49ers Blog and Q&A

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

October 8, 2012
Harbaugh: Moss has Etch-A-Sketched his checkered past


What do Randy Moss and Mitt Romney have in common? Answ: They've both been compared to an Etch A Sketch.

The Moss comparison came today when Jim Harbaugh, unprompted, began to wax on about what a team-oriented player Moss has been this year. Harbaugh said Moss has been sharp in the meeting rooms and consistent at practice since arriving in Santa Clara on April 30. "A lot of people talk about the past," Harbaugh said. "I've seen nothing other than a guy who wants to work hard, contribute and say and do all the right things. He's been nothing but great. ... "And if there was something in the past, it would be like that Etch-A-Sketch you had as a kid when you lift that paper up ...," he said.

Asked about Moss's contributions, Harbaugh said there have been weekly recommendations from the veteran receiver on the best way to run certain plays and routes. "The neat thing about it is that it's never a self-centered thing, it's never how to get him the ball," Harbaugh said. "It's about how it will help the team or help the group."

Moss has been targeted twice in the last two games, and he had one catch for 11 yards Sunday. On a number of plays, especially running plays, he's been used more as a decoy. His presence attracts both a cornerback and a safety, who are not hovering around the line of scrimmage to stop the ball carrier.

But Harbaugh said that Moss' big game as a pass catcher is coming. "It's just a matter of time before we see the big-catch day that everybody seems to always pin their evaluations on," Harbaugh said. "He's been excellent."

Harbaugh said that Alex Smith's sprained middle finger is "very much a concern." Then again, he also noted that Smith on Sunday evening said the injury was no big deal, "so we'll see," Harbaugh said.

The best indication will come Wednesday when the 49ers have to file their first injury report of the week. Smith injured the finger on his throwing hand midway through the fourth quarter when he was hit by Mario Williams and braced himself as he went to the ground. He played two more snaps but did not attempt another throw.

Asked why Brandon Jacobs, who practiced throughout the week leading up to the Bills game, did not play, Harbaugh said the big running back was "still not quite there" in his rehabilitation from a knee injury. Jacobs suffered the injury Aug. 18. The 49ers face his former team, the Giants, Sunday.

Harbaugh said that the 49ers had until 1 p.m. Tuesday to activate linebacker Clark Haggans, who has served his three-game suspension relating to a 2011 DUI in Arizona.

Harbaugh highlighted several players (many of the same ones I cited in an earlier blog; thanks for the credit, Jim) including Delanie Walker, Joe Staley and Anthony Davis and Ahmad Brooks. He used the term "shining star" on several occasions in relation to Sunday's standouts.

-- 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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