When it comes to the run game, the Falcons are expecting a steady commitment from the Niners.
"I think that the running back that's going to be out there is going to be good and give us a challenge," defensive end Kroy Biermann said. "That's the way it is every weekend."
A SORT OF HOMECOMMING:Numerous Falcons have connections to California and the San Francisco Bay Area, but among the most excited is 2009 third-round draft pick Christopher Owens, a Los Angeles native who played collegiately at San Jose State, which is about 45 minutes from San Francisco.
Owens said the growing list of friends and family who want to attend the game is currently at 25. He referred to Sunday's game as a "home game" for himself.
In addition, San Jose States play at home on Saturday against Idaho in a homecoming game, which Owens hopes to attend. (The Spartans have not fared so well in the post-Owens era, going 1-3).
A cornerback, Owens has been active in every game, playing on special teams, but he has yet to get on the field on defense. He is enjoying his opportunity, saying special teams is "exciting."
He said he knows he has to improve to get on the field defensively and for now is happy to follow a progression that has worked for other young Falcons such as Jason Snelling and Biermann, both in their third seasons, in which they prove themselves on special teams and work into important contributing roles on offense or defense.
"I'm on the field and I feel good about it," Owens said. "As long as we're winning, I want the team to win and I'm doing my part. Special teams is important, too, it's not just offense and defense. Special teams can win and lose games, too."
INJURY REPORT:The most newsworthy name to make this week's injury report is fullback Ovie Mughelli (hamstring), whom Smith said was limited in his participation.
Facing what Smith called one of the league's top linebacking corps in the 49ers, Mughelli's effectiveness as a blocker will be a key for the running game.
Kicker Jason Elam (hamstring) also continues to be on the injury report. Smith said Elam kicks only on Thursdays, so his participation was not affected on Wednesday. Smith said he expects no adverse effects for Elam come game time.
"Jason is fine," Smith said.
Defensive back Antoine Harris, known mostly for his special teams play, did not practice because of an injured knee.
DOUGLAS HOSTS FUNDRAISER:Injured wide receiver Harry Douglas will host a fundraiser for the March of Dimes on Oct. 19 at Ten Pin Alley at Atlantic Station.
According to the March of Dimes, the event will help to fund research and community grants, education programs and advocacy efforts to help ensure healthy outcomes for babies born in Georgia.
VIP sponsor packages are available for the event at $2,500; "lane" sponsorships are going for $1,000 and team sponsorships are $500. The night will include a silent auction with autographed memorabilia.
For more information contact Rachel Dahm or Lindsay Masters at 404-350-9800 or visit http://www.marchofdimes.com/georgia
MORE FALCONS-49ERS COVERAGE:
NOTEBOOK:Reserve running back to play for 49ers * TRANSCRIPT:Thoughts from the Falcons locker room about the Niners * BEAT BLOG:Breaking down previous games and future opponents * J. MIKE'S MISSIVES:J. Mike looks at TV listings and more on the game * VIDEO:Head Coach Mike Smith | Ryan | Gonzalez | Abraham | Biermann * EXPERT'S TAKE:Pete Prisco evaluates the Falcons for Week 5