The San Francisco 49ers are spending Week 9 of the NFL season on a bye, getting rest or producing rust. Some players are resting and spending time with family and others working hard to get better in preparation for the meat of their schedule. San Francisco fans should expect a hint of rust from this team when they return to Candlestick Park. The team has been on a five-game win streak since losing two games in a row. The team had their gears going until it stopped for the bye week.
Pro Bowl linebacker Aldon Smith will be returning from his suspension after his DUI arrest and being released from a rehabilitation facility. His skills are almost unmatched in this league but he has been has not played in more than six weeks, so his conditioning will not be where it should be. In Smith’s absence, rookie linebacker Corey Lemonier has been effective enough to supplement some of his production.
On offense, veteran runningback Frank Gore needs to be resting because he needs to continue to be the staple of the offense for the next final eight weeks of the season. Not relying on Gore is what caused the two losses at the beginning season. Gore is the key to the offense running (no pun intended), not the limited passing game.
For the sake of the team, head coach Jim Harbaugh better hope his management of the team’s free time works, because they do not want to lose against the Carolina Panthers at home. A team that has been beaten by NFC West division leader the Seattle Seahawks.