Rookie Chris Borland will start his second straight game today with veteran Patrick Willis still coming back from a toe injury he suffered Week 6 against the Rams. Willis on Friday said he wouldn't play if he didn't think he could help the squad, and he said he was still dealing with pain in his left, big toe, which he strained in the first meeting against St. Louis.
“It's not like having having a broken middle finger where you can put a pad on it and go,” he said Friday. “My feet have made me who I am today.”
The 49ers also won't have to decide which of their top cornerbacks will get the lion's share of the playing time today because one of them, Tramaine Brock, is inactive. Brock worked out extensively with the team's strength & conditioning coach before the game.
Brock is still coming back from the toe injury that kept him out of action from Week 2-Week 6. He started in the Week 7 game against the Broncos, but that was largely because Chris Culliver and Jimmie Ward were hurt and did not play in that game. Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said later that Brock probably would have played, but not as much.
His absence means that Culliver and Perrish Cox will start at cornerback and that Jimmie Ward will be the nickel back against the Rams. Rookie Dontae Johnson and second-year player Leon McFadden also are available at cornerback. McFadden was elevated from the practice squad Saturday. Chris Cook was lost for the season with a hamstring injury that required surgery.
Also inactive for the 49ers are defensive linemen Tank Carradine and Demarcus Dobbs. That means that second-year player Quinton Dial is likely to see the more action than he's had thus far this season
LB Patrick Willis
CB Tramaine Brock
QB Josh Johnson
OL Dillon Farrell
DL Tank Carradine
DL Demarcus Dobbs
WR Quinton Patton
CB Janoris Jenkins
S Maurice Alexander
S Cody Davis
LB Korey Toomer
OL Brandon Washington
TE Alex Bayer
DE Ethan Westrbrooks
Read Matt Barrows’ blogs and archives at www.sacbee.com/sf49ers.