49ers initial 53-man roster breakdown


49ers initial 53-man roster breakdown

The 49ers are down to 53 players.

But will the 53 players they settled on Friday at 6 p.m. be the same 53 players they have on the practice field Saturday at 1:30 p.m.?The claiming period for players placed on waivers at the final roster reduction will expire at 9 a.m. So there will still be some roster shuffling around the NFL.RECAP: 49ers transition tracker recap
But at least for a few hours, the 49ers' 53-man roster is the 49ers' 53-man roster.Let's take a closer look, shall we?Quarterbacks (3): Alex Smith, Colin Kaepernick, Scott Tolzien.
Comment -- It's the same depth chart as a year ago, when Kaepernick and Tolzien were rookies. The thing to keep in mind is that the 49ers' coaching staff and personnel department see these players every day for nearly three-hour practices. They also work with them in the classroom. Everybody else gets to see the players only in the exhibition games. Josh Johnson was cut after a good performance Thursday night. But let's remember, he badly overthrew two wide-open receivers in games at Houston and Denver. He threw two touchdown passes Thursday against San Diego. One was a pass at the line of scrimmage that Nathan Palmer turned into a 51-yard score, and the other was a 3-yard toss. I think Tolzien's consistency in practices is what won him the job. And it also doesn't hurt that -- if it was a toss up -- Tolzien is younger and is scheduled to make approximately 300,000 less than Johnson this season.REWIND: 49ers release Josh Johnson; Tolzien wins No. 3 QB job
Running backs (6): Frank Gore, Kendall Hunter, Brandon Jacobs, LaMichael James, Bruce Miller, Anthony Dixon.
Comment -- Dixon worked his way onto this roster through his play at halfback, fullback and special teams. His willingness to help the team in every area made veteran Rock Cartwright expendable. The other running back spots were clear cut. The only thing that's not clear cut is their exact roles, especially for rookie LaMichael James.Wide receivers (6): Michael Crabtree, Randy Moss, Mario Manningham, Ted Ginn, Kyle Williams, A.J. Jenkins.
Comment -- This was a pretty straight-forward position grouping. Crabtree, Moss and Manningham are the 49ers' top three receivers. Ginn and Williams are the top return men. And Jenkins is a player they can afford to take time to develop.Tight ends (4): Vernon Davis, Delanie Walker, Demarcus Dobbs, Garrett Celek.
Comment -- Davis and Walker are set. Dobbs doubles as a defensive lineman, but his availability for early in the season is in question due to a calf injury. Celek was the initial surprise. He won a roster spot over Konrad Reuland. Celek is the younger brother of Philadelphia Eagles tight end Brent Celek. Garrett had an injury-plagued college career at Michigan State, where he caught 14 passes in his four-year career, including just five for 52 yards in his final two seasons. After dropping his share of passes early in camp, Celek came on strong.
Offensive line (8): Joe Staley, Mike Iupati, Jonathan Goodwin, Alex Boone, Anthony Davis, Leonard Davis Daniel Kilgore. Joe Looney.
Comment -- The 49ers' backup tackle is also their starting right guard. Boone is the only reserve who plays tackle. He was the swing tackle a year ago. If the 49ers need a tackle, Leonard Davis steps into the lineup at right guard and Boone moves to tackle. If the 49ers need a guard, Leonard Davis is the man. If the 49ers need a center, that's where Kilgore comes in. All indications are that the 49ers will try to bring back Mike Person to the practice squad.Defensive line (6): Ray McDonald, Isaac Sopoaga, Justin Smith, Ricky Jean Francois, Will Tukuafu, Ian Williams.
Comment -- Also, add Dobbs to this list. He's now wearing No. 83, so he'll be listed primarily as a tight end. So the 49ers decided to go heavy with defensive linemen again this season. Williams was on the bubble. He'll begin the season inactive for games as the 49ers have plenty of depth at this position.Outside linebackers (3): Aldon Smith, Ahmad Brooks, Parys Haralson.
Comment -- The 49ers could not justify, at this point, retaining a fourth outside linebacker, either Eric Bakhtiari or Ikaika Alama-Francis. Haralson has an undisclosed injury that kept him out of Thursday's game. The 49ers could look to the outside for some help here.Inside linebackers (4): Patrick Willis, NaVorro Bowman, Larry Grant, Tavares Gooden.
Comment -- Willis and Bowman were two first-team All-Pros last season. Grant was the player off the sideline to fill-in, and both Grant and Gooden were core special-teams players. Nothing changes.Cornerbacks (5): Carlos Rogers, Tarell Brown, Chris Culliver, Perrish Cox, Tramaine Brock.
Comment -- Cox played his way onto the roster with a strong offseason program and training camp. It remains to be seen exactly how the 49ers plan to use him, but we'll find out Sept. 9 when the 49ers face the multi-receiver attack of the Green Bay Packers. Brock was up-and-down at cornerback, but he's a very good special-teams player, particularly at gunner in punt coverage.Safeties (5): Dashon Goldson, Donte Whitner, C.J. Spillman, Trenton Robinson, Darcel McBath.
Comment -- Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio never spoke highly of the backup safeties. Last year, the third safety was Reggie Smith. After the season, he and GM Trent Baalke agreed that it would be in Smith's best interest -- and the team's -- for him to test the free-agent market. Smith went to Carolina, and was cut on Friday. Currently, Spillman is the No. 3 safety. McBath earned his way onto the roster at this point with a good camp. Robinson, a sixth-round draft pick, is still developing. The 49ers parted ways with a good special teams player when they traded Colin Jones to Carolina. But Jones offered nothing as a safety. Specialists (3): David Akers, Andy Lee, Brian Jennings.
Comment -- This veteran group of Pro Bowl players was never in doubt. Beginning Saturday at 9 a.m., clubs may establish a practice squad of eight players by signing free agents who do not have an accrued season of free agency credit or who were on the 46-player active list for less than nine regular season games during each of any accrued seasons. A player cannot participate on the practice squad for more than three seasons.Among the strong candidates for positions on the 49ers' practice squad are: receiver Nathan Palmer (or Chris Owusu), linemen Mike Person, Al Netter and Derek Hall, linebackers Michael Wilhoite and Cam Johnson, and safety Michael Thomas.

