49ers Blog and Q&A

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

September 23, 2013
Harbaugh offers few answers, hints at Jon Baldwin's 49ers debut

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After last week's blowout loss to Seattle, Jim Harbaugh said that quarterback Colin Kaepernick was the lone playmaker on offense. Today, he couldn't find any bright spots on the unit. "You never lay it on one spot," he said. "If we're talking offensively, I thought the effort was very good. Precision needs to be better. And that falls under everybody's purview."

For the third straight game, the receivers not named Anquan Boldin were quiet. No. 2 receiver Kyle Williams was targeted six times and finished with two catches for 12 yards and one third-down drop. Marlon Moore and Quinton Patton each were targeted once but had no catches.

Asked whether Jon Baldwin, who has been inactive to this point, could play soon, Harbaugh said, "That's possible. He's doing a good job. Had a good week of practice last week." Baldwin is 6-4, 230 pounds and has excellent speed. At the least, he would be able to stretch defenses, something the 49ers had a hard time doing without Vernon Davis (hamstring) in the lineup Sunday.

Otherwise, Harbaugh had few answers. With a short week to prepare for the Rams in St. Louis, he and the rest of the coaching staff spent the night at team headquarters trying to figure out a remedy for the first, two-game skid of the Harbaugh era. "There's always another thing to try," he said. "Just go back to work and see if there's something to improve and fix."

Both Patrick Willis (groin) and Nnamdi Asomugha (knee) will have MRIs today. They are unlikely to play in St. Louis, and would be replaced by Michael Wilhoite and Tramaine Brock respectively. If Asomugha's injury is serious, Eric Wright likely would be taken off the NFI (non-football injury) list at the earliest possible date, which is just after Week 6.

Harbaugh said there would be an announcement upcoming about Aldon Smith's immediate future. He's likely to be placed on the NFI list. The question the team hasn't answered yet is whether that designation means Smith must miss a set number of weeks.

-- Matt Barrows

September 19, 2013
Fangio, 49ers not counting on rookie lineman

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The 49ers defensive line may get rookie reinforcements at some point this season, but Vic Fangio today said he has no idea when draft picks Tank Carradine and Quinton Dial will be back, and in Dial's case, what position he'll play.

"It's all just supposition right now," the 49ers defensive coordinator said. "These guys have not been on the field once, they're both coming off extensive surgeries on their legs, and we've got to see where they're at physically before we really know anything."

At 6-5, 318 pounds, Dial is the team's largest defender. He played both defensive end and nose tackle in Alabama's pro-style defense. "It's definitely a similar style to the way coach (Nick) Saban ran his program - an NFL-style defense," Dial said of the 49ers system. "It's very similar. It's just the terminology is different."

Theoretically, Dial could step in as a nose tackle if the 49ers have more injuries at the position later this year. The starter there, Ian Williams, broke his ankle on Sunday and is out for the season. Glenn Dorsey and Tony Jerod-Eddie will man the position now.

Dial's timeline, however, remains a question mark. He and Carradine (and Marcus Lattimore and Eric Wright) are on the non-football injury list, meaning the earliest they can play is Week 7, which is the team's Oct. 20 game at Tennessee.

But he first must get healthy.



MATTHEW 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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