NFL Nation: LaMichael James

49ers practice report

August, 20, 2014
Aug 20
10:05
PM ET
SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Before being pulled off Levi’s Stadium’s loose grass field less than an hour after practice began by coach Jim Harbaugh, the San Francisco 49ers did go through the paces for a bit in front of a couple thousand fans.

A few highlights, then, of the 49ers' final public practice.
  • Wide receiver Michael Crabtree was still not in attendance, as he was in Texas the day before for the birth of his son Michael III.
  • Even before the public practice was cut short, the poor condition of the field was obvious, from divots flying out when players made cuts to the discolored spots in the middle of the field. And if Bruce Ellington tweaking his right ankle in a one-on-one drill with cornerback Chris Culliver was not proof enough, then Stevie Johnson taking a spill untouched on an out pattern at the goal line and jerking his left leg sealed it.
  • Phil Dawson, one of the more accurate kickers in NFL history, continued to work on his craft after missing a pair of field goals in Sunday’s 34-0 exhibition loss to the Denver Broncos by kicking numerous field goals. If Andy Lee was not holding, then Dawson had a metal holder in his place so he could work solo.
  • Ellington, LaMichael James and veteran Anquan Boldin were the three players fielding punts.
  • Cornerback Tramaine Brock picked off McLeod Bethel-Thompson on a pass intended for David Reed on the right sideline and returned it 25 yards for a touchdown.
Examining the San Francisco 49ers' roster:

QUARTERBACKS (2)

Because of heavy competition elsewhere, the 49ers will likely only carry two quarterbacks. They finished last season that way. The competition will be to see if undrafted rookie Kory Faulkner can take McLeod Bethel-Thompson's spot on the practice squad.

RUNNING BACKS (5)

The fact that the 49ers drafted Hyde in the second round and Lattimore is healthy means some tough decisions will have to be made. Hunter is too valuable to let go. That means 2012 second-round pick LaMichael James will have difficulty making the roster.

WIDE RECEIVERS (6)

The 49ers are so much deeper here this year than last. That means they will likely have to keep six receivers. Lloyd may look good and Patton has too much potential to give up on. That means it could be tough for Kassim Osgood to make it even though he is a special teams cog.

TIGHT ENDS (3)

If Davis ends his holdout, I can't see the 49ers keeping more than three tight ends because of the glut at receiver. Unless Garrett Celek has a big camp, he may be in trouble. Carrier intrigues the 49ers because of his size and speed.

OFFENSIVE LINE (8)

Assuming Boone ends his holdout, this is a pretty nice group of eight players. It's improved from last year. A solid veteran like Adam Snyder and a promising youngster like Ryan Seymour will have trouble making the team.

DEFENSIVE LINE (9)

This is another power spot. It's deep. Players like Jerod-Eddie and Dial are too valuable to cut. Ramsey has looked good and I have a hunch the 49ers may like him too much to expose him to the waiver wire. That means Demarcus Dobbs could be in trouble.

LINEBACKERS (7)

Most teams carry six linebackers but the 49ers are stacked here, especially with NaVorro Bowman out for about half the season. Because fifth-round pick Lynch is promising he should make the roster. Dan Skuta is an excellent player, but there might not be any room for him. I could see him being one of those later-summer Trent Baalke trade specials because he has value.

CORNERBACKS (5)

This unit is in flux, but I see Johnson making it. Don't be surprised if there is some in-camp jockeying as the 49ers look for the best mix.

SAFETIES (5)

Ward, the 49ers' first-round pick, will play nickel cornerback as a rookie, but projects long term as a safety. Ventrone and Spillman should stick because they are great on special teams. Craig Dahl could be in trouble.

SPECIALISTS (3):

This group is set and it's excellent.
SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Many thought heading the San Francisco 49ers would trade way up in the first round of the draft to acquire a stud receiver.

Events did not unfold that way but the 49ers receiving crew is now loaded.

After trading a conditional 2015 fourth-round pick to Buffalo for veteran Stevie Johnson on Friday, the 49ers took South Carolina speedster Bruce Ellington with the sixth pick of the fourth round.

