December 1 2002
By Bryan Hersh of 49ers Paradise
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John Keith will step into the free-safety position this week, as Ronnie Heard is out for a few weeks with an ankle sprain. Itís possible that Zack Bronson, the teamís starting free safety may return before Heard. Bronson is making good progress, he reportedly was back to running and jogging this week, but is still a ways away from returning. Rashad Holman will play some safety, as he is faster than Keith who is more cut out for the strong safety position. Holman should see a fair amount of time on the field as he will begin to sub in for Mike Rumph at times too.
Jeff Ulbrich will remain at the starting position at linebacker as Jamie Winborn is still on the mend. Winborn resumed practicing with the linebackers wearing a brace on his knee. The 49ers will get linebacker Saleem Rasheed back this week though, and that will certainly help with the depth of the team, and hopefully with the coverage on special teams.
JJ Stokes is still fighting his nagging injury, but Tai Streets has been proclaimed the official starter anyway. Terrell Owens is still battling his heel injury. Ahmed Plummer is expected to play with his lingering injury too.
Running back Kevan Barlow had his knee scoped this week. Barlow is expected to miss a few weeks, though the 49ers have not given an actual expected time of return for Barlow. Garrison Hearst will see an increased role in the offense. Fred Beasley is still banged up too, with the injury to Barlow and a banged up Beasley, Paul Smith may seem some more action.
Derrick Deese has been upgraded to probable for this Sundayís game after missing practice until Friday. Jeremy Newberry will continue to snap with a broken finger on his snapping hand, this - as seen in last game, may present a problem in the shotgun. Eric Johnson is expected to be back in the starting line up.