The San Francisco 49ers face a tough task this Sunday night against the New England Patriots. It’s not known if wide receiver Mario Manningham will be available after sitting out last week’s win over Miami due to a shoulder injury.
Jim Harbaugh was asked about the status of the free agent addition on Friday just before his team departed for New England.
“We’ll see,” Harbaugh said of Manningham’s status.
Soon after, the team confirmed the status as “Doubtful.” Manningham did not practice on Friday after limited work on Thursday.
If the 49ers don’t have the athletic wideout against the Patriots, Michael Crabtree will continue to be counted on in the passing game. The fourth-year player has 16 catches in the past two weeks.
“He’s been productive all year,” Harbaugh said of the San Francisco wideout who needs 239 yards to record the franchise’s first 1,000-yard season since 2003. “He’s running as well as anyone in the game with the ball after the catch.”
Harbaugh admitted it’ll be a tough task against New England’s top-ranked offense in terms of points and yards.
When asked about Colin Kaepernick’s fifth career start and third on the road taking place in such a high-profile matchup, Harbaugh made it more about the team’s challenge than what his young quarterback is facing.
“It’s a big challenge,” Harbaugh said, “a big task for our entire football team. I think everybody looks at it that way.”
Harbaugh did finish the answer with, “Everybody’s up for it.”
The team, however, might not have a 53rd player for Sunday’s game. Harbaugh said the team is still deciding on how to the final roster spot left open from Brandon Jacobs’ suspension.
One player guaranteed to be involved Sunday night is NFL sack leader Aldon Smith. Harbaugh believes it’ll be a challenge to disrupt NFL MVP candidate Tom Brady, but Smith is up for the challenge.
“It’s a big task to put pressure on Tom Brady,” Harbaugh said. “He’s so good with every detail of his game.”
The 49ers hope they’ve mastered their own preparation details and look to showcase their understanding on Sunday night.
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