SANTA CLARA Jim Harbaugh on Tuesday sounded as if he was challenging Braylon Edwards after the wide receiver was held out of Monday's game against the Steelers.
Although Edwards has been battling a nagging knee injury, Harbaugh said Edwards was inactive for the game because other receivers namely Michael Crabtree, Kyle Williams and Ted Ginn had been practicing better and playing better in games.
Ginn, however, left Monday's game in the third quarter because of an ankle injury. Harbaugh said he didn't know how long Ginn will be out, but he indicated the 49ers would not add another player at that position.
He said he thought Edwards would meet the challenge, instead.
"We'll see with Ted," Harbaugh said. "But I think Braylon should be ready to go, and we look for a good week of practice there."
Willis speaks Patrick Willis said he's made "significant progress" since suffering a hamstring strain Dec. 4, but the linebacker would not give a timetable for his return.
Willis said he is merely following the instructions of the team's training staff.
"I'm just taking it day-to-day and being smart," he said. "Each day, my whole mindset is to get better with no setbacks. We've certainly done that. So we continue to work and, when they pull the chains off, to come back just as strong as I left off if not better."
Willis said he hopes to play Saturday in Seattle. The 49ers obviously are wary of bringing him back too quickly and risking an even longer-term injury.
His regimen has included cardiovascular work since the injury and light hamstring rehabilitation for the past two weeks. Willis, however, has not returned to running full speed and has yet to do any football-type drills, indicating his return is not imminent.
Also factoring into the equation is the play of Willis' backup, Larry Grant (Foothill High School). He led the 49ers in tackles the previous two weeks and had four pass breakups Monday.
The challenge for Grant and the rest of the defense this week is former Cal running back Marshawn Lynch, who has 11 rushing touchdowns this year, five in the past three games.
New deal ESPN 1320 radio in Sacramento announced it reached an agreement with the 49ers to broadcast the team's games through the 2014 season.