Just as running back Carlos Hyde, center Marcus Martin and linebacker Chris Borland were Friday, Ellington was considered a high value choice. Some scouts thought he’d go in the second round.

Ellington gives the 49ers blazing speed from a receiver, the one thing they appeared to be lacking.

With Johnson, Michael Crabtree, Anquan Boldin and tight end Vernon Davis, the 49ers have plenty of veterans who will get open. Now, they can design packages to leverage Ellington’s speed. Second-year receiver Quinton Patton also came on strong late in the season.

It now appears highly unlikely Brandon Lloyd, who signed earlier this offseason with a team-friendly deal, will make the team. He doesn’t play special teams. If the team keeps six receivers, special teams ace Kassim Osgood should stick.

The Ellington pick could also affect running back LaMichael James. Ellington can return kicks and punts, the main ability James offered. General manager Trent Baalke reiterated Friday night that the team wanted to keep James, but Ellington's selection may have changed that situation.
The Sacramento Bee reported Wednesday evening the San Francisco 49ers are shopping running back/returner LaMichael James. Let's look at what it means:

James
Initial thoughts: There have been rumblings of James' unhappiness since last season. He has occasionally made cryptic remarks on Twitter and 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh and general manager Trent Baalke have had to discuss his situation. At the combine in February, Baalke said James still had a place on the team. An NFL source said Wednesday night James would welcome a trade if he meant more playing time. The source would not say that James requested the trade. I don't get the sense the 49ers are suddenly going to play James more in 2014, so if he stays, he will continue to be dissatisfied with his playing time.

What can the 49ers get in return? I wouldn't think much. Just because James was a second-round pick in 2012, it doesn't mean the 49ers will get like value. Remember, the 49ers acquired quarterback Blaine Gabbert for a sixth-round pick this year. Three years ago, he was the No. 10 overall pick. I just don't see the market being high for a little-used running back/returner. Perhaps James could be used as a chip to move up in the draft a bit. It wasn't a good sign that his college coach, Chip Kelly, traded for Darren Sproles instead of James this year.

Would the 49ers miss him? Not really. The 49ers have a crowded backfield and they could always draft someone to be a returner. I could see the team drafting a cornerback or a receiver who can help as a return man.
Echoing what coach Jim Harbaugh indicated Thursday and keeping to the mantra of the organization, San Francisco 49ers general manager Trent Baalke predictably had this message when speaking to the media Friday: the team’s free-agent plan will be to keep its own.

“Our No. 1 objective is to keep our own guys,” Baalke said.

Whitner
The 49ers' top priorities in the coming weeks (free agency starts March 11) are to re-sign receiver Anquan Boldin, safety Donte Whitner, kicker Phil Dawson, and perhaps cornerback Tarell Brown. Whitner might be the most difficult to sign. If I had to guess, I’d say Boldin has the best chance of being signed before free agency.

In other topics Baalke addressed:
  • Baalke praised running back Frank Gore for another productive season in 2013 and told reporters the 49ers don’t necessarily have to approach Gore to take a pay cut. He is to make $6.4 million this season.
  • Baalke said he expects Michael Wilhoite and second-year player Nick Moody to fill in for linebacker NaVorro Bowman in the first half of the season as Bowman recovers from torn ACL. Baalke also indicated the team could bring in some competition. He said Bowman will not be rushed.
  • As he did in October, Baalke said the team has no intentions of trading running back/kick returner LaMicheal James. Baalke said he believes James, a second-round pick in 2012, will get more opportunities to run the ball moving forward.
  • Baalke said pass-rushing star Aldon Smith is going well and said the team has “a great support system for him." Smith missed five games in 2013 when he voluntarily entered a substance abuse center. He finished the season strong.
  • Baalke spoke glowingly of 2013 fourth-round pick Quinton Patton. The receiver finished the season strong after missing 10 games with a broken foot. Patton impressed the team with his zeal for the game.

