San Francisco 49ers: Navorro Bowman


Just because NaVorro Bowman has been added to the San Francisco 49ers' 53-man roster on Tuesday does not mean the All-Pro inside linebacker will practice Wednesday, let alone suit up and play in one of the Niners' three remaining regular-season games.

This move was made to give the reeling 49ers options down the immediate road -- think playoffs -- as well as a veteran presence, sounding board and voice on the practice field ... when he does practice.

"Just taking it day by day," Bowman told reporters. "Whenever the coaches say I can go out there, I'm sure it will be a modified practice; it wouldn't be full out. Of course, that's how I would like it, but I'll take my time and take it slow and just try to get back to where I was."

Bowman, who is still recuperating from tearing the ACL and MCL in his left knee in last January's NFC Championship Game, saw his 21-day evaluation window close Tuesday without participating in a practice. The Niners then had to decide whether to activate him off the physically unable to perform list or place him on season-ending injured reserve.

Bowman
"Of course I want to be there, if I'm ready to go," he said. "It just comes to if I'm ready. I'm listening to the doctors. They're being great, cautious about what to do.

"As far as me, once I'm out there, I don't know how to go slow. I just know one speed. They just want to make sure they control me up to that point."

Bowman has been around the team all season but has felt helpless as an observer. Heading to Seattle, where he injured his knee, to face the defending Super Bowl champion Seahawks toting a 7-6 record and playoff hopes flagging with a two-game losing streak is a new feeling for Bowman.

Especially since he won't play this weekend.

"It's hard to go out there and play teams like Seattle when you've got young guys that haven't been in those type of games yet," Bowman said. "Just me putting on a helmet again, them guys seeing me put the work in, just showing them that I really do love this game, hopefully it will raise the morale.

"Every game is different, but this is a division game ... it takes a special attitude and mindset to go out there and beat them guys [the Seahawks]. You can't approach it like any other game because they're not just any team."
SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- The 21-day evaluation window on All-Pro inside linebacker NaVorro Bowman closes on Tuesday, and as of Monday afternoon, the San Francisco 49ers had yet to make a decision on whether to activate him or shut him down.

“We’re going to discuss that this afternoon,” coach Jim Harbaugh said in his weekly media conference on Monday. “Let all the medical [personnel] weigh in today and then make decisions.”

Bowman, who tore the ACL and MCL in his left knee in January’s NFC title game, has not practiced since his window was opened three weeks ago, lending credence to the notion that he will not play this season.

Harbaugh and defensive coordinator Vic Fangio have said there has not been a setback in Bowman’s recuperation, even if the team initially targeted midseason for him to make his debut.

Technically, the 49ers could activate Bowman to the 53-man roster but de-activate him on game day until he’s ready, even if the Niners have only three games remaining.

Harbaugh, though, said he would not make a decision on Bowman contingent upon the Niners’ playoff chances. For example, why activate Bowman if they are eliminated? They are currently three games behind the Arizona Cardinals in the NFC West and two games out of the wild card chase.

“I think it will be based medically, on where his status is, and what’s best for his football career, now and in the future,” Harbaugh said.

He added that preliminary reports on injuries suffered by center Marcus Martin (knee) and cornerback Chris Culliver (knee) in Sunday’s 24-13 loss to the Oakland Raiders were “positive.”
Bowman
While San Francisco inside linebacker NaVorro Bowman enters the third week of his 21-day evaluation, he is not expected to practice any time soon.

“I think we’re looking at another week of rehab,” 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said Monday in his weekly media conference.

Bowman is recuperating from tearing the ACL and MCL in his left knee in the NFC title game on Jan. 19. The Niners have until next Tuesday to decide whether to activate the All-Pro to the 53-man roster or place him on season-ending reserve.

Harbaugh also said nose tackle Glenn Dorsey, who was activated to the 53-man rister on Nov. 17 but has yet to be activated for a game after tearing his left biceps in training camp, would not practice for “another week” while receiver Michael Crabtree was “working through some things.”

