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49'ers Patrick Willis and Takeo Spikes Wear Casts - Article S.F. Chronicle

Discussion in 'Chargers Fan Forum' started by Trumpet_Man, Dec 16, 2010.

  1. Trumpet_Man

    Trumpet_Man New Member

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    49ers' Patrick Willis, Takeo Spikes wear casts
    David White, Chronicle Staff Writer

    Wednesday, December 15, 2010

    Inside linebackers Patrick Willis and Takeo Spikes made enough circus catches before practice Tuesday to merit a big-top nickname.

    Behold, the One-Armed Bandits, able to make interceptions with one hand tied inside their casts!

    If Spikes and Willis can help beat the Chargers on Thursday, it will be amazing indeed, seeing they must make do with club-like soft casts on their injured right hands.

    "Might break the interception streak," said Spikes, who has two pickoffs in three games. "It means I have to practice snagging with one hand, the left hand."

    Hand casts are normally for broken hands, not that Spikes or Willis will share their medical charts. They prefer to use the layman's term "banged up" to describe what happened to them in Sunday's 41-20win over Seattle.

    Whatever the diagnosis, this much is clear: If the 49ers want to beat the NFL's second-ranked passing offense, this is no time for the top-two tacklers to take a sick day.

    Willis has quarterback Philip Rivers to blitz, and Spikes has Pro Bowl tight end Antonio Gates to chase down. No two players have proven more important to this defense than the two standing in the very middle, particularly in the current stretch of five wins in eight games.

    "I'll tell you what, those guys have to be two of the better inside linebackers in the league," Rivers said in a conference call Tuesday. "They're just inside run-game pluggers and all that, but they both run very well. They can play sideline to sideline.

    "They're complete players. I think that's where it starts."

    Willis has been Pro Bowl good every year since the 49ers drafted him in 2007. His five sacks are a career high, and tied for first among all NFL inside linebackers. His 109 tackles lead the 49ers and are tied for ninth in the league.

    Spikes hasn't been a Pro Bowler since 2004, but he's playing like one again. He has double-digit tackles in three of the past four games, including 18 at Green Bay to match a career high. His three interceptions also tie his career best, and his 91 tackles are second on the team.

    Now, the Niners' one-two punch has hurting punching hands ... on a short week with only one day of practice and three days to heal.

    All this, when they're about to face a Pro Bowl quarterback who averages 33.7 passes a game and ranks second in NFL career passer rating.

    "The worst week came at the wrong time," Spikes said. "I was looking forward to it."

    At least Spikes practiced Tuesday, albeit on a limited basis. Willis missed practice with his injury, though he did catch a few easy lobs with his left hand after team stretches.

    Willis played with a club-like cast on a broken right hand his final year in college and again as a 49ers rookie. Spikes played last year with one arm, essentially, when he injured a pectoral muscle.

    Spikes can be replaced on passing downs by rookie NaVorro Bowman, who lost his playing time a month ago when passing teams picked on him. Willis has no backup, so he's more likely to fist through the pain all four quarters.

    After all, the 49ers (5-8) are potentially one loss away from missing the playoffs. What good is saving them to fight another day if there is no tomorrow?

    "It's never easy if you don't have both your hands," Willis said. "You've gotta be able to use your hands, but sometimes you've gotta make do with what you've got."

    E-mail David White at dwhite@sfchronicle.com.

    49ers' Patrick Willis, Takeo Spikes wear casts
     
  2. Trumpet_Man

    Trumpet_Man New Member

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    49ers-Chargers - could it come down to film study

    Cornerback Nate Clements said that this game will be about film study. Because the 49ers and the Chargers essentially had one practice this week, the team that studies the other more intensely might gain an edge. That team is likely to be the 49ers. Since the Chargers are the more talented squad, they might not take the 49ers as seriously.

    The final injury report named NaVorro Bowman (hamsting), Patrick Willis (hand) and Takeo Spikes (hand) all as questionable. They will probably all play, but will they finish? The team might regret not signing another linebacker this week.

    They put a microphone on Mike Singletary during the last game. While he no longer makes a spectacle of himself on the sideline, he continues to treat players like a perfectionist parent - constantly admonishing, rarely praising. He did have one humorous moment when he took out his defensive starters. "You're done," he kept telling them. Then he muttered under his breath, "Knuckleheads."

    Read more: 49ers-Chargers - could it come down to film study : Niner Insider
     
  3. Trumpet_Man

    Trumpet_Man New Member

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    49ers' Patrick Willis, Takeo Spikes grappling with hand injuries
    By Daniel Brown

    dbrown@mercurynews.com

    Posted: 12/14/2010 09:27:29 PM PST
    Updated: 12/15/2010 08:00:32 AM PST

    Between the two of them, Patrick Willis and Takeo Spikes have more than 200 tackles this season.

    On Thursday, they will combine for two good hands.

    The 49ers' starting inside linebackers reported for practice Tuesday wearing bulky casts. Willis and Spikes might have broken right hands -- they wouldn't say -- and neither committed to being ready to face the San Diego Chargers.

    "I don't know. It got banged up pretty good," Willis said. "Right now, it's still under evaluation. We're going to see."

    Spikes, echoing that sentiment nearly word for word, said: "I don't know, man. It's banged up pretty good. Just right now, it's day to day, just trying to see what we can do to hopefully get ready to play."

    Defensive coordinator Greg Manusky indicated Tuesday that both players will face the Chargers' high-powered offense. History backs him up. Willis played the second half of his rookie season with a broken bone in his right hand. Despite being limited by a cast similar to the one he was wearing Tuesday, he racked up at least 20 tackles in a game three times, according to the coaches' stats at the time.

