Williams finds slot in 49ers' offense as rookies sit


SANTA CLARA -- Wide receiver Kyle Williams has yet to catch a pass this season, but he has been in the starting lineup for the first two games.
Williams has been on the field, along with Michael Crabtree and Mario Manningham, whenever the 49ers go with three wide receivers. He is considered the team's best fit as a slot receiver."Kyle is a really shifty receiver," 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman said. "He's got great quickness, change of direction, really good short-area player. He's got good hands. I think Kyle continues to improve as a route-runner. He's got the quickness you look for inside, and he can get separation from a defender in short quarters."A lot of times in the slot, you're going to end up running routes on a defender and it's either the first read or you got to get open quick in a short area. He excels in that area."Randy Moss has also had a role on offense with five receptions for 61 yards and a touchdown. Ted Ginn has missed the first two games of the season with a right ankle sprain. And rookie A.J. Jenkins, a first-round draft pick, has yet to step onto the field."There's a lot of competition at the receiver positions," Roman said. "The receivers are playing pretty darn well. We look forward to diversifying what we're doing with them. And expand on everybody's role who practices well."It will be difficult for Jenkins to ever get on the field this season with Crabtree, Manningham, Williams, Moss and, presumably, Ginn ahead of him. After all, most backup players must have a role on special teams, and Jenkins has not won a role on special teams.
For the same reason, running back LaMichael James, a second-round pick from Oregon, has not been active for either of the 49ers' first two games. James, like Jenkins, does not have much special-teams value. James struggled during the exhibition season as a punt returner.
Kendall Hunter is a solid No. 2 back behind starter Frank Gore. Anthony Dixon gives the 49ers versatility as the No. 3 running back and reserve fullback, as well as being a core special-teams player.And when running back Brandon Jacobs returns to action from a left knee sprain -- it's doubtful that will happen Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings -- that will mean the 49ers must declare one more player inactive.And when Ginn and Jacobs return to action, it'll be even more difficult for Jenkins and James to factor into the team's offensive plan with their already-deep position groupings at receiver and running back.

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