Upon Further Review: 49ers Week 10

November, 11, 2013
11/11/13
8:00
AM ET
SAN FRANCISCO -- A review of four hot issues from the San Francisco 49ers' 10-9 loss to the Carolina Panthers:

[+] EnlargeColin Kaepernick
AP Photo/Ben MargotAs Colin Kaepernick and the offense go, so go the 49ers. And on Sunday, just about nothing went well.
Offense sputters: The 49ers lost this game on offense. The defense was terrific, but the offensive was lackluster, especially in the second half. All the 49ers had to show for the game was three first-half field goals. The 49ers had just 45 total yards in the second half, and quarterback Colin Kaepernick threw for 91 yards and was sacked six times, a season high. The 49ers had just 4 yards on 14 plays in the fourth quarter. Ultimately, the 49ers’ success depends on their offensive production. In their six wins, the 49ers have scored at least 31 points. However, in their three defeats, the 49ers have scored in single digits.

Third-down defense sags: The 49ers' defense was very good; the Panthers scored on a broken play and a long field goal. But the 49ers were not perfect on defense. A major reason the Panthers won this game was the third-down success of quarterback Cam Newton. He was 6-for-8 on third-down passes in the second half. This is an area the 49ers immediately have to address with Drew Brees and New Orleans looming.

Smith being eased back in: 49ers linebacker Aldon Smith played about 12 snaps Sunday. Most of his action was as an inside defensive lineman on third down. It was Smith’s first action since Week 3. The 49ers are easing Smith back into game action after he spent five weeks at an alcohol treatment center. He said after the game that he understands the decision, but wants to play more. He said he hopes to be a full a participant next week in New Orleans. I’d think as long as everything remains positive for Smith, he will get more playing time next week.

Returning switch: Not surprisingly, the 49ers made a switch at returner. Kyle Williams, who struggled badly against Jacksonville in Week 8 before the team''s bye week, has been replaced on punts and kickoffs. LaMichael James was the punt returner Sunday and Anthony Dixon returned kicks. I’d expect the switch to continue.
LONDON -- It's not easy following the World Series here.

The games start after 1 a.m. and baseball isn't a big deal in England. However, for 49ers running back LaMichael James, following the Fall Classic is a must.

Middlebrooks
Middlebrooks
James
James' high school teammate, Will Middlebrooks, is the third baseman for the Boston Red Sox. Middlebrooks was the quarterback and James the running back at Liberty-Eylau High School in Texarkana, Texas.

The San Francisco 49ers are playing the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday at Wembley Stadium.

James is also friends with Middlebrooks' World Series adversary, St. Louis pitcher Michael Wacha, Thursday's starter. He attended rival high school Pleasant Grove in Texarkana and is two years younger than Middlebrooks and James.

"Wacha's my guy too, but I have to go with Will," James said. "He's my guy."

James said he and Middlebrooks are in contact, often through Twitter, on a daily basis.

James said he played baseball with Middlebrooks but never got serious about the game. The reason?

"I'm scared of the ball," James said. "I'm not joking. I'm terrified of that ball coming at me like that."

Let's get this straight. James, a 5-foot-9, 194-pound speedster, can handle returning a kick with 11 men coming at him like a herd of buffalo with bad intentions, but he's frightened by the idea of baseball whizzing at him.

"Yes," James said. "I can handle the football stuff, but not that ball."

Glenn Dorsey is active

October, 20, 2013
10/20/13
3:30
PM ET
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- In a mild surprise, San Francisco 49ers nose tackle Glenn Dorsey is active and he will start Sunday at Tennessee.

Dorsey missed practice on Wednesday and Thursday. He was listed as questionable on the injury report. Dorsey injured his right hamstring in the first quarter of last Sunday’s win over Arizona.

Rookie Quinton Dial, activated from the physically unable to perform list Saturday, is active.

Running back LaMichael James is inactive again. He was a healthy scratch last week as well. During the week, San Francisco coach Jim Harbaugh said James would have a role on the team this season.

Receiver Jon Baldwin is active. He was ill during the week and was listed as questionable.
A review of four hot issues from the San Francisco 49ers' 35-11 road win over the St. Louis Rams:

Digging deep: The 49ers simply had to win this game. They were 1-2 and were outscored by a combined 56-10 the past two weeks. Their offense looked horrible, injuries were piling up, linebacker Aldon Smith left the team to seek alcohol rehab treatment and they were playing on a short week. The odds were stacked against them -- and the 49ers responded. They dominated on both sides of the ball. They are now 2-2 and feeling pretty good about themselves.

