Erickson shuns lineup shakeup

Coach Dennis Erickson says there will be no changes in the 49ers' starting lineup, even after he had promised some shakeups after the 49ers' 24-17 loss Sunday to the Miami Dolphins.

Erickson said any changes in the running game will be from a strategic standpoint as the coaches will simplify the team's running attack.

Running back Kevan Barlow will continue in his role as the team's starter, but Erickson dismissed Barlow's assessment that he has been ineffective, in part, because he no longer has the freedom to pick his holes.

"We're trained to run a certain way and do what they've told us to do," Barlow said. "I do my reads. This is the first year that I had to do that. My previous years, I never really had to do that. This year, I'm hitting my reads, making my reads. If there's nothing there, there's nothing I can do about it."

When told of Barlow's comments, Erickson responded, "That's absurd. I don't know what he meant by that."

Erickson said the 49ers will cut down on the number of running plays they will have in the game plan this week. Barlow has rushed for 391 yards on 140 carries in the 49ers' last nine games.

On Sunday, Barlow was benched early in the third quarter, opening the door for backup Maurice Hicks, who carried 13 times for a team-leading 46 yards. But Hicks also committed a costly fourth-quarter fumble that led to the Dolphins' go-ahead touchdown.


--- Defensive coordinator Willy Robinson took the blame for a call at a critical juncture in the game that exposed DE Andre Carter in coverage against Dolphins TE Randy McMichael. The Dolphins took the lead in the fourth quarter when McMichael scored on a 15-yard third-down pass from QB A.J. Feeley.

"If I had any regrets, that would be it," Robinson said.

Carter is the team's best pass rusher, but he dropped into coverage as the 49ers blitzed LB Jeff Ulbrich and CB Dwaine Carpenter.

Carter said there are certain things he can do well in coverage, such as cover a running back in the flat. "(But) a tight end down the middle, that's a little tougher," he said.

However, Carter was not entirely responsible for the touchdown. Most of the blame fell on safety Tony Parrish, who should have been in better position to break up A.J. Feeley's throw.

--- DB Mike Adams recorded his first career interception for the 49ers, and fellow rookie Shawntae Spencer had the presence of mind to get the football for Adams. "I think I was too excited," Adams said. "Shawntae said, 'What are you doing?' I was so hyped up."

--- The California Transplant Donor Network recognized 49ers great R.C. Owens with a trading card. Owens had a kidney transplant July 4 after being on the waiting list for eight years.

--- Eight of the 49ers' 14 offensive possessions ended in three plays or fewer. They had just 155 yards of total offense until they drove 69 yards in the final three minutes to score a touchdown to cut the margin to seven points.

With the 49ers' struggles on offense, it made Erickson's decision in the second quarter to kick a field goal from the 1-yard line open to second-guessing.

Erickson stood behind his decision to call on Todd Peterson to kick a 19-yard field goal and make it a 7-3 game, but he did admit the 49ers' play-call on third down was questionable.

"That was my decision, and I felt like we just needed to score points," Erickson said. "As I second-guess myself, we probably should have run it on third down."

After Kevan Barlow gained 5 yards on first down and 1 yard on second down to the 1, QB Tim Rattay faked an inside handoff to Barlow and then looked for tight end Aaron Walker in the corner or fullback Fred Beasley in the flat. When both were covered, Rattay threw it away.

--- LB Julian Peterson, who is on injured reserve after undergoing surgery to repair his left Achilles tendon, will get the cast removed on Thursday. Peterson will be fitted with a brace and can begin walking without the aid of crutches. Peterson said there has not been any talk about extending his contract. He is under contract through the end of the season but can be retained once again as the team's franchise player.

--- C Jeremy Newberry, who has not played since the opening week of the regular season, underwent an epidural on Monday and is out at least two more weeks with a bulging disk in his back. Newberry is not expected to return to action this season.

--- CB Ahmed Plummer did some running around last week but is doubtful to return to the lineup this week. Plummer is nursing a bulging disk in his neck. It is possible he will not play again this season. Plummer has already missed five games because of the condition.

--- LT Kwame Harris might return to the starting lineup Sunday against the St. Louis Rams. Harris generally played well against the Dolphins in his limited action but surrendered a Jason Taylor sack that resulted in a fumble and a Dolphins touchdown.

--- OL Kyle Kosier had his roughest game of the season on Sunday, and coach Dennis Erickson intimated that he might want to get Kosier settled into one spot. Kosier has started the last nine games at left tackle but also sees action at RG during the course of the game.

Niners Digest Top Stories