The 49ers don’t have a proven punt returner who is healthy. They also don’t have more than one backup inside linebacker on their roster.
But they did have some good news today.
It appears rookie Kyle Williams, a possible cure for the punt-return woes, will play in his first NFL game and inside linebacker Takeo Spikes will most likely play in career game No. 174 on Sunday.
Williams has been out since suffering a toe injury in the preseason
opener on Aug. 15 against the Colts. But he returned to full practices
this week and Singletary said it was a “probability” that he would
return punts against the Chiefs. Williams returned 74 punts for 768
yards (10.4 yards) at Arizona State. Ted Ginn (sprained MCL) is doubtful
for Sunday’s game.
“I didn’t catch punts until a couple of weeks
ago, maybe a week and a half ago,” Williams said. “It feels good
though. It’s one of those things that’s more of a natural thing for me.
So I can get back there and kind of get into it once I got my feet under
Singletary also mentioned Williams as a candidate to return
kickoffs – another duty the rookie handled in college (31 returns, 709
yards, 22.9). Singletary also mentioned Josh Morgan and Delanie Walker
as possibilities. Walker returned three kickoffs for 51 yards against
New Orleans and had a 51-yard return wiped out by a holding penalty.
(knee) did not practice this week and is listed as questionable on the
injury report. But Singletary is prepared to relax his no-practice,
no-play rule for the 13-year veteran.
“Everybody – everybody has
to practice. Everybody should practice,” Singletary said. “Takeo, in his
situation, I don’t ever want to say he knows so much he doesn’t have to
practice. He’s just a little limited this week and we wanted to rest
him, and hopefully he can practice next week, but he will be ready for
Singletary said Spikes wouldn’t necessarily start. He
said that determination would be a game-time decision based on how
Spikes looks in pregame warm-ups. If Spikes doesn’t start, rookie NaVorro
Bowman would make his first NFL start.