It's a good thing that the 49ers eventually landed veteran Barry Sims this summer as a backup tackle. The ten-year former Oakland Raiders lineman shopped around a bit but finally opted to stay in the Bay Area, giving San Francisco the luxury of having an experienced backup player who could pitch in at either tackle position.
Sims' services will be called upon this Sunday when he gets his first regular-season start as a member of the 49ers, filling in at right tackle for Jonas Jennings, who is expected to miss some time with a shoulder injury.
"It's something I'm always prepared for, but I wasn't like rooting for Jonas or Joe (Staley) to get hurt," said Sims of the upcoming opportunity. "It was just one of those unfortunate things that happened."
Sims played the second half of last week's road game in Seattle for the injured Jennings, a situation he felt more than prepared to step in and handle.
"If you're not starting, you're one play away from starting," said Sims. "You really have to prepare yourself accordingly. I look at every game like I'm a starter. I forget after kickoff that I'm not going out there. You have to prepare like you're going into play."
The 49ers allowed eight sacks last week, four in each half. While head coach Mike Nolan claimed the high number of sacks were a collective issue, Sims said the line understands it needs to improve.
"I think we're making good progress," he said. "We're not anywhere close to where we want to be. We have a mindset up front that we're going to get better each day."
Nolan said there's no set time table on Jennings' return, but he did leave the window open for Sims to possibly remain the starter even when Jennings is healthy.
"We'll see - Jonas will come back in and play," said Nolan. "We'll see. That's a ways down the road."
On defense, the 49ers will also be without their third cornerback in Shawntae Spencer, who is out with a knee injury.
Nolan declined to tip his hand in terms of Spencer's replacement, defensive backs is the most loaded position on the roster. The 49ers will have their pick between Donald Strickland, Marcus Hudson, Reggie Smith or Tarell Brown.
Strickland, who missed practice and the game last week with a knee injury, did return to work on Wednesday. Safety Dashon Goldson, who was forced out with a knee injury, also took a full practice today.
Linebacker Joe Staley exited the game for a series and a half with a leg injury, but worked on Wednesday with no restrictions.
Per a coaching decision, running back Frank Gore and Walt Harris were held out of the afternoon session.