49ers Blog and Q&A

News, notes and reader questions about the San Francisco 49ers

When Osi Umenyiora was placed on injured reserve this year, there was a brief rumor that Michael Strahan might end his retirement and return to the Giants. Joe Staley was crossing his fingers that would be the case. Staley, as you'll recall, got an old-fashioned schooling last year courtesy of Strahan and the 49ers offensive tackle was hoping for a rematch (Never mind that he's playing on the other side this season). Staley has mixed emotions about that 2007 game. On one hand, it was the low-point of his brief career as Strahan beat him for 2 1/2 sacks in the first half. But it also was a valuable lesson, he said, as far as not allowing an opponent to dictate the game. "You can't react," Staley said today. "You have to be the aggressor."

The other issue is that Staley went into the game in awe of Strahan. "I mind-f---- myself," Staley admitted. Now there's something you won't find on the post-game injury report ...

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The 49ers replaced Zak Keasey (torn biceps) on the 53-man roster with David Kirtman, a former USC Trojan who was drafted by Seattle in the fifth round in 2006. He was on the Chargers' practice squad earlier this year before being waived on Tuesday. Kirtman was born in San Francisco and spent the early part of his life in San Rafael.

Mike Nolan today said the hope is that Kirtman will do what Zak Keasey did for the team, which is be a significant contributor on special teams and have a smaller role on offense. Keasey is the so-called "11th" offensive player on the field. The 49ers have many other packages in which Delanie Walker, Billy Bajema, Arnaz Battle or Michael Robinson is that 11th player. The 49ers haven't decided whether Kirtman will be active this week against the Giants.

If you're like me (and thank your lucky stars you're not) you might be wondering why the 49ers don't just let Robinson take over Keasey's role. Robinson, after all, is the lead blocker for Allen Rossum on special teams, and he seems to have a knack for the job. At 223 pounds or so, he's not a thumper of a blocker, but neither was Keasey. He's also a better runner and pass catcher than Keasey, and of course, throws the ball better than all but three players on the team. It would seem that having Robinson in the backfield with Gore would give defenses plenty to consider.

I asked Mike Nolan about that today and he noted that Robinson filled in a bit against the Eagles. "Blocking on special teams and blocking on offense is two different things," obviously," Nolan said. "It's something he can do, but he also has some other things he does well."

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Tom Coughlin said he thought some of Eli manning's interceptions Monday could be attributable to a chest injury Manning suffered. Still, he said Manning practiced today and would play Sunday.

For the 49ers, Jonas Jennings and Mark Roman (knee) did not practice today. Roman's injury is not considered serious. Manny Lawson (hamstring) and Donald Strickland (hip) are limited, as is Frank Gore. Walt Harris is getting his typical Wednesday off ...

-- Matt Barrows

MATTHEW BARROWS

Matt was born in Blacksburg, Va., and attended the University of Virginia. He graduated in 1995, went to Northwestern for a journalism degree a year later, and got his first job at a South Carolina daily in 1997. He joined The Bee as a Metro reporter in 1999 and started covering the 49ers in 2003. His favorite player of all time is Darrell Green.

June 2009

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