Around the NFC West: Jacobs' relevance

There is still time for veteran running back Brandon Jacobs to factor prominently in the San Francisco 49ers' season.

The team could suddenly need him for unforeseen circumstances. Jacobs could ride to the rescue if injuries continued to strike the position.

Around the NFC West: Dec. 10, 2012

The way things are playing out, however, the 49ers appear likely to play out the 2012 season without needing Jacobs much, if at all. Frank Gore continues to run well. Rookie LaMichael James generally impressed while making his regular-season NFL debut during a 27-13 victory over the Miami Dolphins on Sunday.

Jacobs has complained about "rotting away" on the 49ers' bench. But if the 49ers thought he could give them something their other running backs could not give them, I have no doubt they would play Jacobs. There would be nothing personal about their decision to play other players.

Often times, players are the last ones to know or acknowledge declines that are visible to others.

The New York Giants released Jacobs in March. They would not have released him if they considered him critical to defending their Super Bowl championship. Jacobs received a one-year, $1.6 million salary from the 49ers. That made him an insurance policy and possibly a situational player. But with Jacobs suffering a knee injury in preseason, he lost ground. His presence also contributed to a competitive situation that probably drove other running backs on the roster to perform better than they otherwise might have performed.

Jacobs' frustrations are understandable. I just don't think there's anything personal about it from the 49ers' perspective.