The San Francisco 49ers end the preseason 3-1, after losing their final game, 27-24, to the Los Angeles Chargers.
And now, it’s time to set the 53 man roster.
“We thought coming into this training camp [that] we had a better team than we’ve had the last two years,” head coach Kyle Shanahan said after the game. “Felt that way consistently throughout practice and I felt that way consistently throughout these four games. By no means have they all gone perfect, but I’ve been happy with the style we’ve played with. I think we’ve played more physically. I think we’ve gotten better in some areas and I expect that to continue throughout the season. I do think we’ve had a better team out here in the preseason than we have in the past.”
C.J. Beathard started the game and played the entire the first half, going 6-of-9 for 58 yards, a touchdown, and a rating of 121.5. He also had a pretty incredible block on a 41-yard TD run by Jeff Wilson, Jr.
“…[T]o see C.J. behind me and for him to take off just gave me that extra power, I was like, I have to put it in now,” Wilson said. “If C.J. comes out there and blocks for me in the fourth preseason game, that speaks to his character. I was just trying to make his block that much better.”
Nick Mullens started the second half, but if you blinked, you would have missed him.
In theory, all signs point to Mullens as Jimmy Garoppolo’s backup, but head coach Kyle Shanahan said the decision has not been made. Mullens said after the game that anything can happen. Shanahan said he will tell the two contenders by Monday.
“We have both grown tremendously,” Mullens said. “I think you can tell by the tape, we both have had very successful camps and a lot to be proud of.”
The San Francisco 49ers have a talented, but crowded, wide receiver room. However, injuries have shifted some of the decision-making process.
Trent Taylor will miss the beginning of the season, as he recovers from foot surgery, while Kyle Shanahan said that rookie Jalen Hurd’s back injury is more serious than previously thought, meaning he is no longer optimistic about a Week One appearance.
“There’s a lot of things up in the air, especially with some of these injuries that have been a little more serious that we’ve found out over the last week than we thought previously,” said Shanahan. It still is up in the air. We’ve got to decide on whether we’re going to go with six, whether we’re going to go with seven and it’s something we are going to be looking into hard over these next 48 hours.”
Kendrick Bourne had an impressive touchdown catch, but he also dropped a well-thrown C.J. Beathard pass early in the game. Bourne has lacked consistency at times, but he still may have secured his spot.
“…[D]rops from Bourne haven’t been too much of a problem,” said Shanahan. “I do consider Bourne having some of the better hands on our team. So, that’s definitely one that he should’ve had and it hurt a drive. I think we went three and out on that drive. He’s earned a little bit more with that in terms of how good his hands are.”
Shanahan confirmed what John Lynch said yesterday regarding running back Jerick McKinnon, but he did not elaborate.
““What John indicated is about all I can say,” Shanahan said. “I can’t get into the exact details of it, but it wasn’t the type of two days we were hoping for for him. Just getting feedback from him and stuff like that. We’re looking into a number of things here over these two days and we’ll have to make a decision on that Saturday.”
Tight end Ross Dwelley did not play tonight, because, as Shanahan said, “…[He’s shown us enough.” So he’s going to make it.
Wilson (of the aforementioned 41-yard touchdown) ended the night with 20 carries, which seemed high for a player who most thought would make the team. But Shanahan said not to read into it.
“…[I]t’s that or throw and we had two guys. We brought back [RB Brandon] Wilds for the week to see what happened. But no, you want to run the ball a lot in this last game and when you block well and you run hard, you usually get more carries, so that was a credit to him.”
That being said, Shanahan also said they would not keep five running backs. So Jeff Wilson’s status most likely depends on what happens with McKinnon.
Rosters have to be final by 1 p.m. PT on Saturday. Stay tuned here and make sure you’re following me on Twitter for all the latest news.