It's hard to say how often Vernon Davis and Joey Porter will collide on Sunday. Porter, after all, lines up on the weak side of the formation so that he doesn't have to deal with tight ends like Davis. But given Davis' prowess as a blocker, the 49ers might try to steer him in Porter's direction. If they do, Davis certainly isn't intimidated by Porter's league-leading 16 ½ sacks.
"I've gone up against the best," Davis said today. "I'm pretty sure, I've gone up against a lot of other linebackers/d-ends who were better than him. And I pretty much won every battle. ... But it's not about that. It's about technique and playing with your heart. I'm pretty sure he's a competitive guy as well. I'm a competitive guy. He's a competitive guy and we're pretty much going to have to get after it."
Porter is know as much for his trash talking as he is for his pass-rush moves. And Davis has been the target of on-field barbs, especially after Singletary famously booted him from the Oct. 26 game against the Seahawks.
"It seemed like everybody was trying to come at me," Davis said of the atmosphere following that game. "People were telling me ... they were saying little things like, 'I'm gonna tell Singletary to tell you to go in the locker room and things like that.' But it didn't bother me. I know they saw that on TV or whatever."
And if Porter has similar things to say:
"That's fine. He can talk as long as he wants. I'm not going to let that get to me. I've talked to coach Singletary numerous times and we have an understanding that I won't let anybody get under my skin."
The word that best describes how Frank Gore was moving around today: gingerly. Gore, who was on crutches earlier in the week, has been off of them for the past two days. He says his sprained left ankle has been improving every day, but like his coach he said his availability Sunday will be a game-time decision.
Gore also sprained his ankle - the right one - last season and missed one game with the injury. Asked how this sprain compares with last year's, Gore said, "It's about the same." The difference this year is that Gore has extra incentive given that the game is being played in Miami. Gore said he would test the ankle before the game but would pull himself out if he felt he couldn't cut or change direction sufficiently.
Before talking with Gore, we spoke with DeShaun Foster, who answered questions as if he expected to handle the lion's share of carries against the Dolphins. Foster said coaches have spoken to him about the carefree manner with which he held the ball Sunday against the Jets. Foster said he didn't anticipate any problems in that guard in Miami. He said he he tended to hold the ball loosely when he was fighting for extra yardage and that he fought for extra yardage because he wasn't getting many repetitions. "You don't know if it's your last carry or not," he said. Foster said that wouldn't be a concern on Sunday.
-- Matt Barrows