49ers Blog and Q&A

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

September 30, 2009
Pass protection, not rushing, the issue with Sheets

A rookie running back can be the fastest guy on the team, have the best moves and be a great pass catcher. But if he can't pass protect, he's not getting on the field. That appears to be the case for Kory Sheets, who will remain on the practice squad despite Frank Gore's three-week ankle injury. "He's still learning," Mike Singletary said of Sheets. "There are a lot of protection issues that he's still learning." Singletary said that throwing Sheets into the fire now would only hurt his confidence.

Another reason why there's no impetus to elevate Sheets? The No. 2 running back won't see a lot of carries anyway. Singletary said that Glen Coffee, who is good in pass protection, will essentially see the workload that Gore would have gotten.

Along with Gore, Reggie Smith (groin) will be out for a few weeks. Look for Marcus Hudson to take over Smith's sizable role on special teams. Meanwhile, Singletary said that both left tackle Joe Staley (knee) and left guard David Baas (ankle) will sit out today's practice but he said both should play Sunday. Barry Sims and Tony Wragge will fill in at the respective positions. Right tackle Adam Snyder has a jammed left thumb but will not miss any time.

Singletary said that both Brandon Jones and Jason Hill could be activated this week. How has Jones reacted to being inactive the last two weeks? I'd characterize it as angry but not to the point where he is second-guessing Singletary. "You are upset and you want to play - that's what I'm here for," he said. "But coach is the coach - he knows better than the players. I have to listen to the coach and I have to agree with the decision."

The NFL is calling attention to breast cancer awareness this week. In fact, they will relax their strict uniform policy and allow four players per team to wear pink shoes. Perhaps one of them should be linebacker and special teams ace Jeff Ulbrich, whose mother is recovering from breast cancer. The 49ers will recognize a group of breast cancer survivors at half time and a pink ribbon will be stenciled onto the playing field.

Remember, The Bee is having a live chat today at 1 p.m. Click here for access ...

-- Matt Barrows

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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.

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