49ers

49ers must get Davis involved with Manningham out

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49ers must get Davis involved with Manningham out

Just like a year ago, the 49ers will enter the playoffs short-handed at wide receiver.

The 49ers have played two games without Mario Manningham and Kyle Williams. And they will be without their services for the remainder of the season due to significant knee injuries.

At the time Williams was lost for the season, he was third among the 49ers wideouts in playing time. Despite missing three full games due to injuries, Manningham ranks as the 49ers' second-leading receiver with 42 catches for 449 yards.

Manningham must undergo season-ending knee surgery after sustaining torn ligaments in the 49ers' 42-13 loss to the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday night. Williams' season came to an end on Nov. 25 when his ACL was torn against the New Orleans Saints.

Both players face long rehabilitation roads and are not likely to be available when training camp opens next summer.

In order for the 49ers' offense to compensate for the loss of Manningham, they must start to get production from tight end Vernon Davis, who has virtually disappeared over the past nine games. During that stretch, Davis has averaged just 22.6 yards receiving per game.

Randy Moss, 35, a 14-year veteran, is now the 49ers' No. 2 wide receiver. In 2010, when he played for three teams, Moss caught 28 passes for 393 yards and five touchdowns. This year, he has just 26 receptions for 406 yards and three touchdowns.

Michael Crabtree, who is just 67 yards shy of becoming the 49ers' first 1,000-yard receiver since Terrell Owens in 2003, leads the 49ers with 77 receptions and seven touchdowns.

Moss and second tight end Delanie Walker are the two players who saw the biggest increases in playing time in the two games the 49ers played without Williams and Manningham.

Moss played 60.8 percent of the snaps in the games against Miami and New England when Manningham and Williams were not available. In the other 13 games, Moss played just 36.2 percent.

Walker's play time increased to 70.4 percent from 54.4 percent in the two games that neither Manningham nor Williams was available.

Rookie A.J. Jenkins is expected to suit up for games now -- just as he did in the two games when the 49ers were down to four healthy wide receivers on their 53-man roster. But Jenkins played just eight snaps apiece in those games and never saw a pass thrown his way.

Ted Ginn, the 49ers' punt-return specialist, has played just 57 snaps of offense the entire season. He has just two catches for 1 yard on the season. So there is no reason to expect much -- if any -- production from the 49ers' third receiver.

Wide receivers Ricardo Lockette and Chad Hall are currently on the 49ers' practice squad.

The 49ers were determined to increase their depth at wide receiver and running back to ensure they would not run out of healthy players again. In addition to the signings of Manningham and Moss, the 49ers drafted Jenkins in the first round, but he has yet to prove he is ready to be a factor.

The 49ers also signed promising undrafted rookies, Chris Owusu and Nathan Palmer, who did not survive the final cuts and are on the 53-man rosters of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Indianapolis Colts, respectively.

At running back, the 49ers signed veteran Brandon Jacobs, who became disgruntled with his lack of playing time and was suspended. Second-round draft pick LaMichael James spent the first 13 games inactive before being pressed into service when backup Kendall Hunter sustained a season-ending Achilles injury.

The 49ers began last season with Crabtree, Joshua Morgan and Braylon Edwards as their top three receivers. Morgan sustained a season-ending injury and Edwards was injured, then released late in the season. Ginn was unavailable for the NFC Championship game, forcing the 49ers to go with Crabtree, Williams and Brett Swain as their top three receivers.

Now, more than ever, the 49ers need to get production from Davis, who is having his worst season since 2008, when then-offensive coordinator Mike Martz de-emphasized the tight end position.

Offensive coordinator Greg Roman and quarterback Colin Kaepernick have not found ways to consistently get the ball to Davis. That's mostly been forgiven because the 49ers (10-4-1) are in line to win the NFC West for a second consecutive season with a victory Sunday over the Arizona Cardinals. They can still be the No. 2 seed in the NFC playoffs with a win Sunday, coupled with a Green Bay loss at Minnesota.

Now, it's essential that Davis returns as a key component in the passing game because there are few other reliable options.

Davis should be available for the 49ers' regular-season finale against the Cardinals after sustaining a mild concussion Sunday night against the Seattle Seahawks.