Crabtree injured a knee and his ribs on the second play of Thursday night’s 19-3 loss to the Seattle Seahawks, though he returned to the game and caught three passes for 10 yards.
The last time NaVorro Bowman played in a game, the San Francisco 49ers were in Seattle for the the NFC title game in January. And while the Seattle Seahawks are coming to town for a Thanksgiving showdown and there had been hopes early in the year that Bowman could be back, he will not.

Niners coach Jim Harbaugh said in his Monday media conference that he did not "anticipate" Bowman practicing this week. Rather, Bowman will continue to work on his left knee, in which he tore the ACL and MCL against the Seahawks.

"This week," Harbaugh said, "will be another week of rehabilitation."

Bowman's 21-day evaluation window, at the end of which the Niners must either activate the inside linebacker or place him on Injured Reserve, opened last Tuesday.

Also, Harbaugh said right tackle Anthony Davis, who suffered a concussion last Sunday at the New York Giants and sat out Sunday's victory over the Washington Redskins, was still experiencing symptoms. That puts his availability for Thursday night's game against the Seahawks in question.
SANTA CLARA, Calif. – While the 21-day evaluation window on NaVorro Bowman was opened Tuesday, the All-Pro inside linebacker did not practice Wednesday for the San Francisco 49ers.

And that, actually, was expected.

Bowman
"Today, he's doing his rehab on the field and in the training room and weight room," coach Jim Harbaugh said before the 49ers hit the practice field.

Asked if he expected Bowman, who suffered a devastating injury to his left knee in the NFC title game Jan. 19, to do any team drills this week, Harbaugh was succinct.

"I don't expect that today," he said. "Probably not this week, no."

The 49ers have an interesting decision to make regarding Bowman. Because if he's nowhere near 100 percent healed, and the team loses a game or two within the next three weeks, why risk bringing him back for a potentially lost season?

But if he's close, and the Niners remain in the playoff hunt and they think he's the missing piece to a Super Bowl run, he could be activated.

Bowman sprinting through rehab?

September, 11, 2014
Sep 11
7:25
PM ET
Having started the season on the physically unable to perform list while he rehabilitates from the devastating left knee injury he suffered in the NFC title game, San Francisco 49ers inside linebacker NaVorro Bowman has to sit out at least the first six weeks of the season.

Bowman could be in a game as soon as Week 7, at the Denver Broncos, or as late as Week 15, at the Seattle Seahawks, if he is to be eligible for the playoffs.

The 49ers have always asserted he would return around midseason.

But based on a tweet Bowman sent out Thursday, he is making progress.



Bowman tore both the ACL and MCL in his knee after Seahawks receiver Jermaine Kearse landed on him at about the 49ers’ 1-yard line on a play in which Bowman stripped Kearse of the ball midway through the fourth quarter on Jan. 19.

Patrick Willis, who moved over to play Bowman’s 'MIKE' linebacker position in the 49ers' 3-4 defense, told reporters Thursday that Bowman was coaching him up on the sideline in Sunday's season-opening victory at the Dallas Cowboys.

"He was there to help me on a play, or critique me, or get me better," said Willis, who had six tackles and an end-zone interception against the Cowboys. "I'm all about positive help. If I'm doing wrong, then tell me, too.

"It was good to have him on the sideline being those eyes for me."
A suspension is coming any day now for Aldon Smith for numerous transgressions off the field, and NaVorro Bowman is lost for at least six games -- if not half the season -- as he rehabs from a nasty knee injury suffered in January’s NFC title game.

Bowman
 
Smith
 So judging by their lofty standings in the ESPN.com Top 100 player rankings project -- Smith was No. 15 among all defensive players in the NFL, Bowman is No. 12 -- you’d think the San Francisco 49ers defense would have a major adjustment period out of the gate this season, not counting breaking in a new nose tackle and essentially three new starters in the secondary.

But that’s a different post for a different time. This is about Smith, who was No. 10 last year, and Bowman, No. 18 in 2013, and how they are stalwarts on the 49ers’ stout defense.

“Despite missing nearly half of last season, Smith recorded 42 sacks in his first three seasons,” ESPN Stats & Info said of Smith, who was in rehab during the season. “The only players with more sacks in their first three seasons were Reggie White [52] and Derrick Thomas [43.5].”

