49ers Blog and Q&A

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

December 9, 2012
If James is up, is that why Jacobs is down?


The 49ers have hinted strongly that top drafts picks A.J. Jenkins and LaMichael James will be active for today's game against Miami. The question now is, does already unhappy running back Brandon Jacobs sit if the rookies are active?

Jenkins will take Mario Manningham's spot on the active roster. Manningham is dealing with a shoulder injury and is listed as doubtful for today's game. James could take Jacobs' spot.

Jacobs, who has vented about his lack of playing time via social media over the last few days, helped his cause last week by appearing on special teams, albeit in a minimal role. He was on the 49ers' kick return team. The Rams kicked off only twice, and both kickoffs by Greg "the Leg" Zuerlein resulted in touchbacks. Meanwhile, Demarcus Dobbs promises to be back on special teams after his run-in with the law last week while Michael Wilhoite also made a special teams splash last week.

Jacobs, meanwhile, incurred the wrath of 49ers fans by posting pictures of him in a Giants uniform. "I am on this team rotting away so why would I wanna put any pics up of anything that say niners." Jacobs shot back on Instagram.  "This is by far the worst year I ever had, I'll tell you like I told plenty others."

Also on Instagram, Jacobs wrote, presumably of the 49ers: "They won't let me out, I tried."

On Saturday, Jacobs turned to Twitter to explain himself: "I don't understand why people are angry at me because I wanna do what I am paid to do, I am a competitive person, I think people should be mad if I didn't wanna play, but I forgot the people that's pissed they don't have a athletic bone and their body. As for all of my Instagram photos I don't have any niner pics, if you'll find me some pics I'll put them up."

He has since added more photos of him in a 49ers uniform to his Instagram account.

Jacobs, of course, often complained about his role when he was with the Giants, especially in recent years when he shared carries with Ahmad Bradshaw. This year he has swung wildly between complaining about his playing time with the 49ers - in October, before the 49ers played the Giants, for instance - and vowing that he will be a good teammate and wait for his opportunity.

Jacobs fell down the depth chart in the preseason when he suffered a knee injury that cost him the first month of the regular season.

Some have asked whether Jacobs' stint with the 49ers could go the same way receiver Braylon Edwards' did last year. Edwards moped about his playing time after he, too, came back from an injury, and Jim Harbaugh released him in December 2011. That's a possible outcome for Jacobs. Even with Kendall Hunter's season-ending Achilles injury, the 49ers are deep at running back with Frank Gore, James, Anthony Dixon and rookie Jewell Hampton.

Still, Edwards' example is a bit different in that Harbaugh wasn't happy with Edwards' effort in practice and in games where he showed no chemistry with quarterback Alex Smith. Jacobs' point on twitter is that he hungers to play, which is something Harbaugh probably admires (although he'd likely prefer it in a more discreet manner). In addition, while the 49ers have depth behind Gore, there is very little experience. Cutting Jacobs would be dangerous for a team that expects to go deep into the playoffs.

- 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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