San Francisco 49ers: Jake Locker

49ers switch gears to Locker

October, 19, 2013
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- There is no doubt the news that the San Francisco 49ers will face Jake Locker instead of Ryan Fitzpatrick on Sunday will change the team’s defensive plans.

Locker is much more mobile and runs some read-option plays. Locker was playing well before he hurt his hip and missed the past two games. The Titans were 3-1 with Locker and 0-2 without him.

“Well, I’ve always thought this: He’s like a running back with his ability to run the football,” 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said about Locker on Wednesday. “I’ve always thought that. And I’ve seen it up close, been defeated by it. He’s evolved, grown. He’s always been an extremely tough competitor.”

When the week began it appeared Fitzpatrick would start, but Locker practiced more as the week went on. Both Harbaugh and defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said they were preparing for Locker as well as Fitzpatrick this week.

The 49ers’ defensive meetings Saturday will no doubt focus on the switch to Locker.

Harbaugh faced Locker four times when he coached Stanford and Locker was at Washington. The Cardinal were 3-1 against Locker. Friday, Harbaugh said his experience against Locker gave him no advantage.
When the San Francisco 49ers claimed Chris Harper off waivers from the Seattle Seahawks in early September they had big plans for him.

The 49ers wanted the receiver to play a hybrid receiver-tight end role like the one former 49er Delanie Walker – who will face the 49ers on Sunday at Tennessee – had for the team. However, Harper, at least for now, won’t get the chance to develop in San Francisco. Harper, whom Seattle cut as a rookie despite being a fourth-round pick, was cut Thursday by the 49ers. They will likely add a defensive lineman to the 53-man roster.

Harper could end up on the 49ers practice squad if he is not claimed on waivers by Friday. Harper’s release is not a shock. He was never active this season and the 49ers roster is talented.

Meanwhile, Tennessee cleared quarterback Jake Locker for contact and he practiced more Thursday than he did Wednesday. He has missed the past two games with a hip injury. Ryan Fitzpatrick is expected to start Sunday, but it is not out of the question that Locker tries to play. On Wednesday, 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said the team is preparing for both quarterbacks.
SANTA CLARA, Calif. – The San Francisco 49ers’ preparation for Sunday’s game at Tennessee took a slight turn when Titans quarterback Jake Locker returned to practice Wednesday.

Locker has been out for the past two weeks with hip and knee injuries, and the Titans still plan to start Ryan Fitzpatrick on Sunday.

Nevertheless, 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said the team has to be aware that Locker could play, however unlikely that might be.

“You’re never in a position of knowing until you know, until they’re ruled out,” Harbaugh said. “So, yeah, I mean, there has to be awareness and a preparation there.”

Harbaugh knows plenty about Locker. He faced the University of Washington product while he was the coach at Stanford.

“Well, I’ve always thought this, he’s like a running back with his ability to run the football,” Harbaugh said. “I’ve always thought that. And I’ve seen it up close, been defeated by it. He’s evolved, grown. He’s always been an extremely tough competitor. That’s why you, knowing the competitor he is, if there’s any possible way that he would play he’ll be out there.”

Still, the 49ers are also preparing to face Fitzpatrick, because that is the more likely scenario.

Final 2013 preseason QB snap counts

August, 30, 2013
Six projected starting quarterbacks played in their teams' final exhibition games of the 2013 preseason. The Seattle Seahawks' Russell Wilson and the San Francisco 49ers' Colin Kaepernick were two of them, and both led touchdown drives before exiting after one series. None of the NFL's projected starters got hurt Thursday night.

The chart shows week-by-week snap counts for quarterbacks I singled out as projected starters heading into preseason. NFC West alums Kevin Kolb and Matt Flynn might not start after all, but I've left them in the chart for context.

St. Louis Rams coach Jeff Fisher has generally played starters in the final preseason game. He did not this time.

"Typically I have, but I guess in the new world that we’re in, it’s hard to," Fisher told reporters after the Rams' game against Baltimore. "What that implies is that I'm pleased with where they are right now, those guys that sat. They worked hard. We got a great workout and it allowed them to fast-forward their minds to Arizona."

Fisher could have been alluding to the run of higher-profile injuries around the league this summer. Last year, the Rams lost rookie defensive tackle Michael Brockers to a high-ankle sprain in the final preseason game.

The Rams emerged from this preseason healthier than their division rivals. That did not stop the 49ers from playing their offensive starters or the Seahawks from playing starters on both sides of the ball Thursday night. The Arizona Cardinals rested most of their starters, though Michael Floyd was one notable exception.

San Francisco coach Jim Harbaugh offered no explanation for playing his starting offense one series. Kaepernick hadn't gotten many snaps through the first three games, however. Getting additional reps for Kaepernick and the team's group of emerging receivers made some sense on the surface.

Seahawks coach Pete Carroll went into the final preseason game saying he wanted starters to play because the team values this games as competitive opportunities.