    Willis also played with a cast on his right hand during his junior season at Mississippi.

    Spikes was asked if he had sought his teammate's advice when it came to playing with one hand wrapped up like a club.

    "Yeah, I did, I talked to him about it," Spikes said. "He seemed to do pretty good with it. Actually, he did damn good with a cast on his hand."

    Spikes joked that his biggest hurdle with the cast would be adding to his interception total. He has three this season, giving him a share of the team lead with cornerbacks Nate Clements and Shawntae Spencer.

    "It means I have to practice snagging with one hand, the left hand," he said.

    Neither Spikes nor Willis was in the mood to elaborate on the circumstances or the severity of his injury. They both said their injuries occurred early in the game against Seattle as a result of a helmet to the hand.

    Even if they can play, the timing is rotten for the 49ers. They would prefer to have their top tacklers at full strength against one of the league's most prolific offenses. The 49ers credit Willis with 125 tackles this season and Spikes with 102.

    Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers called them the key to the 49ers' defense.

    "Those guys have to be two of the better inside linebackers in the league," Rivers said during a conference call with Bay Area reporters. "Willis, in his short career, has obviously established himself as one of the best in the game. "... They can play sideline to sideline. They're complete players. I think that's where it starts."

    Spikes, in his 13th NFL season, has never reached the playoffs, so he will be tempted to suit up as long as the 49ers are still mathematically alive. They are 5-8 but only a game out of first place in the NFC West, with the Rams (6-7) facing the Chiefs on Sunday and the Seahawks (6-7) facing the Falcons (11-2).

    "We're basically trying to do everything we can," Spikes said. "When game day comes, hopefully, I'll be able to play."

    On the 49ers' depth chart, rookie NaVorro Bowman is listed as the backup to Spikes with Keaton Kristick listed behind Willis.

    For more on the 49ers, see Daniel Brown's Hot Read blog at blogs.mercurynews.com/49ers.

    TWO KEY INJURIES

    Undisclosed hand injuries to Patrick Willis and Takeo Spikes could leave a huge void at linebacker Thursday.

    Patrick Willis
    Linebacker
    125 tackles

    Takeo Spikes
    Linebacker
    102 tackles
     
  4. Trumpet_Man

    Trumpet_Man New Member

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    Five Things to Watch: 49ers vs. Chargers
    By Chris Jenkins

    Wednesday, December 15, 2010 at 2:08 p.m.

    49ers (5-8) at Chargers (7-6)

    Qualcomm Stadium

    Kickoff: 5:20 p.m.

    Caliente line: Chargers by 9.

    Series: 49ers lead 7-5.

    TV: Ch. 5 FOX, NFL Network (Bob Papa, Joe Theismann, Matt Millen)

    Radio: 105.3FM, 1360 AM. 107.3 FM (Spanish-language)

    Five Things to Watch

    1. Early birds, worms, etc.: In the NFL, and certainly when it comes to the Chargers, who scores last usually is far less important than who scores first. In the seven Chargers wins, they’ve led at the end of the first quarter six times, the other being a 7-7 tie with Denver. In those seven wins, the Chargers have led five at halftime. On the other hand, in four of their six losses, the Chargers have trailed after the first quarter and been tied at that point in the other two. San Diego’s trailed at halftime five times, all by 10-18 points, in those six losses. (They led in Oakland at the half, 17-15.) In sum, the team with the lead gets to do more of what it wants to do, and there’s a lot the Chargers like to do.

    2. Tight-en up: Used to be, not all that long ago, tight ends seemed particularly nettlesome to the Chargers. Anymore, not so much, to their credit. The 49ers have a definite connection between quarterback Alex Smith and tight end Vernon Davis, though, with 19 of the former’s 49 career TD passes going to the latter. Earlier this year, Davis scored with Smith passes in four straight games, then he caught none from Troy Smith. Returning behind center last Sunday, Alex Smith only waited a few minutes before hitting two passes to Davis, the second for a TD.

    3. Local knowledge: The connection between Alex Smith and Vernon Davis is important, but so might be the connection between Smith and Norv Turner, who was San Francisco’s offensive coordinator in 2006 and seemed to bring out the best in the mobile young quarterback. Conversely, who would know more about how to mess up a passer whose NFL career has been earmarked by erraticness?

    4. Easy pick?: On paper, Philip Rivers should have a field day against San Francisco’s pass defense. With the short week, though, the Chargers have been cramming in film study that shows the 49ers intercepting four passes while forcing Seattle turnovers in five of six straight series.

    5. Urgent! Urgent!: The helmets make it tough to read the desperation on players’ faces, but you can sure see it in the body language, and it often seems that the Chargers must be this close to virtual elimination before starting to play like the demons they were last Sunday at Qualcomm. Beating the Chiefs was big, but the Chargers are one game closer to the end of the season, Kansas City one game closer to clinching the AFC West title.
     
  5. nickelbolt

    nickelbolt Fuggedaboutit

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    I don't give a shiit if they were all 100% healthy. If you can't beat this 49ers team at full strength, then you don't deserve to sniff the playoffs.


    But still... I'll give this story a bunch o' [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]'s
     
  6. SDRaiderH8er

    SDRaiderH8er Well-Known Member

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    dont tell Leo that
     
  7. Buck Melanoma

    Buck Melanoma Guest

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    I'd rep you both if I could.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  8. Concudan

    Concudan Caffeinated Commando

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    You must spread some Reputation around before giving it to nickelbolt again.
     
  9. RM24

    RM24 BoltTalker

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    They better, or the result will end up like the Faider game.....:mad:
     
  10. SDRaiderH8er

    SDRaiderH8er Well-Known Member

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    its all good, we all want the same thing!

    A freaking RING!!!!!!!!
     

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