Top 5 takeaways from 49ers' 14-12 win over Chargers
Sitting this one out
Twenty of the 49ers’ regulars did not even step onto the field Thursday night for the team’s exhibition final against the San Diego Chargers at Levi’s Stadium. But that does not mean the night was a complete and utter waste of time. There were still some interesting elements that showed up as the team continued the process of deciding on its 53-man regular season roster:
5) Farrell gets nod over Looney
Joe Looney started at center on Thursday, but the 49ers believed second-year player Dillon Farrell outplayed him in the second half while playing 51 snaps. On Friday, the 49ers released Looney. Marcus Martin is slated to be the 49ers’ starting center with Daniel Kilgore expected to miss half of the season after undergoing follow-up surgery in June on his ankle and fibula. Farrell is the only backup lineman on the roster the 49ers feel comfortable playing at center.
4) Flexibility on the D-line
When the 49ers signed Darnell Dockett in March, some believed he was coming in to replace Justin Smith. But that simply was not the case. After all, Smith was an every-down player. The 49ers envisioned Dockett as a situational pass-rusher. But the play of some of the younger players, including rookie Arik Armstead, helped make Dockett easily replaceable. The 49ers cut Dockett on Friday. Also, the 49ers worked defensive lineman Tony Jerod-Eddie at outside linebacker to bring more options to their front seven.
3) Cornerbacks still unsettled
Tramaine Brock is the starter at one cornerback position. He did not play on Thursday as he continues to nurse a hamstring strain, but he is expected to be ready to go in the regular season opener. The other cornerback job is completely wide open with Kenneth Acker, Keith Reaser, Dontae Johnson and Shareece Wright remaining in the competition. When asked afterward if he’s made a decision, 49ers coach Jim Tomsula said no final call has been made. “I will be very detailed in all that thinking in a couple of days here,” he said.
2) Ellington shows burst
Wide receiver Bruce Ellington claims he is still not completely 100 percent, but he sure looked explosive while taking a quick slant, working his way across the field and outrunning the Chargers’ secondary en route to a 70-yard touchdown in the opening minute. He also had a 57-yard punt return nullified by a holding penalty. Ellington showed his big-play potential as a receiver and return man. If his balky hamstring put his roster status in question during most of training camp, he erased any doubt Thursday night.
1) Hayne is on, but role unclear
All indications are that running back/return man Jarryd Hayne has earned his way onto the 49ers’ 53-man roster. It would be a shock at this point if he does not make it. Hayne certainly earned it with an incredible transition from a year ago being a star in Australia’s National Ruby League. Hayne showed a gift in the return game. The only question is whether the 49ers will immediately place him or Ellington in that role when the regular season begins on Monday, Sept. 14, against the Minnesota Vikings.