Niners at the bye: Player notes

A detailed list of player notes and updates while running down the 49ers roster as the team prepares for three days off after completing its final practice of the bye week on Thursday.

QB Alex Smith: The youngest starting quarteback in the NFL, Smith has continued to look in control of the 49ers' offense in just his second season. Smith has been remarkably consistent this season, completing 59.6 percent of his passes for 1,285 yards in six games. Smith has thrown eight touchdowns and four interceptions and has a passer rating of 86.4, which ranks sixth in the NFC and 12th in the NFL. Smith ranks eighth in the league in third-down passing despite completing just 46.7 of his passes. He has four touchdowns and one interception on third downs this season.

FS Mike Adams: The third-year veteran, who ranks second on the team with 38 tackles, is in danger of losing playing time to Keith Lewis, who is considered the biggest hitter on the team. Adams started the season strong but has slumped since missing several tackles in Week 3.

FS Keith Lewis: Elected as San Francisco's special teams captain by a vote of teammates two weeks ago, Lewis leads the 49ers with eight special teams tackles, and now he may get an opportunity to make more of an impact on defense. The 49ers are considering giving Lewis more playing time on defense when the team comes back from its bye week. With a pass defense that ranks 29th in the league, the team feels it can get more big hits over the middle by Lewis to shake up receivers. The 49ers used their bye week to give Lewis a bigger role in practice, and coach Mike Nolan has indicated there's a possibility Lewis will get in the mix at safety next week.

LB Manny Lawson: The first-round draft pick ranks fifth on the team with 27 tackles in six games. He also has two sacks, a blocked punt and has tipped a pass.

RB Frank Gore: The second-year player, who was tied for the NFL rushing lead entering Week 6 games, slipped to third in the league in rushing after a 55-yard performance, on just 10 carries, in last week's loss to the Chargers. Gore has gained 520 yards on 112 carries for a 4.6 average. Gore trails St. Louis Steven Jackson by one rushing yard and NFL leader Tiki Barber by 13 yards. Gore, who rushed for a team-high 608 yards last season, also is third in the NFL in yards from scrimmage with 722 yards, 520 rushing and 202 receiving. He ranks behind Jackson (745) and Barber (723) in that department. After fumbling in his first two games, Gore did not fumble in the next two. He also leads the 49ers with 24 receptions. Gore is on pace to finish the season with 1,387 rushing yards, which would be the third-highest total in the team's 60-year history.

P Andy Lee: ranks 25th in the NFL with a 43.0 average, and 24th in the league with a 35.6 net average. The 49ers have had only two punters since 1965 average more than 42 yard a punt - Tommy Thompson, 44.1 in 1996, and Tom Wittum, 43.7 in 1973. Lee, in his third season, averaged 41.6 in each of his first two NFL seasons.

RB Michael Robinson: The rookie fourth-round draft choice played just three snaps last week against the Chargers after carrying 12 times the previous week against the Raiders. For the season, Robinson has 64 yards on 24 carries, mostly in short-yardage situations. He has two rushing touchdowns. He also has three receptions and has an 18.5 average on two kickoff returns.

FB Moran Norris: A forceful led blocker, Norris has emerged as the team's starter at fullback. He started his fourth consecutive game last week against the Chargers. Although his blocking was generally superb, he was beaten by OLB Shawne Merriman for a fourth-quarter sack. He also caught a 2-yard pass for his second career touchdown.

WR Antonio Bryant: The fifth-year veteran leads the team in receiving yards with 415 on 21 receptions. Bryant has also shown an ability to block downfield, which has resulted in some long Frank Gore runs. Bryant ranks 12th in the NFL in receiving yards, and his 19.8 average per catch is more than three yards better than all but one receiver listed ahead of him.

WR Arnaz Battle: The fourth-year veteran has been healthy this season and he is turning into a competent No. 2 receiver with 20 receptions for 233 yards and a team-leading two TD receptions. Battle also has averaged 19.5 yards on four punt returns.

WR Bryan Gilmore: The team's No. 3 receiver, Gilmore has contributed in a variety of ways for the 49ers and played 26 snaps against the Chargers. Although he has just six receptions for the season, he has also rushed three times for 53 yards. He had a 22-yarder against the Chargers, but then fumbled on an end-around later in the game. Gilmore is averaging a team-best 22.1 yards per reception and recorded his first touchdown as a 49er when he caught a 15-yard scoring pass last week against the Chargers.

