San Francisco 49ers: Vernon Daivs

Vernon Davis, Eric Reid are active

November, 17, 2013
NEW ORLEANS -- As expected, star tight end Vernon Davis and standout rookie safety Eric Reid have been cleared to play Sunday at New Orleans.

Both players suffered concussions last week against Carolina. They both quickly recovered and showed strong progress through the week.

The 49ers need both players. Davis has been the catalyst to the offense. Reid has been outstanding all season and he will be needed against the pass-happy Saints.

Meanwhile, Demarcus Dobbs will start for defensive tackle Ray McDonald, who is out with a high left ankle sprain. Dobbs will rotate with Tony Jerod-Eddie.

Rookie defensive tackle Tank Carradine is inactive. He has been on the 53-man roster for two games but he hasn’t played yet. As expected, tight end Derek Carrier is active. He was promoted from the practice squad Sunday. Tight end Garrett Celek is out with a hamstring injury. Carrier will play in some alignments.

49ers' injury wire

November, 13, 2013
SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- As expected, star tight end Vernon Davis and rookie safety Eric Reid practiced on a limited basis Wednesday.

Both were wearing non-contact jerseys after suffering concussions in a loss against Carolina. Both players were symptom free Wednesday, but will have to continue to pass league concussion protocols before being cleared to play Sunday at New Orleans. Both appear to be on track, however.

It does not look like defensive tackle Ray McDonald is going to play Sunday. He has a high left ankle sprain and he was in a walking boot Wednesday. He did not practice. Defensive lineman Justin Smith (shoulder) didn’t practice, but he’s taken most Wednesdays off this season. Tight end Garrett Celek has a hamstring injury, and didn't practice. His availability will be determined later in the week.

Linebacker Dan Skuta was limited. He had his foot in a walking boot earlier in the week. Mario Manningham was limited by a knee injury. He made his season debut last week after suffering a knee injury. He wasn’t on the injury report last week. It is unknown if this injury is related.

Michael Crabtree was not spotted on the field during the short window the media is on the field. Crabtree has to be activated by Nov. 26 or shelved for the season. He tore his Achilles in May. Earlier Wednesday, coach Jim Harbaugh said “we’ll see” when asked if Crabtree will be activated this week. He said the team is encouraged by his work in practice.

49ers could add a tight end

November, 11, 2013
SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh didn’t offer much in the form of updates Monday on the concussions suffered by star tight end Vernon Davis and standout rookie safety Eric Reid in a 10-9 home loss to Carolina on Sunday.

Harbaugh did say the thought of adding a tight end to the roster for Sunday’s game at New Orleans is an “option.” In addition to Davis, backup tight end Garrett Celek left the game in the first quarter with a hamstring injury. It is likely he will be out longer than Davis, even if Davis can’t play at New Orleans.

The first option the 49ers look at could be Derek Carrier, who is on the team’s practice squad. The highly athletic Carrier is on his third NFL practice squad since entering the league in 2012. He has no NFL game experience.

Both Davis and Reid will go through the NFL’s concussion protocol before being able to play. Reid’s situation is complicated because this is his second concussion of the season. He suffered one in Week 2 against Seattle, so his return could be delayed some. Craig Dahl finished the game for Reid.

Meanwhile, asked Monday if receiver Michael Crabtree could be activated this week, Harbaugh said, “We’ll see.” Crabtree began to practice last week. He must be activated by Nov. 26. Playing Sunday at New Orleans would be considered a long shot.

However, Harbaugh said he anticipates rookie linebacker Nick Moody will be activated this week. So, if the 49ers activate Moody and add a tight end, two players will have to be removed from the roster. It will be interesting to see what the 49ers do with special- teamer Kassim Osgood, who is on his second stint with the 49ers this season. He was inactive Sunday, and the special-teams coverage units appeared to miss him.

Upon Further Review: 49ers Week 3

September, 23, 2013
A review of four hot issues from the San Francisco 49ers' 27-7 loss to the Indianapolis Colts:

Time without Smith: It takes a major story to overshadow a second straight blowout loss by the defending NFC champion. After Sunday’s loss, star pass rusher Aldon Smith vowed to restore his personal life. Team CEO Jed York announced Smith is leaving the team for an indefinite amount of time. Smith, who turns 24 Wednesday, was arrested on suspicion of drunk driving Friday morning. He is expected to seek treatment.

[+] EnlargeSan Francisco's Patrick Willis
AP Photo/Ben MargotPatrick Willis left Sunday's game with a groin injury. The 49ers have a quick turnaround with a game on Thursday.
Banged-up stars: Smith may not be the only key 49er not on the field Thursday night at St. Louis as they try to stop the bleeding. Star tight end Vernon Davis missed Sunday’s game with a hamstring injury. It was his first missed game in six years. Also, late in the third quarter, star inside linebacker Patrick Willis left with a groin injury. It will be very difficult for him to return on a short week. Michael Wilhoite would likely replace Willis.

Kaepernick looks lost: Quarterback Colin Kaepernick was brilliant in Week 1 at home against Green Bay. But his production has sagged in the past two games. He looked rattled, lacked confidence and was far from the superstar he looked like two weeks ago. It’s not all Kaepernick’s fault. The 49ers’ receivers, other than Anquan Boldin, did not help him Sunday against the Colts and Kaepernick missed Davis. But here’s the deal: Elite quarterbacks find a way to get the job done in bad situations. Kaepernick needs to show he can.

Run defense sags: For years, the 49ers’ toughness has been represented by their stout run defense. Sunday, the Colts had their way on the ground. They ran for 179 yards and three touchdowns on the ground. It was the highest mark the 49ers allowed in three seasons. Two years ago, San Francisco allowed three rushing touchdowns all season.
Earlier in the week, as we discussed how the San Francisco 49ers’ passing game will evolve, ESPN analyst Matt Williamson said that tight end Vernon Davis needs to take on a bigger role.

“Davis has to step up huge and become a true No. 1 receiving option, which he is physically capable of, but few tight ends can make that distinction,” Williamson said.

[+] EnlargeVernon Davis, Colin Kaepernick
AP Photo/Gerald HerbertColin Kaepernick and Vernon Davis did not have a good rapport last season, or so says Randy Moss.
Williamson’s thoughts are now shared by Randy Moss. The new Fox Sports analyst – who spent last season in the 49ers' offense – said in a conference call (via Cam Inman of the Bay Area News Group) that he didn’t think Davis had a great on-field rapport with 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

Kaepernick took over the quarterback job last season and sparked the 49ers all the way to the Super Bowl. Still, Moss, who is astute and opinionated when he wants to be, is skeptical.

“From my time there last year, it didn’t seem Kaepernick and Vernon Davis had a rapport. They haven’t shown that yet,” Moss said.

Kaepernick and Davis did have a strong connection in the playoffs. In the final six games of the regular season, Davis had just six catches. But in three postseason games he caught 12 passes for 254 yards and a touchdown.

Davis addressed the issue Thursday, saying, "I feel like me and Kaepernick are on a different level than where we were last year."

San Francisco coach Jim Harbaugh doesn’t need to hear from analysts and former players. He knows the Kaepernick-Davis connection is paramount, especially with the team's injuries at receiver. It has been a focal point during training camp.

Expect the 49ers to quickly establish chemistry between Kaepernick and Davis moving forward.