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Patrick Willis fine playing either inside linebacker spot

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The 49ers expect to be without linebacker NaVorro Bowman for at least the first six weeks of the regular season as he continues to recover from the torn ACL he suffered in the NFC Championship Game.

They aren’t sure who will be taking his place in the lineup just yet, though. Michael Wilhoite and rookie Chris Borland are competing for the job and the result of their competition will determine how everyone lines up. If Wilhoite is the choice, Patrick Willis will switch to the “Mike” linebacker but he’ll remain as the “Jack” linebacker if Borland carries the day. Either outcome is fine with Willis.

“Honestly, I’ve always been a team player,” Willis said, via “Whatever is going to be best for the defense is whatever coach Vic [Fangio] decides. I’m going to play my very best at either/or. Right now, I’m preparing to play the ‘Mike,’ but if it happens I have to go back to ‘Jack,’ that’s where I’ve played these last three years, so I can hold it down there.”

Wilhoite started two games in place of an injured Willis last year, but Borland’s play at practice and in the opening preseason game has generated several positive reviews. The 49ers can let that battle play itself out while remaining confident that Willis will be just fine at either spot.

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23 Responses to “Patrick Willis fine playing either inside linebacker spot”
  1. pw1265 says: Aug 11, 2014 12:27 PM

    It does not matter, they are no better than 3rd this year in their own division.
    Let the hate pour in, but the FACTS will prove out at the end of the year.

    Seattle 12-4
    Arizona 11-5
    SF 9-7
    ST. Louis 9-7

  2. doctorrustbelt says: Aug 11, 2014 12:30 PM

    patrick willis is fine shooting growth hormone and testosterone.

  3. wny49er says: Aug 11, 2014 12:46 PM

    Seattle will have a nice fall from grace this year.

  4. thereisfootballwestofjersey says: Aug 11, 2014 12:47 PM


  5. uwsptke says: Aug 11, 2014 12:57 PM

    I’ve watched Borland for a few years as a Badgers fan, and you can guarantee that he will do everything in his power to win that spot, despite his physical limitations. It’s just a matter of whether or not his body holds up or if he succumbs to the injuries he’s sustained over the years.

  6. wallypecans says: Aug 11, 2014 1:14 PM

    No LB better than P Willy. There might be a guy that has a good year or two and play at a level similar to him during that time, but nobody better. He’ll play wherever the coaching staff puts him…and he’ll dominate.

  7. ninerandricefan says: Aug 11, 2014 1:16 PM

    I like the Borland pick too. Let the young guys get some experience and add to the best defense in the league. Esp with new faces in secondary

  8. eddiedbangedflorioswife says: Aug 11, 2014 1:19 PM

    How anyone can hate on Patrick Willis is beyond me. He has got to be one of the humblest and classiest dudes in the nfl. On top of that a top 5 linebacker to boot.

  9. braceyourselffor12 says: Aug 11, 2014 1:19 PM

    Ultimate team player that rose to become one of if not the best linebacker in the game. Never sounded off when the team was in the dumps and was just as dedicated when Harbaugh resurrected the franchise.

    GO NINERS!!!!!

  10. kaprajan says: Aug 11, 2014 1:20 PM

    patrick willis can do whatever he wants

  11. braceyourselffor12 says: Aug 11, 2014 1:21 PM

    Oh and look at the cawing from the 2012th man. It’s hilarious how insecure and frightened they are of the upcoming season with the League privy to their cheating philosophy.

    Expect these group of frauds as well as their bandwagon cheerleaders to fade back into oblivion ONCE AGAIN.

  12. senoreno says: Aug 11, 2014 1:25 PM

    The number on sea fan flag, represents the year they became seahawk fans.

  13. schmitty2 says: Aug 11, 2014 1:36 PM

    As a Rams fan I have obvious disdain for the Niners but there is no denying Willis is a stud. He could probably play safety and still excel if he wanted to.

  14. 12thman84 says: Aug 11, 2014 1:50 PM

    Win a Super Bowl this CENTURY then talk…

    Super Bowl Champs

    Go Hawks

  15. hawkfan50 says: Aug 11, 2014 2:04 PM

    As a Hawk fan who’s watched him play twice a year since he came into the league , I’d say Patrick Willis could play DE or WR or practically any position you wanna name and he’d be just fine – he’s that good of an athlete .

    And Niner fans , look you guys – there’s plenty of us old men around that have been Seahawk fans since ’76 ; give it a break guys .

  16. goldbloodedindfw says: Aug 11, 2014 2:11 PM

    A lot of people are doubting the Niner defense this year (especially the since 2012th man) considering the injuries to Dorsey and Bowman but I see honestly still see them having a top defense again this year. Dial will probably be replacing Dorsey and all I’ve read is good things about him in this years camp. Wilhoite will probably replace Bowman and he did a good job replacing Willis last year when he was hurt. I feel like all this nonsense I keep reading in these comments about how the Niners Defense is gonna be terrible this year is just wishful thinking on the part of fans that don’t like them.

  17. vetelmo says: Aug 11, 2014 2:20 PM

    I crack up when someone claims their opinion/guess is a fact.

  18. brasho says: Aug 11, 2014 2:27 PM

    I always thought of Willis as the Mike without consideration that Bowman really isn’t much of a Jack LB. That’s crazy, the 49ers have two athletic 3-4 ILBs that play way more like Mikes than Jacks. With the 49ers talent they could easily succeed as a 4-3 defense with Aldon Smith at RDE Justin Smith as UT, Ahmad Brooks at Sam, Willis at Mike, and Bowman at Will. That’s a lot of talent in the front 7. That talent would make any scheme work.

  19. sfwillis52 says: Aug 11, 2014 3:12 PM

    Patrick Willis wasn’t drafted 11th in the 2007 NFL draft. He was drafted 1…twice

  20. hess97 says: Aug 12, 2014 12:21 AM

    Best two LB’s in football. Willis has selflessly slid over to accommodate for Bowman being the better coverage backer. Both are 1a and 1b.

  21. hess97 says: Aug 12, 2014 12:26 AM

    One more thing about the niner’s D… I admit I’m worried about the oline and possibly the D ..but anyone saying they have two new corners as being a bad thing, didn’t watch Carlos Rogers the last 2 seasons.

  22. 49erlifer says: Aug 13, 2014 1:34 AM

    Patrick Willis is “The Most Interesting Man In The World” and even Chuck Norris would not dare try him! Doesnt matter where he plays wasnt he a jack behind spikes and d. Smith? Didnt he average 150 tackles a season?

  23. sGoDonkos says: Aug 20, 2014 9:51 PM

    aldon smith is the jack actually. it’s mike and will on the inside of the 3-4

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