WR/KR Maurice Hicks: The third-year veteran set a 49ers franchise record when he returned nine kickoffs against San Diego, breaking his own 2005 club record by one. The nine kickoff returns is one shy of the NFL record of 10 held by Desmond Howard of the Raiders in 1997 and Richard Alston of Cleveland in 2004. Hicks might have tied the NFL record but for Brandon Williams. The rookie returned the one kickoff Hicks did not field Sunday. His is averaging 12.5 yards on his eight receptions, including a 33-yarder two weeks ago that he took into the end zone for his first career receiving touchdown. Hicks continues to lead the 49ers in kickoff returns with a 25.2 average, which ranks third in the NFC and seventh in the NFL. His 27 kickoff returns ranks second in the league.

TE Vernon Davis: The rookie is expected to miss at least another game with his broken leg, though Davis said he is targeting the Oct. 29 game against the Bears, which comes after the bye. That's when it was originally estimated Davis might return, but he is unlikely to play until November. Davis had five catches for 37 yards this season, all of which came in the season opener at the Cardinals, before the injury.

TE Eric Johnson: The sixth-year veteran has taken over as the main tight end and has played almost every snap since Vernon Davis' injury. Johnson, who led the team with 82 catches two seasons ago, is fourth on the team with 17 receptions for 155 yards. When Davis returns to the lineup, Johnson will see his playing time slashed considerably.

LG Larry Allen: The 13th-year veteran is expected to return to the lineup Oct. 29 when the 49ers play the Bears after the bye week. He has been out with a left knee injury since getting injured on the sixth play of the season. The return of the 10-time Pro Bowler should help the 49ers in short-yardage running situations.

LT Jonas Jennings: The sixth-year veteran, who has been plagued by injuries throughout his career, is expected to return to the lineup Oct. 29 against the Bears. Jennings has missed time in four of the 49ers' six games this season due to injuries. He has missed at least one game to injury in each of his six NFL seasons, four or more in three of those seasons (with 10 games remaining to reach that total this year), and 27 in all. That means Jennings has missed 31 percent of his team's games since he entered the NFL. With the 49ers, it has jumped to 68 percent. He underwent surgery last week to repair a torn finger ligament on his left hand. He also had a minor wrist sprain. Although Jennings figures to be the starter when he's healthy, Nolan said he will compete with Adam Snyder for the job.

K Joe Nedney: After making 26 of 28 field-goal attempts last season, the 10th-year veteran is just 8 of 12 this season. He has missed field-goal attempts of 34, 46, 51 and 49 yards.

SS Mark Roman: The seventh-year veteran has been promoted into the starting lineup, taking Tony Parrish's job. Roman played reasonably well in his first start against the Chargers, with three tackles and a pass defensed.

SS Tony Parrish: The ninth-year veteran, who appears to have lost a step this year and has played poorly in coverage, started the first 126 games of his career, but he was on the sideline when Sunday's game began. Parrish played sparingly and did not record a tackle. This is the final year of his contract with the 49ers and he is unlikely to return next season.

NT Ronald Fields: The second-year veteran got the first start of his NFL career last week and responded with a solid game. He recorded five tackles and had Chargers QB Philip Rivers in his grasp in the end zone when Rivers was called for intentional grounding, resulting in a safety. Fields took over for Anthony Adams in the starting lineup.

TE Delanie Walker: Playing in his third game since sustaining a separated shoulder Sept. 1 in the 49ers' final exhibition game, the rookie got six offensive snaps against the Chargers. He had a 16-yard reception, which would have been the first of his career, wiped out by a penalty. He has one 25-yard kickoff return to his credit so far this season.

CB Walt Harris: The 11th-year veteran is expected to return to action Oct. 29 against the Bears after the bye week. Harris did not suit up for last week's game against the Chargers because of a hamstring strain suffered late in the week of practice leading up to the game. Harris had three interceptions the week before against Oakland and is tied for third in the NFL in that department behind Rashean Mathis and DeAngelo Hall, who each have three picks.

DE Bryant Young: the 13-year veteran leads the team with three sacks, pushing his career total to 80.5 sacks. He is the sixth active player in the NFL to record 80 career sacks, trailing Michael Strahan, Simeon Rice, Jason Taylor, Kevin Carter and Warren Sapp.

Niners Digest Top Stories