49ers Blog and Q&A

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

December 8, 2011
Willis sighting at 49ers morning walk-through


There was a Patrick Willis sighting today. The 49ers inside linebacker was seen walking off the field in his practice jersey and without a limp after the team's pre-practice walk through. Willis did not practice Wednesday and is not expected to do so today. Still, defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, who usually is more forthcoming about injuries than head coach Jim Harbaugh, said Willis hasn't been ruled out yet for Sunday's game in Arizona.

After Willis left Sunday's game against the Rams, Larry Grant replaced him and, like Willis, played all three downs. Fangio said that would be the plan -- if Willis didn't play -- against Arizona even though the Cardinals play more multiple-receivers sets than the 49ers.

Grant also wore the radio receiver against the Rams. Fangio said it hasn't been determined whether Grant or fellow inside linebacker NaVorro Bowman will have the receiver against the Cardinals.

Fangio also revealed something that I hadn't heard before. When Mike Nolan implemented a 3-4 defense in San Francisco several years ago, he called the strong-side inside linebacker -- the one who played on the tight end's side of the field -- "Ted" and the weak-side inside linebacker "Mike." The positions continued to be called that under Mike Singletary. Last year, for example, Willis was the "Mike" linebacker and Takeo Spikes was "Ted."

This year the names are different. The strong-side linebacker is called "Mike" and the position is played by NaVorro Bowman. The weak-side inside linebacker is called "Jack" and is played by Willis and now Grant.

Cornerback Carlos Rogers said he was merely taking a day off yesterday to rest his sore left knee. Rogers indicated the injury wasn't serious and that he would practice today.

-- 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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