49ers player notes

A detailed list of player notes and updates while running down the 49ers roster as the team prepares to resume its season with Sunday's game against the unbeaten Chicago Bears.

OL Adam Snyder: The second-year veteran might be one of San Francisco's best five offensive linemen, but he's likely to go back to the bench on Sunday against the Chicago Bears after starting the past five games at either left tackle or left guard. In his 22 career games thus far, Snyder has started nine games at left tackle, three at left guard and one at right guard. But with the return to health of the left side of the line - regular LT Jonas Jennings and LG Larry Allen haven't played side-by-side since the sixth play of the season opener - the 49ers are remaining mum exactly where Snyder fits in as the team moves forward after returning from its bye week. "He will rotate in some this week," 49ers coach Mike Nolan said Wednesday. "He will work. I won't say where yet, but he will work in this week. He'll work on the outsides."

RT Kwame Harris: The fourth-year veteran, the subject of ire and vocal complaints from his home fans, will start his 23nd consecutive game at right tackle this week, Nolan said, after switching sides from left tackle, where he started San Francisco's final five games in 2004. Harris, who has been one of the team's best run blockers, is coming off a particularly rough outing Oct. 15 against the Chargers, in which he was called for two holding penalties and a false start and was beaten for a sack. Of the 13 times quarterback Alex Smith has been sacked in six games this season, Harris' pass protection has been partially or entirely to blame for six of those sacks. Harris also has been called for a team-high six penalties. Nobody on the team has been flagged more than three times. Harris has been called for four holding penalties (one was declined), a false start, and illegal use of hands (also declined).

QB Alex Smith: In just his second season, Smith has continued to look in control of the 49ers' offense and has had only one subpar outing this year. The youngest starting quarterback in the NFL at 22, Smith has been steady and consistent, completing 59.6 percent of his passes for 1,285 yards in six games. After throwing 11 interceptions and just one touchdown pass in 165 attempt last season, Smith has thrown eight touchdowns and four interceptions in 183 attempts this season. He ranks sixth in the NFC and 13th among NFL quarterbacks with a passer rating of 86.4 Smith has five touchdown passes in his last two starts after throwing just four in his first 11 NFL starts.

RB Frank Gore: In his first season as San Francisco's featured back, Gore ranks eighth in the NFL with 520 yards on 112 carries, averaging 4.6 yards a pop. After losing a fumble in each of San Francisco's first four games, Gore has not fumbled on his 45 touches the past two games. Gore has rushed for first downs on four of his six third-and-1 opportunities this season, and he also leads the 49ers with 24 receptions for 202 yards, which puts him 25th among the NFC's receiving leaders. Gore is on pace to finish the season with 1,387 rushing yards, which would be the third-highest total in the team's 61-year history.

RB Michael Robinson: The rookie fourth-round draft pick played just three snaps in the 49ers' last game 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, and is second on the team with two rushing touchdowns.

FB Moran Norris: A forceful lead-blocker, the sixth-year veteran has emerged as the starter over Chris Hetherington, who started the first two games of the season. Norris has not carried the ball, but he has three receptions for two yards, including a two-yard catch in the corner of the end zone against San Diego that accounted for the second receiving touchdown of his career. Norris has just one carry in the 66 career games in which he has played.

LG Larry Allen: The 10-time Pro Bowler is expected to return to the lineup starting lineup against the Bears. He has been out with a left knee injury since getting injured on the sixth play of the season, but has had two healthy weeks of practice that Allen says gave him more time to get his knee stronger. Allen's return should help the 49ers in short-yardage running situations.

LT Jonas Jennings: Plagued by injuries since joining the 49ers last season, the sixth-year veteran is expected to return to the starting lineup Sunday against the Bears. Jennings has missed time in four of the 49ers' six games this season due to injuries. He underwent surgery two weeks ago to repair a torn finger ligament on his left hand. He also had a minor wrist sprain. Jennings 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. He has missed 68 percent of San Francisco's games since joining the team and 31 percent of his teams games since entering the NFL.

WR Antonio Bryant: The fifth-year veteran, who had back-to-back 100-yard receiving games to begin his career with the 49ers, leads the team in receiving yards with 415 on 21 receptions. Bryant ranks 30th in the NFC in receptions, and no player with more catches has a better average than Bryant's 19.8-yard per catch. Bryant has also shown an ability to block downfield, which has resulted in some long Frank Gore runs.

