Does Nolan need some help?

Coach Mike Nolan has made his share of rookie mistakes as a first-timer, prompting some to wonder if he could benefit from an experienced football man in the team's front office.

Nolan is the organization's most powerful football person. The only other high-level member of the 49ers with football credentials is Scot McCloughan, 34, the team's vice president of player personnel.

Nolan said he is pleased with the support staff of assistant coaches and McCloughan, but he admits that he will look elsewhere in the building to make some adjustments after the season concludes.

"As I evaluate everything about the organization, including myself day-in and day-out, I make a lot of notes about a lot of things that need to be done at the right time," Nolan said. "But right now is not the right time for that."

Nolan has made more than his share of game-management blunders in his first season, perhaps a result of not having an experienced member of the organization with whom he can talk football. On Sunday in the 49ers' 17-10 loss to the Cardinals, Nolan called a timeout after a turnover to get his defense aligned properly. Then, he decided to go ahead and challenge Frank Gore's fumble.

When the review failed, Nolan had cost the 49ers two timeouts, leaving the 49ers with no timeouts for the final 11 minutes of the game.

Nolan blamed the game officials for failing to inform him that he ran the risk of losing a second timeout with the replay challenge.

"Usually, they're very helpful," Nolan said of the officials. "In that case, it just so happens, I got the short end of the stick."

Nolan said he regularly speaks with "mentors" from his past. He is known to be close with former NFL coach Dan Reeves, under whom Nolan served as an assistant coach.

"They don't have to work here to be helpful to me," Nolan said. "You always call on your mentors. I've worked for several very good coaches and so I feel very fortunate that I can call on those people from time to time."

49ERS PLAYER NOTES

--- QB Alex Smith finished his Utah career with 47 touchdown passes and eight interceptions. After three NFL starts, he has no touchdowns and eight interceptions. He has also been sacked 15 times. His passer rating is 28.1, which ranks as the worst of the four quarterbacks the 49ers have played this season.

--- QB Ken Dorsey is the team's backup quarterback. He played reasonably well in his three starts this season with a passer rating of 66.9. Dorsey threw two touchdown passes and two interceptions.

--- QB Cody Pickett is the No. 3 quarterback and has not played since a 17-9 loss to the Bears on Nov. 13. Pickett has completed just 14 of 35 passes for 140 yards this season for a passer rating of 28.3.

--- RB Kevan Barlow sat out Sunday's game with a left knee injury but is expected to practice this week. Barlow leads the 49ers with 548 yards rushing and three touchdowns on 165 carries.

--- RB Frank Gore returned to action Sunday after missing two games with a left hip flexor strain. Gore committed his second fumble of the game, which proved to be costly as the Cardinals turned his fumble into the winning points. Gore has gained 348 yards on 71 carries for a 4.9-yard average.

--- RB Maurice Hicks gained his first start of the season, but managed just 17 yards on 10 carries against the Cardinals. Hicks has 27 rushes for 130 yards and two touchdowns this season.

--- FB Fred Beasley missed his third straight game Sunday due to a neck stinger. He is expected to practice this week and could be available for Sunday's game against the Seahawks.

--- FB Chris Hetherington has started the last three games in place of Fred Beasley. He has not carried the ball or caught a pass in his starts. For the season, he has one carry for 3 yards and three receptions for 13 yards.

--- WR Brandon Lloyd leads the 49ers in receptions, yards and touchdowns despite his inconsistent play this season. Lloyd has just 38 catches for 624 yards and four touchdowns.

--- WR Arnaz Battle missed another game with a right knee injury, a condition that has bothered him since the third game of the season. Battle may be held out of practice again this week and the 49ers believe he might not play Sunday against the Seahawks.

--- WR Johnnie Morton, the 49ers' No. 3 receiver, made another start on Sunday and had one of his better days with three catches for 66 yards. Morton is the team's fourth-leading receiver with 20 catches for 260 yards this season.

--- TE Terry Jones made his third start for the club after being claimed off waivers from the Ravens three weeks ago. Jones has five catches for 41 yards.

--- TE Billy Bajema has improved his blocking skills, but he has not been much of a factor in the passing game. Bajema has five catches for 54 yards this season.

--- K Joe Nedney returned to action Sunday after missing a game with a groin strain. Nedney made a 48-yard field-goal attempt in Sunday's game against the Cardinals. He has made 19 of 21 attempts this season. He is 8 of 8 from 40 to 49 yards.

--- DE Bryant Young has made tremendous progress after sustaining tears to his medial collateral ligament and meniscus cartilage of his right knee Nov. 20. Young has started light jogging and believes there is a chance he can practice this week and play in Sunday's game.

--- RT Kwame Harris has been called for 11 penalties this season, including eight false starts. He is the most-penalized player on the team.

--- LB Brandon Moore recorded two sacks Sunday against the Cardinals and ranks second on the team with four for the season.

--- LB Julian Peterson, the team's franchise player, does not have a sack since the season-opener, when he recorded 2.5 in a victory over the Rams.

--- LB Derek Smith recorded 11 tackles against the Cardinals, giving him 110 tackles for the season. It is the ninth consecutive season in which Smith has recorded more than 100 tackles.


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