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News » San Francisco 49ers Strategy and Personnel 2008-09-18

San Francisco 49ers Strategy and Personnel 2008-09-18

San Francisco 49ers Strategy and Personnel 2008-09-18
Right tackle Jonas Jennings sustained an unspecified right shoulder injury that kept him out of action in the second half against the Seahawks. Jennings has already been ruled out of Sunday's game against the Lions.

Veteran Barry Sims is scheduled to start at right tackle for the 49ers. The club does not plan to make any roster moves, coach Mike Nolan said. If the 49ers need a third tackle for Sunday's game, starting left guard Adam Snyder will likely move to a tackle spot. Reserve guard David Baas would then likely fill in at left guard for Snyder.

The 49ers did not disclose the extent of Jennings' injury, though Nolan said he did not believe it would require surgery. With his absence on Sunday, Jennings will have missed all or parts of 34 games (out of 51) since signing with the 49ers as a free agent in 2005.


--RT Barry Sims, a veteran who signed a two-year contract with the 49ers in the offseason, will get his first start with the 49ers on Sunday due to Jonas Jennings' shoulder injury. Said Sims, "I'll start until they tell me I'm not starting anymore."

--LB Manny Lawson, the former first-round pick in 2006, did not play one snap of defense last week against the Seahawks, as the 49ers employed five defensive backs throughout the game. With the Lions' multi-receiver sets, it's uncertain how much action Lawson will play this week, either.

--WR Isaac Bruce set a 49ers record with an average of 38.3 yards per reception against the Seahawks (four catches minimum). Bruce caught four passes for 153 yards.

--WR Arnaz Battle is the 49ers' No. 3 receiver, and he's also thrived in third-down situations throughout his career. Battle is sixth in the NFC since 2006 with 44 third-down receptions. He has only three receptions this season, but all have come on successful third downs.

--CB Nate Clements has started 106 consecutive games, the second-longest active streak behind Ronde Barber's 137. Since 1988, Clements is tied for first place in the league with 17 forced fumbles. The 49ers recovered one of his forced fumbles last week against the Seahawks.

GAME PLAN: The Lions parted ways with offensive coordinator Mike Martz in hopes of becoming more of a running team to control the clock. But the Lions still have not shown much of an ability to run the ball. Kevin Smith has 88 of the team's 111 yards through two games. The 49ers need to do a better job against the run, as they've surrendered a 100-yard rusher in each of the first two games. But, again, their focus would figure to be on the Lions' passing attack.

QB Jon Kitna has thrown for 538 yards in two games, and the Lions have some explosive wideouts, Calvin Johnson and Roy Williams. Johnson is poised for a huge season. He already has 13 catches and 236 yards and two touchdowns in two games. The 49ers employed a nickel defense exclusively in their overtime victory at Seattle last week. Generally, they run a hybrid 3-4 defense.

Kitna is susceptible to some mistakes, so the secondary has to be able to capitalize when they have their chances to get hands on the ball. Martz is now the 49ers' offensive coordinator. He would like to get the ball in the hands of RB Frank Gore about 25 times, but he might also want to put together an exciting game plan to show the Lions and their fans what they're missing this season.

MATCHUPS TO WATCH: 49ers LB Patrick Willis vs. Lions RB Kevin Smith - Willis is the team's leading tackler and big-play defender. Smith, a rookie from Central Florida, is a runner that the Lions are going to want to feature.

49ers CBs Nate Clements and Walt Harris vs. Lions WRs Calvin Johnson and Roy Williams: Clements and Harris are sure-tackling veterans. They'll face a pair of big-play receivers who pose as big of a challenge as the 49ers faced with Arizona's Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin.

49ers LT Joe Staley vs. Lions RDE Dewayne White: Staley played up and down in his first two games since moving from the right to the left side. White recorded the Lions' only two sacks this season.

49ers RG Tony Wragge vs. Lions DT Cory Redding: Wragge is a strong player who has played well since taking over the starting role. In Redding, he'll confront a player the 49ers have had trouble handling in the past.

49ers FB Zak Keasey vs. Lions LB Ernie Sims: Keasey has done a good job as Frank Gore's lead-blocker. Sims figures to be in the middle of all the action in the Lions' run game.

INJURY IMPACT: RT Jonas Jennings (shoulder) is out of action with a sprain. The team has not given a timetable on his possible return to the lineup.

--CB Shawntae Spencer (knee) is out of action this week with an injury sustained on a kickoff return late in the game. It is unknown when he will return to the lineup. Spencer is the team's No. 3 cornerback, and they're not saying who will fill his role in Sunday's game.

--S Dashon Goldson (knee) and CB Donald Strickland (knee) returned to practice Wednesday are expected to be available for Sunday's game.

--RB Frank Gore and CB Walt Harris both skipped Wednesday's practice. It was a coaches' decision designed to keep both players fresh. They are expected to be available for Sunday's game against Lions.

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: September 18, 2008

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Joe Staley Name: Joe Staley
Position: OT
Age: 23
Experience: 2 years
College: Central Michigan
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