SANTA CLARA -- Pro Bowl-bound Frank Gore said he's had to become a more patient runner because of the 49ers' read-option and pistol formations behind quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
"Some plays you just don't know if he's going to keep (the ball) or not," Gore said Wednesday. "I've got to be patient and can't hit the hole that fast in the pistol."
Perhaps known best for his vision to find holes, Gore's production has tailed off to 4.01 yards per carry in Kaepernick's six starts after he gained 5.38 per carry in Alex Smith's nine starts. Gore had only six carries for 28 yards in Sunday's 42-13 loss at Seattle, and only one carry after the first quarter.
"We do different things with Kap, as far as running the ball," said Gore, who has eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark for a franchise-record sixth season. He is 65 yards and one touchdown shy of matching last season's total of 1,211 yards and eight touchdowns.
Named to his fourth Pro Bowl, Gore noted that he feels stronger and fresher than a year ago at this time. He has 238 carries this season compared with last year's total of 282.
"It's been a pretty good year. I've played good football," Gore said. "I play hard, I'm consistent, and I help the team get wins."
"I'm a big believer in everything happens for a reason, and I'll come back stronger than ever," said Manningham, who expects to have surgery in a couple of weeks. His 42 receptions are the team's second-most behind Michael Crabtree's 77.
Jenkins, this year's first-round pick, said: "It's been a learning process being on the sideline, and I've been watching Randy (Moss) and Crabtree and everything they do." Kaepernick praised Jenkins' speed and quickness, adding: "You want to get the ball in his hands."
Come the offseason, the Cardinals could be pursuing another quarterback in Smith. Endorsing such a move would be former 49ers offensive lineman Adam Snyder, who joined the Cardinals as a free agent this season.
"The guy's got unbelievable character, and I think he's a leader," Snyder said on a conference call with Bay Area media. "If they have any questions about him, they can come and ask me. ... Alex worked for seven years to get to the position he was in. He was doing his job to win games."
Ricky Jean Francois has filled in since Smith sustained his injury in the third quarter of a win at New England. "He's been my coach the majority of the time, giving me feedback on things I need to focus on more," Jean Francois said of Smith.