Davon House is back and should end up playing football games soon without requiring surgery on his injured shoulder. This is very excellent news. However, he has been limited in practice all week. The San Fransisco 49ers' receivers are big boys, and if House isn't going to be able to get a jam, he shouldn't be starting on the outside. It's a near certainty that he won't be.
House could make the active roster for the game, but he'll see limited time if he suits up. Because Sam Shields hasn't quite worked his way out of the doghouse and Casey Hayward is a rookie who had a very up-and-down preseason, Jarrett Bush is almost certainly going to start at right cornerback for the Green Bay Packers this Sunday.
I wouldn't put it past House to get out there and play, and Mike McCarthy certainly loves him.
MM on House: Great value having him back out there based on his camp— Wes Hodkiewicz (@WesHod) September 6, 2012
But let's be realistic about this: We can't expect him to start. It's probably going to be Bush. He's not going to be up against something that it's impossible for him to handle, but the 49ers receivers are very good and very large and/or physical dudes. After the jump, a little insight on them.
The 49ers passing game as a whole is really difficult to figure out at this point. The team brought in Randy Moss and Mario Manningham, while also drafting A.J. Jenkins. Combined with Michael Crabtree, Kyle Williams and the two athletic tight ends in Vernon Davis and Delanie Walker, and there are a whole host of weapons at Alex Smith's disposal. While that creates great anticipation, the 49ers were very vanilla with their number ones in the preseason, so it is hard to tell how much different the offense might look compared to last year.
The two "starters" are Michael Crabtree and Randy Moss, with Crabtree listed on the left side and Moss listed on the right side. When the team goes to three receivers, it sounds like Mario Manningham will line up outside and Crabtree will move into the slot. However, in all of this, Kyle Williams will get some work, and the team will get Davis and Walker split out from time to time. Although Davis and Walker are tight ends, they are as athletic as anybody on the team. You will see a big guy like Vernon Davis lining up against a cornerback and the 49ers would likely have a distinct advantage in many instances.
Coach Harbaugh was asked about the depth chart this week, and while he acknowledged Crabtree and Moss were the starters, it was fairly apparent he had no plans on living up to that Week 1 depth chart entirely. I would really expect to see wide receivers all over the field. Last year Crabtree was often lined up on the right side against what would be the left cornerback, but I think you'll see all sorts of combinations out there.
More often than not, Bush is going to be up against Crabtree on Sunday, but Harbaugh might swap the receivers if he thinks that Moss presents a huge mismatch (and he does). Bush will probably see a lot of Manningham as well.
It's been said a thousand times on this site, but we need to say it again: Jarrett Bush does not totally stink anymore. He's a pretty decent, reliable backup cornerback. He's not as talented as House and didn't have a stellar preseason, but he doesn't make the awful mistakes that he used to.
But, this is a problem. The 49ers are going to have a mismatch no matter they put on the left side, because all of the players they could potentially put out there are bigger, stronger, faster, and have better ups than Bush. They're all pretty solid route-runners as well. They all have excellent hands. While I'd love to have faith that any Packers player can pull something spectacular out when they really need it, there's not any logical reason to believe that Bush isn't going to struggle, and that the 49ers aren't going to attack him regularly.
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