Jim Harbaugh said during his press conference Wednesday that people were rushing in to say that Frank Gore is struggling because he isn’t putting up 100 yard games. That’s understating things quite a bit: Gore hasn’t rushed for 100 yards since Week 6 vs. Arizona, and since his numbers have gone down considerably in the interim.
After going for 82 yards against the Panthers, Gore put up 48, 31 and 42 against New Orleans, Washington and St. Louis — three teams that occupy the 14th-16th spots in rushing yards allowed with just under 110 per game.
“It’s been tough the last couple of weeks,” Gore said. “We’ve got to get the running game going back how it was, hopefully this week we’ll get the win.”
He said he feels great, and as we’ve come to expect, Gore didn’t place blame on anyone. Still, he let his displeasure with the situation show.
“I am frustrated, but we’re winning, so that’s the big part,” he said.
Other notes from around practice
– Four players were in the weight bar riding the elliptical trainers when the media walked out to the practice field in Santa Clara Wednesday, and as it turns out those four were the only ones who missed out on practice. Justin Smith (shoulder), Vance McDonald (ankle), Joe Staley (knee) and Mike Iupati (knee) all sat out today, which probably says something about three of the four. It’s not unusual for Smith to sit out one practice a week, usually Wednesdays when I make it down to Santa Clara. But McDonald, Staley and Iupati are all suffering from injuries that have kept them out of game action. The two offensive linemen were walking around the facilities fine (and their knees looked fine on the elliptical), but there’s a big difference between walking around and playing in a football game.
Included in the limited participation players were Tarell Brown (ribs), Mario Manningham (knee), Jonathan Baldwin (calf), Dan Skuta (foot), Ray McDonald (ankle) and Gore (ankle). There are a couple important developments that came out of today’s report:
- Brown is back in practice after suffering his rib injury, albeit wearing a blue non-contact jersey. Tramaine Brock has been solid in relief, but an already stout defense becomes that much scarier with Brown back at full strength.
- The same goes for Ray McDonald. Depth has been a strong point for the 49ers this year — that’s not to say that the transition from McDonald and Justin Smith to Demarcus Dobbs and Tony Jerod-Eddie has been seamless, but again this defense is best with all of their best players going.
- Manningham’s presence on the injury list, especially with a knee problem, is a little bit startling. Then again, it could just be a scrape. Who knows.
- The two big pieces who didn’t end up on the practice report: Michael Crabtree and Quinton Patton. I don’t need to spell out how badly this team needs wide receiving help and the boost Crabtree gave the offense last week was immeasurable. Without knowing Patton’s return could be nigh, we couldn’t prod at Jim Harbaugh about his status for Sunday. That will be something to watch.
– Just like when the 49ers faced the Panthers, Gore fielded quarterback comparison questions with a nod to his signal-caller.
“They’re different,” he said when asked about Kaepernick and Russell Wilson. “Kaepernick is faster. Russell is a little more shifty. They’re different players. They’re both young, they’re both growing, they’re both playing great ball.”
– San Francisco-Seattle has become one of the more notable rivalries in the NFL, and while Harbaugh will downplay it to death, this is a big game for all involved. Gore said the 49ers-Seahawks games remind him of Florida State-Miami when he was at the U.
– Kaepernick described the rivalry as “physical” and said the mutual dislike between the two teams meant the 49ers are going to go out and play hard … and then added the caveat that the Seahawks are just another team standing in the way of where the 49ers want to go.
The quarterback’s most vocal moment of his press conference was when giving praise to Joe Looney for stepping in with Staley out.
“Joe did an amazing job to come in and perform the way he did,” he said. “He pretty much locked down their front the whole game.”
When asked about home field advantage, Kaepernick shied away from summoning Candlestick to get loud and instead focused on what the quiet does for the offense.
“Home field advantage is always a big thing,” he said. “You get to use your cadence, you get to use a lot of different audibles that you can’t use if you can’t hear on the road.”
He also said he loved Anquan Boldin’s trash-talking, physical nature on the field, but as far as Richard Sherman & Company’s right to talk?
“You have to earn that every Sunday, and this Sunday we’re going to make them earn that.”