Roger Craig, Terrell Owens, John Lynch among Hall of Fame semifinalists

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AP

Roger Craig, Terrell Owens, John Lynch among Hall of Fame semifinalists

Former 49ers running back Roger Craig, in his final year on the modern-era ballot, is a semifinalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame for the 10th consecutive year.

Craig is among 27 semifinalists announced for the Class of 2018. The list includes six first-year eligible candidates and four other players who have been eligible previously but are semifinalists for the first time.

Wide receiver Terrell Owens and safety John Lynch, currently 49ers general manager, are among the return semifinalists. Lynch was among the final 10 players last year, while Owens made it to the top 15.

The list of first-year eligible semifinalists includes wide receiver Randy Moss, defensive back Ronde Barber, guard Steve Hutchinson, linebackers Ray Lewis and Brian Urlacher, and defensive lineman Richard Seymour.

The four previously-eligible players who are semifinalists for the first time are safety LeRoy Butler, defensive ends Leslie O’Neal and Simeon Rice, and cornerback Everson Walls.

In January, the list of modern-era candidates will be trimmed to 15 individuals. There will be a total of 18 finalists, including contributor finalist Bobby Beathard and seniors finalists Robert Brazile and Jerry Kramer. Hall of Fame rules stipulate from four to eight new members will be selected every year.

Beathard, Brazile and Kramer will be voted on separately and, like all other finalists, must receive 80-percent approval from the full selection committee at the annual selection meeting on Feb. 3, 2018 in Minneapolis, the day before Super Bowl LII.

Craig's teams made it to the playoffs in each of his 11 NFL seasons, including his first eight years with the 49ers. In 1985, he became the first player in NFL history with 1,000 yards rushing and 1,000 yards receiving in the same season.

Owens, who played his first eight seasons with the 49ers, was a first-team All-Pro performer six times. He ranks second all-time in receiving yards (15,934) and third with 153 receiving touchdowns.

Lynch, a hard-hitting safety with Tampa Bay and Denver, was selected to nine Pro Bowls in his 15-year career. He recorded 26 interceptions, forced 16 fumbles and recovered nine in his career.

