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Defenses Clamping Down On Fitz

Notebook: Snyder doesn't get emotional in facing former team; Haggans fits in SF


Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald was held to four catches for 29 yards last week in Minnesota.

Larry Fitzgerald hopes the San Francisco 49ers didn't watch the Cardinals game last Sunday against Minnesota.

He hopes they didn't see how the Vikings played their secondary deep with the primary goal to keep Fitzgerald from breaking loose for a deep pass or a long run. It worked. Fitzgerald caught four passes for 29 yards in a 21-14 loss last weekend, his second-lowest output of the season.

Fitzgerald is used to being the focal point of a defense's game plan but it's nothing new.

"It's par for the course," Fitzgerald said. "There's going to be games that some teams are going to try to totally eliminate you, other games they're going to take more chances. I just got to make my plays when given the opportunity."

In the meantime, as defenses try to take away Fitzgerald as a threat, the six-time Pro Bowler understands the more attention he gets means his fellow receivers are getting less.

"It's going to open up things for other guys," quarterback John Skelton said. "Our running game has been doing a lot better, so if we can carry that into the red zone, it will help, too."

Fitzgerald is averaging 65.6 yards per game this season and has three games of more than 90 yards, including a season-high 114 against Philadelphia.

Fitzgerald expects a playbook worth of looks from the 49ers on Monday night. He's watched film of how San Francisco covered Detroit's Calvin Johnson and the Green Bay Packers' offense.

The 49ers, for instance, has a lot of movement pre-snap trying to disguise their coverages.

"Every week there is a different type of approach," coach Ken Whisenhunt said. "We try to move him around and put him in different spots and make that more difficult. Teams go about it in different ways. But generally, they are definitely aware of Larry."

And Larry is definitely aware of them.

"I hope I get singled all game," he said. "That would be ideal."


Despite being drafted by the 49ers in 2005 and playing the first seven years of his career in San Francisco, guard Adam Snyder said his first game against his former team won't be sentimental.

"I've created such a bond with the guys here, I'm just looking at it like another game," Snyder said. "It's an opportunity for us to play a divisional opponent."

Snyder started 69 games for the 49ers and was part of a unit that led them to the NFC Championship Game last season. But his ties to the Niners are dwindling. Quarterback Alex Smith and running back Frank Gore are the only two 49ers left from Snyder's draft class.

"The guys I came in with are all gone," Snyder said. "Most are retired or on other teams."


Former Cardinals linebacker Clark Haggans has made the most of his limited time in San Francisco.

He's played just two snaps for the Niners, both coming against Seattle last week. He didn't play in three games and was suspend for three others. Niners coach Jim Harbaugh said the possibility of Haggans getting more playing time is "definitely a possibility."

"I've really been impressed with him as a professional," Harbaugh said. "He played two snaps in the ballgame last week and they were in the heat of the game and he did well. Also, every week, his tests, you look at it and it looks like it's a rookie first-year player is filling out the test, not in that he knows everything, but he fills it out with a real enthusiasm and detail.

"It's a really good thing, and he's well prepared every week. We've got a lot of confidence in him."


Whisenhunt said there was a "good chance" safety Kerry Rhodes will be able to play Monday against the 49ers, although Rhodes was one of many Cards unable to practice fully Thursday.

Cornerbacks Jamell Fleming (back) and Greg Toler (hamstring) along with quarterback Kevin Kolb (ribs) could not practice. Rhodes led the list of seven players who were limited: defensive tackle Darnell Dockett (hamstring), tight ends Jim Dray and Todd Heap (both have knee issues), safety James Sanders (knee) and Snyder (quadricep).

The only 49er who didn't practice fully was tackle Joe Staley, who sat out with an illness.

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