SANTA CLARA, Calif. — The San Francisco 49ers are looking at this Sunday’s game as a must-win for the team. A win by the 49ers would give them the second seed in the playoffs. A loss combined with a New Orleans Saints win and the 49ers will have to play in the Wild Card Round as the third seed.
As an approach to this game, defensive coordinator Vic Fangio is contemplating putting linebacker Patrick Willis in the game.
“This is a game we have to win,” Fangio said. “If he’s healthy enough to play, he’ll play.”
Willis has missed the last three games with a right hamstring strain and was limited in practice on Wednesday — the first practice he has participated in since the injury.
“Good, looks fine to me right now,” Fangio said of Willis’ recovery.
Another change that will take place for the 49ers is the addition of practice squad receiver Joe Hastings to the roster. The 49ers released Braylon Edwards earlier this week and Hastings will fill in for the open spot.
“Everything he did, special teams and offense, he did it with precision,” offensive coordinator Greg Roman said of Hastings’ production this year on the practice squad.
Hastings has been with the team since training camp and Roman praised the receiver’s speed, versatility and hands as what made him a receiver the 49ers wanted to keep.
“He was doing a lot of things well every day,” Roman said. “He is ready, progressing nicely during the season.”
- Fangio said he was disappointed that the team’s streaks of not allowing a 100-yard rusher and a rushing touchdown were broken last week, but the win overrode the disappointment of losing the streaks.
- Fangio said that both Sam Bradford and Kellen Clemens are similar quarterbacks and the Rams will just operate their offensive accordingly. Bradford’s ankle injury might sideline him, giving Clemens the start.
“We’ll just see the Rams offense no matter who’s at quarterback,” Fangio said.
- Roman said that WRs Michael Crabtree and Brett Swain have a “good chance” of starting this Sunday.
- WR Ted Ginn on Hastings:
“He kind of looked soft and timid (the first time I met him), but he’s a hard-nosed guy.”
- WR Brett Swain said he is ready to take in whatever role the 49ers give him on Sunday. The offense, he said, is similar to what he ran while in Green Bay. He said that the wide receivers on the Packers played a huge role in mentoring him while he was there.
- The 49ers did not do individual drills as they are taking it light this week. They had a period of stretching and went straight to the walkthrough.
- LB Patrick Willis (hamstring) was stretching, jogging before joining teammates for the walkthrough.
- TE Delanie Walker (jaw), WR Ted Ginn (ankle) and WR Kyle Williams (concussion) were not present at the practice.