Bowman, meanwhile, improved six spots from last year.

“Over the past three seasons, Bowman leads the NFL in postseason tackles (78),” per ESPN Stats & Info. “During that span, Bowman's 317 solo tackles are the most in the league.”

Following are the 49ers’ defensive players recognized in the #NFLRanks project, and with the countdown going from 10 to 1 on Friday, can you guess who is left?

DEFENSE

No. 97 – SS Antoine Bethea

No. 74 – LB Ahmad Brooks

No. 71 – FS Eric Reid

No. 26 – DT Justin Smith

No. 15 – LB Aldon Smith

No. 12 – LB NaVorro Bowman
Most significant move: It was already known that All-Pro inside linebacker NaVorro Bowman would miss half of the season after his gruesome left knee injury in the NFC title game last January, but it was made official with Bowman being placed on the reserve/physically unable to perform list on Monday. As such, he has to sit out at least the first six weeks of the season. At the end of that sixth week, Bowman then has three weeks to begin practicing and once he does get on the practice field, he has three weeks to join the active 53-man roster. In short, Bowman could be in a game as soon as Week 7 at the Denver Broncos and as late as Week 15, at the Seattle Seahawks, to be eligible to play in the postseason.

Wild card: Marcus Lattimore entered training camp fully expecting to be practicing after missing all of last season recovering from the injury to his right knee suffered in 2012. Alas, he never made it. Now, being placed on the reserve/non-football injury list, Lattimore must sit out at least the first six weeks of the season. Still, coach Jim Harbaugh insisted earlier this summer that Lattimore would be a part of this team this season. And with Jewel Hampton waived, you wonder if the 49ers are holding an active spot for him down the road.

49ers’ cuts: QB McLeod Bethel-Thompson, S D.J. Campbell, TE Kevin Greene, RB Jewel Hampton, P Colton Schmidt, LB Kion Wilson, WR Devon Wylie all waived while WR David Reed was released. RB Marcus Lattimore, FB Trey Millard, CB Keith Reaser and G Brandon Thomas placed on reserve/non-football injury list and LB NaVorro Bowman, TE Garrett Celek and DT Kaleb Ramsey were put on the reserve/physically unable to perform list. Also, LB Blake Costanzo was released from injured reserve.
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.
Now that the offseason portion of the year is over, let's take a look where each of the San Francisco 49ers' 12 draft picks stand heading into training camp, which starts July 24.

First round

Jimmie Ward: The nickel cornerback has been recovering from a foot injury. But he is expected to be fine once camp starts. He has been doing classroom work and the team is excited about him helping right away.

Second round

Carlos Hyde: The running back has shined out of the backfield as a runner and as receiver. The Ohio State product is likely to get a chance at playing time right away. He was considered a steal at No. 57 on draft night and is still looking like one.

Third round

Marcus Martin: The center from USC has been getting praise. Daniel Kilgore still has the edge to win the starting job, but I wouldn't be shocked if Martin takes it.

Chris Borland: The inside linebacker from Wisconsin was a tackling machine in college. The early 49ers' reviews are strong. He could get some playing time early with NaVorro Bowman recovering from a torn ACL.

Brandon Thomas: The guard from Clemson is expected to be out for the year as he recovers from an offseason knee injury.

Fourth round

Bruce Ellington: The speedy receiver from South Carolina was a star of the offseason. Quarterback Colin Kaepernick called his minicamp play “amazing.” The 49ers will likely find a role for him as a receiver and as a punt returner early.

Dontae Johnson: The cornerback from NC State will likely make the roster as depth. He is still a project.

Fifth round

Aaron Lynch: He earned the praise last week of coach Jim Harbaugh. He's a project, but the 49ers like him. He should make a stacked linebacking unit.

Keith Reaser: The cornerback is likely out for the year as he recovers from a 2013 torn ACL.

Sixth round

Ken Acker: The cornerback will have to have a strong camp to make the team.

