plummer, who is out indefinitely with a bulging disk in his back. MATCHUPS TO WATCH: 49ers RT Scott Gragg, who is coming off a rough game against the Bears and has not played well this season, vs. Seahawks DE Chike Okeafor, a former 49er who leads the team with 5.5 sacks this season; CBs Shawntae Spencer and Jimmy Williams, backups who are thrust into the picture as starters after injuries to Mike Rumph and Ahmed Plummer, vs. Seahawks WRs Darrell Jackson and Koren Robinson, who have combined for 67 catches for 962 yards in seven games; TE Eric Johnson, who has experienced difficulty getting open with the added attention he's drawing, vs. SS Terreal Bierria, who leads the Seahawks with 38 tackles. INJURY IMPACT: QB Tim Rattay is expected to return from his right forearm strain to start Sunday's game against the Seahawks. Rattay said he will have to do a smarter job of monitoring his condition and pulling himself out of practice when his arm starts getting tired. WR Brandon Lloyd, who sustained a hip pointer against the Bears, did not practice Wednesday, but he is expected to be available Sunday. CB Ahmed Plummer is out for at least this week's game with a bulging disk in his neck. Plummer first experienced the pain this season on Oct. 17 against the N.Y. Jets. The condition kept him out of Sunday night's game against the Bears. DE Andre Carter returned to practice this week after missing seven weeks with a bad back. It is possible that Carter could be used in a limited role in Sunday's game against Seattle. LB Saleem Rasheed, who underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right knee during the bye week, is expected to be available for this week's game. DE Andrew Williams, who sustained a broken right lower leg in an Aug. 4 practice, returned for some light practice and might be ready to play Nov. 14 vs. Carolina. C Jeremy Newberry underwent surgery to stabilize his right kneecap on Sept. 21 and is expected to begin some light jogging this week. Coach Dennis Erickson said he hopes Newberry will be ready to return to action in a couple of weeks.
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