Gore’s injury opens door for Hill to shine

Running back Frank Gore is expected to miss at least two games after an MRI examination showed a right ankle strain and a right hind foot sprain.


The 49ers have games the next two weeks against the St. Louis Rams and Atlanta Falcons, followed by their Oct 18 bye week. The first game for which Gore might be available is Oct. 25 against the Houston Texans. 

Rookie Glen Coffee, a third-round draft pick from Alabama, will take over the every-down
ShaunHill.jpgduties. And, right now, the 49ers do no appear inclined to promote Kory Sheets from the practice squad. It looks as if they’re sticking with Coffee and Michael Robinson.


This is the reason they invested in Coffee. The 49ers do not want the 49ers to dramatically change their offensive approach if Gore was unavailable.


But it certainly is time to put a little more on Shaun Hill’s plate. After all, he has proved he can handle it.


The 49ers, for whatever reason, were reluctant to ask Hill to do too much late in Sunday’s game against the Vikings. It looked as if he won the game with a 5-for-5 performance with 89 yards passing on the go-ahead drive. But, then, they took the ball out of his hands on the final two drives.


The reason Hill won the starting job in training camp is because he demonstrated leadership, a calm under pressure and the ability to make good decisions. Why not trust him to exhibit those qualities when the 49ers need a first down to win the game?


After all, Hill is at his best on third downs and in the fourth quarter with passer ratings in the top five in the NFL in those situations.


On third downs, Hill has completed 22 of 29 passes (75.9 percent) for 238 yards with a passer rating of 111.


He’s been even better in the fourth quarter, completing 23 of 30 passes (76.7 percent) for 235 yards with two TDs and no interceptions and a passer rating of 120.8.


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If you don’t follow me on Twitter, here are some of my thoughts from earlier today . . .


*(Anything new on Michael Crabtree? Wasn’t Jed York supposed to meet w/agent Eugene Parker and Crabtree?) Nothing new. Team Crabtree doesn’t want to meet.

Behind the Tweet: There is no way Parker wants Crabtree meeting with the 49ers. I’m sure he doesn’t want Crabtree hearing any dissenting opinions on the matter.


*(Does Crabtree seriously have a shot at bigger bucks if he goes into the 2010 draft?) According to execs and agents, the answer is no.

Behind the Tweet: Nine teams before the 49ers considered Crabtree and ultimately decided they wanted another player instead. How is his draft stock going to improve after one year of inactivity? It’s just not going to happen.


*(Why all the Crabtree fuss? The 49ers don’t use their WRs anyway.) SF doesn’t have true No. 1 WR. They have a couple 2s and a few 3s. Michael Crabtree could be a No. 1.

Behind the Tweet: The 49ers drafted him No. 10 overall – and they don’t regret it – because they thought he was the player who could help them the most.


*(If Crabtree is a No. 1, why aren’t 49ers willing to pay him more?) If Crabtree signs the deal on table, he’ll be paid like a No. 1. He’d get $800K more annually than starters Bruce/Morgan COMBINED.

Behind the Tweet: Isaac Bruce’s average yearly salary is $2.75M, while Josh Morgan is signed through 2011 with an average pay of $452,750. Crabtree would earn a minimum of $4M a year.


*(Have the Niners reduced their offer to Crabtree yet?) No. If they ever negotiate, 49ers will probably want year added to deal.

Behind the Tweet: If it ever gets to the point where the sides are negotiating, the 49ers would be well within their rights to insist upon a sixth year on the contract . . . now that his rookie year is fast going down the drain.


*(Gut feeling, does Crabtree sign with 49ers this season) Yes, I think Crabtree will sign before Nov. 17 because I don’t see any upside for him to sit out season.

Behind the Tweet: Crabtree has a chance to make $16M by signing on the dotted line. There is so much that can happen if he decides to go back in the draft. It just does not make any sense for him to take that huge risk.


*It’s not 60%, that’s for sure. 49ers have attempted 80 rushes (4.2 yd avg) and 92 passes, incl. sacks (5.4 yd avg). They’ve run only 46.5%.

Behind the Tweet: coordinator Jimmy Raye said during training camp that his idea of balance is for an offense that runs the ball 60 percent of the time.


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Anybody want to hear from The Question Lady later today? If so, what topic would you like her to investigate?


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