Seventh round

Kaleb Ramsey: The defensive lineman from Boston College had a terrific minicamp. The defensive line is stacked, but if he plays well, he could sneak on the 53-man roster.

Trey Millard: The fullback is likely out for the year as he recovers from a torn ACL.
SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- It's only the second day of tight end Vernon Davis' and tackle Alex Boone's holdout, yet San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh appeared to be tiring of talking about the subject.

"To answer the three, four, five follow-up questions, it gets to be badgering," Harbaugh said. "It gets old. I covered it thoroughly yesterday. I don't feel like there is anything more to say about it at this time."

Here are some other observations from Day 2 of minicamp:
  • Rookies, running back Carlos Hyde and receiver Bruce Ellington, continued to shine in practice Wednesday. The two youngsters look good. If they have a good training camp, both should be in line for solid roles in the season.
  • Harbaugh said veteran defensive end Justin Smith is dealing with an unspecified injury. He should be ready for the start of training camp.
  • The coach also noted the 49ers are working on dealing with eight-man defensive fronts. The 49ers often faced stacked fronts last year because they ran so much. "Yeah, that's a reality and we have to have ways to make defenses pay for that," Harbaugh said. "Excited where our offense is evolving to and continuing to improve so that we can do that, have shown the ability to do that and continue to strive to get better at that."
  • Undrafted rookie safety James McCray from Catawba has been impressive. Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio noted he has a long way to go, but he likes McCray's potential. I'd say he is a candidate for the practice squad as of now.
  • As he did earlier in the offseason, star inside linebacker Patrick Willis is playing the Mike position. It was manned by NaVorro Bowman -- but Bowman will be out for about half the season as he recovers from a torn ACL. Willis has played the Mike before but he has been manning the Jack inside linebackers spot.
SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- This one was easy.

Prior to the start of this week’s mandatory minicamp for the San Francisco 49ers, we asked readers to vote on what they thought would be the story of the camp.

The potential -- and now official -- holdouts of tight end Vernon Davis and guard Alex Boone won with 56 percent of the vote. The competition at cornerback got 30 percent, the health of running back Marcus Lattimore received 13 percent and the competition at NaVorro Bowman's inside linebacker spot garnered just one percent of the vote.

The voters nailed it. The absences of Davis and Boone is the talk of camp and the most dominant story.

On Tuesday, 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh had some strong words when he said the holdouts were "not the 49ers' way." Harbaugh has never called players out like that before.

This story has legs.
The San Francisco 49ers will have their mandatory minicamp from Tuesday-Thursday. Here’s some things to watch for:

Davis
Boone
Will Davis and Boone show? Both tight end Vernon Davis and guard Alex Boone have stayed away from the voluntary portion of the offseason. That’s over. Starting Tuesday, everything the 49ers do as a team is mandatory and each player can be fined if they aren’t present. Davis said he expects to be at the minicamp. Boone has not said a word publicly about his plans. However, I’ve gotten the sense Boone is prepared not to show up until he gets a new deal. If neither player is at practice Tuesday, they will be holdouts and the stakes will change with their absences.

The cornerbacks: This is the biggest position of change. Carlos Rogers and Tarell Brown are gone. Chris Culliver will start, but he is still working back from a torn ACL that kept him out all of last season. He should be fine for camp, but don’t expect him to go full-go in this camp. First-round pick Jimmie Ward is set to be the nickelback, but he is coming off a foot injury. He should be ready for training camp. A player of note in the minicamp is free-agent pickup Chris Cook. He will be in the rotation. Cook, who signed from Minnesota, has ideal size. He has looked good in the OTA sessions.

Offensive line: This unit, the pride and joy of the 49ers, should be fine in the long run, but it’s a little rough right now. Boone has been absent. Right tackle Anthony Davis is recovering from a shoulder injury and won’t be there until camp. Daniel Kilgore is taking over from Jonathan Goodwin and trying to hold off rookie Marcus Martin at center. Again, things will settle down, but don’t expect a well-oiled unit this week.

Passing game: Most of the receivers have been out during the voluntary sessions, mostly as precautions or for minor injuries. The passing game was rough in the OTA session that was open to the media last Tuesday. I’d expect to see more receivers during this camp, which is vital to help rhythm with quarterback Colin Kaepernick heading into training camp.

