Saturday’s preseason game against the Oakland Raiders may not mean a whole lot in the larger scheme of things for the 49ers, but for certain players it could mean everything.
Here are five players who need to have good performances if they want to hold onto to their starting jobs, or in some cases, to their roster spots altogether.
I didn’t include any players from yesterday’s “stock down” list, because I didn’t want to be redundant, and those players seemed doomed anyway. These players could go either way, up or down, depending on how they play tomorrow.
- Anthony Davis. His signature move in practice is to false start and still get beat around the edge by a rushing outside linebacker. Keeping Alex Smith healthy is job one for Davis. If he gets beat badly, Alex Boone could get some reps with the first team at right tackle. Harbaugh intimated yesterday he believes Boone is starter-quality.
- Chilo Rachal. Even though Harbaugh praised Rachal yesterday after practice for his fitness and his work ethic, Rachal needs to show he can block first-string defensive lineman. He’s looked good the last couple of days against the scout team. If he struggles again in a preaseason game, look for Adam Snyder to take his job at right guard.
- Ted Ginn Jr. He drops at least one pass per practice, and it seems like his best role for a NFL would be as a kickoff returner. But with kickoffs routinely sailing deep into endzones this year due to the rule changes, a good kickoff returner seems like an unnecessary luxury. Ginn needs to show he can be a valuable slot receiver, and right now Joshua Morgan and Kyle Williams look like better slot options.
- Shawntae Spencer. He’s barely practiced this training camp due to a hamstring strain, but even before the injury, Vic Fangio refused to name Spencer as a sure-starter. Spencer has a down season in 2010, and with all the excitement Tramaine Brock has created in training camp, and with the rookie Chris Culliver on the rise, Spencer could be in jeopardy of losing his starting job.
- Moran Norris. He has the same problem ted Ginn has – he can’t catch. He does one thing, and that’s block. Harbaugh says he wants versatile players, so if Norris can’t do something to stand out on Saturday, he could get cut altogether.
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