The 49ers and Eagles released their Thursday practice participation reports and the only change is that Kyle Williams went from limited participation to did not participate. It will be interesting to see if Ted Ginn gets all the punt and kick return snaps or if Phillip Adams gets a second chance. Adams had his one big mistake but otherwise was quite solid in limited action. Also, Mike Johnson spoke about Ginn in his media session today (transcript after the jump) and that he wouldn't automatically be slotted back in as the #3 WR because of the conditioning issues given all the missed time. We'll see how special teams is impacted.
The biggest issue this week injury-wise for the 49ers is that Delanie Walker is out for the game. Johnson addressed this issue as well and seemed to imply that Brian Westbrook would get more opportunities as the team moves into fewer 2-TE sets. Byham will get his opportunities but he's not the same type of athlete as Walker so it makes sense that the 49ers would adjust accordingly. It would certainly be fitting for Westbrook to break through against his former team.
Out (Definitely Will Not Play)
TE Delanie Walker (ankle)
Did Not Participate In Practice
WR Kyle Williams (finger)
Full Participation In Practice
OG Chilo Rachal (knee)
Did Not Participate In Practice
WR Riley Cooper (concussion)
RB LeSean McCoy (rib)
CB Asante Samuel (concussion)
QB Michael Vick (rib)
Limited Participation In Practice
G Nick Cole (knee)
OC Mike Johnson's media session transcript is after the jump...
Offensive Coordinator Mike Johnson
Post-Walk-Thru - October 7, 2010
San Francisco 49ers
On distributing the ball now that TE Delanie Walker is out:
"We're going to use other groupings, other people. We're going to try to get [RB] Brian [Westbrook] in a little bit more. Try to use another one of our wide receivers in certain packages that we would go with Delanie. We're going to try to use multiple personnel groups each and every week regardless of who we have to use."
On whether RB Frank Gore's pass catching abilities are keeping RB Brian Westbrook out of the game:
"In saying that, Frank is such a versatile player, as you say, he can stay in, in almost any situation. When you play as hard as Frank plays each and every week, I think we're going to have to find other ways to make sure that we get other people involved in taking that load off of Frank. But he can handle any situation and you like the way he plays. He's such a competitor that you don't want to, but I think it's smart if we find other ways to get other people involved and do some of the things that he does well."
On possibly having Westbrook and Gore on the field at the same time:
"There are more things to consider than just putting two halfbacks on the field and playing. You have to consider the protection issues, all the different things we do from a protection standpoint and then Brian being here for such a short period. You have to make sure that all of those things are sound because you don't want to flip those two halfbacks in the game and then all of the sudden, every time you're in the game, one's protecting and one's releasing. You have to be able to mix that up and be more versatile when it comes to that. So, all of that has to be considered, but we are constantly, each week, trying to find ways to get Brian and other players involved. We know Brian's been a very good player in this league for a long time and we are going to try to utilize his talents and try to get him involved in some way here pretty soon."
On whether Ted Ginn will be returning to the number 3 WR position:
"Not necessarily. I think you have to spot play him because he's coming off of a knee injury and he's not totally healthy yet. Therefore, you have to be smart in how you use him. He hasn't had the conditioning that he needed over the last two or three weeks. That has to play a part of it. You have to be smart in how many plays you give him. It's not going to automatically put him into the third spot. [WR] Dominique Zeigler will play some."
On QB Alex Smith's intentional grounding penalty and how he could have handled the blitz better:
"The play should have been picked up. They did a great job with toughing the gap and giving one look and coming in another gap. I think we flinched for a split second and that caused a problem for us. The protection should have been sound. We made a mistake in one area. The play was a good call, I thought. It was just a situation where it was a safe call. Going forward I don't think we'll ever be sacked on that play again."
On the play:
"It was a screen play to Frank and they did a good job of covering it, so the worst thing that should have happened would have been an incompletion throw. But that's why you play the game. They play football also and they do a very good job. They have an excellent scheme and they have very good team speed and they made a play."
On TE Nate Byham being a blocking TE:
"He's a versatile player for us. He's a big body and he's also very smart. He's able to handle a lot of things being a young player and that's rare. He can do some things for us from a fullback standpoint. He can do some things from a tight end standpoint and he can catch the ball. Now, he's not going to run with the ball like Delanie Walker, but he can also be a dual threat and make sure they can't just say he's a fullback and then disregard him."
On Steve Young's assessment of Alex Smith and being too careful on the long balls:
"I think somewhat. But the way the game went last week, we had certain plays to go down the field that we designed to go down the field, but that's a very good defensive front, Atlanta Falcons. They have a very good defensive front and we didn't call a lot of the things that we had up because of the protection issues that we had. We didn't want to take the risk of having our quarterback drop back and take a sack and now losing field position. We try to mix things up and keep ourselves in manageable third downs. I thought as a staff we did a pretty good job of that. We ended up, I think, 50% on third down which kept drives going. We didn't want to do certain things that we would do in some weeks to possibly give ourselves a negative play and put us in a negative third down situation."
On whether it is possible to survive in the NFL by controlling clock management:
"I'm a firm believer that you do need chunk plays. You have to have chunk plays in every game. There's a certain number that we look for throughout the game because it's hard in the NFL game to go on 12-play drives all of the time without making a mistake. I think you're exactly right in that. There will be certain things that we have designed to get chunks because it's hard to go 12 plays in an NFL game consistently. Now, you can do that from time-to-time, but I think you're exactly right."
On whether having long drives that stalled in the red zone in the first game against the Seahawks have been a problem since:
"I wouldn't say it's a problem. If you look at the Seattle game, we had plays we should have executed and we should have scored. So, I don't think there's a problem. I think we have been our own worst enemy with turnovers and that is something that we have to change in order for us to win games. I think we have played well enough in a couple game to win those games if we don't turn the ball over. That is something that is preached and stressed by coach Singletary and it's something that we are mindful of. It's something that we have to get changed going forward and I think we'll be fine."
On whether there are any changes for him to go on the sideline rather than the booth:
"No, it was comfortable. I felt very comfortable. That's where I'll continue to be during the game."
On his history with offensive assistant Chris Beake:
"He was the linebackers coach in Atlanta when I was the quarterback coach there for two years and Mike Solari, our offensive line coach, also worked with him in Seattle."
On QB Michael Vick:
"Great talent. He's a great talent. He's overcome a lot of adversity and I wish him well. He's a guy that I like as a person and I think he's made the necessary changes in his life to go forward and be a good husband, father, person."