SANTA CLAR A — This is the live blog for the pregame of the 49ers’ Week 4 game against the Eagles. I will update this frequently with information and analysis from the press box.
11:00 Keys to the game:
1. Pass protection. Which team can protect its quarterback the best?
2. Conditioning of the 49ers’ Nickel defense. Will the Eagles’ up-tempo spread offense tire out Justin Smith, Ahmad Brooks, Ray McDonald, Jimmie Ward, Chris Culliver, Perrish Cox, Patrick Willis, Michael Wilhoite, Eric Reid, Antoine Bethea and Corey Lemonier?
3. Rotating defensive players. Vic Fangio should suit up every backup defensive back and every backup defensive lineman. If Fangio has to deactivate a backup linebacker (Nick Moody or Chris Borland) to make room, so be it. The starting Nickel D must take plays off to stay fresh for the fourth quarter.
4. Covering Darren Sproles. Fangio can’t let Chip Kelly match up Sproles against one of the 49ers’ linebackers in the passing game. Fangio better get a safety or cornerback to cover Sproles.
5. Suspect secondaries. Expect big pass plays and few punts.
6. Red zone difficulties. Neither team has a serious red-zone running game, so field goals will determine the winner, and the Eagles will have more opportunities than the 49ers.
Prediction: 49ers 30, Eagles 34.
12:04 Vernon Davis is warming up, jogging and catching passes over his shoulder.
12:06 Vernon Davis is active. Vance McDonald is not. Other than him, the 49ers’ inactives are Josh Johnson, Quinton Patton, Tramaine Brock, Dillon Farrell, Marcus Martin and Tank Carradine. Carradine must be terrible if the 49ers won’t suit him up for THIS game.
12:08 The Eagles’ inactives are Matt Barkley, Josh Huff, Jaylen Watkins, Jason Kelce, Kevin Graf, Mychal Kendricks and Taylor Hart.
12:09 Emmanuel Acho will start at inside linebacker for Kendricks.
12:10 The Eagles’ starting offensive line: LT Jason Peters, LG Matt Tobin, C David Molk, RG Dennis Kelly, RT Todd Herremans.
12:17 Greg Roman and Chip Kelly have been talking to each other for 15 minutes at midfield near the Eagles’ sideline while Jim Harbaugh has been standing by himself near the 49ers’ sideline. Roman and Kelly seem quite fond of one another.
12:28 Instead of trading down to pick No.40 in 2013 to draft Tank Carradine, the 49ers could have stayed put at pick No.34 and drafted Giovani Bernard.