2018 MODERN-ERA SEMIFINALISTS
Steve Atwater, S – 1989-1998 Denver Broncos, 1999 New York Jets | (Times as a Semifinalist: 7 – 2012-18)
Ronde Barber, CB/S – 1997-2012 Tampa Bay Buccaneers | (Times as a Semifinalist: 1 – 2018)
Tony Boselli, T – 1995-2001 Jacksonville Jaguars, 2002 Houston Texans (injured reserve) | (Times as a Semifinalist: 3 – 2016-18)
Isaac Bruce, WR – 1994-2007 Los Angeles/St. Louis Rams, 2008-09 San Francisco 49ers | (Times as a Semifinalist: 4 – 2015-18)
LeRoy Butler, S – 1990-2001 Green Bay Packers | (Times as a Semifinalist: 1 – 2018)
Don Coryell, Coach – 1973-77 St. Louis Cardinals, 1978-1986 San Diego Chargers | (Times as a Semifinalist: 10 – 2005, 2010-18)
Roger Craig, RB – 1983-1990 San Francisco 49ers, 1991 Los Angeles Raiders, 1992-93 Minnesota Vikings | (Times as a Semifinalist: 10 – 2009-18)
Brian Dawkins, S – 1996-2008 Philadelphia Eagles, 2009-2011 Denver Broncos | (Times as a Semifinalist: 2 – 2017-18)
Alan Faneca, G – 1998-2007 Pittsburgh Steelers, 2008-09 New York Jets, 2010 Arizona Cardinals | (Times as a Semifinalist: 3 – 2016-18)
Torry Holt, WR – 1999-2008 St. Louis Rams, 2009 Jacksonville Jaguars | (Times as a Semifinalist: 4 – 2015-18)
Steve Hutchinson, G – 2001-05 Seattle Seahawks, 2006-2011 Minnesota Vikings, 2012 Tennessee Titans | (Times as a Semifinalist: 1 – 2018)
Joe Jacoby, T – 1981-1993 Washington Redskins | (Times as a Semifinalist: 8 – 2005, 2008, 2013-18)
Edgerrin James, RB – 1999-2005 Indianapolis Colts, 2006-08 Arizona Cardinals, 2009 Seattle Seahawks | (Times as a Semifinalist: 4 – 2015-18)
Jimmy Johnson, Coach – 1989-1993 Dallas Cowboys, 1996-99 Miami Dolphins | (Times as a Semifinalist: 5 – 2014-18)
Ty Law, CB – 1995-2004 New England Patriots, 2005, 2008 New York Jets, 2006-07 Kansas City Chiefs, 2009 Denver Broncos | (Times as a Semifinalist: 4 – 2015-18)
Ray Lewis, LB – 1996-2012 Baltimore Ravens | (Times as a Semifinalist: 1 – 2018)
John Lynch, FS – 1993-2003 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 2004-07 Denver Broncos | (Times as a Semifinalist: 6 – 2013-18)
Kevin Mawae, C/G – 1994-97 Seattle Seahawks, 1998-2005 New York Jets, 2006-09 Tennessee Titans | (Times as a Semifinalist: 4 – 2015-18)
Karl Mecklenburg, LB – 1983-1994 Denver Broncos | (Times as a Semifinalist: 7 – 2012-18)
Randy Moss, WR – 1998-2004, 2010 Minnesota Vikings, 2005-06 Oakland Raiders, 2007-2010 New England Patriots, 2010 Tennessee Titans, 2012 San Francisco 49ers | (Times as a Semifinalist: 1 – 2018)
Leslie O'Neal, DE – 1986, 1988-1995 San Diego Chargers, 1996-1997 St. Louis Rams, 1998-1999 Kansas City Chiefs | (Times as a Semifinalist: 1 – 2018)
Terrell Owens, WR – 1996-2003 San Francisco 49ers, 2004-05 Philadelphia Eagles, 2006-08 Dallas Cowboys, 2009 Buffalo Bills, 2010 Cincinnati Bengals | (Times as a Semifinalist: 3 – 2016-18)
Simeon Rice, DE – 1996-2000 Arizona Cardinals, 2001-06 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 2007 Denver Broncos, 2007 Indianapolis Colts | (Times as a Semifinalist: 1 – 2018)
Richard Seymour, DE/DT – 2001-08 New England Patriots, 2009-2012 Oakland Raiders | (Times as a Semifinalist: 1 – 2018)
Brian Urlacher, LB – 2000-2012 Chicago Bears | (Times as a Semifinalist: 1 – 2018)
Everson Walls, CB – 1981-89 Dallas Cowboys, 1990-92 New York Giants, 1992-93 Cleveland Browns | (Times as a Semifinalist: 1 – 2018)
Hines Ward, WR – 1998-2011 Pittsburgh Steelers | (Times as a Semifinalist: 2 – 2017-18)

EDITOR'S NOTE: Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area is one of 48 members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame Selection Committee.

John Lynch: Eventually, Garoppolo 'is going to be our guy'

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USATI

John Lynch: Eventually, Garoppolo 'is going to be our guy'

SANTA CLARA – General manager John Lynch came close Tuesday to announcing which quarterback will start for the 49ers this week.

But the official announcement that rookie C.J. Beathard will start Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks will have to come from coach Kyle Shanahan, he said.

“C.J. (Beathard) played extremely well against the Giants, and that’s likely,” Lynch told reporters at Levi’s Stadium. “But I’ll let Kyle speak to that.”

Lynch reiterated that they want to give newly acquired Jimmy Garoppolo the best chance to succeed. Garoppolo spent part of the 49ers' bye week learning the basics of the offensive system in meetings with quarterbacks coach Rich Scangarello. Garoppolo also met one-on-one with Shanahan.

Beathard had his best game as a pro on Nov. 12, before the bye week, as he threw for 288 yards and two touchdowns in a 31-21 victory over the New York Giants. Garoppolo arrived in Santa Clara on Oct. 31 in a trade with the New England Patriots.

Lynch said he feels Garoppolo “is going to be our guy,” so the organization does not feel any urgency to rush him onto the field. In fact, Lynch sounded as if the 49ers are not placing a high priority on spending big on the quarterback position with Garoppolo and Beathard on the team.

"You still study every position, but we feel pretty good about where our quarterback room is,” Lynch said.