The upcoming week is probably the last week of competition for starting jobs and roster spots. After next Saturday’s game against the Texans, the final two weeks of practice will be focused on the opening game against Seatlle, and the starters will be getting almost all of the reps in practices. Special Teams coordinator Brad Seely will finally know which guys he’s going to have on his various units.
The first roster cut down will be from 90 to 80, which shouldn’t be too difficult. But the next cut, a few days later, is a whopper, as teams go from 80 to 53. 864 bodies will be cast adrift around the league and many of these floaters will have some real value and get thrown a life line by teams needing to fill some last minute holes in their rosters. The 49ers seem to have enough bodies for their secondary, their entire offense, and only the D-line backups are a bit untested. It would not be surprising to see the team pick up a serviceable DT and/or DE from the floating 864.
Last Saturday’s squashing of the Raiders certainly pumped up the team, if not the blogopolis, which was tepid in its approval and optimism. A wary group of fans who have become all too cognizant of the ethereal value of preseason success and the team’s maddening inability to sustain that success in the regular season and in a regular fashion during that real time arena. This fan base has heard a lot of tell, but not seen nearly enough show.
Next Saturday’s game against the Texans should give us a better idea of how well our defense, and especially our secondary, is going to hold up this year. The Texans have a very good offense and it ran up a sizeable lead on the 49ers the last time the teams met. That game in 2009 marked the end of Shaun Hill’s tenure as the starting QB here and ushered in the second coming of the career of Alex Smith.
Looking back at that game, Hill is probably glad it happened, since it led to his trade to Detroit, where he is the unquestioned and invaluable backup to the oft injured Lions starter, Matthew Stafford. The Lions are also a team on the rise in the NFC Central, and only the Packers, Bears, and their own history of ill luck stand in their way of legitimacy in the NFL. That legitimacy may only be worth third place in their division, but to Lions fans that’s a quantum leap forward.
49er expatriates Manny Lawson and Nate Clements have not fared nearly as well. Both signed up with the bottom feeding Bengals this offseason and stand a very good chance of playing for a team that will be in the mix for next year’s number one draft choice. Clements is on the downside of his career, but good old Manny is in his prime and got run over pretty good by the lockout and the resulting free agency free fall. It’ll be a long, long year for those two.
Practices will be closed from now until the start of the regular season, so we won’t be getting any further reports from the 49er beat writers on the various fortunes of one player or another. I doubt any of us will lose any sleep over this news blackout, but the beat guys are a little pissed about it. Hahaha. Join the rest of us outside the fence guys. Do what we do. Make shit up!