Greg Roman spoke to the media on Thursday and praised Mario Manningham's football skills. The wide receiver will be activated either this week or after the bye week as he has been practicing since last week.
"Mario is a guy that’s got a really, really good understanding of football," Roman said. "He’s a guy that we would probably use the word ‘savvy’ to describe. [We] really like how he runs routes and how he understands leverage as the play develops. And he’s looking good and working hard."
Manningham tore two ligaments in Week 16 of the 2012 season against the Seattle Seahawks. After initially catching a ball, he was tackled by Jeremy Lane and took an awkward landing on his right leg. Manningham has been on the PUP until his first practice this year on October 16. The 49ers have a three week window to activate him to the 53-man roster with the deadline being on November 6.
In the 2012 offseason, Manningham signed a two-year contract with the 49ers to help bolster the WR corps. With Michael Crabtree being the most dominant target last year, Manningham will get his opportunity on the opposite side of Anquan Boldin.
Manningham is entering his sixth year in the league and should help a depleted WR group. Quinton Patton has a fractured foot and will be out for some time while Michael Crabtree is expected to return in late November coming off a torn Achilles tendon.
He will be expected to be another option for Colin Kaepernick in the passing game other than Vernon Davis and Boldin. In practice yesterday, he caught a deep touchdown pass which made the team excited for him, according to Roman. Rather than getting scout team snaps, he is practicing with the first team offense and defense, which is a good sign that his progress from the thorn ligaments is a full go.
With several games where Davis and Boldin are the only choices in the passing game, having a third weapon in Manningham will be crucial for the 49ers. The best part is that it will only get better in December when Crabtree should return.