Inside linebackers: NaVorro Bowman is expected to be out until midseason as he recovers from a torn ACL. Michael Wilhoite has the inside shot to start for Bowman, but he will have to hold off Nick Moody and third-round pick Chris Borland.

Pass-rushers: Aldon Smith may face an NFL suspension. The 49ers need some extra pass-rush help. Keys to watch in camp is defensive lineman Tank Carradine, who missed all of last season with a torn ACL, and second-year player Corey Lemonier, who looks like he’s added several pounds of muscle. The 49ers would love to see these two young players show a burst in this camp.

Marcus Lattimore: The 49ers are slowly bringing along the 2013 fourth-round draft pick. He has done some things in the OTA session, including showing nice hands out of the backfield. I wouldn’t expect Lattimore to go full-go in this camp, but the 49ers want to see continued comfort, speed and confidence from Lattimore, whom they hope can help this season.
SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Patrick Willis may have a slightly different look in the first half of the upcoming season.

Willis
During Tuesday's organized team activity, Willis was playing the "Mike" inside linebacker spot usually occupied by NaVorro Bowman in the 49ers' 3-4 defense. Bowman is likely out until midway through the season as he recovers from a torn ACL. Michael Wilhoite, the leading candidate to take Bowman's spot in the staring lineup, took most of the first-team repetitions Tuesday in the "Jack" inside linebacker spot Willis played last year.

Willis said the change may stick for the season. It is just a subtle change and he is comfortable there because he has played in the spot before. Willis said it is still strange being on the field without his fellow inside-linebacker star Bowman.

In other 49ers' notes:
  • Star tight end Vernon Davis and standout guard Alex Boone continued to stay away from the voluntary session as they have all offseason. They are both unhappy with their contract. Neither player will be considered a holdout until they miss the June 17-19 mandatory minicamp. Second-year tight end Vance McDonald is starting at tight end with Davis gone. McDonald appreciates the extra reps, but admitted this about Davis: "I miss the dude." Joe Looney is working in Boone's right guard spot.
  • The 49ers cut guard Al Netter to make room for special teamer Blake Costanzo on the 90-man roster.
  • Veteran defensive end Justin Smith and running back Frank Gore were onlookers during the meat of the workout. Like Gore, cornerback Chris Culliver participated in early warm-ups and the did not participate in team drills.
  • The 49ers named Dr. Fergus Connolly director of elite performance. Connolly will work intimately with football operations to develop innovative sports and performance science practices geared towards player welfare and performance optimization. He spent the last three years as a performance consultant to teams in the NFL, NBA, English Premier League and professional rugby.
  • Because several receivers were out for various reasons, reserve quarterback Josh Johnson played receiver in some drills. And he didn't look too bad. But don't expect him to change positions. It's just an emergency deal.
  • Among the banged up receivers are Steve Johnson (hamstring) and Quinton Patton (foot). Both injures are considered minor at this point. Like he did last week, Brandon Lloyd had a strong day. Chuck Jacobs, who spent last season in the practice squad, was very active Tuesday.
  • The quarterback whisperer, 49ers' head coach Jim Harbaugh, spent some one-on-one time with undrafted rookie quarterback Kory Faulkner early in Tuesday's practice.
We are looking at the best-case scenario for some mid-round draft picks of the San Francisco 49ers.

Player: Chris Borland

Position: ILB

Round: 3

Earliest he could have big role: Week 1

Why is there an opportunity? Star inside linebacker NaVorro Bowman is recovering from a torn ACL. He is expected to miss about half the season.

Who is in his way: Michael Wilhoite and Nick Moody

Current thoughts: If Borland starts in Week 1, it would be a bit of a surprise. Wilhoite is a good player. He has played well as an injury replacement for the 49ers and they trust him. But Borland is a player who just belongs on the field, if he shows the game is not too fast for him and has a good preseason, I could see him being on the field with Patrick Willis a lot early. But he has to prove it. He will likely be eased into action.

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