The San Francisco 49ers announced on Tuesday cornerback Darryl Morris was promoted from the practice squad to the active roster. Morris replaces the roster spot vacated by Aldon Smith, who is out indefinitely.
Morris was signed as an undrafted free agent by the 49ers on May 7, 2013. He stayed with the team through training camp and the preseason, but was released during the roster cuts. He was signed to San Francisco’s practice squad on September 2.
While playing at Texas State, Morris had 223 tackles, 16.5 tackles for a loss, 26 passes defensed and five interceptions. Taking Morris’ spot on the practice squad is linebacker D’Aundre Reed. The linebacker was a seventh-round draft pick by the Minnesota Vikings in 2011. He has appeared in only six games in his career and he was released by the Vikings on September 9.
It was surprising seeing the Niners add Morris to the active roster. Many expected running back LaMichael James to be activated as San Francisco’s offense needs all the help it can receive to get back on track. There has been no official word, but according to a tweet from James, he is healthy and ready to go:
Hey ____ my knee feels fine I’m ready to play …
— LaMichael James (@LaMichaelJames) September 23, 2013
When Jim Harbaugh was asked about James being added to the roster for Thursday night’s showdown against the St. Louis Rams and if James was healthy, he said, “We will make that evaluation.”
Typical Harbaugh being tight lipped about plans on adding James. But the 49ers cannot continue to be typical, at least not on offense. They need any help they can get and James could provide a jolt to the offense. Last season, James only rushed 27 times for 125 yards, a 4.6 yards per rush average, and caught 3 passes for 29 yards in four games. But he returned 14 kicks for almost 30 yards per attempt during that time.
In the postseason, James was even more valuable, as he had 11 carries for 65 yards, which averaged out to 5.9 yards per attempt.
In the first three games of the season, the Niners rank 23rd in passing offense and 19th in rushing offense. James brings a two-fold dimension to the offense as a running back that can run and catch passes out of the backfield. In addition, James is a much better kick and punt returner than the current options, Kyle Williams and Perrish Cox.
Let’s hope Harbaugh has a strong reason for not activating James. If James is 100% healthy, Harbaugh is undermining his team by not utilizing a great option on offense and the special teams.