If there was ever a 4th preseason game, the San Francisco 49ers taking on the Los Angeles Chargers at Levi’s Stadium was most definitely it. It was an ugly game that ended in a 23-21 loss for the red and gold, but that’s done now.
The regular season starts in just over a week in Minneapolis, and the 49ers have a roster to get to 53 by Saturday. Here are Fangirl Takeaways from the game and what they mean for the final roster.
Richie James, Jr., Wide Receiver, San Francisco 49ers
Seventh-round draft pick Richie James, Jr. has had an impressive preseason and looks to have solidified a roster spot. The rookie wide receiver finished tonight’s game with 80 yards on seven receptions, a 27-yard punt return and a 22-yard kick return.
“I think he’s had a good preseason,” Head Coach Kyle Shanahan said of James. “I think a lot of our receivers have. It’s going to be tough with the group that we have. I know I can’t keep all of them. He’s been consistent throughout it all and got some opportunities tonight and came down with them.”
The 49ers are going to have some difficult decisions to make at wide receiver, so the more you can do, the better your chances.
“I’m a playmaker…,” said James. “That’s all I do. I just come in, make plays, get the ball in my hands.”
Now that he’s healthy, Right Guard Joshua Garnett has had the opportunity to show what he can do.
“From what I saw out there, [Garnett’s] name didn’t come up much, which is a good thing for an O-Lineman,” Shanahan said. “He had two good days of practice. One real good day, because we were able to have pads on…[I]t was a good week for Josh again. We’ll make that decision as the week goes. I don’t know if that’s something we’ll probably know or the world probably won’t know until a week from Sunday.”
For his part, Garnett said his knee is feeling good, and at 305 lbs., he is in great shape and ready to contribute.
“I feel like I fit well,” Garnett said. “I feel like I can run power, run zone. I can do what they ask of me. I really worked hard in the offseason to do what they asked body-wise and mobility-wise, put myself in a position to excel in the offense.”
Shanahan said earlier this week that starting right guard was Mike Person’s “job to lose,” and even though Garnett played well, it sounds like that is still the case.
“[Person’s] still the frontrunner,” Shanahan said. “[A]nybody who has been at that position for the majority of camp and got all those reps. We’re happy with Mike. He’s done a real good job, and that’s why we didn’t dress him tonight. We’re real excited about Josh, too. He got a late start, which puts him behind the eight ball with the group. There’s a lot of continuity that goes into an O-Line playing together. We major in double-team blocks and you get used to who is blocking next to you a lot between the center and the right tackle. So, that’s the advantage someone has from just being here. But, Josh is a talented guy that we believe in. He’s going the right direction. It’s a good problem to have.”
Meanwhile at swing tackle, with Garry Gilliam still in the concussion protocol, there are questions at at that position. Darrell Williams gave up two sacks tonight, so expect to see the very versatile Erik Magnuson on the depth chart.
With Jerick McKinnon and Matt Breida out until week one, the 49ers brought in Alfred Morris, who has looked very strong, while also signing Running Back Ja’Quan Gardner this week. Morris played one series tonight and Gardner did not play at all.
Veteran running back Raheem Mostert had a fair amount of playing time, finishing the night with eight yards on five carries and two receptions for 13 yards.
“[H]e didn’t get much last week at running back,” Shanahan said. “We gave the majority of that to [RB Alfred Morris]…We wanted to get him to get a few more carries. It’s a tough position in terms of the decisions we’ve got to make tomorrow. I wanted Raheem to have a few more.”
As Mostert said, “When your number’s being called, that’s when you go.”
And now, he’ll see if it’s called over the next couple days.
“You can never think about it,” Mostert said. “You’ve just to go with the flow…I’m going to have a positive attitude, a positive mindset about everything, and we’ll just see how it goes.”
After being cleared from the concussion protocol, LB Reuben Foster played through a few series, mainly because he will miss the first two games of the season due to his suspension.
“…[H]e’s not going to play in these first two games, so it’s going to be a while for him to get that chance,” Shanahan said. “So, once he got out of the protocol and felt good, that’s what we planned on doing all along as long as he was healthy.”
Rookie LB Fred Warner did not dress tonight, which is a good indication that he will start in Reuben’s place.
The 49ers defense recorded three sacks, including one from rookie Defensive Tackle Julian Taylor, who continues to look like the real deal.
And Now…It’s Roster Time
“There’s definitely more than 53 guys that I’d like to keep on our team, and there’s definitely more than 10 guys I’d like to have on our practice squad,” Shanahan said. “There’s definitely going to be someone here that we still want to be here. But, that’s the issues of the numbers that you’re allowed to keep, the numbers of guys you’re allowed to practice with. That wasn’t as much of a problem last year. I hope that’s a problem that we have every year.”
Cuts will start tomorrow. Make sure you’re following @49ersfangirl for all the latest updates. Go Niners!