[+] EnlargeFrank Gore
Scott Rovak/USA TODAY SportsFrank Gore gained 153 of the 49ers' 219 rushing yards against the Rams Thursday.
Back to basics: In the first three weeks, the 49ers didn’t run the ball consistently on offense and had trouble, at times, on defense. That’s not the 49ers’ way. They win by dominating on the ground on both sides of the ball. It sets their tone, which is what happened Thursday. Frank Gore ran for 153 yards (his highest total since 2009) on 20 carries. His 34-yard touchdown run on fourth-and-inches late in the second quarter gave the 49ers a 14-3 lead. It also increases their win probability 18.1 percent to 85.3 percent. According to ESPN Stats & Information, Gore had 115 yards between the tackles Thursday. He had a total of 88 yards between the tackles in the first three games. Defensively, the 49ers held the Rams to 18 rushing yards on 19 carries. It was a great bounce-back performance -- especially considering they were missing inside linebacker Patrick Willis -- for a unit that allowed 179 yards on the ground last Sunday against the Colts.

Dodging a bullet: This great win looked like it was going to be ruined very late in the game when standout left tackle Joe Staley was on the turf, yelling in pain. He later said he thought he broke his ankle, but he tweeted that he was fine. Coach Jim Harbaugh said it looked like the team “dodged a bullet.”

Youngsters get involved: The 49ers are one of the league’s youngest teams and they are starting to rely on some less experienced players. Receiver Jon Baldwin played for the first time since being acquired in a deal with Kansas City for fellow former first-round pick A.J. Jenkins. Baldwin came up with some big catches. Harbaugh liked what he saw. Running back LaMichael James played for the first time this season. He didn’t do much, but at least he’s in the mix. Rookie Corey Lemonier played a lot in Smith’s absence and looked promising. Michael Wilhoite played solidly in Willis’ absence. Getting these players work should pay off as the season progresses.
ST. LOUIS – I have arrived here for Thursday night’s San Francisco 49ers-St. Louis Rams game, to predictable 49ers injury news.

Willis
Davis
Both tight end Vernon Davis (hamstring) and linebacker Patrick Willis (groin) are listed as questionable for the game. Davis, who missed Sunday’s loss to the Colts, is more likely to play than Willis, who was hurt in the third quarter. Davis practiced on a limited basis the past two days. Willis did not practice this week; he and defensive coordinator Vic Fangio nevertheless expressed hope he would play.

Both will be game-time decisions Thursday. Nnamdi Asomugha, the No. 3 cornerback, is also listed as questionable with a knee injury he suffered Sunday. He hasn't practiced all week.

Backup running back LaMichael James, meanwhile, was not on the injury report Wednesday. He has missed all three games this season with a knee injury. Offensive coordinator Greg Roman said Tuesday that James will likely be a game-time decision. If he doesn’t play, it will most likely be because he is a healthy scratch.
There are four San Francisco 49ers listed as questionable to play Sunday against Indianapolis, the biggest question mark being tight end Vernon Davis.

Davis
Davis missed the entire week of practice with a hamstring injury he tweaked at Seattle. This was not unexpected; Davis tweeted this week that he would rest but be able to play. Coach Jim Harbaugh said Friday that Davis is a game-time decision.

The other San Francisco players listed as questionable are defensive lineman Ray McDonald (two sprained ankles), safety Eric Reid (concussion) and running back LaMichael James (knee). McDonald and Reid are expected to start Sunday.

Meanwhile, tackle Anthony Davis was fined $7,875 for unnecessary roughness against Seattle.

Justin Smith back at 49ers practice

September, 19, 2013
9/19/13
8:40
PM ET
SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- The San Francisco 49ers' practice participation list looked better Thursday than it did Wednesday.

Smith
Defensive lineman Justin Smith (shoulder) went through limited drills after not working Wednesday. Backup running back LaMichael James (knee), meanwhile, practiced on a limited basis for the first time in the regular season. His status for Sunday's visit from the Indianapolis Colts is uncertain; I’d say it's iffy at best.

