Mike Nolan slipped up during his 10:45 a.m. presser with us. The coach consistently has refused to give timetables for injuries this season, telling us only if a player was going to miss the upcoming game. Today, however, he divulged that Jennings' shoulder injury orginally had a three-to-four week time frame. Jennings will not play against the Patriots -- he and Shawntae Spencer are out -- but there seems to be a chance he'll be back for the Oct. 12 game against the Eagles. The 49ers don't give their tackles a lot of help in pass protection. And as we saw Sunday, they could really use Jennings on the right side ...
Another player who likely will miss Sunday's game is Manny Lawson, who is not practicing because of a hamstring strain. In previous years, that would have been a significant loss to the defense. This year? Meh. For one thing, Lawson has not been much of a playmaker on defense. He also hasn't played all that much because Nolan and the 49ers are so fond of the "Big Sub" package that excludes Lawson.
Though fans haven't been particularly impressed by the "Big Sub," there appear to be no plans to sink it. Nolan said most of the big plays the Saints were able to make against the "Big Sub" were technical issues, not problems with the scheme. It also sounded as if we'll be seeing more of the package this week.
"It's all matchups and everyone in the league does it. A simple case -- if you stay in base when they go three wide receivers and you have a lot of confidence that Takeo Spikes can cover (receiver) Wesley Welker, then you try to do that. In our case, I would like to think that we've got a better matchup maybe with a defensive back."
Later, Nolan said that he's been pleased with the "Big Sub." Referring to the game against Matt Hasselbeck and the Seahwaks, he said:
"I mean, it was the lowest throwing percentage that quarterback has ever had. We got a couple picks in the game. Obviously, we didn't get as many sacks as we like, but you've got a better chance at sacks with the group we had out there than the regular group."
Is that right? To me it seems that the 49ers' pass rush has been better when they're in their base defense than in their nickel packages.
-- Matt Barrows