Window shrinking on 49ers receiving corps

SANTA CLARA – Two days after beating the Chiefs, the 49ers are preparing for their third exhibition Sunday, Aug. 25 against Minnesota at Candlestick Park.

The 49ers — like most NFL teams — are likely to play many of their starters into the third quarter next Sunday. So far, backups have seen the majority of the preseason action thus far, head coach Jim Harbaugh said:

“The two’s have played a lot, so we’ll take a load off of them.”

In particular, wide receivers Lavelle Hawkins and Austin Collie have seen their fair share of reps as the 49ers evaluate the receiving depth behind Anquan Boldin.

Harbaugh spoke highly of the veteran duo at Sunday’s press conference saying:

“There’s some guys that now have gotten into the game, gotten familiar with the system. Hawkins and Collie, they’re more up to speed. They’re showing good things. There’s opportunity to move up or move down. I wouldn’t say that there’s a set pecking order, no.”

Marlon Moore has been the starter in both preseason games and Kyle Williams is a keeper. Chad Hall has been excellent while special teams ace Kassim Osgood is also pushing for a spot.

Thus the window for A.J. Jenkins, Ricardo Lockette, and Quinton Patton to make an impact is shrinking fast, though Patton  – a fourth-round pick returning from a finger injury –is essentially guaranteed a roster spot.

Undrafted rookie Chuck Jacobs caught the game-winning touchdown pass on Friday and could be a practice squad candidate.

Expect the entire receiving corps to go full throttle next game.

Harbaugh also said that Mario Manningham (ACL/PCL) will open the season on the reserve/physically unable to perform list and will not be eligible for the first six weeks of the regular season while Michael Crabtree is on pace for a late-season return.

Concerning the rest of the injured 49ers, Harbaugh said:

“Everything has been positive. There have been no setbacks with any of the players who’ve been on the PUP.”

How the quarterback reps will be split against the Vikings is unclear.

Colin Kaepernick will certainly be in for more than one series, but the competition between Scott Tolzien, Colt McCoy, and B.J. Daniels will again be the focal point especially after the versatile Daniels outperformed both veterans on Friday, leading the 49ers to a 15-13 win in Kansas City.

Speaking today about his recent opportunity at quarterback, Daniels told the media:

“I’m just trying to do whatever I can to be consistent and help my team in anyway possible. I’m just trying to do what I can.”


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