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. Both of those scoring plays came in Week 5 against the Raiders, giving Battle the first two-touchdown game of his career.

WR Bryan Gilmore: The team‘s No. 3 receiver has contributed just six receptions this season, but he also has rushed three times for 53 yards. He had a 22-yard gain against the Chargers, but then fumbled on an end-around later in the game. He has recorded 129 yards on his six catches, including a 15-yard touchdown reception against San Diego, and his 75-yard reception against Philadelphia in Week 3 is the 49ers' longest so far this season.

TE Vernon Davis: The rookie first-round draft pick will not play Sunday against the Bears because of a hairline fracture in his right leg suffered in Week 3 against Philadelphia. His most likely return date is Nov. 12 at the Lions. Davis had five catches for 37 yards this season, all of which came in the season opener at the Cardinals, before the injury. Davis' blocking on the edges also contributed to San Francisco's rushing success before he was injured.

RB/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 who returned the one kickoff Hicks did not field against the Chargers. 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 second in the NFC and eighth in the NFL.

TE Eric Johnson: The sixth-year veteran has taken over as the starting 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.

TE Delanie Walker: With Vernon Davis out a few more weeks, Walker could begin to see more time in some offensive sets. 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.

K Shaun Suisham: The newest addition to the San Francisco roster, Suisham was signed to the 49ers' practice squad on Tuesday. Suisham (6-0, 205) was originally signed by Pittsburgh as a rookie free agent in 2005 out of Bowling Green. After being waived by the Steelers in training camp, he joined the Dallas Cowboys practice squad. He later was signed to the 53-man roster and played in three games. Suisham went to camp with Dallas this past summer and played three games with the Cowboys before being signed to the practice squad. He was waived by Dallas on October 17.

K Joe Nedney: The ninth-year veteran, who made 26 of 28 field-goal attempts last season, is just 8 of 12 this season. He has missed field-goal attempts of 34, 46, 51 and 49 yards. One of his two misses last year was from 52 yards in Week 10 against Chicago, a kick that was returned an NFL-record 108 yards for a touchdown by Nathan Vasher.

SS Tony Parrish: The ninth-year veteran, making his return this week to the place where he began his NFL career, started the first 126 games of his career but was on the sideline when the team's game against San Diego began two weeks ago. Parrish played sparingly and did not record a tackle. Parrish is in the final year of his 49ers contract and is unlikely to be back with the team next season.

SS Mark Roman: The seventh-year veteran, signed as a free agent this summer after starting the past two years with the Green Bay Packers, 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. He ranks fourth on the team among defensive backs with 20 tackles.

CB Walt Harris: The 11th-year veteran is expected to return to action Sunday against the Bears after missing the Oct. 15 game against San Diego because of a left hamstring strain. Despite missing that game, Harris leads the team in interceptions (three), passes defensed (five), forced fumbles (2), is tied for the team lead with one fumble recovery and is sixth on the team with 25 tackles.

LB Derek Smith: With 53 tackles after six games, the 10th-year veteran has 15 more than any other player on the team and is on course to lead the 49ers in tackles for the sixth consecutive season since he joined the team in 2001. Smith has recorded 833 tackles in that span - including 160 or more in each of the past three seasons - but his overall play has not been up to its recent standards so far this season.

FS Keith Lewis: Elected as San Francisco's special teams captain by a vote of teammates three 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 this week against the Bears. With a pass defense that currently ranks 30th in the league in yards allowed per game, 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 against the Bears.

NT Ronald Fields: The second-year veteran appears to have taken over from Anthony Adams as one of the team's interior starters after making the first start of his NFL career against the Chargers and responding 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.

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. Young, who led the 49ers with eight sacks last season and also led the team in that category with 11 in 1999 and 9.5 in 2000, ranks third on San Francisco's all-time career chart, trailing only defensive ends Cedrick Hardman (112.5) and Tommy Hart (106), who were starting bookends together on the San Francisco defensive line from 1970-1977. Young also ranks second among the team's defensive linemen this season with 19 tackles.


Niners Digest Top Stories