News and notes from Wednesday in 49erland

The 49ers will have three players out with injuries on Sunday, so that means rookie defensive lineman Ricky Jean-Francois and offensive tackle Chris Patrick will suit up for the first time in the regular season.



Of course, Joe Staley (knee), Nate Clements (shoulder) and Demetric Evans (shoulder) are out with injuries. Jean-Francois will be the 49ers’ fifth defensive lineman, while Patrick will take over as the team’s backup at both left and right tackle spots.


Barry Sims was the 49ers’ backup tackle, but he will now start at left tackle in place of Staley. Tony Wragge will remain as the team’s backup at center and the two guard positions.


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Coach Mike Singletary said he there’s a chance the team will get the services of safety Reggie Smith this week. Smith has been out since Sept. 27 with a severely strained groin.


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Why has Vernon Davis’ game taken off this season? Well, he credited the fact that he’s around Mike Singletary, of course. But the first explanation he gave was “opportunity.”


Under Mike Martz there would be games in which Davis was kept in to block on more than 50 percent of the team’s pass plays. This season that has rarely happened.


“I haven’t pass-protected much,” Davis said. “We’re doing everything we can to get the playmakers the ball. Jimmy Raye is taking advantage of it.”


He said he does not expect that to change with the shuffling on the offensive line.


“There’s confidence to rely on Barry Sims to get it done,” Davis said.


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Brandon Jones and Arnaz Battle are the candidates to return punts Sunday against the Titans. Jones has returned 13 punts in his five-year career, including two Sunday against the Colts after Clements’ injury. He fielded a fourth-quarter punt at the 3-yard line and returned it to the 6.


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Why is outside linebacker Parys Haralson’s production down from a year ago when he led the 49ers with eight sacks? Singletary said it’s because the 49ers have faced a bunch of maximum protection schemes.


“Parys Haralson will do just fine, that’s just where we are right now,” Singletary said. “Max protection is one of the main things that’s happened for all of our guys. But we’ll still find a way to get there.”


Singletary said Ahmad Brooks will see more time in third downs. “He’s a talented guy and he’s just getting back healthy from the knee and everything else,” Singletary said.


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