Defensive tackle Ray McDonald (both ankles sprained) did not practice for the second consecutive day -- though earlier Thursday, defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said he expects his starting group to be fine Sunday.

Rookie safety Eric Reid continued to be limited after suffering a concussion in the Week 2 loss at Seattle. He said he has passed every NFL-mandated test thus far and is on pace to play Sunday.

As expected, tight end Vernon Davis did not practice for the second day in a row while nursing a hamstring injury. He tweeted this week that he was going to rest, on doctor’s orders, but that he expected to play.

Quarterback Colin Kaepernick remains on the practice report with a foot issue. But he practiced fully the past two days and had no noticeable problems.
SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Last week, LaMichael James was all alone on the San Francisco 49ers' injury report.

This week, the backup running back has plenty of company on the sideline. Nine San Francisco players -- including quarterback Colin Kaepernick -- landed on the injury list Wednesday. Kaepernick nevertheless practiced fully despite what the team called a foot injury. Neither 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh nor Kaepernick addressed the issues when they spoke to the media prior to practice. If it were serious, Kaepernick wouldn’t have practiced.

Along with James (who has been out for the first two games with a knee injury), tight end Vernon Davis (hamstring) and defensive linemen Justin Smith (shoulder) and Ray McDonald (both ankles) were among the key players who did not practice. There is a solid chance all three play Sunday against the visiting Indianapolis Colts. McDonald might have the most difficult time playing, but there is a chance.

Linebacker NaVorro Bowman (wrist), safety Eric Reid (concussion) and linebacker Aldon Smith (back) were limited Wednesday. Guard Mike Iupati (shoulder) practiced fully.
The San Francisco 49ers’ 53-man roster was pretty healthy in the first two weeks of the season. However, the 49ers limped out of their 29-3 defeat at Seattle.

Nose tackle Ian Williams broke his ankle and was lost for the season. We may see the effects of the loss at practice this week. Standout tight end Vernon Davis tweeted late Tuesday night that he needs to rest his hamstring, which was injured late against the Seahawks, but he should be able to play Sunday against Indianapolis. It probably means he will not practice much this week.

Davis could have some company on the sideline. Defensive end Ray McDonald left in the fourth quarter, but X-rays on his right ankle were negative. He could also miss some time this week in practice, at least.

Safety Eric Reid, who has been outstanding in his first two NFL games, missed the second half Sunday because of a potential concussion. San Francisco coach Jim Harbaugh said Monday that Reid did not show any concussion symptoms. He will need to pass the NFL’s concussion test to play Sunday.

Running back LaMichael James has missed the first two games with a knee sprain. There is a chance he returns to practice this week.
Last week, San Francisco 49ers linebacker Patrick Willis said he would try to ignore the pain coming from his broken right hand in the season opener against Green Bay -- the season had arrived, he reasoned, and it was simply time to play.

Willis
With a week under his belt, Willis believes improvement will continue as the 49ers visit the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday.

“It was a little off,” Willis said of his surgically repaired hand during Sunday’s game. “It should be much better this week.”

Willis had surgery six weeks ago Friday. The typical recovery time is eight weeks. Willis didn’t play in the preseason. He did not seem rusty. He was very active and finished with five tackles.

In other 49ers notes:

ESPN.com’s experts favor the 49ers in Sunday’s huge tilt at Seattle. Thoughts?

Quarterback Colin Kaepernick gets some hometown corn-maze love. Kaepernick clearly approves. He tweeted out this link.

Defensive tackle Justin Smith said practicing against a fast quarterback like Kaepernick in camp helps prepare San Francisco to face a similarly fast quarterback in Seattle’s Russell Wilson.

“We don't have a pocket-passer statue that we practice against,” Smith said.

Nose tackle Ian Williams said he has studied the game of former San Francisco tackle Aubrayo Franklin as he tries to improve his own. Willis said Williams’ game reminds him some of Franklin’s.

The only player not practicing Thursday was running back LaMichael James. He has been out for two weeks with a knee injury. He is expected out a short while longer.

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