49ers Blog and Q&A

News, notes and reader questions about the San Francisco 49ers

November 9, 2007
Silver lining -- you have to squint to see it

You have to dig pretty deep these days to find anything good to say about the 49ers' offense. In the past two weeks, however, a couple of positives have bubbled to the surface.

The first is Vernon Davis, the tight end whose mouth -- three months ago at least -- seemed destined to bring the 49ers a world of on-field penalties and locker-room strife. Davis has been, dare I say, downright mature since returning from his knee injury. He says all the right things during the week, and more important, is becoming a consistent target the 49ers hoped he'd become when they used the No. 6 pick to draft him last year. Former 49ers linebacker Julian Peterson compared Davis to Giants' tight end Jeremy Shockey, but said Davis was faster. Peterson also said that Davis' route running skills - which were rough last season - were improving this year. To read the story I wrote about Davis today, click here.

Another 2006 draft pick who seems to be progressing nicely is Michael Robinson. He's been one of the demons on the punt- and kick-return units - more on that in a few days - and he is beginning to erase doubt about whether he can be an adequate back up to Frank Gore. Robinson is very good in the passing game, and Sunday in Atlanta had 67 yards on 17 carries on the ground. Now if the 49ers could just find a go-to receiver, you might say the future looks bright ... or at least less dim.

Keith Lewis (hamstring) was supposed to go through a limited practice yesterday. Instead, he made it through the full session and plans to do the same. As far as hamstring injuries go, they get worse the higher up the muscle they occur. Lewis' involved the very top of the muscle. But he said today that he had very little soreness from Thursday's session and that he planned to be on the field Monday night. "I've got to play this week. I'm tired of watching it on TV."

Frank Gore says his ankle feels better this week than it did last week. He's still limited in practice but said the weekend off helped the healing process as will the Monday night start. My guess is that Gore again will be listed as questionable tomorrow.

Joe Staley had his best game of the season against fellow rookie Jamaal Anderson of the Falcons. The 49ers' offensive linemen get graded on each of their plays. Of the 66 plays Sunday, Staley received only two minuses - and one of them was against veteran John Abraham.

The 49ers practice today from 2-4 p.m. I'll have more news at that time ...

-- Matt Barrows


Matt was born in Blacksburg, Va., and attended the University of Virginia. He graduated in 1995, went to Northwestern for a journalism degree a year later, and got his first job at a South Carolina daily in 1997. He joined The Bee as a Metro reporter in 1999 and started covering the 49ers in 2003. His favorite player of all time is Darrell Green.


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