49ers' Willis expects to play despite wrist injury

Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP file photoNiners linebacker Patrick Willis says he will play Sunday despite a wrist injury.

Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP file photoNiners linebacker Patrick Willis says he will play Sunday despite a wrist injury.

SANTA CLARA — A wrist injury that limited San Francisco linebacker Patrick Willis in practice will not prevent him from playing Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles.

“His status is fine,” defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said. “He aggravated his wrist a little bit (Wednesday) but I don't think it will be of concern and is not a long-range problem.”

His health is a good thing for the 49ers (1-2), already down a pair of all-pro linebackers, against the Eagles' high-octane, energetic offense that thrives on a lightning-fast pace.

Willis and fellow linebacker Michael Wilhoite will feel like they are under siege in the passing game as the Eagles (3-0) churn out every conceivable type of formation, especially with 10-year veteran Darren Sproles and six-year vet LeSean McCoy as part of the package coming out of the backfield.

“When those guys get 1-on-1 with the linebackers, they see it as a disadvantage for us and an advantage for them,” Willis said. “We just have to play football and rally to the ball.”

The 49ers are also looking at a team that does most of its scoring in the second half, a problem that has plagued San Francisco the past two weeks. The 49ers have also not been scoring in the second half.

“We know what has been happening to us,” Willis said. “It's important to play a full game. Regardless of whether they are a second-half team, we're not finishing the game. It's been one play here, one play there that has kept us from playing a complete game.”

Offensive coordinator Greg Roman quoted football analyst and former Indianapolis Colts' President Bill Polian when asked about the lack of scoring.

“A wise man once told me that 'all the answers are on film, kid,'” Roman said. “That's what I live by. There's not one blanket thing that explains. You watch film and question whether I should have done this or done that. It's play to play, very specific.”

Roman may have two important players back in tight end Vernon Davis (ankle strain) and tackle Anthony Davis (hamstring), both of whom participated in Thursday's practice.

“We'll see,” said Anthony Davis. “I'm close. It will be good to be back with the guys to do what we do.”

The lineman experienced his first major setback with a shoulder problem during camp and then a strained hamstring in the first game of the season.

“It's boring,” Davis said of not being able to play or practice. “All I did was think about playing. You just deal with it.”

Roman said having both players back would change things.

“It's all about the players and their strengths,” he said. “Those guys would have to factor into the equation. If they come back, things will tilt to their strengths. Getting Vernon back would change how we approach things to utilize his strengths.”

Roman, Fangio and 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh are familiar with Chip Kelly and his philosophy, having coached at Stanford against Kelly's Oregon team. Eagles quarterback Nick Foles ran a similar offense in college at Arizona.

Roman and Kelly spent meaningful time together both in Oregon and San Francisco.

“It's just two guys talking football,” Roman said. “Watching film talking technique and seeing how somebody thinks.”

NOTES: Fangio said your normal routine between plays goes out the window against an up tempo team. “It's altered this game,” he said. “All the things you talk about has to be limited in this type of game.” Willis said there's no time for any extra chatter. “You go right to the next play. You can't worry about what just happened,” he said. “There's no question playing against an up-tempo offense will wear on you a little. It's important to get off the field and for the offense to stay on the field or keep scoring points.”

NFLPatrick WillisPhiladelphia EaglesSan Francisco 49ers

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