The Best Seat In The House For All Your News On The 5 Time World Champion Niners

The Best Seat In The House For All Your News On The 5 Time World Champion Niners
A review and commentary on the history & lastest events surrounding the 17 time NFC Western Division & 5 -Time World Champion San Francisco 49ers. From 1946 and the All America Football Conference to 2009 and the road to a 6th Super Bowl title - For true fans of the scarlet and gold! Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Lelie May Be "Odd Man Out" On The WR Carousel

The wide-out carousel in San Francisco has been one of the intriguing battles to watch in this years camp. Coach Mike Nolan has been undecisive on whether he will keep 5 or 6 wide receivers for the regular season. Looking at the group in camp and how they have performed this camp, and in the mini-camps before that in the spring, I believe that Ashley Lelie (right) is going to be the odd man out. His drama and issues already with the Niners so far have put him on the bubble with Nolan and it continues a trend of difficulty in maximizing his potential with other teams before.

After being picked in the first round by the Denver Broncos in 2002, Ashley Lelie failed to live up to expectations for four years. His best season in Denver was 2004, when he caught 54 passes for 1,084 yards and seven touchdowns and led the NFL with an average of 20.1 yards per catch. But he regressed the next year, scoring just one touchdown on 42 receptions.The Broncos got tired of waiting for him to become a consistent contributor, so they traded for Javon Walker before last season and planned to start the former Green Bay first-rounder opposite longtime veteran Rod Smith. That move angered Lelie, who then demanded to be released or traded so he could start elsewhere.

The Broncos eventually complied, sending the underachieving receiver to Atlanta as part of a three-team trade before the season. But even in Atlanta, which had one of the worst receiving groups in the league, Lelie could not unseat the top wideouts, Roddy White and Michael Jenkins. Lelie caught just 28 passes last season, and the Falcons let him walk.So the former Hawaii star headed back to the Pacific coast. Intent on restaffing their receiving corps during the offseason, the 49ers made Lelie their first acquisition by signing him to a two-year, $4.3 million deal in March. At the time, many assumed he was slated to start opposite Arnaz Battle. But then the Niners obtained Darrell Jackson in a trade with Seattle in late April, and Lelie once again found himself sliding down a depth chart.A strained quadriceps pushed the 26-year-old even farther down the receiving line as he missed most of the offseason program and began camp with the third unit which frustrated Nolan. But he finally is starting to work his way back up. The 6-foot-3 speedster has unique talents among the 49ers' receivers, and if he can display them regularly, he might be able to secure a spot.

Lelie took steps in that direction last Saturday when he finally hooked up with quarterback Alex Smith for a couple of big gains, catching passes of 20 and 14 yards against the Oakland Raiders . The quarterback also showed his lack of familiarity with the long-striding receiver, throwing behind him on one route. Taylor Jacobs (right) reportedly has looked better than any receivers in camp so far, so Lelie will have to remain healthy and produce when given the chance if he is to beat out the 6-1 Jacobs.

The 49ers figure to keep as many as six receivers. Darrell Jackson and Arnaz Battle (above #83) are locks, as are youngsters Brandon Williams and Jason Hill. That leaves Lelie, Jacobs and Bryan Gilmore (left)fighting for probably two spots.If Lelie can stay healthy and connect with Smith more and more over the next two weeks, he has an outside chance to get one of those spots. However, at this point, he may be running out of time and chances and both Jacobs and Gilmore have looked better up to this point.

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