Oh, yeah. Boseephus was banned for life . . . Anyhow, here on the Niner front, the team has pretty much settled in nicely. The defense doesn’t have many positions up for grabs. In fact the entire starting 11 are returning for the 2012 season.
That is, if Dashon Goldson decides to sign and play rather than pout and sit. Goldson signed his franchise tender, and reported to camp today for the opening of camp tomorrow. So, the positions up for grabs appear to be all backups.
On the offense however, there have been some changes. Gone are Moran (shudder) Norris, Braylon (who?) Edwards, Justin (whoo whoo?) Peelle, and Josh (I got hurt at the worst possible time, and during garbage time, to boot) Morgan. Soon to go look like Anthony Dixon, Kyle Williams, and Bruce Miller among a long list of non-roster invitees. Miller would be hard to see go, as he had a great year blocking, and made some nice plays out of the backfield. However, the addition of Rock Carwright may make Miller expendable.
Spots to be contested for are of the backup variety. As in, who will be the #1 backup at QB? Nominally, Cappy Kaepernick is the #2 guy, but Jim Harbaugh has declared it an open competition among Josh Johnson, CK, and Scott Tolzein. Realistically, one of these guys is not going to make the team. The likely scenario that plays out is AS stays #1, CK is 2, JJ is #3, and Scotty goes to the practice squad. However, the possibility exists that JJ doesn’t do well, and Tolzein forces a move on to the active roster. In that case JJ is gone. Either cut, or traded some time during the preseason.
Frank Gore is the nominal starter, but I’m pretty sure he’ll get spelled a lot more than he has in recent years. His ankles have been giving him problems for a few years now, and keeping him fresh is a priority. His backup falls to either Kendall (end zone) Hunter, newly acquired Brandon Jacobs, rookie LaMichael James (bitch), or the more than likely gone Anthony Dixon. I don;t have any idea how they are planning on using Jacobs, but my thought is he’ll be a 3rd down/short yardage/goal line guy. They will likely line both of them up some of the time, and feature either one at various times. I’d think Hunter is the one who will get the bulk of the backup load. Unless James really impresses and catches on fast. He would be a big change of pace, but I think he’ll be eased in as the season progresses.
WR is a bit muddied. From what has been talked about during camp, among the players and coaches at least is that Randy Moss is being the consummate pro, and is showing the young WRs how to conduct themselves during practice and during meetings. If Randy can get Crabs to pull his overinflated head out of his ass and produce on the field instead of at the altar of cool aloofness, then Moss is already worth it. I’m not too worried about Moss as this is likely his last stop. If he blows this, it’s an ignominous end to a sometimes brilliant, and likely Hall of Fame career. Mario Manningham is a given. He’s proven his ability to be a clutch guy, and appears to have gotten over the dropsies that plagued him early in his career. Then there’s Crabs. AJ Jenkins is going to stay. If they keep 6 WRs, that leaves a bevy of guys for the last 2 spots. Kyle (what, me worry?) Williams is supposedly benefitting from Moss’s presence as well, but his future remains cloudy. He showed some potential, but wasn’t nearly consistent enough, disappeared for long stretches at a time, and then there’s the plays I shall not mention. Swett Brain was signed to a one-year deal, but he was invisble last year. Chris Owusu, the UDFA from Stanford, could possibly force his way onto the team, but he most likely goes to the taxi squad as well.
TE? VD and Byham are locks. Konrad Reuland looks like he could get the #3 spot. Walker has never thrilled me much, but the battle is between those 2. They won’t keep 4 with Ice, Staley, and Tukafu waiting in the wings.