Shakeup after Seattle

After their worst performance of a season that already has featured several shaky efforts, the 49ers made some roster changes Tuesday, calling back two veterans who were released by the team earlier this year and releasing a star of the summer who simply didn't get the job done once the real games began.

The 49ers re-signed offensive tackle Patrick Estes and wide receiver Bryan Gilmore. To make room for them on the roster, the team placed wide receiver Taylor Jacobs and fullback Zak Keasey on waivers.

The most consequential of the moves is the return of Gilmore, the eighth-year NFL veteran who was beaten out by Jacobs and Ashley Lelie for a reserve role at receiver during the summer, when Jacobs emerged as one of San Francisco's stars of training camp.

Jacobs eventually won the No. 3 receiver role behind starters Darrell Jackson and Arnaz Battle - a role that belonged to Gilmore last year - but wasn't able to handle the job efficiently during the first quarter of the season.

Jacobs flat-out dropped another pass right in his hands during Sunday's 23-3 loss to Seattle - one of several passes he has let slip through his hands since the season began - and he also had problems with route-running and getting on the same page with San Francisco quarterbacks. Jacobs had three receptions for 40 yards through four games, including San Francisco's only touchdown pass so far this season, which came on a 21-yard throw from Alex Smith in Week 3 against Pittsburgh.

Gilmore, a versatile player who is well respected by San Francisco coaches, had only eight receptions as the team's third receiver in 2006, even though he started three games and played in all 16. He also contributed 94 yards on seven rushes, had five special teams tackles and recovered an onside kick. He brings more veteran consistency to the position than Jacobs could provide.

With Jacobs gone, it gives the 49ers an opportunity to get a better look at Lelie - who has seen sparse playing and has yet to record a reception - and rookie third-rounder Jason Hill, who has displayed development in practice but has been hampered recently by a hamstring injury. Gilmore also could get right into the mix as a third option at receiver for a team that ranks last in the NFL in passing offense and total offense.

"It is always a difficult decision to make roster moves during the season, and we did put considerable time and effort into making these moves," 49ers coach Mike Nolan said. "Taylor has exceptional skills, but we were not getting the production we needed at that spot.

Nolan went on: "It was a tough decision to waive Bryan Gilmore at the final cut. I said at that time, that it was probably the most difficult decision I had to make in the two years being here because he is everything you are looking for in terms of work ethic and commitment. When we released Patrick prior to the first game I said I hoped at some point we could bring him back to help our offensive line."

San Francisco's offensive line - after allowing six sacks, getting flagged for seven penalties and again failing to consistently open holes in the running game against Seattle - certainly can use help. It's doubtful Estes can provide any immediate help, however, as he'll ostensibly be the fifth offensive tackle on the team behind starters Jonas Jennings and Joe Staley and backups Kwame Harris and Adam Snyder.

Estes, the team's seventh-round draft pick in 2005, was released on Sept. 5 after initially making the final 53-man roster for the third consecutive year. The 49ers released Estes then to sign defensive lineman Atiyyah Ellison, who has yet to be active for any of San Francisco's first four games.

Keasey was added to the 53-man roster two weeks ago and recorded his first career carries in Week 3 against Pittsburgh, gaining four yards on two attempts. He spent 15 weeks on San Francisco's practice squad last year, began the season there again this year, and could be signed back to the developmental squad again if and when he clears waivers.


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