SANTA CLARA -- Kickers are a tight-knit fraternity where secrets are shared and information gleaned over years is passed along.

But there's a limit, as 49ers kicker Phil Dawson learned when he phoned Carolina kicker Graham Gano, seeking advice for kicking in Charlotte when the 49ers and Panthers meet in an NFC divisional playoff on Sunday.

"Just to get a few ideas," Dawson said Friday before the 49ers boarded a plane for Charlotte. "To his credit, he didn't give me a lot of information. So, the gamesmanship has begun."

Dawson is in his 15th NFL season. However, he has played only two games against the Panthers in their stadium -- once during a regular-season game, the other an exhibition.

"It's been a while," Dawson said.

Hence, Dawson's bold attempt to uncover some tips about footing, turf conditions and wind patterns.

"He pretty much said, 'See you Sunday,' " Dawson said of his brief conversation with Gano. "So, I'll have to do the homework myself."

Dawson converted all three of his field-goal attempts in a 23-20 victory over the Green Bay Packers in a wild-card game last Sunday. Those came in brutal conditions. Dawson said he's looking forward to kicking in more favorable conditions against the Panthers.

"Well, it's a lot different than last week, that's for sure," Dawson said. "Every day has its challenges, so I'll get out there early Sunday and see what's going on for that given game day and come up with a plan."

Part of that plan involves calling kickers. You can bet Dawson will make more calls between now and Sunday's game, perhaps to former Panthers kicker John Kasay, among others.

"I try to get as much information as possible," Dawson said. "I don't have an opponent across the line of scrimmage. The conditions of the day are my opponent. So, anything I can do to study and prepare, I'll take advantage of that."

  • After missing practice Friday, starting cornerback Carlos Rogers appears unlikely to play Sunday.

    Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said Thursday that Rogers needed to practice at some point before Sunday. Rogers missed all three practices this week as a result of a hamstring injury he suffered in the 49ers' regular-season finale.

    Rogers is listed as questionable on the official injury report. That equates to a 50-50 chance. Coach Jim Harbaugh said he isn't sure what percent chance Rogers has of playing, "but I suppose there's a chance."

    Rogers also missed all of the 49ers practices in the run-up to the Packers game, and he wasn't activated for the game.

    Rogers was on the practice field Friday, but he worked with a trainer on a field adjacent to where his teammates went through a light practice.

    Tarell Brown figures to start in place of Rogers for the second straight game. Perrish Cox, in turn, can expect significant playing time as an extra defensive back.

  • Colin Kaepernick had one of his worst games as an NFL player the first time the 49ers played the Panthers.

    In that game, he completed 11 of 22 passes for 91 yards and no touchdowns. The Panthers also sacked Kaepernick six times and intercepted one of his passes.

    "It definitely wasn't our best day at the office," offensive coordinator Greg Roman said.

    Kaepernick completed passes to six receivers against the Panthers. However, three of those players aren't on the roster or are out for the season -- Mario Manningham, Kyle Williams and Bruce Miller.

    Also, tight end Vernon Davis suffered a concussion in the second quarter and missed the rest of the game. He is back at full strength, and wide receiver Michael Crabtree now is in the lineup.

  • What a difference a week makes. The forecast for Sunday's game calls for a high of 57 degrees, with no chance of rain and winds topping out at 7 mph. Last Sunday, the 49ers and Packers were greeted by a kickoff temperature of 4 degrees, with a wind chill of minus-10. When the 49ers and Panthers played Nov. 10 at Candlestick, the temperature reached 62, with 6 mph winds.

  • Harbaugh had wrestler Ric Flair speak in front of his players before the Packers game last Sunday. He said no speaker is planned this week.