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Nolan ponders changes as Niners hit off week



Published: Tue, October 17, 2006 @ 12:00 a.m.



The coach is contemplating several personnel changes.

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) -- The San Francisco 49ers have been outscored by 70 points in their first six games this season. Their open week provides plenty of time for coach Mike Nolan to ponder ways to close that gap.

The coach plans to use all that time before making any changes.

Nolan hinted Monday that a team reconstruction could be afoot after a 48-19 loss to San Diego. Still, the Niners (2-4) won't commit to anything until they've had a few more days to digest a season that's both been more encouraging and more frustrating than last year's 4-12 campaign.

"We talk about patience and trying to build something, but patience is active," Nolan said. "Some people like to try to live through these difficult times. I do not. ... There are some things we can do."

The players have a few ideas as well. Even Bryant Young, the 49ers' longtime stalwart defensive lineman, believes San Francisco must make adjustments to prevent its beleaguered 00000defense from being embarrassed even more.

4-3 or 3-4 or 4-4

Specifically, Young believes the Niners probably should pick a defense and stick with it. The 49ers have shuttled among 4-3, 3-4 and even 4-4 schemes this season, mostly in an effort to generate a consistent pass rush -- and that indecision doesn't help.

"What we need to do is find a home that we can go to, whether it be a 3-4 or a 4-3," the 13-year veteran said Monday. "No matter what the call is, everybody is on the same page. ... I would prefer whatever fits this defense best. Whatever front, I don't know."

But Nolan is contemplating several personnel changes that could improve the 49ers' most woeful areas: pass defense, pass rushing and offensive line play.

Rookie Parys Haralson and Brandon Moore should get more chances to rush the passer after San Francisco failed to sack Philip Rivers, who passed for 334 yards and two touchdowns. Haralson and Moore are dubious options, but the 49ers simply don't have any others after allowing linebackers Julian Peterson and Andre Carter to leave as free agents.

Copyright 2006 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.




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