49ers

Frustrated Jacobs never considered requesting trade

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Frustrated Jacobs never considered requesting trade

SANTA CLARA -- Brandon Jacobs tweeted this month that he isn't suiting on up Sundays because he isn't good enough. It's unfamiliar territory for the two-time Super Bowl Champion.

REWIND: Jacobs just 'not good enough' ... right now

Jacobs carried the ball in excess of 145 times in each of his past five seasons with the New York Giants. The 30-year old signed a one-year, 1.579 million contract with the 49ers and is yet to play a single snap for his new team.

You can safely assume the lack of playing time did take some mental toll on the eight-year veteran.

"The first weeks of being healthy and practicing did (wear on me mentally)," Jacobs acknowledged. "But right now, at this point, I'm just coming out here and working hard and paying attention at meetings. I stay close to Coach Rathman and they make sure I take in all the information and take my mental reps, and that's all I can do."

The 2012 NFL trade deadline passed last Thursday without so much as a rumor that Jacobs was being shopped, and while Jacobs said he got a few calls about potential rumors, he had nothing to do with them.

While there are a number of NFL teams who would gladly employ his services -- and play him -- he didn't even contemplate the notion of requesting a trade from San Francisco.

"If you demand or request trades in this business," Jacobs explained, "you get murdered for it. I didn't even think about it. I didn't know if it was something they wanted to do or not. I didn't really care to think about it. A couple guys called me with rumors they heard, I just put it on the back burner and came to work every day."

With second-round draft pick LaMichael James in the fold, and both Frank Gore and Kendall Hunter signed through 2014, this could be Jacobs' last eight regular season games in San Francisco.

Wearing a large brace on his left knee, he insisted that his health isn't what is keeping him off the field.

"I feel really good right now," Jacobs said. "That's about all I can elaborate on, but I've been saying that for a while."

He's healthy enough, but is he "good enough" to factor into the running game? Without him, the 49ers rank first in the NFL, averaging 5.6 yards per carry and 168.6 yards per game.

"You have to talk to Coach Harbaugh," Jacobs said when asked about his second-half participation plans. "I don't care to talk about that at all. You want to know anything about that, you have to talk to coach.

"Everything with me is positive."

The second half of the 2012 season will reveal Jacobs' impact on the 49ers' offensive scheme, and whether or not he'll be able to stay positive if it's none.

What rookie CB Ahkello Witherspoon did to earn role in 49ers' defense

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USATSI

What rookie CB Ahkello Witherspoon did to earn role in 49ers' defense

SANTA CLARA – Rookie cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon did not win the right to suit up for the 49ers’ first four games. Behind the scenes, he made it his mission to earn a contributing role.

“He really started to get better with his coordination with his feet from the bump-and-run coverage and from playing ‘off.’ There’s always a light that goes on,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said. “And we felt that for a couple weeks from Ahkello. Once he did that, he definitely earned the right to be out there.”

The plan was for Witherspoon to rotate into the action and share time with starters Rashard Robinson and Dontae Johnson. But he played just six snaps on Oct. 8 against Indianapolis before sustaining a concussion. Witherspoon returned to action last week and played 34 of the 49ers’ 74 snaps last week at Washington. He showed enough to coninue getting significant playing time.

“He’s earned the right to play,” 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh said. “He works his tail off in practice. He’s so deliberate in his approach. Whether it was scout team, whether it was team reps, whether it was walk-through, it didn’t matter.”

Witherspoon, the 49ers’ third-round draft pick at No. 66 overall, had a pedestrian training camp. Taking his lumps in August showed him what he needed to do to get into real games in October.

“I really turned up my focus, my intent every day in practice,” Witherspoon said. “What I did in camp wasn’t good enough to be a starting corner in this league, and that’s what I learned.

“I really focused on being aware of what it takes. That’s something I implemented these last four weeks -- that every day focus and competing on every single ball, and taking the mindset that no ball’s caught on me. I think that’s really helped my game, and helped these coaches trust me, as well.”

Witherspoon expected Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins to attack him. But of the 25 plays he was in coverage last week, Witherspoon saw only three passes come his way. He surrendered two receptions for 33 yards, according to Pro Football Focus.

“Just being a rookie, I thought it was going to come, where they were going to be taking that one shot,” Witherspoon said. “I kept waiting for it to happen, but it didn’t happen. Going up against a smart quarterback, I know he saw me out there.

“There were a few times he looked my way in coverage. I wasn’t perfect in coverage, but I think he was looking. And I thought I did a good job.”

Witherspoon (6 foot 3, 195 pounds) is comfortable lining up on either side of the field, which he did during his college career at Colorado. He said he has not put on much weight but he has added more muscle, which has allowed him a better chance to compete physically against bigger NFL receivers.

Witherspoon fully expects to be challenged on Sunday when he is expected to see considerable playing time against the Dallas Cowboys at Levi’s Stadium. Witherspoon figures Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott will be paying particularly close attention any time Dez Bryant lines up on his side of the field.

“They’re going to be looking at the ‘rook,’ ” Witherspoon said.

Said Shanahan, “They’re going to try to do that with all our DBs, so I don’t think it even matters who’s out there. They’re going to attack when we’re in single safety, which we are the majority of the time. They’re going to go outside and keep going out there until you stop them.”

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EDITOR'S NOTE: Watch Kyle Shanahan's full sit-down interview with Matt Maiocco on "49ers Game Plan," which is scheduled to air Saturday at 9 p.m. on NBC Bay Area (Ch. 3).

49ers wide receiver Pierre Garçon handed hefty fine

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AP

49ers wide receiver Pierre Garçon handed hefty fine

The NFL fined 49ers wide receiver Pierre Garçon $24,309 for unnecessary roughness in last week’s game against Washington.

Garçon, who was not penalized on the play, lowered his helmet and struck Washington safety Montae Nicholson at the end of an 8-yard pass reception in the second quarter.

In 2013, the NFL passed a rule that bans the ball carrier from initiating contact with the crown of his helmet in the open field.

Nicholson’s helmet flew off and he remained on the ground for a couple of minutes. He was evaluated for a possible concussion and shoulder injury. However, Nicholson was cleared and he returned to action.

After the play, Garçon and Washington safety D.J. Swearinger exchanged words, and Swearinger took a swipe at Garçon’s facemask. Swearinger was penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct.

The NFL fined Swearinger $9,115 for unnecessary roughness.