Shanahan showed patience with Beathard; Will now have to show more

Shanahan showed patience with Beathard; Will now have to show more

Kyle Shanahan is, self admittedly, not a patient person. As he watched quarterback C.J. Beathard run the scout team over the last couple of weeks -- how he visualized an unfamiliar play, went through his progressions and handled the defensive coverages -- the head coach saw rapid improvement every day. But he suppressed any urge to play the rookie before he was ready.

“I tried to wait for the right time for him and the right time for the team,” Shanahan explained.

Down 14-0 to Washington halfway through the second quarter with starter Brian Hoyer struggling, Shanahan knew Beathard’s time had come.

“I felt the team needed it right then,” Shanahan said. “It also made me more confident to do it because I thought he was ready for it, also.”

Moments after the game was over, Shanahan named Beathard the starter. Watching the game tape on the flight home only bolstered his decision.

“By no means was he perfect, missed a couple of things, but that always happens,” Shanahan said. “I thought he came in there, didn’t hesitate, competed. The moment was not too big for him. Made a few plays in rhythm, made a few off schedule plays and was a big reason we got back in that game.”

Beathard led the 49ers on two scoring drives and finished 19-of-36 with 245 passing yards, a touchdown and an interception, though it came on fourth-and-20 on his final pass attempt of the game. On his 45-yard touchdown pass to Aldrick Robinson, Beathard extended the play when the fifth year receiver wasn’t where he expected him to be.

“He was supposed to go to the post for a certain coverage, and they had a busted coverage, so he just hung out there which is why C.J. didn’t see it right away,” Shanahan explained. “We had enough protection where he could take a couple more hitches. He drove the pocket and saw where Aldrick was, and he didn’t hesitate. Made that throw with that arm strength.”

Shanahan smirked at his not-so-subtle dig at those who questioned Beathard’s arm strength during the draft process. He sees a quarterback who can make all the throws, and make them from the pocket, and scramble when he needs to. All he needs now, Shanahan contends, is experience.

“It’s about playing in the game and reacting to defenses, reacting to coverages, reacting to adjustments. He’s going to see a lot of things he hasn’t seen before, and that will change each week. It will probably change each quarter.”

Helping Beathard continue to grow through those experiences will require patience, but in this situation, it’s the kind the head coach can handle.

“You’re never going to get a quick answer. You see over time, but he’s got the ability to do it. He’s got the mental toughness to do it. I think he will get better the more he plays.”

Armstead to undergo surgery on broken hand, out indefinitely


Armstead to undergo surgery on broken hand, out indefinitely

Defensive lineman Arik Armstead will be out indefinitely with a broken hand, 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan announced Monday.

“He’s going to need surgery, so it’s going to be some time,” Shanahan said of Armstead, the 49ers' first-round pick in the 2015 draft.

The 49ers will discuss placing Armstead of injured reserve, which would rule him out for at least eight weeks. The 49ers will also be without defensive end Aaron Lynch this week against the Dallas Cowboys. Lynch is week-to-week with a calf strain.

“The more guys you lose, the less you like that depth,” Shanahan said. “Losing Arik, which could be some time. We’ll have to discuss IR. We have to do that over the next couple of days. We know we’re going to have Lynch out, too, for at least a week or most likely more. That takes away two guys who were helping.”

The 49ers might make a roster move to add a defensive lineman to their 53-man roster. The 49ers also expect outside linebacker/defensive end Dekoda Watson to return to action this week after missing two weeks with a groin strain.