Mike Nolan is heading to a place that hasn't been very kind to him the last three years - the eastern seaboard. In three years under Nolan, the 49ers are 1-8 in games played in the eastern time zone, including a 0-5 record last season. His only win against an eastern team came in 2006 against Detroit.
In previous seasons, Nolan tried to remedy that record by having his players practice early when they would be heading to the east coast. If the 49ers began practice at 10 a.m., the reasoning went, their bodies would be accustomed to games that began at 1 p.m. EDT.
Nolan, however, has scrapped that plan as the 49ers head to East Rutherford, N.J. on Sunday. Instead the 49ers are using their normal schedule in which practice begins at 1: 45 p.m.. Nolan said that coaches were having a hard time finishing all the pre-practice preparation before the 10 a.m. practices.
This year the 49ers play three games on the east coast - the Giants, Buffalo and Miami. The trip to Miami is 2,601 miles, the second longest trip for the 49ers behind Boston, Ma, which is 2,708 miles.
The 49ers aren't the only west coast team struggling with long plane trips east. The Seahawks have gotten smoked in their two trips east - to Buffalo and the Giants - this season. Last year, the Seahawks dropped games in Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Carolina and Atlanta. The only east-coast game they won was against the Eagles, who were without Donovan McNabb. The Arizona Cardinals have lost both their east-coast games this year - at Washington and at the Jets. The Raiders and Chargers, meanwhile, have lost their only trips east this season, to Buffalo and Miami respectively.
Mark Roman (knee) is back in practice today as are Walt Harris and Frank Gore. According to the New York papers, Giants center Shaun O'Hara, who spent two days in the hospital with an infected toe, was back at practice today. LBs Antonio Pierce (quad) and Gerris Wilkinson (knee) did not practice.
-- Matt Barrows