Just got off the phone with Cardinals safety Adrian Wilson. Like the Seahawks a week ago, Wilson said he and the Cardinals are preparing for a heavy helping of Frank Gore on Monday night. Wilson called Gore the "focal point" of the 49ers' offense, and in their Week One meeting he was just that. Gore had 22 carries in that game, the second most he's had all season. But lately Gore has been more of an afterthought. He had nine carries last week in Seattle, something that seemed to surprise - pleasantly so -- coach Jim Mora and his players following the game.
Wilson also said he'd be surprised if Gore didn't see plenty of carries against the Cardinals. "Frank is not going to go two weeks without touching the ball 25 times," he said. It's almost as if teams, especially division teams, aren't quite believing what they're seeing with the 49ers' new, pass-first attack. For the last three seasons, Gore has been the only offensive player who demanded respect from defenses. It doesn't appear that Alex Smith, Michael Crabtree, Vernon Davis, Josh Morgan and Delanie Walker have earned it yet.
The 49ers will be without their designated Larry Fitzgerald stopper on Monday. Cornerback Nate Clements is still at least three weeks away from returning from a broken shoulder. In the five 49ers-Cardinals meeting before Clements arrived in 2007, Fitzgerald averaged 6.6 catches for 110 yards. In the five since, that average is 5.8 for 65 yards.
Mike Singletary would not say whether Dre Bly or Shawntae Spencer would have primary responsibility for Fitzgerald He did say, however, that the 49ers would have to be physical against the Cardinals receivers, something he said they have improved upon in recent games. "I think the guys are better at pressing than they are playing off, and I think these last couple of weeks have shown that," Singletary said.
Joe Staley will go through individual drills but not team drills today. The 49ers don't want to rush the left tackle's return, but the hope is that he'll return to the lineup Monday.
-- Matt Barrows