Niners notes: Left side of line in flux?

The left side of the 49ers' offensive line was considered one of the team's strengths, but suddenly there are questions about who will be starting there in the coming weeks.

Left guard Larry Allen played just five snaps in the 49ers' season-opening 34-27 loss to the Cardinals on Sunday before exiting with a sprained medial collateral ligament in his left knee. Left tackle Jonas Jennings, who played just three games last season because of a shoulder injury, left the game with a high right ankle sprain on the final play of the first half. Jennings missed the first two 49ers drives of the second half before returning to action.

Allen - who would not discuss his injury or his status Monday - is expected to be out from 2 to four weeks. Jennings' status is up in the air, 49ers coach Mike Nolan said.

Second-year player Tony Wragge entered the game in place of Allen and played the remainder of the contest. The 49ers had three backup linemen for the game Sunday, with Wragge slated to enter at either of the guard spots, while Adam Snyder was the backup at both tackles, and Davis Baas was the reserve at center.

"All week, people got work where they would play in the game," Nolan said. "We felt going in if something happens early that we'd go with Tony and watch him, and then possibly put Adam in."

Nolan said the team decided to stick with Wragge because he generally played well.

"If something were to happen to one of the guards early, (we decided) we would go ton Tony, watch how he did, and possibly put Synder in," Nolan said. "Tony was doing a nice job, so we just left him alone. In the long-term sense, we feel that our next best lineman is Adam. But Tony did a nice job for himself."

Because the 49ers consider Snyder their best backup on the line, he is likely to get the call at guard if Allen is out for a while. But, if both Allen and Jennings are out, Snyder would likely play left tackle and either Wragge or Baas could be used at guard.

--- WR Antonio Bryant brings a lot of energy to the 49ers, but the trick is making sure it continues to be positive energy. Bryant said he was frustrated in the first half, as he did not have a reception. He said he wouldn't have minded being in a boxing match with quarterback Alex Smith at that point.

"In 2002, Antonio would have been frustrated," Bryant said of himself. "In 2003, Antonio would have thrown a helmet across the field. But it's 2006. I knew that, hey, you've got to keep your head. It came down the stretch and things started rolling my way to be more involved in the offense."

Bryant finished with four catches for 114 yards. He also had a 52-yard TD catch nullified when right tackle Kwame Harris was called for holding.

Nolan was fully supportive of his top receiver when he was asked if he is worried about Bryant's personality.

"From the time I first sat down with him to as long as we're together, yes," Nolan answered. "That's part of it. I love everything about Antonio. I love his competitiveness. I'm glad he's here, but we'll have our moments. He's a competitive guy who understands where he's at and what he does. Believe me, he's not a belligerent guy. We have our days, we have our moments, but I'm glad he's on the team."

--- Safety Tony Parrish has started all 122 games of his NFL career, but Nolan does not necessarily consider him a starter.

Parrish shared time Sunday with Mark Roman. The two played about the same number of snaps against the Cardinals, while Mike Adams played the whole game at free safety.

"I think they're both capable of playing and I don't have a clear-cut starter at the position right now," Nolan said.

Nolan said he would like Parrish or Roman to take command of the job.

"As Tom Landry once said, 'You don't have two starters, you always got two backups,'" Nolan said. "Until somebody takes it, that's what we got."

Parrish and Roman both had quiet games against the Cardinals. Each player finished with just one tackle and no passes defensed. Adams, meanwhile, was second on the team with eight tackles and also got a hit on quarterback Kurt Warner on a safety blitz.


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