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News » San Francisco 49ers Strategy and Personnel 2009-01-03

San Francisco 49ers Strategy and Personnel 2009-01-03

San Francisco 49ers Strategy and Personnel 2009-01-03
The 49ers appear to have a strong nucleus of players that return next season. There are only two starters from this season who are scheduled to be unrestricted free agents: linebacker Takeo Spikes and receiver Bryant Johnson.

On the coaching staff, there is a lot up in the air. The 49ers fired offensive coordinator Mike Martz. Mike Singletary's first hire is a big one, as he is only going to be as successful as his offense allows him to be.

COACHING CAROUSEL: The 49ers hired Mike Singletary to a four-year, $10 million contract immediately following the team's final game of the season on Sunday against the Washington Redskins. Singletary compiled a 5-4 record after taking over for fired Mike Nolan. But the 49ers won five of their final seven games to finish the season with a lot of optimism.

Mike Martz has been fired as offensive coordinator, so Singletary will have to find a suitable replacement. One logical selection might be former St. Louis Rams head coach Scott Linehan. Also let go was quarterbacks coach Ted Tollner and running backs coach Tony Nathan.

FREE AGENT UPDATE: There are no players scheduled for free agency on whom the 49ers would consider using a franchise tag. Takeo Spikes did a very good job this season after signing a one-year deal. He expressed a desire to return to the 49ers next season to play alongside Patrick Willis. The 49ers will likely want him back. Receiver Bryant Johnson played well, but the club is looking to push youngster Josh Morgan into a more significant role. Johnson might find a better opportunity elsewhere. Among the 49ers' other free agents that they would like to sign for the right price are players such as running back DeShaun Foster, return specialist Allen Rossum, defensive tackle Ronald Fields, cornerback Donald Strickland and pass rusher Roderick Green.

FEELING A DRAFT: The 49ers own the No. 10 overall pick. They will pick No. 10 in all the odd-numbered rounds, and No. 11 in the even-numbered rounds. The 49ers expect to also gain two compensatory picks, giving them nine total draft picks.


Pass rusher: Whether it's at outside linebacker or defensive end, the 49ers need to find at least one more player on defense to put pressure on quarterbacks.

Free safety: The 49ers' starting safety, Mark Roman, has not recorded an interception in more than two seasons. The 49ers need a presence in the secondary to generate turnovers.

Offensive tackle: While Joe Staley looks to be a pretty good player at left tackle, the 49ers need to find a more reliable player to take over at right tackle.

Wide receiver: The 49ers like what they saw late in the season from youngsters Josh Morgan and Jason Hill. But they can use another playmaker at this spot.

MEDICAL WATCH: QB Alex Smith underwent surgery to clean out his right shoulder. He went on injured reserve early in the season with a small fracture. He expects to be fully healthy for the start of the 49ers' offseason program, but it is not known whether he will still be with the team. Smith will have to accept a large pay cut to remain with the 49ers.

WR Arnaz Battle ended the season on injured reserve with a badly sprained foot. He should be ready to take part in all the team's offseason activities.

CB Shawntae Spencer went on injured reserve with a torn ACL. He will have a limited offseason program, but should be at full strength by the start of training camp. Spencer was the 49ers' No. 3 cornerback when he went down with his injury.

RB Frank Gore missed most of the final four games of the season with an ankle sprain. He said his surgeon in Miami will check out his condition, but he is expecting a full recovery in the next several weeks.

WR Josh Morgan sustained a torn groin muscle in the middle of the season. Although he returned to action, he never returned to 100 percent health. He figured to take three weeks of rest to get back healthy.

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: January 3, 2009

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Shawntae Spencer Name: Shawntae Spencer
Position: CB
Age: 26
Experience: 5 years
College: Pittsburgh
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