Notebook: Snyder finding a home at RT?

Adam Snyder, the 49ers' jack of all trades along the offensive line, is on the verge of starting this week at his fourth different position on that unit since joining the team in 2005.

Snyder continued to work with the first team in practice at right tackle Thursday as regular starter Jonas Jennings again was limited as he gradually works back from a shoulder injury that has kept him out of action since Week 2.

With Barry Sims – who started in Jennings' place at right tackle during Weeks 3 through 8 – already declared out for Monday night's game at Arizona with an ankle injury, Snyder appears in line to start at a position he has practiced at several times before in the past but never has started a game during his four-year career.

"We'll see what Jonas can do (the remainder of this week in practice), but we're going to continue to look at Snyder," 49ers coach Mike Singletary said Thursday. "He had a great experience against Seattle. Coming back, I'm really excited about him, just really looking at a spot to play and just concentrating on that spot. He and Jonas will kind of nail it down."

That will be a change for Snyder, who started the first seven games of the season at left guard before being replaced there by David Baas in Week 8 against Seattle. Snyder worked that week in practice at right tackle, alternating with Sims, and that proved to be a good thing when Sims went down against the Seahawks and Snyder was called upon to replace him.

Snyder started 11 games in place of Jennings at left tackle in 2007, a position at which Snyder also started three games in 2006 and seven games as a rookie. He also has seen starting action at right guard, but Singletary said he would like to stop moving around Snyder and allow him to focus on one position after his move to guard this season did not work out particularly well.

"I think right now we really want to find him a home," Singletary said. "We know he can do it. He knows he can do it. It's just a matter of, ‘Let me concentrate on being the best I can be right here. Let me find a home somewhere.' So that's where the focus is right now."

Snyder has become accustomed to being moved around along the line since being drafted in the third round by the team in 2005. But that doesn't mean it's something that has been easy on him.

"It's a tough transition," Snyder said. "I think it takes some time to get used to. I've done it for a few years now, and it's not easy to do. It's hard. And I don't think I've done the best job I can do as far as production. It's a tough thing to do. Anytime you have to switch positions in the middle of the season, and there's different things that happen at tackle than at guard. … You just have to deal with things and try to do your best.

"This league is kind of based on what people want you to do, and where they think you're best and where you play best. For me, situations have been where I have to play different positions. I hope I play my best there."

***** ***** *****

Sims, wide receiver Arnaz Battle (foot) and safety Dashon Goldson (knee) already have been ruled out for Monday's game due to their injuries.

Return specialist Allen Rossum (hamstring) and tight end Delanie Walker (elbow) were forced out of the Seattle game two weeks ago due to injury. Rossum and Walker practiced Thursday with no restrictions and should be available to play against the Cardinals.

Defensive end Ray McDonald, who hurt his knee in Week 7 against New York and didn't play the next week against Seattle, is practicing on a limited basis and may be able to return against Arizona.

Linebacker Roderick Green was held out of practice Thursday due to an illness.

***** ***** *****

Quarterback Alex Smith, who is out for the season with a shoulder injury, recently underwent a "minor procedure" to remove a bone fragment and wire sutures that were remaining from his surgery last December to repair a separated shoulder.

Smith's timetable for return is not affected by the procedure, performed last Thursday by Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham, Ala. Smith should be available to throw passes during the offseason camps.

But will he be throwing passes for the 49ers?

In September, 49ers general manager Scot McCloughan stated that Smith would not return to the 49ers if he did not establish himself as the starting quarterback this season. But, now, the 49ers seem to be keeping an open mind.

Smith certainly will not be back under his current contract. Smith is scheduled to make a $9.625 million base salary next season. He would probably have to cut his salary to a figure near the league minimum.

If Smith wishes to accept a dramatic pay cut to remain with the 49ers, the ultimate decision will probably fall to whomever the 49ers hire as their permanent head coach.

***** ***** *****

In his first game as interim coach, Singletary benched tight end Vernon Davis, who was called for an unnecessary-roughness penalty. Singletary then banished Davis to the locker room early in the fourth quarter. Afterward, Singletary blasted Davis, saying he was not a team player.

Singletary has since backed off of those comments.

"Vernon is not a bad guy, OK?" Singletary said. "Vernon is one of my favorite people - one of my favorite players. I'm very excited about Vernon and the things he can bring to this team. Understand what happened on the field, that's it. It's over."

***** ***** *****

Singletary has taken a special interest in rookie offensive lineman Chilo Rachal. Singletary has mentioned Rachal several times in speaking to the media over his first week on the job. Rachal was a second-round pick who has yet to play in a game.

Singletary said he sees a lot of potential in Rachal, who bypassed his final season at USC to declare for the NFL draft.

"I think more so than anything else, he's a good football player. He's a good kid. He wants to play and he wants to do all the right things," Singletary said. "And when you see that as a coach you really want to come beside a guy and try to point out things that he needs to do more of, less of and continue to make those contributions.

"He'll have a chance at some point - at some point in time."

***** ***** *****

The 49ers got in a "bonus" day of practice on Tuesday. The 49ers had the bye week, followed by a Monday night game. Therefore, Singletary decided to revert back to training-camp mode for some work matching the No. 1 offense against the No. 1 defense.

The teamwork concluded when running back Frank Gore caught a short touchdown pass in front of Mark Roman and spiked the ball. That was not received too well by the defensive players.

"There's obviously some trash talking that goes on when you get the ones vs. the ones and all that," quarterback Shaun Hill said. "All of that adds to it."

***** ***** *****

The 49ers signed fifth-year tight end Sean Ryan to help as a blocker in the run game. Singletary said offensive coordinator Mike Martz requested an H-back type of tight end to enable Gore to excel.

Ryan (6-foot-5, 265 pounds) has spent time with Dallas, New York Jets, Miami and New Orleans in his career. The 49ers waived fullback David Kirtman, who was signed to replace fullback Zak Keasey, who is out for the season with a biceps injury.

Waiving Kirtman leaves the 49ers with no true fullback on the roster.

"But we're good there," Gore said. "With Delanie (Walker), the new tight end, and even Vernon (Davis) rotating, and Michael Robinson doing great in there, we can run the ball downhill."



Niners Digest Top Stories