Yes, here we are down to the last preseason game, AKA the Walmart Bowl. Kappy and Co. will get barely a whiff of the field come tomorrow night in the land down under California. Throw another surfboard on the barbie, mate. This make or break time for bubble players. Literally break time. Years ago I met Doug DuBose, Carl Monroe, and Keith Henderson (kick returners and fringe guys in the 80s) at a party, and DuBose said, pay attention to every special teams play in the preseason. Fringe guys (like Henderson and DuBose) will try to get injured so the team will have to pay them for the year and cut them, or keep them on IR. So, they will go after the biggest dude on the other side of the field and try to get mangled. Interesting strategy at best. Crazy to say the least. But that is the life of a gunner, or any other of the cannon fodder guys thrown out for special teams play in the final preseason game of the season. The Walmart Brigade.
Yes, there will be fierce battles the remaining couple WR spots. Chad Hall, Austin Collie, Lavelle Hawkins, and Kassim Osgood are fighting for the final couple spots behind, Anquan Bouldin, Marlin Moore, Kyle Williams, General Patton, and the injured Crabs and Manningham. Carswell and Chuck Jacobs, both UDFAs, hope to hit the practice squad, with Jacobs leading the way. Back up RB is up for grabs (although Jewell Hampton is doing pretty well so far). Anthony Dixon has shown enough in his role as ST guy and short yardage runner. Seneca Wallace is probably gone, and Scott Tolzein IS gone, thus cementing the emergence of BJ Daniels as the surprise of this camp, and putting Colt McCoy right behind Cappy Kaepernick as the #2 QB. But guys like Jason Shepler, MarQuis Gray, and Alex Debniac look to be playing their final downs in NFL unis tomorrow.
Some of the new additions have done well for themselves. Anquan Bouldin turned out to be insurance for what led to a boatload of injuries to the WR corps. He replaced Crabs, and looked solid in his time out there, Nnamdi Asomugha cemented his spot as 3rd CB, Jon Baldwin looked good last week in his limited reps at WR, Eric Reid locked down Dashon Goldson’s old FS job with authority, and Vance McDonald has proved to be (for all appearances) a capable replacement for Delanie Walker. He even dropped a couple his first time out for old times’ sake.Corey Lemonyay has made Parys Haralson expendable. Glen Dorsey is a wash at this point. He could go either way. The aforementioned Seneca Wallace is most likely gone. The other draft picks (Tank, Lattimore, and Quintin Dial) are nursing various injuries and likely will miss the season.
So, given the hope that the hurt players come back at full strength, it looks as if the Niners already have some insurance in place for next year. As Justin Smith and Frank Gore wind down their illustrious careers over the next couple years, the Niners have Lattimore, Nunter, and LMJ ready to pick up the slack. The D line has newly added Tank, Dial, and Cam Johnson to plug in. They look to cut some solid players out of the 21 that need to be jettisoned August 31st at 3:00 pm PDT, but we’ll get into that after the game tomorrow. Let’s enjoy the spectacle of big men fighting for the right to play a game. Speaking of the Sandy Eggo game, I will be watching mainly to see how the newly anointed backup Colt McCoy does, how the WR battle shakes out, and yeah, maybe look for some extra loud collisions on the special teams plays.