Ginn out, Hill signed, Yahoo! details problems

The San Francisco 49ers lost more than a game Sunday.

They lost a wide receiver. And their kickoff returner. And their punt returner.

Ted
Ginn, who handles all three duties, suffered an MCL sprain in the
Niners’ 31-6 loss to the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday. Multiple sources
reported Tuesday that Ginn will miss a few weeks with the injury.


Ginn’s
injury sent dominoes falling. The Niners signed wide receiver Jason
Hill, who was released Sept. 3 during final rosters cuts. They also
released undrafted rookie free agent cornerback Tramaine Brock and
released linebacker Bruce Davis from the practice squad. Davis’ release
suggests the 49ers might place Brock on the practice squad if he clears
waivers.

Ginn’s injury depletes a wide receiver corps that didn’t
sparkle Sunday. Ginn, Michael Crabtree and Josh Morgan combined for six
catches for 63 yards. Seven of the 15 throws quarterback Alex Smith
threw in their direction fell incomplete and two others were
intercepted.

Ginn was injured on his first catch as a 49er, a
sliding 19-yard grab in the fourth quarter. Without Ginn, Dominique
Zeigler will become the No. 3 wide receiver. Ziegler beat out Hill for a
roster spot with 10 catches for 124 yards, both team-highs, during the
exhibition season. Hill, a San Francisco native, was the Niners’
third-round draft pick in 2007. He has 40 catches for 413 yards and four
touchdowns in his three-year career. He had one catch for 24 yards in
the preseason.

With rookie Kyle Williams (turf toe) still
sidelined, rookie Phillip Adams is the likely candidate to at least
assume Ginn’s punt-return duties. Adams averaged 25.8 yards on six punt
returns and had an 83-yard touchdown. He did not return a kickoff during
the exhibition season and did not return kickoffs at South Carolina
State.


Citing multiple unnamed sources, a Yahoo! Sports story
said the Niners’ difficulty in relaying plays calls to their
quarterback has been going on for more than a year and was exacerbated
Sunday when quarterbacks coach Mike Johnson had trouble deciphering
offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye’s play calls due to the crowd noise.
Coach Mike Singletary, the story says, was seen yelling at Johnson on
the sideline when plays were getting to quarterback Alex Smith too late.
After the game, Singletary blamed the problems on malfunctioning
headsets.

Last year, offensive assistant Jason Michael took the
calls from Raye and delivered them to the quarterback. The story says
Michael was more adept at getting the calls from Raye, who didn’t always
deliver plays in a timely manner.  The story quotes an unnamed source
as saying of Raye, “He knows the plays and he knows the right thing to
call, but he’s fumbling through his papers and it’s like, ‘Hey, we need
to get a play called.'”

Yahoo! reporter Jason Cole also characterized the trust the players have in the coaching staff as “tepid.”