The final preseason game is where most of the starters will sit out or play one possession at the most. For a few players, this is their last chance to make a case in finding a job on either the 53-man roster or the practice squad for this with eligibility.
Majority of the roster is already predetermined before tonight’s game against the San Diego Chargers. A big example of this was when QB Josh Johnson had an impressive outing in the fourth game while Scott Tolzien struggled last season. With most players who will participate tonight are on the verge of being cut, there are only a handful of roster spots that could be undecided still. The only thing that could change a decision is a potential injury.
Here is a list of players who are currently on the fringe of a roster spot:
Quaterback: Seneca Wallace
When Wallace was signed last week, the backup quarterback situation looked uncertain with the Colt McCoy trade rumors. Suddenly, this is the only chance for the 11-year veteran quarterback to make any impressions. This could be seen as an audition to stand out for another team to sign him as it’s likely B.J. Daniels will have the third spot.
Wide Receiver: Austin Collie and Lavelle Hawkins
Collie was a consistent receiver while he was with Indianapolis, but there hasn’t been much room for him in San Francisco despite being healthy when he signed. He has been practicing mostly with the scout team but has looked good as a possession receiver.
Meanwhile, Hawkins did well on special teams with a 105-yard kickoff return for a touchdown, but will be remembered for taunting and drawing multiple flags after the play. While he was a former receiver with the Titans, there hasn’t been much playing time for him at receiver. Both players were viewed as insurance in case someone was injured, but right now it looks doubtful that either of them will make the team.
Defensive End: Tony Jerod-Eddie
Jerod-Eddie has been solid at stopping the run in his preseason outings. Despite having impressive games, he is still battling with Will Tukuafu and Demarcus Dobbs for a roster spot, according to defensive coordinator Vic Fangio. Dobbs is suspended for the first week of the season and it is tempting to leave an extra defensive lineman on the team for depth. Jerod-Eddie was promoted to the 53-man roster from the practice squad in Week 17 of last season and remains eligible for this upcoming season.
Outside Linebacker: Cam Johnson
Johnson showed some promise as a pass rusher in the first two preseason games and the opportunity to take Parys Haralson’s spot on the roster opened after the trade news. Unfortunately for Johnson, he will be buried behind reserve OLBs Dan Skuta and Corey Lemonier. If the 2012 seventh-round pick shows promise on special teams, he could squeak one of the final spots. Johnson was promoted from the practice squad last December and still has eligibility for the 2013 season.
Safety: Bubba Ventrone and Trenton Robinson
Robinson, a former sixth-round pick in 2012 has only played on special teams in three games from last season. He was inactive for the remaining 13 regular season games along with the postseason. He was initially in the battle for the starting FS position, but with the emergence of Eric Reid, he is fighting for one of the final roster spots. Robinson is practice squad eligible for the 2013 season.
Ventrone was seen on special teams but has not played safety at all in practice. The nine-year veteran has been known to gave a knack for being on coverage units, but do the 49ers have enough luxury to keep an extra special teams player? Throughout a portion of training camp, Ventrone was “working through” an undisclosed injury he suffered in the first preseason game, but returned last Sunday. The 49ers’ priority of special teams will determine if he makes the 53-man roster.
Long snapper: Kevin McDermott
McDermott has been impressive throughout the preseason, but it’s doubtful that he dethrones one of the longest tenured 49ers in Brian Jennings. The only way this happens is if it’s for financial reasons as Jennings makes twice the amount that McDermott does. McDermott, an undrafted rookie is practice squad eligible for this season.