Jason Hill upset with lack of chances

Jason Hill upset with lack of chances


When receiver Jason Hill caught a 21-yard touchdown pass from Nate Davis in the closing minute of the first half, he did not celebrate.


Heck, Hill did not look excited in the least. In fact, he looked downright angry. And that’s exactly how he felt after the 49ers’ exhibition finale, a 26-7 loss to the Chargers.


Hill, a San Francisco native, was living the dream when his hometown team selected him in the third round of the 2007 draft. The future looked bright when he moved into the role of the No. 3 receiver at the midpoint of last season. Hill caught 30 passes in the second half of the season after recording just one reception through his first season-and-a-half in the NFL.


But Hill never took that next step this summer during training camp. He turned into the forgotten man, as he was pushed to the back of the depth chart.


“Maybe the coaches don’t like me or something,” Hill said. “I don’t know. I just haven’t been getting enough reps. When I get reps, I make plays. I showed it last year when I get reps. When I get in a game, I make plays. I’m proving it on the field every time.”


When asked if he thinks he might get cut on Saturday, Hill almost seemed excited about the prospect.


“I think there’s a strong possibility,” he said. “I haven’t been getting any reps. I’ll have my phone on high volume tomorrow waiting for the call. All I know is I make plays, and hopefully there are 31 other teams that see that.


“Oh, I’m pissed,” he added. “I’m a ballplayer. I make plays. When I get on the field, I make plays.”


Hill caught two passes for 33 yards. For the second week in a row, he was interfered with on a deep pass, drawing a pass-interference call. The penalty netted the 49ers 36 yards.


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It still looks as Hill has a strong chance to make the team, as Michael Crabtree is unsigned and Brandon Jones is out through September with a broken shoulder. Dominique Zeigler, who was scrapping for a roster spot, sustained a left ankle sprain that makes his roster spot even more questionable.


Versatile Micheal Spurlock got the starting nod at flanker ahead of Hill. Spurlock caught three passes for 23 yards. He also averaged 25.5 yards on two kickoff returns.


“I got a chance to start,” Spurlock said. “Usually I’m working in the slot. I got a chance to start on the outside and show them a bit of versatility. I made a couple play . . . I think they showed the total package.”


And what’s his feeling about cutdown day?


“I’m going to sit by my phone tomorrow,” Spurlock said. “If it doesn’t ring, that’s a good thing. And if it does ring, Hopefully, I’ve done enough that somebody else will pick me up. All in all, I think I had a solid preseason.”


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Another big competition is going on at tight end, where rookie Bear Pascoe and Joe Jon Finley are fighting for a roster spot.


Said coach Mike Singletary: “We know we have two tight ends. We have Delanie (Walker) and we have Vernon (Davis). That third spot, we have to look long and hard at and consider a number of things before making a decision.”


Pascoe and Finley are competing for the job to replace Billy Bajema as the blocking tight end to be used primarily in short-yardage situations.


“It was rough in the beginning, being a rookie and all,” Pascoe said. “I took all the coaching and critiques, and took it to heart and tried to get better every week and I think I did. I’m looking forward to the coaches’ decision and looking forward to moving on with the season. I’m really hoping it’s here with the Niners. I think we got a bright future ahead of us.”


Said Finley, “I had a great opportunity and I did the best I could. I laid it all on the line from Day 1. They have a decision to make and it’s out of my hands now. Ever since the beginning of the offseason, I started understanding the offense and how it all works.


“I think I’ve gotten 100-times better this year at blocking. We’ll see what they think in the end. I’m ready to get in there and give it a try, if they let me.”


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Quarterback Nate Davis played all but the first series of the game. The 49ers did not hold back on the playbook with the rookie in the game. For the first time, Davis wore a wristband with some of the plays written on it as a cheat sheet.


“I wore it and it helped a lot. They gave me a wristband for the long plays, which happened at Ball State, also,” Davis said. “With some of the longer calls, they’d say, ‘Nate, No. 1,” and I’d read off that.”


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Singletary spoke to Deion Sanders a lot leading up to the draft as a character witness for Michael Crabtree. But Singletary said he could not care less about what Sanders is saying now.


“I don’t care if it’s Deion. I don’t care if it’s his agent, I really don’t care who it is,” Singletary said. “I’m going to say what I said before. Crabtree has to do what he has to do. I’m not thinking about what Deion is saying or anybody else about that situation. I have my hands full with these 53 guys and make sure we have the right 53 and we’re going to go forward with that and win some football games.”


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Veteran cornerback Nate Clements’ rough exhibition season continued when Kassim Osgood beat him for a 39-yard touchdown to cap the only series of the game for the 49ers’ starters.


“Nate knows he has to get better and he knows he has to be more detailed in what he’s doing, and he will,” Singletary said. “I’m confident Nate is going to do the things he needs to do to get better. We’ll address that going forward.”


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